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Wednesday, May 19, 2021
We are grateful to all of you who attended some (or all) of our virtual conference this year. While we would have preferred to see everyone in person, we were glad that we could find a way to share important research, interesting information and powerful lived experience stories. We saw so much dynamic conversation and thoughtful questions posted in the chat and Q&A box all day!
We sincerely hope everyone was able to come away from the day having learned something new or been inspired in your own journey.
If you attended this year’s conference, we encourage you to fill out an evaluation form. Your feedback helps us learn and grow our conference each year.
*If you are working towards continuing education credits for LCMHCs and Social Work, you will need to fill out an evaluation form in order to receive your certificate.
We have several copies of Pete Earley’s book Crazy: A Father’s Search Through Mental Health Madness available to anyone interested in a copy of this book that shares his family’s emotionally compelling story. If interested in a copy, please email email@example.com. We ask that you consider a $15 donation to NAMI Vermont if you are able.
All registered participants will be emailed links to video recordings for each of the conference presentations to view for a limited time.
Below you can read about each of our speakers. If you were unable to attend this year’s conference and would like the opportunity to see these presentations, click the button below and register. The fee is $25.
First Morning Speaker:
William J. Walsh, PhD, FACN
Advanced Nutrient Therapies and the Role of Epigenetics 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 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 www.peteearley.com.
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 www.getthatworm.com.
Our conference would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors: