Learn the common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents.
Learn more about common mental health conditions that affect millions.
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Michelle Williams, Grammy Award-winning singer and former Destiny’s Child member and author of Checking In: How Getting Real about Depression Saved My Life — and Can Save Yours, speaks candidly about her mental health journey alongside Dr. Christine M. Crawford, NAMI’s Associate Medical Director. She discusses the lessons she learned about prioritizing her own wellness, normalizing mental health conversations and how she hopes to help others.
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Thought leaders and mental health experts who identify as Native American, African American, Hispanic/Latinx and Asian American discuss how COVID-19 and systemic oppression have negatively affected the mental health and well-being among BIPOC communities from a data-driven and intersectional perspective. The panel highlights areas of need to transform the mental health system to address mental health disparities.
This Candlelight Vigil honors and pays respect to the many lives lost to suicide, including active duty, reserve or guard members, veterans, family members and dependents, as well as non-federally-activated reserve or guard members. Sponsored by NAMI Service Members, Veterans and Their Families Council.
Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, overviews the challenges and opportunities in mental health research. He presents emerging approaches and technologies, including the five-year Accelerating Medicines Partnership Schizophrenia research project, which launched in September 2020.
Spreading awareness, providing education and promoting empowerment are critical to encourage young people to prioritize mental health early in life.
Mentis’ Teen Council is an inclusive group of diverse and compassionate youth engaging their peers in ongoing conversations about mental health, working to prevent suicide, connecting young people to a comprehensive network of accessible and affordable mental health services, and creating lasting social impact in the community. Its youth-led Prevention Division places value on connection, community and collaboration with school districts and county agencies focused on supporting mental health and wellness.
How can we use public speaking to encourage today’s youth to tap into the most powerful gift they possess: their voice? This presentation aims to provide various ways in which we can use “speech” as a means to allow young people to feel heard. Especially in today’s political/social climate, when youths are given the space to use their voices, we can hear about their backgrounds, experiences, insights, perspectives, vulnerabilities, fears and needs.
For the last three years, a local NAMI Affiliate has partnered with a social work professor at Western Kentucky University to offer a free student NAMI Connections mental health support group on campus. This session explores the structure of the group, the types of issues students bring to the table, the importance of a university/NAMI alliance in reaching students on campus who are struggling with mental health issues, and important lessons gleaned after several years of implementation.
Stigma, socioeconomic factors and cultural disparities are added challenges for youth seeking mental health treatment. NAMI Southern Arizona is working to build better systems of care by using a text messaging platform that engages and amplifies youth voices and partnering with behavioral health providers to directly connect youth to services. Learn how to use technology to more effectively engage youth as well as to develop relationships that strengthen connections to community resources.
Substance misuse and mental health issues often present challenges to individuals, along with suicide risk. The voices of young people have been heard loud and clear that these public health issues are greatly impacting their generation. These young adults have expressed a need to be social agents of change on these issues and that they learn best from their own peers. This workshop explores how to effectively address these issues to promote prevention, recovery and well-being.
Learn how to engage diverse youth in writing poetry that addresses significant childhood trauma. For more than 25 years, the Pongo Poetry Project has inspired thousands of young people who are incarcerated, homeless or hospitalized. Discover Pongo’s innovative, community-focused approach by reviewing how personal and racial trauma can affect young people; learning the essentials of Pongo’s healing methodology, as supported by multiple studies; and observing and practicing Pongo’s fill-in-the- blank technique in a role play.
This session shares stories of positive impact when youth mental health activists work together with community stakeholders to spread mental health awareness, build community and spread hope. The Yellow Tulip Project has more than 150 youth ambassadors across the state who are part of a momentum that is changing the way we talk about mental health by bringing people together through community gardens, hope day events, stigma dialogue and storytelling.
This student-driven, social media campaign is designed to improve health literacy among young people and spotlight health experts from underrepresented communities. This session uses this pilot as a template for how to design an evidence-based community engagement initiative that intentionally includes traditionally marginalized youth.
