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NAMI Kansas Conversations on Mental Health

NAMI Kansas is pleased to announce its 2020 – 2021 Conversations on Mental Health series as we pivot from the pre-Covid-19 world to the new landscape of distancing and staying safe.

While we had planned to host our 2020 NAMI Kansas Conference in Wichita this year, our new landscape of hosting gatherings, meetings, and training opportunities has prompted new ways of staying connected, engaging our members and supporters, and providing learning environments. Therefore, we are happy to announce our 2020-2021 NAMI Kansas Conversations on Mental Health monthly workshops.

NAMI Kansas presents FREE monthly virtual (online) workshops on topics of interest to NAMI members on the third Friday of each month, beginning July 17, 2020 through June 18, 2021, from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm via GoToWebinar.  Please click the registration link for any workshop you would like to attend.

CLICK HERE if you have attended a workshop and you have a password to complete an evaluation form!

If you are new to using GoToWebinar, you may be interesting in watching this short quick-start tutorial:


December 2020 – A Wellness Curriculum for Mental Health

This workshop will provide an overview of Breathe Easy Live Well (BELW), a 15 week wellness curriculum for mental health developed by the NC Evidence Based Practice Center in cooperation with NC Clubhouse staff and members. It has been implemented by several organizations in Kansas with leadership from Breakthrough Episcopal Social Services. Participants will learn how to access the BELW materials and how to adapt the curriculum for their organization along with other wellness-related training resources.

The learning objectives for this workshop will help attendees to:

  1. Outline the primary content areas in the Breathe Easy Live Well Curriculum that relate to mental health.
  2. Access the Participant Manual and the Facilitator’s Guide for Breathe Easy Live Well and to adapt the use of these materials within their organization.
  3. Access other related resources and training to support their implementation of Breathe Easy Live Well.

Our workshop presenters are Heidi Moore with Breakthrough Episcopal Social Services and Rick Cagan with NAMI Kansas.

Heidi Moore is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and Certified Tobacco Specialist ans serves as the Tobacco Grant Coordinator and facilitator of the Breath Easy Live Well (BELW) Program at Breakthrough since June 2019. She is a member of the Tobacco Cessation Cohort with the Kansas Health Foundation and the secretary for the Kansas Occupational Therapy Association.

Rick Cagan has directed the Behavioral Health Tobacco Project for NAMI Kansas since 2016 having previously served as Executive Director for more than 12 years. He is a Sunflower Advocacy and Kansas Health Foundation Fellow, and a recipient of the Samuel Crumbine Medal presented by the Kansas Public Health Association.

Please CLICK HERE to register for A Wellness Curriculum for Mental Health.


January 2021 – Raising Awareness and Engaging Volunteers

Are you interested in Raising Awareness about your program, organization, or cause? This one-hour Online Workshop is for you!

Do you dream of finding a few committed volunteers who will help your affiliate grow? Maybe even lighten your load a little? Attend this session and learn about a well-tested, simple process to spread the word about NAMI. We will share how other NAMI Kansas affiliates are showcasing what they have to offer through small group presentations (online) as a way of starting conversations and engaging those with interest.

Following this workshop, you will be able to:

  1. Understand the benefits of a simple process to raise awareness and engage volunteers
  2. Identify who else might help
  3. Clarify what your affiliate would need to fully implement

The presenter for this online workshop is Parker Harrington.

Join Parker Harrington, the founder and owner of Sponsorship Plus, a national firm dedicated to helping nonprofits fulfill their mission and positively impact their communities. She is a fan of NAMI Kansas and has assisted affiliates for several years. Parker has addressed dozens of national conferences on the topics of business-nonprofit collaboration, sustainability, and ethical engagement hosted by American Marketing Association, National Network for Arab Communities and Association for Leaders in Volunteer Engagement, among others. Ms. Harrington is known for ethical approaches to engage deeply committed volunteers and inspire influencers to act. She enjoys building and leading diverse teams of staff and board and is appreciated for her high energy, knowledge, and generosity in sharing her expertise.

Please CLICK HERE to register for Raising Awareness and Engaging Volunteers.


February 2021 – ABLE vs. Special Needs Trusts:  An In-Depth Discussion

This Online Workshop will help parents, guardians, and family members to increase their understanding about the planning our children may need during all stages of life.

In this workshop, participants will gain knowledge about:

  1. Legal, Financial, and Benefits Considerations
  2. Pros and Cons of ABLE accounts
  3. Pros and Cons of Special Needs Trusts

The presenter for this online workshop is Kacy Seitz.

Kacy Seitz has 15 years of experience in the financial industry and works with nearly 500 families across 26 states to do proper long-term planning for their children. Kacy serves as a Financial Advisor & Special Needs Planning Specialist, and she is also a parent of a child with significant disabilities.

Please CLICK HERE to register for ABLE vs. Special Needs Trusts:  An In-Depth Discussion.


March 2021 – Meditation and Mental Health

Whether you are a family member, an individual with a lived experience, or a professional serving in the mental health field, this workshop is for you!

Meditation is an effective and practical tool in dealing with health issues. This workshop will share the profound benefits to meditation. Through education we will share the practical, versatile and sustainable benefits of a mindful meditation practice. Participants will gain knowledge about using meditation as a practical application, versatile application, and sustainable application.

This workshop is presented by Whit Welch, Certified Mediation Leader and Owner/Founder of Heartland Navigations.

