NAMI 2015 Speaker Series

For a fifth 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

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

March 26:

Topic:Perinatal (Postpartum) disorders. Personal experience and helping peers.

Speaker: Leslie Powlette Stoyer


Stoyer_Leslie_smallToo many of the approximately 20 percent of new moms who suffer from mood and anxiety disorders before and after child birth do so in silence. Such suffering is unnecessary. A mom “who has been there,” Leslie Powlette Stoyer, helps other moms through her work with the Summit County Maternal Depression Network. After her main presentation, O’Bleness Hospital (River Rose) Practice Manager for Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pam Born (RN, CPPM), will discuss practice and resources available to moms in our community. For a preview of Ms. Stoyer’s presentation, hear her NAMI Athens interview here .


1.5 CEUs for Social Workers, Counselors, RNs, LPNs, and Athens Public Schools Teachers



April 22:

Topic: Early onset schizophrenia, a personal journey to recovery

Speakers: Brandon W. Fitch

Fitch_smallEarly onset schizophrenia is unusual. In most cases schizophrenia first manifests itself in one’s late teens or early twenties. Brandon’s symptoms plagued him from early childhood well into adulthood as he and his mom searched for a treatment that would work. Finally, he was given the then new medication clozapine. It worked and Brandon eventually became a poster boy for that medication. Featured in an article in Time Magazine, he gave a keynote speech to a standing ovation at a NAMI National Convention. He is the Program Annotator for the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra and author of a new book, Living with the Romanovs: A young Man’s Struggle with Psychosis. Mr. Fitch will discuss his long struggle with, recovery from, and life after the torments of schizophrenia. For a preview of this presentation, hear his NAMI Athens interview here .


August 20:

Topic: The power of Connectedness in Assessing and Preventing Suicide Nationwide and at Ohio University

Speaker: Krystal Hernandez


Nationwide, suicide ideation on campus is alarmingly common. When national rates are applied to Ohio University, about ten percent of students, or about 2,200, experience suicidal ideation each year. Dr. Krystal Hernandez is a psychologist and assistant training director at OU’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Among her responsibilities, she coordinates a gatekeeper program, Bobcats Who Care, focused on suicide prevention and trains students, faculty, and staff to feel competent and comfortable helping fellow Bobcats in distress and connecting them to professional resources. She also serves as staff advisor for a student group, Bobcats for Suicide Prevention Campaign, whose aim is to increase awareness about suicide prevention and decrease stigma around related mental health issues. For a preview of Dr. Hernandez’ presentation, hear her NAMI Athens interview here .

1.5 CEUs for Social Workers, Counselors, RNs, LPNs, and Athens Public Schools Teachers


September 24:

Topic: Helping Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Issues in a Rural Setting

Speaker: Dr. Benjamin Jordan


Mental illness is just as great a problem in children and adolescents as it is in adults. Yet, while it effects around twenty percent of young people, it presents in somewhat different ways – normally more attention deficit, hyper activity, anxiety, depression, and trauma-related disorders and far less schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Dr. Jordan is Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Hopewell Health Centers – formerly Tri County Mental Health. He will talk about these matters, the financial restraints to providing public services to our youth, and the challenges of doing his work in a rural setting. For a preview of Dr. Jordan’s presentation, hear his NAMI Athens interview here .

1.5 CEUs for Social Workers, Counselors, RNs, LPNs, and .15 for Athens Public Schools Teachers


October 29:

Topic: Battling borderline personality disorder and helping one’s peers through “Active Minds”

Speaker: Sarah Spitz

spitz_smallBorderline personality disorder – a much misunderstood and terribly life-disrupting disorder – is now very treatable. The best approach to BPD is not medication but rather a relatively new treatment, Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Named to CNN’s 2015 list of nine “Mental Wellness Warriors,” Emory University undergraduate Sarah Spitz has battled BPD for much of her life. Recently she has found that helping peers is a therapy in itself. Now the President of Emory’s student organization “Active Minds,” she works in suicide prevention and in helping build supportive connections among students with mental illnesses. She will discuss her struggles with BPD, the elements of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and her work with Active Minds. For a preview of her presentation, hear her NAMI Athens interview here.

1.5 CEUs for Social Workers, Counselors, RNs, LPNs, and .15 for Athens Public Schools Teachers