GHS to host 2nd annual Southeastern Symposium on Mental Health

GREENVILLE, S.C. (April 13, 2017)—Discussions focused on reducing stigmas associated with mental illness and ways to improve access to mental health services will be part of the second annual Southeastern Symposium on Mental Health, which will include nationally recognized speakers Pete Earley and Tipper Gore.

Greenville Health System’s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine is hosting the event May 12 and 13 at the Hyatt Regency Greenville.

“Mental illness is a major public health issue for the Upstate and our nation, with one in five adults experiencing mental illness in a given year,” said Karen Lommel, DO, a GHS physician who specializes in emergency medicine and psychiatry. “Mental illness is a community issue that requires a community-wide solution, and it’s important that we have these discussions in a public forum so that we can not only reduce the stigma associated with mental illness but develop solutions to meet the needs of our community.”

Pete Earley

Pre-conference events for health professionals begin Thursday, May 11 with “Mental Health First Aid,” a national program that teaches how to respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse. Marcas Miles, an emerging thought leader in addressing depression in the workplace and ways to improve workers’ productivity, will be the pre-conference luncheon speaker. The pre-conference will conclude with a presentation by Deborah Blalock, executive director of the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center, who provided trauma counseling following the 2015 mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

The first day of the conference, Friday, May 12, will end with a dinner and feature Earley serving as the keynote speaker. Earley is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, and he was a 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his book “Crazy: A Father’s Search through America’s Mental Health Madness.”  He will sign books before his address.

Tipper Gore

Tipper Gore, former Second Lady of the United States, will be the keynote speaker during the May 13 luncheon. Gore has shown a commitment to eradicating the stigma associated with mental illness while supporting the need for quality, affordable mental health care. She served as mental health policy advisor to President Bill Clinton during her husband’s tenure as vice president. In 1999, she chaired the first White House National Conference on Mental Health, which interactively involved tens of thousands of Americans in more than 1,000 cities across the United States.

Other notable speakers include:

Dan Westbrook, JD, a partner with the law firm Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, LLP

Frederick Frese, Ph.D, coordinator of the Summit County (Ohio) Recovery Project

Vladimir Maletic, MD, MS, a clinical professor of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science, at the University Of South Carolina School Of Medicine in Columbia and a consulting associate to Duke University’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and its Department of Psychiatry

Rich Jones, MA, MBA, LCAS, executive director of Faces And Voices Of Recovery (FAVOR) Greenville

Desmond Kelly, MD, vice chair of academics and community affairs for the GHS Department of Pediatrics

People interested in attending the symposium can register at sesmh.org. Continuing medical education credits will be offered.

The event is sponsored by the GHS Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine and GHS Health Sciences Center, which includes Clemson University, Furman University and the University of South Carolina. Co-sponsors are: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Carolina Center for Behavioral Health, FAVOR Greenville, Lundbeck, NAMI Greenville, NAMI North Carolina, Nelson Mullins and S.C. Department of Mental Health.

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