This presentation details the transformation of Active Minds’ signature suicide prevention program, “Send Silence Packing,” for a virtual audience. Titled “Behind the Backpacks,” the program offers an in-depth look at the stories behind the backpacks typical of the in-person exhibit. This program highlights the power of storytelling, engages families and young adults in mental health education, connects participants to resources, and inspires action toward suicide prevention by providing access to the moving content online.
Research shows that nearly 1 in 5 youth are impacted by a mental health condition, but only half of people affected receive care. In the last year, the necessity for accessible supplements and alternatives to in-person youth education has become apparent. NAMI Chicago responded by developing a virtual platform to connect youth to information and stories about mental health and wellness and hopes to share this resource widely for youth and the safe adults in their lives.
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Through continued dedication to research and scientific advancement, we deepen our understanding of mental health conditions and improve treatment options and support.
The main goal of this talk is to present a brief summary of recent developments in the re-emerging field of the therapeutic use of psychedelic substances (e.g., MDMA and psilocybin) for the treatment of mental illness. Learn about new insights into mental illness and treatments that have emerged from this exciting field, with a focus on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This session presents Team Daniel’s experience and provide a template for others to optimally manage psychotic disorders. Learn the approach of “Engagement, Education, Access, Treatment and Wrap Around Support.” The session emphasizes the importance of using the virtual platform Zoom to create a community across the world. It describes how people can avoid being stymied by HIPAA and use both AOT/LEAP to engage.
This session shares effective protocol for youth mental health screening in EDs and offers strategies to overcome technical, workflow and attitudinal barriers. With youth depression and suicide increasing, we must identify populations at risk of mental health concerns. EDs present an ideal setting, delivering nearly half of all U.S. medical care.
Perinatal psychiatric illness (symptom onset during pregnancy or postpartum) occurs in 10—15% of women who give birth and is one of the greatest causes of maternal mortality. This session discusses the current landscape of perinatal psychiatric illness and reviews new approaches in screening and treatment, including the role of telepsychiatry and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also covers novel interventions and the first approved FDA medication for postpartum depression.
This presentation shares the latest findings on trauma and its consequences for mental and physical health from the past three decades of epidemiologic research. It also includes information on the impact of trauma across generations and address what actions we can take for ourselves and in our communities to prevent trauma and its adverse consequences.
People living with serious mental illnesses have shorter life expectancies. Antipsychotic medications are extremely helpful for the treatment of a variety of symptoms. However, some of these medications may have negative metabolic effects that can impact weight and glucose and lipid metabolism, which increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This session describes the risks associated with medications as well as what preventions and interventions are available to address metabolic abnormalities.
DOORS is a psychosocial intervention program that teaches digital literacy. Supported by the Baer Foundation, DOORS offers education, training and resources that enable all people to understand, utilize and benefit from digital technology. This workshop explores the theory of DOORS, offers hands-on demonstrations of teaching cover advocacy, as well as runs participants’ own versions of the program locally.
SMI Adviser is a SAMHSA-funded initiative, administered by the American Psychiatric Association, which aims to improve delivery of evidence-based care to people with serious mental illness (SMI). Get an overview of the free resources available through SMI Adviser, including innovative education, resources and answers about these conditions for ALL providers on the mental health care team, including the person with the mental illness and their family members.
Anyone can be impacted by mental illness, but experiences and outcomes vary greatly depending on a person’s identity and background. To address these disparities, we must explore the intersections of culture, race, identity and mental health.
The goal of this session is to help mental health professionals augment their practice by integrating prevention and education to address mental health disparities. Therapists are challenged to expand their practices for community education by partnering with existing infrastructures in affected communities. Respecting cultural traditions and practices will allow therapists to educate a larger audience. Building relationships with community partners allows practitioners to recognize community strengths, support local programs and advance culturally competent practice.
