2015 Annual Conference


NAMI NJ’s 2015 Annual Conference – Healing Ourselves, Healing Others was successfully held on December 5! Please click on presentations in agenda below to view speaker’s PowerPoint slides. Download Conference Program here.

Video of Conference Highlights:


View photo album here.








9:30 AM          WELCOME

Mark Perrin, M.D., NAMI NJ President
Sylvia Axelrod, M.A., NAMI NJ Executive Director

9:45 AM          OPENING REMARKS

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

Valerie2Valerie Mielke is the Assistant Commissioner for the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) in the Department of Human Services and is the single state authority for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders. The Division is responsible for the coordination, administration, management and supervision of the institutional and community public mental health system, and is also responsible for regulating, monitoring, planning and funding substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery support services. Prior to her appointment, she was the Assistant Director for the Office of Treatment and Recovery Support within DMHAS. Ms. Mielke holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fairfield University and a Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University.


10:00 AM          KEYNOTE – First Episode Psychosis: Options for Treatment in New Jersey

Due to the international success of the Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) model for treatment of people with a first episode of psychosis, including the two Recovery After An Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) demonstrations in the United States, SAMHSA has mandated that 5% of every state’s mental health block grant must be used to develop CSC programs for first episode patients.” This presentation covers the rationale for the development of the CSC model, its components and outcomes, the RAISE project, and DMHAS-funded efforts in New Jersey to implement the model here.”

Keynote Speaker: Steven Silverstein, PhD, Director of Research, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care

Steven SilversteinDr. Steven Silverstein is Director of Research, and Director of the Division of Schizophrenia Research at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC), and Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He is the former Chair of the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Serious Mental Illness, and an Executive Board member and President-Elect of the Society for Research in Psychopathology. Dr. Silverstein received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1989, and completed his internship and fellowship at Cornell Medical College from 1988-1990. He has over 25 years of experience in treating people with schizophrenia, and has directed inpatient units and outpatient programs for this population. This includes work with both chronic and first episode patients. Dr. Silverstein’s research interests are in the development of schizophrenia, perceptual and cognitive changes found in schizophrenia, and prediction of treatment response and relapse. He has over 180 publications related to schizophrenia, and is currently Principal Investigator (PI) on multiple NIMH or foundation grants involving assessment and treatment. Dr. Silverstein is the recipient of many awards, including the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s Armin Loeb Award for Research in Psychiatric Rehabilitation in 2008, and the American Psychological Foundation’s Alexander Gralnick Research Investigator Prize in 2010.


11:00 AM          PLENARY – Overcoming OCD: A Journey to Recovery

Janet Singer and Dr. Seth Gillihan will discuss many aspects of obsessive-compulsive disorder, including common misconceptions about OCD, proper treatment and how to find it, and obstacles to recovery. Janet shares valuable lessons learned as a mother whose son was so debilitated by OCD he could not even eat. Dr. Gillihan provides information about OCD, reports on current research, and brings clarity to this potentially confusing and often misunderstood disorder.

Janet Singer

Janet Singer 2Janet Singer is an advocate for OCD awareness, with the goal of spreading the word that obsessive-compulsive disorder, no matter how severe, is treatable. In 2008, her eighteen-year-old son Dan suffered from OCD so debilitating he could not even eat. Today, thanks to exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, he is a young man living his life to the fullest. Janet is the author of Overcoming OCD: A Journey to Recovery, published by Rowman & Littlefield in January 2015. The critically acclaimed book is a story of hope and the power of family, interwoven with expert commentary by Dr. Seth Gillihan. Janet is the founder of OCD Network to Recovery, which connects those suffering with OCD to those who have recovered. Her own blog, ocdtalk (www.ocdtalk.wordpress.com) currently reaches readers in 176 countries. She has been an invited speaker at OCD conferences and writes regularly for PsychCentral as well as Mentalhelp.net. She has also been published on many other web sites including Beyond OCD, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and Mad in America.

