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National Mental Health Conference Being Hosted in Tulsa

This fall, advocates, funders, service providers, consumers, and researchers will convene in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the 2012 National Zarrow Mental Health Symposium & Mental Health America Annual Conference. 

This fall, advocates, funders, service providers, consumers, and researchers will convene in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the 2012 National Zarrow Mental Health Symposium & Mental Health America Annual Conference. The conference, titled From Housing to Recovery: Building Community, Building Lives, will run September 19 – 21, 2012.  This national conference is designed to address housing and recovery support services for people with mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders.  Specifically, the conference aims to address chronic homelessness, the various housing options available for people who are chronically homeless and have mental illnesses, and the recovery support services that contribute to people with mental illnesses maintaining their housing and living integrated lives in their communities.

The hosts of the conference, the Mental Health Association in Tulsa and Mental Health America, will welcome speakers from 20 states and Washington, DC.  Organizations who will present include the100,000 Homes CampaignAdvocates for Human PotentialBazelon Center for Mental Health Law,Corporation for Supportive HousingNational Alliance to End HomelessnessNAMITechnical Assistance Collaborative, and Mental Health America affiliates from across the country.  In addition, the opening plenary will feature SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde, HUD’s Senior Advisor to the Secretary Estelle Richman, and Director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Homeless Veterans Programs Pete Dougherty.  These speakers will share best practice programs and services to support people with mental illness during their journey of recovery.

The conference will also include two keynote presentations both from mental health consumers.  During lunch on Thursday, Dr. Mark Vonnegut—consumer, pediatrician, author, and son of Kurt Vonnegut—will discuss his mental illness and journey of recovery.  During the Clifford Beers Awards Dinner on Thursday evening, Jessie Close—anti-stigma advocate, consumer, and sister of actress Glenn Close—will share her story of diagnosis, recovery, and resiliency, including what it is like to parent a child with mental illness.  Jessie and her sister aim to erase the stigma and discrimination of mental illness through their nonprofit organization BringChange2Mind.  The speakers are expected to highlight supports that have assisted them and provide a ray of hope for people who are either experiencing mental illness or cannot understand the concept of recovery as it relates to mental illness.

The Zarrow Family Foundations are excited to have the opportunity to host this national conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma and invite funders from around the country to learn about best practice programs and services for people with mental illnesses.  We will host a special reception just for funders on the first evening of the conference. To learn more about the conference, including the complete agenda and listing of speakers, please visit www.fromhousingtorecovery.org.

Bill Major is executive director of the Zarrow Family FoundationsThe Zarrow families are committed to providing support for the disadvantaged (including mentally ill and mentally and physically challenged children, youth and adults and the homeless). They do this through providing educational opportunities, social services, health and mental health programs, medical research and housing. Their geographical preference is the Tulsa area, however, they give to Jewish causes all over the world.


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