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NAMI National Convention Cincinnati

Jun 26 2002

Cincinnati, OH - More than 2,000 people are attending the 23rd annual convention of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), in-cluding leaders from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, as well as national, state and local experts. One in five Americans are affected by mental illness during their lifetimes. For teenagers and young adults, suicide is the third leading cause of death nationwide. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to provide greater public education on a range of issues that Presi-dent Bush currently is making a national priority. Here are just a few ideas:

THE BILLY GRAHAM CRUSADE: So what is the spiritual connection between faith and hope and mental illness? You might be surprised. NAMI's convention theme is "Building Communities of Hope." The opening plenary ses-sion of the convention will provide "A Perspective on the Community Hope" with Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, one of the world's leading experts on schizophrenia (Thursday at 3:30 PM in the Ballroom, 3rd floor). Even better, don't miss the three-part track (Friday from 8:45 AM to 12:30 PM) on "Communities of Faith," including:

  • Theological & Denominational Perspectives on Ministry to Those With Mental Illnesses, including Dr. Larry Myers and Paula Erdelyi, co-chairs of the Task Force Committee on Mental Illness Awareness and Stigma Reduc-tion, Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Prospect, KY).
  • Pastoral Practice in the Local Community including Rev. J. Donald Mosley of Cincinnati and the NAMI Ohio Board of Directors, and Harry Mills, Th.D., of Louisville, president of NAMI Kentucky.

LOOK AT TODAY'S WALL STREET JOURNAL: "A CEO's Secret: His Long Battle With Depression." But what about CEO's in Cincinnati, Louisville or Indianapolis who have struggled with mental illness? Construction workers? Do they face stigma or support in the workplace?

  • Cover Overcoming Stigma in the Workplace moderated by Stella March, coordinator of NAMI's national "Stig-maBusters" program, along with John Sargent, supervising trial attorney of the federal Equal Employment Com-mission District Office in Cleveland, OH, Alice Angi of Jewish Vocational Services in Lebanon, OH, and Larry Loew, an accountant in Cincinnati (Friday, June 28 at 2:15 PM-Ballroom A, 3rd Floor).

WHAT IS THE WHITE HOUSE ROLE IN THE CONVENTION? In a taped segment at the convention banquet, President Bush will introduce the chairman of his New Freedom Commission on Mental Health-Ohio Department of Mental Health Director Michael Hogan . What are the political implications? On Friday, beginning at 1:00 PM, Hogan and Charles Curie, head of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will hold a "listening session"-the first such session outside of Washington, D.C., before formal hearings begin in July. Do you know what issues the Commission will be looking at that affect your community? Will you be ready to respond editorially when their interim report is released in October?

REMEMBER THE MOVIE "A BEAUTIFUL MIND? Universal released it on video and DVD just this week. Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (whose latest work, The Sum of All Fears, is currently playing in theaters) will receive NAMI's special award for the movie at the banquet. Find out more about schizophrenia or other brain disorders in Saturday afternoon's Ask the Doctor and research sessions. Give your readers some of the latest medical information and advice, and test the authenticity of the movie.

PRAISE TO THE LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL. NAMI's annual media award for investigative reporting will be presented at the convention to the Louisville Courier-Journal for the series "Locked in Suffering: Kentucky's Jails and the Mentally Ill" (February-March 2002). Meanwhile, as part of Justice Department reforms, Cincinnati police are conducting special training in crisis intervention for people with mental illnesses. What are the issues? Is your community keeping pace with the most state-of-the-art, cost-effective programs? Cover the three-session track on Friday on "Adults in the Criminal Justice System," which features Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Dr. Mark Munetz and Joann Harris of the Coordinating Center of Excellence for Jail Diversion (Akron), and Joe Krake of the Ohio Depart-ment of the Mental Health Office of Forensic Services.

DON'T FORGET KIDS OR THE ELDERLY. One track on Friday on Children and Adolescents includes Ohio State University's Center for Learning Excellence, Miami University's Center for School-Based Mental Health Problems and Ohio DMH's Office of Children's Services and Prevention. Another on Elderly People With Mental Illnesses includes Jessie Thomas of the Hamilton County Community Mental Health Board. A workshop on What Are Grandma and Grandpa Doing? includes Dr. Fred Frese of the Northeastern Ohio University of Medicine.