Hear how one NAMI State Organization developed peer-led online community conversations focused on mental health-related topics affecting their communities, specifically Black and LGBTQ+ young adult communities. Learn how to empower volunteer leaders, generate community involvement, highlight local agencies and leaders, and leverage local partnerships to directly address mental health disparities affecting Black and LGBTQ+ young adult communities safely, inclusively and authentically.
The relationship between social injustice and mental health is multi-faceted, complex and has significant implications — not only for individual clients, but also for society. To understand social justice as it relates to mental health, one must consider the framework of the social determinants of mental health — the conditions into which we are born, grow, live, work and age — as they are most responsible for the health and mental health inequities that exist in society. Certain segments of our population (especially people with serious mental illnesses) disproportionately experience striking inequities and disparities in health outcomes. This presentation features an overview and discussion of the co-editors of the book Social (In)Justice and Mental Health.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, people in the Asian-American community have been the victims of racially motivated assaults. This session delves into the history of racism and discrimination toward Asian-Americans and the serious mental health implications on this community. It also talks about ways to build resiliency and provide support for people who have been more recent targets of racial retaliation.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a pervasive mental health condition that is widely misunderstood and misdiagnosed. On average, people with OCD do not receive treatment until 7 to 11 years after first experiencing symptoms, primarily due to lack of information about the condition. This workshop provides information on how to recognize OCD — focusing on lesser-known presentations, as well as culture-specific symptoms — in order to de-stigmatize OCD, reduce treatment gaps and provide resources on how to seek appropriate treatment.
The primary aim of this workshop is to bring attention to the reality of how prisons have become the “poor man’s mental institutions.” It addresses the reality of how mass incarceration is the byproduct of systemic racism and class discrimination in the U.S. with emphasis on this phenomenon’s impact on families of color.
It is critical for health care professionals to understand the experiences that Black people have had with health care in general — especially within the mental health care system. The goal of this workshop is to provide a comprehensive history about the Black community’s distrust in mental health, mental illness, mental health services, medication and research in order to inform mental health professionals with the information needed to engage Black patients and end the stigma of mental illness in the Black community.
It is critical for health care professionals to understand the experiences that Black people have had with health care in general — especially the mental health care system. This presentation provides a comprehensive history of the Black community’s distrust in mental health, mental illness, mental health services, medication and research in order to properly equip mental health professionals on how to engage Black patients and end the stigma of mental illness in the Black community.
Many students with ADHD, an often misunderstood mental illness, are radically disconnected while their schools are closed or only open intermittently. They need connection more than ever. One very useful form of connection is executive function coaching, which addresses impulse control, working memory, perseverance and persistence, among other skills. This workshop helps participants envision ways to help young people connect and ways to use that connection to improve their executive function skills.
Youth and adolescents within the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to experience a mental health disorder than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. With the number of individuals that belong to the LGBTQ+ community increasing, it is imperative that professionals be informed and culturally competent to serve this population. After this session, participants will be able to identify 1) key considerations for treating LGBTQ+ young people and 2) evidence-based strategies to achieve respectful and inclusive care.
Although often portrayed as “model minorities,” many Asian American adolescents and young adults struggle with mental health issues. Based on the 2016 Vital Statistical Reports, suicide is the first leading cause of death among Asian Americans ages 15–19. However, Asian Americans are less likely to seek mental health services, possibly due to low mental health literacy, stigma, lack of culturally competent providers, and lack of parental support and communication about help-seeking. This presentation shares research-supported parenting tips on how to reduce cultural and generation gaps and promotes positive parent-child relationships between Asian American parents and their children.
The stigma surrounding mental illness and help-seeking is a particularly potent barrier for first responders that results in mental health treatment disparities. Learn about research aimed at developing and pilot testing a chatbot to screen first responders for psychological distress, preferences and levels of stigma surrounding help-seeking, and how to refer responders to appropriate resources. This session proposes chatbot technology as a way to mitigate stigma and a solution to mental health disparities among first responders.
Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness each year. Learning about symptoms, treatments and support can be an important step toward self-care and improving quality of life.
The NAMI Family & Friends seminar informs people who have loved ones with a mental health condition about how they can best support them. It’s also an opportunity to meet other people in similar situations and gain community support.
