Press Releases

Childhood and Adolescent Mental Illnesses Take Center Stage at NAMI's 21st Annual Convention in San Diego

Nation's Experts To Discuss Scientific Research, Medical Treatments, Policy Issues Related To Country's Youth With Brain Disorders

Jun 06 2000

Arlington, VA - Early onset of mental illnesses in children and adolescents will be a major focus at the annual convention of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), to be held in San Diego, CA, June 14-18, 2000.

"Families with children who have mental illnesses have a tremendous need to learn as much as possible about evidence-based treatment and diagnosis," said NAMI Executive Director Laurie Flynn. "That's why we have assembled the nation's foremost experts to share what they know about managing these disorders while supporting parents as partners in treatment."

In announcing a youth focus for its national meeting, NAMI noted that one in 10 children and adolescents have mental illnesses severe enough to cause some level of impairment. Yet, fewer than one in five of these young people receives needed treatment. The most commonly diagnosed disorders in children and adolescents are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and pervasive developmental disorders. Further, NAMI cited suicide as the third-leading cause of death among youth, ages 15 through 24, a rate that has nearly tripled during the past 40 years.

"Clearly, we must do a better job of reaching these young people and their families before tragedy strikes," said Flynn. "NAMI's convention offers real hope and concrete information to help these families get the best care possible.

What: NAMI Annual Convention
When: Wednesday, June 14 through Sunday, June 18, 2000
Where: Town and Country Resort Hotel
500 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA
(619) 291-7131

NAMI Convention To Feature Nationally Recognized Speakers:

  • Peter Jensen, MD, director, Center for the Advancement of Children's Mental Health, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY
  • Demitri Papolos, MD, author of the best-selling book, The Bipolar Child; associate professor of psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
  • Robert L. Findling, MD, director, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
  • Matthew Cohen, JD, president, Children & Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Floyd Bloom, MD, editor, Science; professor and chair, Department of Neuropharmacology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA

Child/Adolescent Highlights:

Thursday, June 15, 2000

  • Visions for Tomorrow: An education curriculum for children and adolescents with brain disorders [9:00 a.m. - 10.15 a.m.]
  • Using focus groups to document the unmet needs of children and adults with serious mental illnesses [10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.]

Friday, June 16, 2000

  • Up-to-the minute information on research and treatment breakthroughs in child and adolescent mental illnesses, including diagnostic approaches and cognitive/behavioral therapies [8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.]
  • Ask-the-Doctor session on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) [11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.]
  • Ask-the-Doctor session on mood disorders in children [11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.]
  • Getting what you need from your school system [2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.]
  • Advancing a system of care for children, youth and families in San Diego County: The Heartbeat Lead Agency Initiative [4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.]

Saturday, June 17, 2000

  • Family, faith, and friends: NAMI's connection to young families [8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.]
  • The Teen Screen Prevention Program at Columbia University [10:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.]
  • Access to treatment for children and adolescents [10:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.]

Other Convention Sessions & Topics:

  • Criminalization and jail diversion
  • Spirituality and mental illness
  • Getting and keeping a job
  • Use of nutrients and botanical extracts in psychiatry
  • Support-service animals: Helping people with mental illness
  • Healing and the arts
  • Symptoms of and effective treatments for schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Ask-the-Doctor sessions - brought back by popular demand, these sessions allow meeting participants to ask top researchers and clinicians specific questions about a wide range of mental illnesses

In conjunction with NAMI's annual convention, families who have children and adolescents with mental illnesses - from the San Diego area and from across the country - will be available to share their personal experiences with media representatives. To arrange media interviews or discuss additional story ideas, please contact NAMI's Communications Department at (703) 312-7886, before June 15, 2000.

Beginning June 15, contact the NAMI Press Room in the Terrace Salon 2 at the Convention Center at the Town & Country Resort Hotel. Call the main number at (619) 291-7131 and ask to be transferred.