Mental Health America Conference: Highlights and Photos

Teri Robert Health Guide
  • Many of you have like seeing pictures and videos, so I made sure to get both when I attended last month's Mental Health America Centennial Conference.

    There were so many great subjects for taking photos! Here's Gina. Gina came all the way from Guam to attend the conference. In this photo, she's standing next to the Mental Health Bell. Do you know the story of the bell? I didn't until I heard it at the conference, and the story is truly inspiring. I can't tell the story as well as it's told on the Mental Health America site, so I'm going to quote them:

    "During the early days of mental health treatment, asylums often restrained people who had mental illnesses with iron chains and shackles around their ankles and wrists. With better understanding and treatments, this cruel practice eventually stopped.

    In the early 1950s, Mental Health America issued a call to asylums across the country for their discarded chains and shackles. On April 13, 1956, at the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, Md., Mental Health America melted down these inhumane bindings and recast them into a sign of hope: the Mental Health Bell."

    To celebrate their 100th anniversary, MHA held a gala one evening of the conference. The gala evening included a reception with a silent auction, speakers, entertainment, presentation of awards, and dinner.

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    Mrs. Rosalyn Carter introduced Senator Pete Domenici as he was honored for his work in mental health. Although his health did not permit him to attend, Senator Edward Kennedy was also honored.

    Dwight Yokum surprised me. Not only did he perform; he also read a poem written by a young Marine who had recently returned from Iraq. The poem was both touching and disturbing, bringing tears to the eyes of many of us in the audience. The poem drove home the need for mental health services and compassion for our returning warriors. I could write and write on this, but that's a topic for another time.

    One of the most popular items in the silent auction was a guitar donated by Dwight Yokum. I don't even play the guitar, but in the spirit of the evening, I would have loved to bid on it.

    Not only was it an evening of celebration, it was absolutely an evening of inspiration. We left the gala tired, but more dedicated than ever to see conditions improve for all of us who are coping with mental health and wellness issues.

    You can see larger versions of these photos and more photos from the conference in my photo album HERE.

    If you missed my videos from the conference or would like to view them again, here are links to them:

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    Last updated July 14, 2009.

Published On: July 14, 2009