This seminar reviews evidence-based crisis intervention program development in law enforcement that assists people living with mental illness and discuss the growing convergence of human and K–9 partnering (Animal-Assisted Therapy or AAT) to create rapid, effective and compassionate strategies for ensuring individual wellness and safety. A mental health consumer, the captain of a local Behavioral Health Intervention Team (B.H.I.T.), and Mango the K–9 moderate the group Q&A.
Established in 2000 in cooperation with the University of Chicago, The Awakenings Review has evolved into an entity greater than a literary magazine — it has become a calling by which scores of writers, poets and artists who have a personal relationship to mental illness express the quintessence of their lives with mental illness. Learn how this remarkable publication was founded, how it thrives and how one can start a literary magazine.
This session shares new research that reveals “Emerging Adulthood” as a new life stage and the pandemic’s impact on individuals within this life stage. As emerging adults themselves, workshop facilitators share various coping skills specific to this generation, highlighting support groups as a main tool for wellness.
Despite an abundance of literature, it can be difficult for providers and caregivers to truly understand the experience of illness — particularly if there are cultural differences. This presentation weaves together culture, clinical knowledge and lived experience to inform about the best ways to promote compliance, understanding and supportive care. It also addresses the paucity of advocacy in the Asian diaspora, directly promoting NAMI’s “Lead the Conversation” initiative.
Hear how a small mental health service campus, the San Angelo Clubhouse (SACH), was able to plan and implement small therapeutic gardens. All activities were done in partnership with staff and member and client involvement. This session discusses the positive impact on the physical and emotional well-being for members and clients. Through the SACH example, presenters show that gardening is beneficial for both physical and mental health and encourage others to consider starting their own therapeutic gardens.
This presentation discusses how individuals living with mental illnesses can “get their lives back” after hospitalizations. The presenter discusses the rules he established with his spouse that were helpful to his recovery, which included regularly attending appointments with mental health professionals, taking prescribed medications, attending school or working toward productive employment, and eliminating alcohol and drug use.
“Operation Resiliency” is a program with an array of services provided to combat veterans who have experienced wartime trauma. This presentation explains the components of “Operational Resilience” intervention, which include psychoeducational courses, physical activity, community service projects, peer mentoring and resource provision; discusses the impacts of wartime trauma, including high suicide rates and maladaptive coping mechanisms; and highlights findings from veteran reunions on the importance of key constructs such as “unit cohesion,” peer support and collaborations with community partners.
“Brain Stories” is a trailblazing podcast series chronicling stories of individuals and families affected by brain illness in their own words. Authentic, unflinching, radically empathetic — it’s unlike anything out there. Months before its public release, creators Janet Yang and Frank Kosa, with advisor Dr. Ruth S. Shim, share the first episode. The special preview is followed by discussion. The goal is to leave people moved, inspired and emboldened to tell their own truth.
Individuals often experience early episode psychosis (EEP) for more than a year before receiving treatment. Shorter duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) strongly predicts better social functioning, decreased hospitalizations and reduced risk for comorbid health conditions. Lack of coordinated care, misconceptions and stigma present barriers to accessing treatment. This presentation highlights an interdisciplinary effort to improve access to care for people experiencing EEP. Learn strategies to improve EEP care within the health care setting.
While the prognosis for BPD has improved, complete and sustained recovery remains elusive. Symptoms remit, but temperamental problems remain, impeding social and vocational functioning. DBT is typically the first-line treatment for BPD, but it doesn’t always result in sustained functional recovery. This session aims to bring awareness to alternative treatments available, specifically transference-focused psychotherapy.
Join artist and storyteller Micah Pearson as he shares sights and visions from his and others’ journeys of recovery. Sometimes haunting, other times beautiful — and frequently hilariously funny even when tragic — the art and stories shared gives participants an insider’s perspective on living with mental illness like no other.
