2011 Speaker Series

On April 28, 2011, in the Athens Public Library, Jim McGarrity gave a talk called


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

 in our War Veterans

Appearing in Athens for the fourth time, PTSD-wounded Vietnam veteran Jim McGarrity talked about the trauma he underwent in combat, what it waslike to suffer from untreated PTSD until he finally accepted treatment a few years ago, and his life and work after treatment. A MUST-SEE, Jim has already delivered two riveting presentations to Athens Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) on mental illness for area police. And last year he delivered a moving eulogy at the Memorial Day ceremony at the Ridges Cemeteries. Earlier in the day, he addressed the Ohio University ROTC cadets about what they may ultimately witness in others or suffer themselves. (That presentation, at the Baker Center Theater at 2:10 PM, was open to interested public.)


Fall Lectures on Mental Illness 

In the fall of 2011, NAMI Athens and the Friends of the Athens Public co-sponsored two major lectures on mental illness as part of NAMI’s new Speaker Series. They occurred on September 29 and October 27 in the Big Meeting Room at the Athens Public Library.

Thursday, September 29: Surviving Borderline Personality Disorder

Our speaker Renee Kopache (MS, CPRP), Coordinator of Wellness Management for the Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, is a proud survivor of the most maligned and stigmatized of all mental illnesses, Borderline Personality Disorder. Her honest discussion of her journey begins with dismal depression, repeated suicide attempts, arrests, and hospitalization.  It ends with her current life of professional achievement and enriching pastimes.  Her story will inspire and give hope to all who suffer from BPD, their families and their friends. BPD is now very treatable!

Renee Kopache

Thursday, October 27: Recovery from Schizophrenia – A PhD Psychologist’s/Schizophrenic’s Perspective

Our guest speaker, internationally-renowned psychologist Fred Frese, served for 15 years as Director of Psychology at one of Ohio’s largest psychiatric hospitals, Western Reserve. He is presently Coordinator of the Summit County Ohio Recovery Project. However, over 40 years ago, while a young Marine Corps officer, Fred was diagnosed with severe schizophrenia and, over the next ten years, was in and out of mental hospitals, often on secure wards. Despite his disability, he earned various degrees including an MA and PhD in Psychology from Ohio University. His tale of sickness and recovery and his insight into his disorder will enlighten and inspire all who hear his presentation.