State Conference

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NAMI Minnesota
1919 University Ave. W., Suite 400
Saint Paul, MN 55104

phone: 651-645-2948
toll free: 1-888-NAMI-Helps
fax: 651-645-7379


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2017 NAMI State Conference Inspires Advocates

The NAMI Minnesota state conference “Advocacy in Action” was attended by nearly 300 people and was a huge success. Attendees were reminded of the incredible challenges the mental health community faced this year – with more people seeking treatment than ever before but with our mental health system still being built.

On the federal level, the largest source of funding for our mental health system – Medicaid – is in jeopardy and if it is block-granted, we could see our fragile system fall apart.

Sue Abderholden noted, “The problems we face are not easy to solve but we cannot ignore them, we must take action. It takes knowledge to continue to advocate for ourselves, our loved ones and for all children and adults with mental illnesses. It’s not just legislative action, it’s about taking action to educate yourself, to find and provide support, to raise awareness. We need everyone doing what they can to create the changes we all envision.”

Keynote speaker Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS, shared her cross-continental journey of living with a mental illness and shared how she became a global advocate for people with mental illnesses.

Reading from her book “Finding the Light Within: My Journey from Adversity to Advocacy” she inspired the audience to reach out and offer a hand to those who are struggling and underscored the impact of sharing one’s own journey to others.

The closing keynote speaker was Dr. Sophia Vinogradov who described changes happening in the field of psychiatry and the excitement that comes from being able to use research to help transform people’s lives.

There were 18 breakout sessions on a wide range of topics including trauma, suicide prevention, criminal justice, legislative issues, relationships, new services such as Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and Behavioral Health Homes, motivational interviewing, substance use disorders, occupational therapy, first episode programs, research on hallucinations, use of technology in treating mental illnesses, positive psychology and Native perspective on mental health.

The annual awards luncheon was quite moving as people learned of the many things people did to improve the lives of people with mental illnesses in Minnesota and to raise awareness. People left the conference with new information to help themselves or their families and with knowledge about advocacy opportunities on the local, state and federal levels.

New board members were elected at the Annual Meeting: Michael Trangle, MD; Dana Keeley, Mark Fiddle, Kevin Hanstad and Chris Bray. Carolie Collins, Beatric Officer, Carrie Borchardt and Pat Seppanen were re-elected. Kathleen Westerhaus was thanked for her many years of service to NAMI Minnesota along with Fred LaFleur. Board officers will be elected by the board at its regular monthly meeting in January.

Thanks NAMI State Conference Sponsors

Mental Health Champion
Minnesota Department of Commerce

Mental Health Supporter
Northstar Problem Gambling
Northwood Children's Services
Nystrom & Associates
Otsuka American Pharmaceutical, Inc.
Vail Place

Mental Health Partners
Echos Healing Stones, Ltd.
Fountain Centers
LDA Minnesota
Mental Health Minnesota
Minnesota Disability Determination Services
Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Professional Rehabilitation Consultants (PRC)
Recovering Hope Treatment Center