Strong communities depend on individuals with lived experience, peers, family members, professionals, broad coalitions and diverse partnerships — all with their own unique perspectives — using their collective voice to improve mental health services and advocate for meaningful change.
This workshop describes a collaboration between faith communities and mental health groups that 1) provides education about mental illness; 2) instructs how to build a congregational mental health initiative; 3) provides tools to create empathy through companionship training; 4) equips faith communities to use trauma-informed care principles; and 5) supports suicide prevention. The workshop addresses creating collaborations that can be sustained, building cohorts around geography, addressing disparities among different populations and measuring outcomes.
The transgender and gender nonbinary community shows vastly higher rates of suicide risk when compared to the general population. By encouraging protective factors for transgender and gender nonbinary folx, we can contribute to preventing possible suicide attempts. We can also become a protective factor for transgender and gender nonbinary folx. The session discusses risk factors, protective factors and ways to successfully serve as a protective factor.
The implementation of 988 provides a unique opportunity to further efforts to divert people with mental illness from the criminal justice system through crisis response. This session provides an update on NAMI’s federal legislative agenda related to crisis services and highlight promising actions at the state level.
Justice Evelyn Stratton, retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice and Executive Director for The Stepping UP Initiative Ohio, provides an overview about The Stepping UP Initiative and how Mental Health Court, Drug Court and Veterans Court can help veterans and people involved in the justice system with a mental illness and/or substance use issues. Learn about special court dockets, how you can get involved and what resources are available.
Hear an overview of NAMI’s federal legislative agenda and the status of policy issues before Congress and the Biden Administration that impact people living with mental illness. Hear updates on NAMI’s policy priorities and what NAMI is doing to advocate for people with mental illness at the federal level. This session shares the status of current proposals and ways that NAMI leaders and advocates can get involved.
Exploraremos los determinantes sociales de la salud y los diferentes impactos provocados por COVID-19, incluida la epidemia de aislamiento, desconexión y aumento de la angustia emocional. Luego, exploraremos el papel del apoyo entre pares y la ayuda mutua para contrarrestar la información errónea sobre vacunas y EPP, explorando la cosmovisión, reconstruyendo comunidades y visualizando una nueva característica.
This session explores the social determinants of health and the different impacts caused by COVID-19, including the epidemic of isolation, disconnection and increased emotional distress. Explore the role of peer support and mutual help in countering misinformation about vaccines and PPE, exploring the worldview, rebuilding communities and envisioning a new characteristic.
This presentation shares a new best-practice model for supporting veterans and their families by pairing NAMI programs within the community enhanced by partnership with local Veteran Service Organizations. Information provided includes how-tos, design, insights, lessons-learned and ways to move forward to build enhanced models.
Peer Mentors are taking their entanglements with law enforcement, once a source of shame, into jail diversion centers. Using peer interaction increases engagement during the sessions because clients are typically provided services by clinicians, not by people diagnosed who also have a felony or addiction. NAMI facilitators in recovery demonstrate the possibility of what life can become, and the work is mutually beneficial. Peer Mentors and NAMI curriculum provide practical steps for the recovery journey.
Police interactions with people living with mental illness too frequently result in a bad outcome, including jail and, sometimes, death. This program transforms police from a perceived threat into a conduit for community mental health resources and provides the tools and support law enforcement need for mental health intervention calls. This session focuses on developing programs that use the police to connect families and individuals to community resources, while simultaneously supporting police and reducing further interventions.
This presentation describes a collaboration between NAMI San Diego and VA San Diego to develop the Service and Leadership Team (SALT), an innovative intervention for veterans participating in treatment for psychosis. This group helps veterans find their advocacy voice to improve mental health services in their community. Learn about the background and development of the eight-session intervention and discover ways to build collaborations between local VA and NAMI chapters.
The NAMI HelpLine can be a source of help for individuals and their families affected by mental health conditions. It is also a source of help for other helplines across the NAMI organization. Learn what resources are available, including NAMI HelpLine best practices, sharable resources, recruitment and training tools, Knowledge Center, and what to expect from a NAMI HelpLine experience.