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Mental Health and Addiction in the Era of Coronavirus


The ongoing challenges presented by the global Coronavirus pandemic have had a particularly devastating effect on the nation’s dual epidemic: addiction and mental health disorders. Isolation and uncertainty compounded by limited access to treatment have led to a rise in reported opioid-related deaths in more than 40 states.

In our free, virtual presentation, Gary Mendell, Founder and CEO of Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in America, will discuss how those affected by addiction are now facing even greater challenges and will offer guidance on how to support loved ones with substance use disorder and find treatment in these difficult times.

"Mental Health Housing" - A Panel Discussion


For someone with a mental health condition, the basic necessity of a stable home can be hard to come by. When this need isn’t met, many people cycle in and out of homelessness, shelters and hospitals. Having a safe and secure place that allows a person with a mental illness to live as independently as possible is a vital part of the recovery journey.

We have assembled a panel of professionals who will discuss different types of housing and the varying degrees of independence and care they offer.

Panelists include Floren L. Schertzer, LCSW and Social Worker, Sarah Bell, Director of Community Outreach at BlueSky Behavioral Health, John Labieniec, LCSW, Vice President of Acute and Recovery Services, Continuum of Care, Inc., and Valerie S. Williams, Executive Director, Keystone House, Inc.

Greenwich Town Hall, Greenwich

"The ABCs of DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)"


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an empirically validated treatment that targets mood lability and impulsive behaviors. Clients appropriate for DBT tend to have intense and difficult to tolerate emotions, which often result in problematic, impulsive behaviors that are understood as attempts at coping with said emotions.


Alison Emel, PhD, and Kristie Calvillo, LCSW, of The Behavior Therapy Group will provide an overview of DBT and why it's helpful for particular mental health conditions.

Greenwich Town Hall, Greenwich

"How to Support the Mental Health of Teens and Young Adults," with the JED Foundation


Adolescence and emerging adulthood are challenging times in life. If you are a family member or friend of a teen or young adult, learn to recognize the signs of a potential emotional problem and help your loved one find support and treatment.

Lee Swain and Jessica Orenstein of The Jed Foundation will discuss how you can educate and equip yourself to support the young adults in your life who may be in distress or struggling with their mental health.​

Greenwich Town Hall, Greenwich

"Ensuring Care For Your Loved One With A Mental Health Condition," with Attorneys James Funnell and Amy Orlando


How can you guarantee that your loved one receives the oversight and benefits necessary when he or she is disabled by a mental health condition? Attorneys Jim Funnell and Amy Orlando will provide vital information about creating a financial safety net for your loved one.


Some of the programs and tools to be discussed:

* Common Entitlement and Assistance Programs

* Gifts from Grandparents and Others with "White Hearts"

* Special Needs Trusts

* ABLE Accounts (Section 529A Accounts)

* Delegated Decision Making

Tully Center Auditorium, Stamford

"The Toxic Effects of Trauma," with David Read Johnson, PhD


Traumatic childhood events may have long-term effects on the developing child’s mind and body. Many mental health conditions, such as ADHD and depression, as well as medical issues, including certain cancers, high blood pressure and cholesterol, appear to be influenced by childhood trauma.

David Read Johnson, PhD, Co-Director of the Post Traumatic Stress Center in New Haven, will review the scientific research, describe cases from his clinical experience, and offer guidance on how families can use this information to avoid treatments that don’t work or are not needed.

Greenwich Town Hall

101 Field Point Road, Greenwich, CT

"Mental Health During the College Years" - A Panel Presentation


Mental health problems among college students are on the rise. Symptoms of a mental health condition may surface in college, or an existing condition may worsen.

Hear a panel of professionals discuss ways to support students' mental health before, during and after the transition to college.


Topics to be covered:

  • planning for the transition to college

  • recognizing signs that a child in college is in distress

  • supporting a struggling child from a distance

  • considering a leave from college, and preparing for college re-entry

Greenwich Town Hall

101 Field Point Road, Greenwich, CT

"The Future of Mental Health Treatment? Ketamine and Ketamine-like Medications," with Dr. Steve Levine


Dr. Steve Levine, a board-certified psychiatrist, founded Actify Neurotherapies as Ketamine Treatment Centers in 2011. Though he is a psychiatrist who places great emphasis on the importance of psychotherapy, medication is often a necessary component of treatment, and he was dissatisfied with the relatively ineffective available options with burdensome side effects. Dr. Levine pioneered a protocol for the clinical use of ketamine infusions, has directly supervised many thousands of infusions and has helped establish similar programs across the country and around the world.  He graduated with honors/Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University, received an academic scholarship to Tulane University School of Medicine, and then completed internship and residency in psychiatry at New York - Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell.  In addition, Dr. Levine completed fellowship sub-specialty training in psychosomatic medicine/psycho-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Levine will discuss what ketamine is, how it's administered, and its benefits.

A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation. 

Greenwich Town Hall

101 Field Point Road, Greenwich, CT

"Mental Health Crisis? What To Do and Who To Call" - A Panel Discussion


When a mental health crisis hits, family and friends are often caught off-guard and unsure of what to do. If you are unable to de-escalate the situation yourself, it's important to act quickly to get the help you need to keep everyone safe.

We have assembled a panel of professionals who will explain when and how to call for help, and what happens afterward. 

A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation. 

