2018 Annual Conference

Mental health conditions are common among teens and young adults. With 1 in 5 living with a mental health condition, half develop the condition by age 14 and three quarters by age 24. For many adults who have mental disorders, symptoms were present, but often not recognized or addressed, in childhood and youth. For a young person with symptoms of a mental disorder, the earlier treatment is started, the more effective it can be.

NAMI New Jersey’s Annual Conference, 1 in 5: Youth Mental Health & Wellness, aims to provide valuable information on mental health to youth and families with lived experience of mental illness, as well as school staff and healthcare providers from all over New Jersey. Presentations will range from information on early intervention to new therapies, and provide options to participate in new programs and resources that promote wellness and recovery. Exhibits and posters will feature NAMI resources as well as a range of community based resources. NAMI NJ’s mission of improving the lives of those affected by serious mental illness is central to this conference.

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Call for Sponsors

Sponsoring our conference is a unique opportunity for you to promote and showcase your products and services to a targeted group of mental health advocates, mental health providers, school staff, and healthcare agency staff. Participating in one of the following sponsorships will leave a lasting impression on the audience and improve visibility of your organization in the mental health community. About 300 attendees are expected this year and we have an email audience of over 8,500 people!

Sponsorship registration closes on November 1, 2018.





8:30 AM    Breakfast

9:15 AM    Introduction and welcome

Laura L. Bryant, Esq., President, NAMI NJ

Meredith Masin Blount, Executive Director, NAMI NJ

9:30 AM    Opening Remarks

Valerie L. Mielke, MSW, Assistant Commissioner, Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services

9:45 AM    Panel Discussion: Youth Mental Health & Wellness (click here for bios)

Tricia Baker, Attitudes In Reverse, Co-Founder, Program Director, Certified Youth Mental Health First Aider

Diana Chao, Letters to Strangers, Founder & Executive Director

Jane Clementi, Co-Founder, Tyler Clementi Foundation

Zaynab Khan, Psy.D, Staff Psychologist, Counseling, Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance and Psychiatric Services, Rutgers

Shondelle C. Wills-Bryce, MSW, Administrator, Office of School Linked Services, NJ Department of Children and Families

10:45 AM   Break

11:00 AM   Morning Workshops (click here for list)

12:15 PM   Lunch

1:15 PM     Keynote: Leveraging Emotional Intelligence & Culturally Responsive Practices for Thriving Students

Dena N. Simmons, Ed.D., CHES, Assistant Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., is the assistant director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, where  she oversees training, coaching, and education initiatives at the Center.

Dena has published several articles on teacher education, social justice pedagogy, education reform, and bullying. She has been invited to speak at the United Nations, two TEDx talks, and a TED talk on Broadway. Dena has been profiled in the AOL/PBS project, MAKERS: Women Who Make America, and a Beacon Press Book, Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists.  Dena is a recipient of a Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a J. William Fulbright Fellowship, a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, and a Phillips Exeter Academy Dissertation Fellowship among others. Read more about Dena here.

2:30 PM     Afternoon Workshops (click here for list)

3:15 PM     Break

3:30 PM     Learning the Science of Self Care (click here for bios)

George H. Brice, Jr., MSW, Independent Consultant

Susan Gould Fogerite, Ph.D, MT (ASCP) SC, CYT, Associate Professor, Clinical Laboratory & Medical Imaging Sciences & Physician Assistant Studies & Practice, Rutgers School of Health Professions

Peggy Swarbrick, Ph.D, Director, Wellness Institute, CSP-NJ; Director of Practice Innovation & Wellness, Rutgers UBHC

4:15 PM     Closing


Registration ends on Monday, November 26, 2018.

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Limited amount of scholarships are available for NAMI members who take volunteering leadership roles in local affiliates or NAMI NJ Programs. Application deadline is November 1, 2018. Email info@naminj.org to receive a Scholarship Application Form.


This conference is made possible by our sponsors