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2008 NAMI Convention: Tomorrowland Today: Making Recovery Real

Multicultural Action Center Events

The NAMI 2008 National Convention took place June 13–16 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida. The NAMI annual convention provides information on cutting-edge research, treatment, advocacy, support, and camaraderie for families, consumers, providers of mental health services, members, and nonmembers—the entire NAMI family.

Visit for general NAMI 2008 National Convention presentations and recaps.

The Multicultural Action Center was proud to host workshops and sessions focusing on new research and initiatives addressing the needs of our diverse grassroots. Below is session and speaker information including downloadable presentations and handouts:

NAMI Leadership Institute, Friday, June 13th

This workshop showcased successful multicultural outreach strategies and step-by-step examples of Inclusion Grant Projects (a 2007 NAMI opportunity grant program) that can be duplicated in NAMI state organizations and affiliates throughout the United States. Speakers also provided samples of materials developed, such as NAMI New Jersey's documentary, Documenting Our Presence: Multicultural Experiences of Mental Illness, and shared lessons learned.

  • Janet Susin, President NAMI Queens/Nassau -- click  here to access the PowerPoint presentation and handouts
  • Sylvia Axelrod, Executive Director, NAMI New Jersey -- click  here to access the PowerPoint presentation
  • Jacqueline Lukitsch, Executive Director, NAMI St. Louis -- click  here to access the PowerPoint presentation

Sunday, June 15th

Strategies to Become a GLBT-Friendly NAMI

This session explored how NAMI state organizations and local affiliates can be friendlier to or affirming of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community.  Members of NAMI’s GLBT Leaders Group shared a brief overview of the community and its priority mental health issues.  The session provided on clear and doable tips and strategies that will help NAMI become a more inclusive and welcoming environment.  

  • Anand Pandya, M.D., president, NAMI National Board of Directors
  • Anthony Holscher, NAMI Connection national trainer and NAMI GLBT Leaders Group member, Phoenix, AZ
  • Nicholas Love, C.P.R.P., Board member, NAMI Arizona and Southeast Valley NAMI, Phoenix, AZ
  • Sue Abderholden, M.P.H., executive director, NAMI Minnesota -- click here to access the PowerPoint presentation

Monday, June 16th

Evidence-Based Practices and Practice-Based Evidence in Multicultural Mental Health

The mental health system has been moving toward adoption and implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs), not only to reduce variability in treatment and improve quality of care, but also to meet increased accountability requirements and deal with tightened federal and state budgets.  This presents a new challenge to multicultural mental health since the needs and cultural preferences of diverse communities have not been fully incorporated into these practices.  This symposium explored EBPs, and practice-based evidence, and the opportunities and challenges they present to achieve quality multicultural mental health treatment. 

  • Ken Martinez, Psy.D., mental health resource specialist Technical Assistance Partnership for Children and Families Mental Health, American Institutes for Research, Washington, D.C. -- click   here to access the PowerPoint presentation
  • Vivian Jackson, Ph.D., senior policy associate, National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development, Washington, D.C. -- click here to access the PowerPoint presentation
  • Annelle Primm, M.D., M.P.H., director of Minority and National Affairs, American Psychiatric Association, Arlington, VA -- click here to access the PowerPoint presentation

The Road to Recovery for GLBT Consumers

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people may face unique risks to their mental health and well-being, of which families, peer supporters, and mental health providers alike should be aware. Most research suggests that GLBT people are likely to be at higher risk than the general population for depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Unfortunately, GLBT people often encounter a mental health care system that is not comfortable with or sensitive to issues related to sexual orientation, and a GLBT community that is not sensitive to or educated about serious mental health issues.

This session focused on personal stories and successful strategies and supports in promotion of mental health recovery for GLBT consumers.

  • Anthony Holscher, NAMI Connection national trainer and NAMI GLBT Leaders Group member, Phoenix, AZ
  • Ron Hellman, M.D., director, GLBT Affirmative Program, South Beach Psychiatric Center, Brooklyn, New York -- click here to access the PowerPoint presentation
  • Bert Coffman, founder, Zappalorti Society, New York, NY

African American Faith-Based Education Initiative

Spirituality and faith play a very important role in the African American community. Researchers have found evidence that African Americans seek help from the clergy more frequently than from other professionals. Mental health issues are no exception.

Based on feedback from its African American leaders from across the country, NAMI is working on the development of a mental health education toolkit for the African American faith community. This initiative is being developed in partnership with faith leaders, consumers, and family members.  Key components include a presentation outline, a video, education materials for congregations, and marketing materials.

This session highlighted the importance of mental health awareness as well as how the faith community can play a key role in educating the African American community about mental illness.  Additionally, the audience provided feedback for the presenters regarding issues that should be considered during the development and implementation of the program.

  • Majose Carrasco, M.P.A., director, Multicultural Action Center, NAMI National -- click here to access the PowerPoint presentation
  • Joe Powell, executive director, Association of Persons Affected by Addiction, Dallas, TX