2016 Annual Conference

NAMI NJ’s 2016 Annual Conference, “Building Better Lives”, was successfully held on December 3, with over 240 attendees from around the states.
Download Conference Program here.

Video of Conference Highlights:


View photo album here

View photo album here.





9:30 AM      WELCOME

Mark Perrin, MD, NAMI NJ President
Sylvia Axelrod, MA, NAMI NJ Executive Director

9:45 AM      OPENING REMARKS (View slides here)

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

10:00 AM    KEYNOTE (View video here)

Embracing Our Roles as Leaders in Systems Transformation 
Chacku Mathai, Director, NAMI STAR Center
chacku9-16Every day we are faced with opportunities to make a real difference in our communities. Do we offer our unique contribution or just keep to ourselves? Do we embrace new opportunities for partnership, diversity, and leadership? As our movement discovers ways to collaborate, there is also an opportunity to redefine leadership and what we think it means, especially as people with lived experience.

Chacku Mathai is an Indian-American, born in Kuwait, who got involved in mental health and addiction recovery advocacy when he was 15 years old. Chacku’s personal experiences as a youth and young adult in mental health and addiction recovery in New York launched Chacku and his family towards a number of efforts to advocate for improved services and alternative supports in the community.

11:15 AM     PLENARY: Exploring New Frontiers: Tools To Enhance Recovery

Caregiving and Schizophrenia: Impact and Solutions (View slides here) (View video here)
Guilhem Dupont, BSc, MBA, Founder & CEO, MyHealios

dsc_0038This presentation examines the impact of caregiving, for someone with psychosis, on the family members who take on this role. Psychological, emotional, financial and physical health repercussions are discussed. The presentation then moves on to outlining a telehealth delivered program for such caregivers and illustrates the effectiveness of this intervention. The audience is asked to consider – given how much the program reduces caregiver burden and distress, how can it be made available to more people?

The Emerging Field of eMental Health (View video here)
Jason Moehringer, PsyD
Jason MoehringerPsyberGuide.org, is a pioneering website that provides resources for consumers and researchers trying to navigate the emerging market of electronic and internet based mental health treatments. With more than 3,000 apps and other devices claiming to address mental health issues on the market today, the website offers descriptions, reviews, and objective ratings of products to help guide purchasing decisions, empirical study, and new product development.



2:00 PM       BREAK


1. A Guide to Navigating the Mental Health System (View video here)

Phil Lubitz, MSW, Associate Director, NAMI NJ

2. Co-occurring Disorders: Mental Illness and Substance Use

Rahmon Solhkhah, MD, Chairman of Psychiatry, Jersey Shore University Medical Center

3. Evolving Directions in Psychiatric Practice and Research

Robert Stern, MD, Acting Vice Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Staten Island University Hospital; Associate Clinical Professor, Rutgers-RWJ Medical School

4. Building A Better Life: Tips & Tools to Pursue Your Educational Goals (View slides here)

Tammy Irwin-Smith, BSW, MSW (2017)

Brittany Stone, MS, CRC, CPRP

5. New Provisions of the Mental Health Parity Law (View slides here)

Gerry Grasso, Federal Department of Labor



This conference is made possible by our sponsors