NAMI members, friends and staff descended on Austin, Texas, June 18-21, for the 2005 NAMI Convention. The convention, with a theme of Transforming the Mental Health System in America, featured three days of workshops, seminars, program tracks, receptions and exhibits. Attendees came from around the country and the world to network, learn, gather materials and energize themselves.
The opening day of convention featured an Asian American and Pacific Islander Seminar. Consumers, advocates and providers gathered to examine the issues facing minority populations dealing with mental illness. Read more…
Day two was marked by three evening seminars that included "Cognitive Neuroscience and Recovery," "A Reading by Bebe Moore Campbell" and "The Insanity Defense: Is It Time for a New Model." The latter featured George Parnham, attorney for Andrea Yates, and David Kaczynski, brother of "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski. Read more...
Workshops, program tracks and seminars provided attendees with a bevy of options. Among the workshops offered, "Understanding PTSD: From the Traumas of Combat, Rape, and Abuse Come Knowledge" explained the disorder for laypersons through first-person accounts. Jerry LaFountain, purple heart recipient, and Eileen White, national board member recounted personal experiences that led to their post-traumatic stress disorder - an anxiety disorder that is triggered by a traumatic event.
The Research Plenary, "Research and Treatment for Depression Across the Lifespan" brought together respected researchers in the field of mental health. Dr. Thomas Insel, medical director, National Institute of Mental Health, moderated the session, providing an overview of the state of mental health research today as well as some sobering facts and figures. Attendees learned that mental illnesses account for one-fourth of all medical disabilities in the U.S. and Canada for persons 15 to 44 years old; and that in a given year, there are 30,000 suicides in comparison to 18,000 homicides with 90% of all suicides involving a person with a mental disorder. Dr. Insel also outlined a vision for mental health care in the future.
The 2005 NAMI Convention ended with a bang at the NAMI Fiesta! held at the Alumni Center at the University of Texas. Convention goers left energized and looking forward to the 2006 NAMI Convention in Washington, DC.
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