Monday, February 18, 2013

2013 Stigma, Discrimination & Disparities Conference

The Family & Youth Roundtable, serving San Diego's children and families with mental health challenges, provides an excellent opportunity every year to consult with colleagues and learn from leaders in the field regarding stigma, discrimination and disparities in services. I was fortunate to be able to attend this conference last week and bring the very best of information back to my community.

There were many highlights but I'd like to touch on a few that were at the top of my list. The conference opened with a keynote address from Dr. Arun Gandhi, who spoke of continuing his grandfather's teachings of non-violence. He spoke of living for a period of time with his grandfather and of how his family practiced disciplining children in a non-violent, non-intimidating way. He continues his teachings through an organization called Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute and I consider it a true honor to have had the opportunity to meet him.
 I also had the opportunity to hear about Dr. Ross Greene's work in the field of collaborative problem solving. His non-profit organization is called Lives in the Balance and it's described best on his website saying:
 Lives in the Balance is the non-profit organization founded by child psychologist Dr. Ross Greene, author of The Explosive Child and Lost at School, and originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach. His model is highly effective with kids often described as challenging, angry, defiant, and oppositional. This website contains a ton of resources -- streaming video, an extensive Listening Library, and lots more -- to help you learn about and implement Dr. Greene's research-based model and provide you with the strategies and support you need to help these kids in ways that are compassionate and effective.
I was very impressed by Dr. Greene's work and the fact that he is offering such great resources for free. This website provides parents another option for helping their children with mental health challenges to have more success in the classroom. It's definitely worth taking a look at!

One of my most favorite presenters was also there too. Eddie Peterson presented a session about the stigma related to the sexual abuse of males. I always gain great insight when I hear him speaking. Not only is he my friend, but a wonderful colleague that helps keep me motivated in doing the work that is so close to my heart. If you are needing a dynamic speaker for your next event that can talk about stigma reduction and many other mental health topics, Eddie is the one to call! You can become familiar with all of the great things Eddie is involved in by visiting his website at
This conference was a great experience and a regeneration of my passion to fight stigma and continue to educate our communities about how common mental health challenges are in all of our lives. I am grateful that I got to share this conference with Eddie and my other great friend and colleague, April. I think that together, we are an unstoppable team in the world of eliminating stigma, discrimination, and disparities for children with mental health challenges.

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