2021 Pathways to Wellness Conference:

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
8:30 am – 4:00 pm
via Zoom

We invite you to join us for this annual educational and informative event. This conference is a great opportunity for peers, advocates, family members, and mental health professionals to gather together and learn about resources and services that are available, hear stories of hope and recovery, and raise our voices against the stigma surrounding mental illness.

While the day’s schedule will feel a little different this year to accommodate a virtual platform, we are still thrilled to provide an amazing lineup of nationally and internationally known speakers who will share recent research and lived experience stories. And we’ll have an opportunity to bring you some updates from the work being down around our state.

The day’s agenda will include two morning presentations and two afternoon presentations, with breaks in between, including a longer lunch break in the middle of the day. There will be a NAMI presentation in the afternoon, as well.

Yes, we’ll have a RAFFLE! During breaks, we encourage all attendees to visit our “Exhibitor Hall” on our website which will feature pages for our sponsors. Attendees can participate in a raffle activity for the chance to win our raffle prize!

During the conference, we’ll offer resources and crisis lines for anyone who might feel triggered by any of these presentations. We’ll also continue to share information right here as it becomes available, so keep checking back!

Registration is now open! 

Registration costs (includes link to recorded event):

  • NAMI Member registration rate: $25 for each attendee
  • Regular (non-member) registration rate: $45 for each attendee
  • Group registrations available: For groups of 10+ $40 for each attendee
  • CEUs: NO cost this year!
  • Scholarships are available for individuals with limited income.

To register yourself or a group, to become a sponsor, or to register for a scholarship for the 2021 Conference, please click the appropriate button below:

ConButton2 ConButton1


All registrants will receive an email before the conference with
Zoom information and event day logistics.

Want to become a NAMI Member so you can register at the discounted rate for this conference? Just click the button below to fill out our online membership form.

2021 Speakers/Presentations

First Morning Speaker:
William J. Walsh, PhD, FACN
Advanced Nutrient Therapies and the Role of Epigentics in Mental Disorders

This presentation will describe an advanced nutrient-therapy system for persons diagnosed with behavior disorders, ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and dementia. Laboratory testing, medical history, diagnosis of chemical imbalances, and treatment design will be described, along with the interface with psychiatric medications. Diagnosis involves identification of misbehaving neurotransmitter (NT) systems, with focus on serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, GABA, and NMDA. Nutrient therapies to adjust NT activity include histone modification and other epigenetic therapies together with correction of methylation, metal-metabolism, and pyrrole imbalances. Three schizophrenia and five depression biotypes will be described along with their individualized treatment approaches. The importance of emotional trauma, DNA repair, chromatin integrity, and oxidative overloads will be discussed. A novel bipolar disorder theory based on discovery of the mania/depression switching mechanism will be presented.


William J. Walsh, PhD, FACN, is president of the non-profit Walsh Research Institute near Chicago and a key scientist driving the development of nutrient-based psychiatry.  His book, Nutrient Power, which describes an evidence-based nutrient therapy system, is the result of his over 30 years of research and clinical experience.  In addition to ongoing research studies, Dr. Walsh directs an international physician-education program in the U.S. and in Australia teaching advanced biochemical/nutrient therapies which are now used by over 800 doctors throughout the world.

Second Morning Speaker (PANEL DISCUSSION):
A Collaborative Approach to Crisis Intervention
Moderator: Kristin J. Chandler, J.D.
Panelists: Maurice Lamothe, Tony Stevens, Dan Towle

Find out what works and what doesn’t work in one Vermont county through a guided panel discussion with the director of emergency services and the chief of police.  Also hear about what worked and what didn’t from a person with lived experience.  This is an opportunity to hear from panelists and ask questions about how they do their work.

MODERATOR: Kristin J. Chandler, J.D. is the Coordinator for Team Two, a training curriculum Kristin developed for first responders on collaborative response to mental health crises.  Kristin was a Vermont Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Mental Health for eight years where her area of practice focused on criminal cases as well as involuntary commitments and medication hearings in Family Court.  She is an adjunct professor at Norwich University in the Criminal Justice Studies department and a guest speaker at the Vermont Police Academy, where she instructs on mental health laws and response.  She has also previously worked as the staff attorney for the Vermont Department of Public Safety.  Kristin serves on the Governor’s Mental Health Crisis Response Commission.

PANELIST: Maurice Lamothe, is the Chief of Police for the St. Albans Police Department. He worked for the Vermont State Police for more than 20 years in numerous positions. During this time he also served on special teams and assignments and had the opportunity to lead the Members Assistance Team where he became very involved in mental health response not only for their own members but also for other first responders across the state. He was appointed to the State Mental Health Crisis Response Committee, and has attended Team Two trainings as both a trooper and supervisor. He recently earned a Psychology degree with an emphasis on PTSD.