Tully Center Auditorium

32 Strawberry Hill Court, Stamford, CT

"In the Trenches: Family Impact and Parenting Strategies for Anxiety and OCD," with Dr. Dan Villiers


One of the nation's leading interventionists, Dr. Dan Villiers has educated, motivated, and inspired more than 700 families to pursue treatment for their children with acute anxiety, OCD and trauma. At the forefront of developing specialized anxiety treatment programs for school-aged children, Dr. Villiers co-founded the Anxiety Institute, a Greenwich-based organization offering an Intensive Day Program for anxious adolescents and young adults, and Mountain Valley Treatment Center, the first non-hospital residential anxiety program in the United States. "Having struggled with debilitating social anxiety and panic disorder throughout high school and college," said Dr. Villiers, "my life has been dedicated to raising awareness about the wide-spread impact of anxiety, reducing the shame of those suffering from anxiety disorders, and eliciting commitment for treatment."

In this workshop, we'll discuss what it's like to have anxiety, how anxiety can look different across child, adolescent, and young adult development, and the treatment and family interventions that have proven effective. Find help, hope, and inspiration for facing the anxiety epidemic head-on.

Greenwich Town Hall

101 Field Point Road, Greenwich, CT

"Borderline Personality Disorder: A Workshop on Hope for Families," with Ann and Matt Costello


This workshop explores key information about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), including the symptoms, co-occurring disorders, prevalence, and origin. Learn how emotional dysregulation occurs and how families can help loved ones manage their emotions. Presenters Ann and Matt Costello will discuss the National Education Alliance (NEA) BPD Family Connections Program, effective in reducing grief, loss, sharing, and sense of burden while increasing mastery. They will review core Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills families can utilize, such as Validation, Radical Acceptance, and Observing Limits.


For more information about Family Connections: CLICK HERE

Greenwich Town Hall

101 Field Point Road, Greenwich, CT

"Mindfulness in Real Life," with Robin Bezark, LCSW


Being mindful is bringing awareness to your everyday life. Learn what it means to be mindful and how mindfulness can help you cope with stress, depression, trauma, and challenging situations. You'll learn simple ways to integrate mindfulness into your daily life so you can identify habitual patterns, slow down your reactions, calm your emotions and develop positive coping skills.

ROBIN BEZARK, LCSW has over 30 years of experience working with children, adolescents and adults in residential treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals, addiction treatment centers, schools and private practice. To learn more about Robin: http://www.robinbezarklcsw.com/

Tully Health Center

32 Strawberry Hill Court, Stamford, CT

"Neuroscience Offers New Hope in Treating Bipolar Disorder," with Hilary Blumberg, MD


Dr. Blumberg is the John and Hope Furth Professor of Psychiatric Neuroscience, Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and in the Child Study Center, and Director of the Mood Disorders Research Program, at the Yale School of Medicine. Her research is devoted to understanding brain circuitry differences that underlie mood disorders and the associated high risk of suicide, and circuitry changes in mood disorders across the lifespan. She directs the Mood Disorders Research Program at Yale that brings together a multi-disciplinary group of scientists to study the genetic, developmental and environmental factors that cause mood disorders to develop new methods for early detection, more effective interventions, and prevention. She studied neuroscience graduating summa cum laude as an undergraduate at Harvard University and completed her medical degree, psychiatry training and specialty training in neuroimaging at Cornell University Medical College prior to joining the Yale faculty in 1998.

Dr. Blumberg will highlight evidence that bipolar disorder is a brain disorder and research devoted to understanding how suicide behavior develops. She will discuss factors that can adversely affect the adolescent brain and the plasticity of the brain, so the audience will gain an understanding of efforts that can be made to prevent suffering and suicide.

Tully Health Center

32 Strawberry Hill Court, Stamford, CT

"Understanding the Link Between Mental Health and Substance Misuse/Addiction," with Stephanie Marquesano, Founder of the harris project


Stephanie Marquesano’s 19 year-old son Harris died by accidental overdose in 2013. Stephanie founded the harris project to advance prevention programming and advocate for the implementation of integrated treatment opportunities to improve the lives of teens and young adults diagnosed with co-occurring disorders (the combination of one or more mental health challenges and substance misuse/addiction).


Stephanie is a board member of the NYS Regional Planning Consortium, co-chairs the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health committee on Co-occurring Systems of Care, and serves on many Westchester and regional committees bringing her perspective to this critical topic. She also speaks about COD to audiences ranging from high school students to health care professionals. CODA (Co-Occurring Disorders Awareness) is the harris project’s innovative peer-driven prevention program empowering youth to become positive decision-makers, seek early intervention, and support friends/peers.

Stephanie will speak about COD - what they are and their impact on more than 10.2 million people. She will discuss potential paths to substance misuse/addiction and what can be done to prevent it, in an effort to turn the tide and change outcomes.  

Greenwich Town Hall

101 Field Point Road, Greenwich, CT

"Surviving the Grief of Mental Illness," with George Hagman, LCSW


George Hagman, LCSW is a psychotherapist in Stamford and New York City. For 25 years he has been both a clinician and an administrator in various mental health and substance abuse agencies. He specializes in the treatment and care of people with serious mental illness and their families. George is also the author of “New Models of Bereavement Theory and Treatment: New Mourning,” in which he discusses recent developments in the understanding and treatment of mourning.

George will focus on the infinite ways in which loss enters the lives of people dealing with mental illness - whether you are an individual recently diagnosed, or a family caring for one of its members.

Tully Health Center, Conference Room C

32 Strawberry Hill Court, Stamford, CT

Author Michelle Beth Speaks About Her Life With Borderline Personality Disorder


Author Michelle Beth, currently symptom-free and living a happy and productive life, will speak about her struggle with, and recovery from, borderline personality disorder. Michelle is the author of "Rooftops, Ledges, and Window Sills."

Tully Health Center, Conference Room C

32 Strawberry Hill Court, Stamford, CT 

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P.O. Box 1582, New Canaan, CT 06840

203-400-NAMI (6264)


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