Thank You for an Execellent Conference


The 2017 community mental health conference laid a strong emphasis on raising resilient children. Developmental theorists have described the importance of psychosocial stages, childhood experiences, attachment, and the prevalence of resources that can give a holistic view of a child’s life. However, with the increasing rate of trauma, oppression, marginalization, and inadequacy of resources in numerous communities, children are faced with more adversity with every passing day.

Our presenters included Dr. Louis Kraus, Women’s Board professor, Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center, and Director of AARTS Center who has also served on the board of the American Psychiatry Association; Dr. Mark A Reinecke who is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Chief of the division of Psychology at Northwestern University; and Christina Walker, founder of the Chasing hope foundation that is dedicated to assisting families who are raising children on the autism spectrum. Together, they addressed child and adolescent psychiatry and discussed clinical interventions, the role of the law and education, and the importance of advocacy, treating depression, anxiety, and suicidality among children and adolescents, as well as the quality of care while catering to children with special needs.

Smaller discussion groups that were moderated by licensed clinicians created an environment for intimate conversations about numerous subjects ranging from depression and anxiety in children, the intersectionality of mental health with gender and sexual identity, building cultural competence while working with people of color to the power of spirituality, and alcohol and substance use and more.

The conference saw the participation of close to 100 organizations that provide services to diverse communities across race, ethnicity, gender, ability status, and age. This provided a platform for the clinicians to network with one another, discuss the services provided by their agencies and gave room to a collaboration of ideas and approaches developed from a social justice lens. With the support of pillars like NAMI, Thresholds, Trilogy, the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, Eating Recovery Center and more, the conference succeeded in unifying the community of mental health care.


We would like to express our gratitude to the members of the Conference Planning Committee, without whose help, the conference would not be possible:

Aaron Schwartz: Private Practice Therapist

Ann Ohlrogge Johnson: The Samaritan Counseling Center

Anthony Chambers: The Family Institute

Andi Stone: Insight Behavioral Health Centers

Arlene Coustan: Private Practice Therapist

Beth Holzhauer: Womencare Counseling Center

Blair McAnany: Rogers Behavioral Health

Bradley Stolbach: Comer Children’s Hospital

Brittney Bolden: The Family Institute

Candy Malina: Thresholds

Candice Hughes: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Charlotte Mallon: Private Practice Therapist

Charles  Jaffe: Rush University Medical Center

Christine Somervill: NAMI-Cook County North Suburban

Cindy Brue: Rush University Medical Center

David Daskovsky: Yellowbrick

David Fireman: Center for Grief Recovery

Dorothy Williams: Mental Health Professional

Eric Crabtree-Nelson: Harold Washington College

Eric Proescher: Jesse Brown VA Hospital

Evonda Thomas Smith: City of Evanston

Harvey Kelber: Illinois Counseling Association

Harvey Saver: Mental Health Professional

Helen Hurry: Family Focus

Hollie Sobel: Private Practice Psychologist

Jeff  Zacharias: New Hope Recovery

Jenny Kelber: Private Practice Therapist

Jessica Hutchison: Mental Health Professional

Jill Persin: Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation

Jodie Segal: Elyssa’s Mission

John Calamari: Rosalind Franklin University

Judy Schiffman: Barr-Harris Children’s Grief Center

Lara Schuster: Insight Behavioral Health Center

Larry Cohen: Founder

Marilyn Cohen: Founder

Mark Reinecke: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Mary Ellen Poole: Housing Options

Mayra Chacon: Center for Latino Mental Health

Mojgan Makki: Rush University Medical Center

Nancy Sussman: Mental Health Professional

Nina Henry: JCFS Jewish Center for Addiction

Paula Young: The Family Institute

Patricia Doyle: Vision for Change

Peggy Kubert: Erika’s Lighthouse

Peter Illing: Jesse Brown VA Hospital

Rachel Revivo: Mental Health Professional

Sharon Weingarten: Mental Health Professional

Steven Colton: NAMI-CCNS

Susan Shimon: Thresholds

Sylvia Corcoran: Private Practice Therapist

Sue Laue: Public Relations Professional

Tom Laue: Public Relations Professional

Tiffany Masson: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Terri Michaels: North Suburban Special Education District

Tom Golebiewski: Private Practice Therapist

Vanessa Allen-Graves: Family Focus

Virginia Goldrick: Chicago Read Mental Health Center

Willis Francis: Heartland Alliance