Janet’s statement:
Almost eight years ago, my son was suffering from OCD so severe he couldn’t even eat. Hunched over with his head in his hands, he’d sit in his “safe” chair for hours, doing nothing but shaking, mumbling and moaning. Numb with fear at the realization he was also self-injuring, I was terrified he might never again function in society, or even worse, survive.
OCD is a cruel, insidious illness with the potential to destroy lives. But it is also treatable. Today, thanks to exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, the front-line psychological approach to treat OCD, my son is a young man living his life to the fullest. My hope is that my family’s story will increase understanding of OCD and give those who are dealing with it the strength to move forward and fight for the lives they deserve.

Seth Gillihan, PhD

Seth J. Gillihan_smallSeth J. Gillihan, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Psychiatry Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gillihan specializes in empirically-supported cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based interventions for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, insomnia, and depression. He has lectured nationally and internationally on the delivery of these treatments, including exposure and response prevention (ERP) for OCD. His publications include research articles and book chapters on the effectiveness of CBT for OCD, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression, how CBT works, the use of brain imaging to study psychiatric disorders, and a co-authored book with Janet Singer on recovery from severe OCD. Dr. Gillihan maintains a clinical practice in Haverford, PA.

Dr. Gillihan’s statement:
As a clinical psychologist I’ve witnessed the best that any of us can bring to the task of living: the courage to face life’s challenges; the wisdom to recognize what our hearts and minds need to heal; the love of family that never lets go. Over the past 15 years I’ve been allowed into the lives of individuals struggling with various forms of anxiety, depression, and other conditions. Much of my work is focused on treating people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I was fortunate to meet Janet Singer and to be invited to contribute to the book that tells of her son’s recovery from OCD. I recognize in Janet’s story the wisdom, love, and courage that I’ve seen in so many families and individuals who are dealing with mental illness. Their struggles and triumphs continue to inspire me in my work.





2:00 PM                  BREAK


1. Ask The Doctor
Robert G. Stern, MD, Staten Island University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry

2. Family Connections: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Based Skills Can Change the Family Environment
Ann & Matt Costello, NEA.BPD Board Members & Family Connections Teachers

3. Are We Worthy of Wellness?
Margaret E. Molnar, Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs, Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services, Office of Prevention, Early Intervention & Community Services;
Ann Reilly, MA, MSW, CPRP, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions, Rutgers University

4. Cognitive Enhancement Therapy
Ray Gonzalez, Executive Director, Center for Cognition and Recovery, CETCleveland

5. Double the Stigma: Mental Health in the LGBTQ Community
Michael LaSala, PhD, LCSW, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey;
Reverend Kevin Taylor, Unity Fellowship Church Movement;
April Wilson, President, NAMI Essex/Passaic

6. Getting Back to Work – Real World Stories and Solutions
William Butler, NAMI NJ Consumer Council Representative;
Jill Trimboli, Employment Specialist, APL Associates;
Jay Yudof, NAMI NJ Recovery programs Coordinator

7. Improving the Judiciary’s Response to Mental Health Needs
Scott Fine, NAMI Family-to-Family Teacher, NAMI Smarts presenter;
Steven M. Fishbein, MS, CRC, LRC, Manager, Justice Involved and Veterans Services, DMHAS

8. Growing, Healing & Transformation
David Axelrod, PhD, Adjunct professor of Economics, Montclair State University

3:45 PM          ADJOURNMENT



This conference is made possible by our sponsors



Infinity Foundation-- Silver








AG New Brunswick    Sunovion



Genentech              Celgene




PerformCare Logo




NAMI New Jersey Thanks Conference Advertisers & Exhibitors:

Alphagraphics New Brunswick

Carrier Clinic

Center for Cognition & Recovery

Center for Wellness

CFG Health Network, LLC

Community Hope

Consumer Helping Others Improve Their Conditions by Ending Smoking – CHOICES

Davison, Eastman & Munoz, P.A.

Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance of New Jersey

Friends Hospital/Greystone Program

Laurel House, Inc

Mental Health Association of New Jersey


NAMI Morris County

National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder

New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies

New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs of GFWC

New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs of GFWC (Highlands)

O’Connor Davies, LLP

Ocean Mental Health Services



Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Summit Oaks Hospital

Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler

TellMed Strategies

Trinitas Regional Medical Center

Tele-Psychiatry Intervention to Improve Engagement & Outcomes from Family Psychoeducation


West Bergen Mental Healthcare, Inc.