Tony Stevens, MS, LCMHC, has been employed at Northwestern Counseling & Support Services since 2002 as the Emergency Services Team Leader.  Prior to that he was employed at the Howard Center working with adults impacted by severe & persistent mental illness.  With suicide touching both his personal and professional lives, Tony helps co-facilitate a monthly Survivor of Suicide Loss Support Group in Franklin County for the past 10 years.  Tony and his team(s) have worked with all branches of Law Enforcement in Franklin & Grand Isle counties and continue to enhance that positive collaborative relationship to improve outcomes for everyone involved.

Dan Towle, MBA, is a psychiatric survivor and passionate mental health advocate focused on promoting the benefits and practice of peer support in Vermont and nationally. He is NAMI Vermont’s Outreach Coordinator for peer services and is an operator on Pathways Vermont’s Support Line. Since retiring from a 35-year career in corporate finance and process improvement consulting and moving to Vermont, Dan has discovered the revolutionary therapeutic and socially connective power of those with mental health conditions mutually and symbiotically helping each other, i.e. the power of peer support. Over the last 5 years, he has tapped this power as a volunteer representing a voice of lived experience in such roles as NAMI VT Connection’s peer support group trainer/facilitator and head of its Central VT Affiliate; Member of Department of Mental Health’s Adult State Program Standing Committee and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) Block Grant Planning Committee; Montpelier Police Review Committee member; Vice Chairman of the Peer Workforce Development Initiative; and Member of DMH’s 10 Year Mental Health System of Care Plan Think Tank.

First Afternoon Speaker:
Diana Chao
“Dear Stranger”

Diana Chao will share her personal and powerful story, from aspects of minority mental health like growing up below the poverty line with parents who didn’t speak English, to the power that even the smallest acts of kindness have had on her life. Incorporated within are strategies for maintaining mental wellbeing for ourselves and each other.

Diana Chao is a first-generation Chinese-American from Los Angeles who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 13-years-old. She is a suicide attempt survivor and suicide loss survivor. In her darkest moments, she discovered healing through writing. Adopting the motto “writing is humanity distilled into ink,” Diana shares with audiences aspects of minority mental health from what it was like growing up below the poverty line with parents who didn’t speak English to the power that even the smallest acts of kindness have had on her life. She also focuses on in-depth, actionable mental health education that can be used to support oneself and each other. Diana founded Letters to Strangers as a high school sophomore, a global youth-for-youth mental health nonprofit impacting over 35,000 people on six continents. In her free time, Diana is a counselor for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and the Crisis Text Chat. She also gives workshops and speeches about youth mental health and her own experience with bipolar disorder, often integrated with slam poetry. The most rewarding experiences always involve empowering young people – no matter where, no matter who.

Second Afternoon Speaker:
Pete and Kevin Earley
A Father and Son’s Recovery Story: Paying it Forward

During this presentation, Pete will describe his struggles to help his son as a parent after Kevin has a mental health crisis, is arrested, and tasered by police. He’ll describe how Kevin became one of the 2 million Americans with mental illnesses booked into jails each year and why this is wrong. Pete will recount how – after six years of failure and five hospitalizations – Kevin finally decided that he needed help, and the tools that enabled him to fully recover. Today, Kevin works full-time as a peer specialist, lives independently and received his master’s degree in Social Work. Kevin will share his perspective about his recovery from serious mental illness and how he now works as a peer to Pay it Forward to help others in need of health, empathy and mental health services.


Pete Earley is a storyteller who has penned 21 books including four New York Times bestsellers, including The Hot House and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness. After a 14-year career in journalism, including six years at The Washington Post, Pete became a full-time author with a commitment to expose the stories that entertain and surprise. He joined NAMI to advocate for strong mental health reform on the public stage and currently serves as the parent member of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Committee (ISMICC) created by Congress to advise it on federal mental health policy. He has spoken at the White House and testified before the U.S. Congress, as well as speaking regularly around the country. He writes regularly for USA Today and The Washington Post about mental health issues and has a blog at

Kevin “Earleybird” Earley is an artist and musician based out of Northern Virginia. He is a graduate of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where he studied fine art, and Virginia Commonwealth University where he has a masters in Social Work. His work deals with mental health, race, privilege and resilience through adversity. Kevin speaks to inspire and resolve stigma through art. He currently works with youth who live with mental health issues and helps mentor them to recover from their respective challenges. He can be reached through his website at

Be a Sponsor or Exhibitor!

This event could not happen without the support of our sponsoring organizations. With their support we are able to provide scholarships for those who need financial help to attend the conference, help bring informative and compelling speakers to Vermont, and provide enriching workshops.

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Would you like to host an exhibit table? Please fill out our online registration form or contact or call 876-7949.