[Tallahassee, Fla] The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Florida will host the third installment of the All Together Now Virtual Speaker Series, on November 14. From 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the free event will focus on “Hot Topics in Mental Health,” embracing the state alliance’s mission of providing education, advocacy and support for people with mental illness and their loved ones. The November program will host five in-depth panel discussions, highlighting the impacts of COVID-19, racial discrimination and healthcare disparities, suicide in Florida and veteran healthcare relating to mental health.
“Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise in racial tensions and the presidential race, 2020 has been mentally exhausting for most Americans. It has never been more important to destigmatize and promote mental health education and resources,” says Dr. Nick Abid, Medical Director of Sunshine Health and NAMI Florida Second Vice President. “The All Together Now series is designed to help educate participants on resources available and provide an outlet of education to healthcare professionals and people living with mental health.”
The five panel discussions for NAMI Florida’s Hot Topics in Mental Health will be moderated by Dr. Nick Abid, D.O., FACN, Medical Director of Sunshine Health, with nationally regarded guest speakers like Dr. Alex Rodriguez, Psychiatrist at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and Dr. Janet Taylor, a community psychiatrist in Sarasota, Florida, known for her work in diversity and race issues.
The program will be divided into five panel discussions including:
• NAMI Homefront: An Education Program for Military/Veteran Families: NAMI Homefront adapts the NAMI Family-to-Family curriculum to the unique needs of military and veteran families and communities, such as post-deployment and post-discharge transitions. Join Anita Herron, Manager National Education Programs, NAMI, as she provides additional information about the success of this program.
• Cohen Veterans Network: A Paradigm Shift in Veteran Healthcare: Mental wounds are just as difficult to heal as physical wounds – and treating them is just as important. Many veterans and their families are living with the mental and physical scars from serving their country during military service. The Cohen Veterans Network, Inc., a not-for-profit philanthropic organization, was created to serve by providing high-quality, accessible, and integrated mental health care to veterans and their families. Hear our panelists, Elizabeth Sherr LPC, Clinic Director, Steven A. Cohen Clinic and Karen Blanchette, LCSW, Director, Steven A. Cohen Military Clinic, as they discuss the two new Cohen Veterans Clinics that have recently opened in Florida.
• Our Extraordinary Stressful Days: The Long-Term Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Racial Discrimination and Economic Survival on Suicidal Thinking and Acts in Florida: Experts are predicting that the United States is moving into a mental health crisis. Many factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic such as economic stressors, burnout and isolation can be contributors. Current political strife is also a contributor to diminished mental wellness. In the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Aug 14, almost 11% of respondents reported suicidal ideation. These numbers compare to 2018 where 4% of adults reported suicidal ideation within the previous 12 months. In this presentation, Dr. Alex Rodriguez will show how the various topics of poverty contribute to stress and offers a vision on how to improve the mental health of our country and the individual.
• The Impact of COVID-19 in Florida: Best Practices for Providers and Consumers: The last several months Florida residents, as well as, the rest of the nation have experienced unprecedented challenges. Most recently, the reopening of schools to major changes in the provision of medical services have been major stressors to our society. Life is expected to look different in a post-COVID-19 world. As we work through the challenges, new opportunities will be identified to improve Florida and the country. Hear from our panelists as they discuss changes and new ideas that have been implemented as a result of COVID-19.
• Racism and Healthcare Disparities in Mental Health: Americans of African descent have been dying at about 2.4 times the rate of White Americans. The systemic discrimination that has impacted Black or African American health began when the first ships carrying enslaved Africans landed in the Americas. The impact of racism on the health — and the medical care — of Black people in the U.S. takes various forms, including discriminatory diagnostics to institutional barriers to care, all of which affect a person’s health. Dr. Janet Taylor will describe in greater detail some of these discriminatory practices and highlight how they have impacted the health of a populace.
The upcoming All Together Now Virtual Speaker Series programs are scheduled as follows:
• Saturday, January 9 – Improving Care for the Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Population, Panel Discussions: Supportive Housing Initiatives; Success of Behavioral Health Homes; The Role of Telemedicine in Patient Care; Reducing Hospital Admissions, Readmissions and Emergency Room Visits
• Saturday, February 13 – Ask the Expert, Panel Discussions: How to Decide if a Clinical Trial is Right for You; The Latest News on Transmagnetic Stimulation (TMS); New Pharmacotherapies for the Treatment of Depression and Psychosis; Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as a Treatment for Traumatic Experiences; The Role of Long-Acting Injectables in the Treatment of Mental Illnesses
The virtual series replaces the traditional in-person 2020 NAMI Florida Annual Meeting & Conference.
Registration for NAMI Florida’s All Together Now Virtual Speaker Series is FREE and includes all program dates. Register for the All Together Now Virtual Speaker Series at https://namiflorida.org/speaker-series/
About the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Florida
NAMI Florida is the state affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, with its headquarters based in Tallahassee, Florida. Their mission is to improve the quality of life of individuals and their families affected by mental illness through education, support and advocacy. NAMI Florida includes four divisions that reflect this mission: Education and Support, Community Outreach, Advocacy and Public Awareness.