10/15/20 & 10/16/20 Breaking the Stigma: African American Mental Health Symposium

Keynote, Day 1: Mental Health and Mental illness: Deadly Misconceptions
Dr. Rajiv Tandon Professor and Chair of Psychiatry, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

Keynote Synopsis: Mental illness is widely prevalent, with almost one in four persons affected in the course of a year. Mental illnesses are debilitating and comprise five of the top 10 causes of medical disability in the world (depression, sadly, is #1). This session will summarize the nature of mental illness and strive to dispel many of the deadly misconceptions with a particular focus on the African-American population. Effective treatments are available for various mental illnesses with proper utilization leading to significant reduction in disability and varying degrees of recovery. Untreated mental illness leads to increased mortality and early death, with life spans being shortened by 5-20 years depending on the nature of the mental illness. Let us partner to save precious lives in our community

Keynote, Day 2: Toxic Masculinity: Facing Our Feelings
Kevin Fischer Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI ) Michigan

Keynote Synopsis: This session will focus on the cultural, emotional and physical challenges African American men face and sometimes create. By not addressing our mental health needs, African American men are literally killing ourselves. Receiving mental health help, whether from mental health professionals, or finding support from trusted family and/or friends will make us stronger men, and ultimately better husbands, fathers, sons and community members

Session 1: 9:45 – 10:45 a.m.
Track 1: Criminalization of my Blackness:   Systemic Racism and its impact on Mental Health
Captain Stacey Ledbetter, (Ret. KDPS), MP CEO, Black & Blue Networking & Consulting, LLC

Session Synopsis: Participants will be given historical context of why Blackness is still criminalized today.  The definition of and examples of systemic racism will be shared and discussed, participants will share/hear experiences, and data will be given on the impact of this trauma on mental health.

Track 2: It’s a Big Deal! My Black Hair
Shoni Newhouse, MA, LPC Psychotherapist, HelpNet

Session Synopsis: Black hair has been classified as “evolutionary genius.” The significance of Black hair is rooted in African culture and a source of pride and identity. Black barbershops and hair salons are safe havens where Black hair has free expressive creativity and members of the Black community can laugh, cry, share struggles, fellowship, and allow restoration to the identity of Black hair

Session 2: 10:50 – 11:50 a.m.
Track 1: He’s Not Threatened: You Can Have Jesus and a Therapist Too
Dr. Bernice Patterson CEO & Founder, Infinity Consultation Group, LLC

Session Synopsis: This session explores the tension that may be experienced when church, alone, is not providing the support and healing needed to function and thrive. It will address the myths and stigmas that arise as barriers to the utilization of formal mental health care, provide insight into when formal mental health care may be warranted, and tips to successfully locating a mental health professional.

Track 2: Here Too? How Microaggressions Destroy Safety in the Therapeutic Environment
Dr. Elishae Johnson, LPC, CAADC System Director Business Health Services, Bronson Battle Creek Owner, Eudemonia, PLLC

Session Synopsis: Multiculturalism and providing equitable outcomes have become a standard in psychotherapy education and practice. Mental health students and practitioners are well versed in understanding and recognizing the destructive impact overt racism and explicit bias has on therapeutic outcomes. Whereas subtler forms of discriminatory behaviors--derogatory, abusive, hostile, and indirect slights, or microaggressions, are minimized. This session will illustrate how microaggressions show up in therapy, targeted at both African American clients and therapists, and the damaging impact it has on the therapeutic relationship, recognized as the most important variable for counseling to be effective. Participants will leave the session beyond understanding what microaggressions are, but to also understand how to prevent, avoid, and repair in the therapeutic setting.

Day 2

Session 3: 9:40 – 10:40 a.m.
Track 1: Criminality vs. Intentionality: Shifting Agency and Court Culture to Understand African American Child Discipline
Dr. Carla Adkinson-Johnson Professor, Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology, Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services
E. Dorphine Payne, JD Attorney, Payne Law Practice

Session Synopsis: Researchers and practitioners have noted that child discipline issues are often the most problem areas of preventative guidance facing helping professionals. Social workers and mental health clinicians have expressed discomfort in broaching the topic of child discipline with African American parents. This session will assist participants in distinguishing core elements of African American child discipline and accurately identifying child abuse in African American families. Legal and psychological implications for advocacy and culturally responsive policies will be discussed.

Track 2: The Rose the Blooms in Concrete: Trauma's Impact on the Individual and Communities
Tasha Turner-Freeman, MA Professional Counselor and Independent Consultant

Session Synopsis: During this session participants will be introduced to how trauma can impact the long-term health individuals and communities. Research, such as the groundbreaking ACEs, study suggest that exposure to long-term adversity not only has implications for mental health, but physical health outcomes as well. Additional research suggests that community level traumas such as violence, poverty, and racism can impact entire generations. This session will discuss these implications as well as explore how becoming a trauma-informed and resilience-building community can change the trajectory and restore balance.

Session 4: 10:50 – 11:50 a.m.
Track 1: Understanding Historical Roots of Trauma and Health Outcomes
Dr. Cheryl A. Dickson, MPH Associate Dean Health Equity and Community Affairs, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

Session Synopsis: An overview of definitions of trauma and impact on health outcomes will be the focus of this session. Groups will discuss, through case analysis, ways to improve services and begin to develop plans for creating trauma informed care. Participants will learn of resources in the community and discuss how to work together in community collaborative for prevention.

Track 2: School is Killing Me: School-Induced Anxiety and Depression
Danielle Smith, LPC, CAADC Licensed Professional Counselor Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor

Session Synopsis: This session will focus on discussing relevant stressors seen in the field relating to African American adolescents. We will review the stressors of grief, fitting in, and family dynamics. The goal of the session is to gain insight to into adolescent experiences within the community and provide continual support as they progress throughout their high school years.

Stock number: