NAMI’s 2014 Speaker Series at the Athens County Library

For a fourth consecutive year, NAMI Athens and the Friends of the Athens Public Library are teaming up to bring the Athens community some really super speakers. This year we are co-sponsoring five events.

Time:  6:30-8:00 PM, final Thursday of selected months (Exception: the May 2nd lecture)

Location:  Athens Public Library, 30 Home Street, Athens, OH 45701.

March 27:

Topic:Living With and in Spite of Bipolar Disorder

Speaker: Gabe Howard

After battling bipolar disorder for years, Gabe Howard has made it his mission in life to educate and fight stigma regarding mental illness. A NAMI activist, he eventually served as a member of the NAMI Ohio Board of Trustees. Frequently featured in various venues ranging from the printed media to radio and TV to government and corporate videos, he is currently the CEO of Speak Our Mind, a non-profit which trains speakers on the topic of mental illness. His NAMI Athens “Conversations from Studio B” segment can be heard by going to .

1.5 CEUs for Social Workers and Athens Public Schools Teachers


May 2:

Topic: A Mother-Daughter Experience with Paranoid Schizophrenia

Speakers: Anika and Sakeenah Francis

In 1973, Mom, Sakeenah, was voted Homecoming Queen, received an accounting degree and was married. Before long, however, schizophrenia struck, her marriage fell apart and she went through over a decade of crisis before beginning over two decades of sound recovery. Today Sakeenah is a member of the Board of Directors of NAMI Greater Cleveland. Trained as an “In Our Own Voice” speaker, she has given a large number of talks to various types of groups. Meanwhile, daughter Anika, who experienced her mother’s schizophrenia up close from the age of three, stood by her mother during the bad years and eventually became a writer after getting degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and University of Georgia (MEd). She now owns a consulting firm which focusses on learning and development. In 2011, both did interviews for NAMI segments of “Conversations from Studio B” and, in 2013, they published a book about their experience titled Love’s all that Makes Sense: A Mother Daughter Memoir.

1.5 CEUs for Social Workers and Athens Public Schools Teachers


August 28:

Topic: Living with and in spite of Schizoaffective Disorder

Speaker: Mark Krieger

Schizoaffective disorder is a sort of “double whammy” – a combination of schizophrenia and a mood disorder. Mark Krieger was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder twenty years ago. He has been in recovery for the past seven years. He feels he owes much of his recovery to good medication and his work in the area of mental health advocacy and peer support. He was President of NAMI Four Counties for six years and is now a member of the Board of Trustees of NAMI Ohio. He has also served as the consumer advocate for his local Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board. He now co-facilitates two monthly NAMI Connections support groups and is in training to teach Family-to Family and Peer-to-Peer. One can hear his insightful interview on WOUB’s “Conversations from Studio B” by going to . Mark is a good example of the fact that, with modern treatment, recovery from his complex disorder is possible and that, in recovery, one can be a fulfilled and very productive citizen.

1.5 CEUs for Social Workers and Athens Public Schools Teachers


September 25:

Topic: Coping with Clinical Depression while Getting on with Life

Speaker: Peg Morrison

Clinical depression is not just a matter of sadness or feeling down. It does not help to say “Just pull yourself by the bootstraps” or “Go out and do something.” It is a real mental illness based in a chemical imbalance in the brain. Living with clinical depression and having family members with mental illness, Ms. Morrison speaks with authority about the personal side of these issues and about effective treatments. Now the Director of Programs for NAMI Ohio she organizes teacher and facilitator trainings, does public speaking and works supportively with NAMI affiliates throughout the state. Prior to joining NAMI, she spent 20 years in nonprofit administration, public education, and development. Her experience in the area of mental health includes ten years working with a supportive housing agency in Toledo and three with the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County. Peg is a great example of the simple truth that, with effective treatment, persons afflicted by clinical depression can live fulfilling and productive lives.

1.5 CEUs for Social Workers and Athens Public Schools Teachers


October 30:

Topic: Surviving Multiple Personality (now called Dissociative Identity) Disorder and Recognizing the Signs of Child Abuse

Speaker: Nancy DeLaval Miller

Though the subject is of considerable controversy in some circles, Dissociative Identity Disorder is clearly recognized and described in the DSM-5 – the latest diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association. One can conceptualize DID as a very extreme version of post-traumatic stress disorder. The horrible trauma Nancy suffered as a four-year-old gave rise to at least thirteen personalities, while at the same time causing complete amnesia about the abuse itself. Nancy will describe her tormented life with DID, her eventual diagnosis and treatment, her recovery, and now, her work on behalf of abused children. For a short preview, go to her recent interview on “Conversations from Studio B” . In spite of her disorder, Nancy holds degrees in English Education from Carnegie Mellon University and in Interior Design from Ohio University. She writes a blog, which talks about the effects of DID and the problems it presents in one’s life. She is also finishing her memoir, MULTIPLE: A Christian’s Battle with Insanity.

1.5 CEUs for Social Workers and Athens Public Schools Teachers