Keynote Speakers Share Hope and Progress from State, National Perspectives

NAMI Illinois is proud to welcome a full slate of mental health experts to our 2019 conference, including two keynote speakers who will update us on state and local programs, the latest research in early intervention and much more.

Grace Hou, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) under Governor J.B. Pritzker, will offer a statewide perspective on mental health. IDHS’s mission is to strengthen our state by building lives and communities though an integrated network of mental health, substance use prevention and recovery, rehabilitation, developmental disabilities, and family and community services.

Hou will outline the key initiatives her team is pursuing right now and explain how NAMI members can get involved in the effort to improve and integrate mental health services in our communities.

We are also excited to hear from Dr. Susan Azrin, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), who will review the latest research on First Episode Psychosis programs and other techniques that can increase the life expectancy of those with mental illness.

Studies show that people with mental health conditions die an average of 25 years earlier than the general population. Dr. Azrin will explain why this happens and what we can do to change the story.

As part of Dr. Azrin’s talk, we will highlight local agency programs that are putting this research into action, making early intervention available to thousands more in Illinois.

“We are thrilled to hear from these prominent mental health leaders,” says NAMI Illinois Program Director Teri Latter. “Like all of us, they are looking for ways we can change the paradigm of how mental health is addressed.”

Keynote talks will underline the reasons for hope while acknowledging gaps in our mental health system and the difficulties of living with mental illness, Latter says.

“I know our conference attendees will have great questions for our speakers, since these issues are so important to all of us – whether we’re living with mental illness, supporting a loved one, providing professional services or working as NAMI volunteers and advocates,” she says.

View the full conference agenda here. To register, click here.