Whit has over 17 years of meditation practice, including three plus years as a certified meditation leader. Whit has come to learn that few things are as beneficial to a persons well being as meditation. Just the benefits to an individuals physical health are reason enough to start a meditation practice. The fact that meditation also strengthens a persons mental and spiritual abilities is miraculous.

Please CLICK HERE to register for Meditation and Mental Health.


November 2020 – Hope Starts with NAMI Kansas Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families (SMVF)

If you are an individual with a lived experience, a family member, or a mental health or provider professional, and you are ready to Lead the Conversation and Help People Get Help Early, this workshop is for you!

Attend this fast-paced workshop and understand the SMVF and the volunteers committed to its growth. It is a salute our service members on this Veteran’s Day. We’ll look at how needs are being met and our vision of where the council is headed. But it’s also a workshop within a workshop in that the presentation itself and the format to engage those with interest can be adapted by any affiliate or burgeoning affiliate looking to engage more volunteers.

Following this workshop, attendees will:

  1. Gain an understanding about SMVF and the NAMI Kansas SMVF Council
  2. Learn a simple process to spread the word; even with closings related to COVID
  3. See how the Hope Starts platform can be modified for any veterans council, affiliate or burgeoning affiliate

This workshop is lead by our Hope Starts with SMVF presenters, Tony Nutz, Aaron Estabrook, and Parker Harrington.

Tony Nutz is a veteran of the U. S. Air Force with 30 years service. He is a qualified Instructor of Family to Family and NAMI Homefront and serves as the Wichita Affiliate Chair and the NAMI State Chair of the SMVF. He is an Advocate for our Veterans and their Families.

Aaron Estabrook is Manhattan City Commissioner and served on their Board of Education. He is a Post 9/11 Army combat veteran and works as Business & Community Liasion for Flint Hills Job Corps.

Parker Harrington is the founder of Sponsorship Plus, a firm dedicated to helping nonprofits fulfill their mission and positively impact their communities. The firm was established in 2000 and has a client list that spans the country. She is currently working with NAMI here in Kansas as well as Minnesota and Maine.

Please CLICK HERE to view the recording of Hope Starts with NAMI Kansas Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families (SMVF).


October 2020 – NAMI National Programs:  How to Lead Effectively and Avoid Burnout

If you are familiar with NAMI as an affiliate governance leader, volunteer, or member or brand new to NAMI, this workshop is for you!

Too often NAMI affiliates rely on a small group of leaders to lead and coordinate programs. During COVID-19, it’s critical that NAMI affiliates support and appreciate volunteers in order to avoid losing them to stress, exhaustion and burnout.

NAMI teachers, facilitators, and presenters provide critical support and knowledge to participants. Their work is exciting, rewarding, and often emotionally exhausting. In this workshop, we will explore how leaders can care for themselves as they give so much to others. We will offer strategies and resources for avoiding burnout that leaders and the affiliates coordinating volunteers can use.

At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe basic facts about NAMI programs offered in KS
  2. Identify ways to combat stress and burnout
  3. Find the various NAMI resources available to leaders in the field.

Suzanne Robinson, Director of National Education Programs for NAMI, will present this workshop.

Suzanne is responsible for curriculum and supervision of program managers. She co-authored NAMI Homefront and developed NAMI Family & Friends. Prior to 2013, Suzanne was Director of Programs at NAMI Ohio. She received a BA in history from Washington University in St. Louis and an MSW from Ohio State University.

Please CLICK HERE to view the recording of NAMI National Programs:  How to Lead Effectively and Avoid Burnout.


September 2020 – An Overview of NAMI Smarts for Advocacy

If you are an individual with lived experience of mental illness, a family member, or a mental health and provider professional, this one-hour ONLINE workshop is for you!

In this one-hour Online Workshop, you will learn:

  1. The NAMI Smarts for Advocacy program
  2. How advocacy makes a difference in addressing and influencing local, state, and national policies and issues that impact the well-being and access to care for those who live with mental illness.
  3. How NAMI Smarts training can help you learn how to use your voice to influence policies, to turn your passion and lived experience into a positive voice, and enhance your advocacy skills.

In this workshop, you will also learn about upcoming NAMI Smarts Advocacy Training and how you can register and become a trained NAMI Smarts Advocate as well as how to register for the Kansas Mental Health Advocacy Day at the Kansas State House.

The presenter for this Online Workshop is Dea VanDeBerghe, the NAMI Northeast Kansas – Leavenworth President.

Dea is a State Trainer for Family Support Group, Family-to-Family, In Our Own Voice, and NAMI Smarts. Dea is also a Mental Health First Aid Teacher, a Kansas Certified Peer Specialist, a Grassroots Advocate with Kansas Mental Health Coalition, and Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator.

Please CLICK HERE to view the recording of An Overview of NAMI Smarts for Advocacy.


August 2020 – Why Advocate? Why Now?

If you are an individual with a lived experience of mental illness, a family member, or a mental health and provider professional that wants to learn more about advocacy, this workshop is for you. With states facing unprecedented economic and public health crises, its critical for NAMI members and interested parties to understand how to advocate for stronger public policies and resources to support individuals and families affected by mental illness.  In many instances, NAMI members have never had direct contact with their state lawmakers. The goal of the session is to familiarize participants with the state policies that have the greatest impact on access to mental health care, how those policies are decided, and how to get involved to positively influence these decisions. In particular, the objective is to provide a beginner’s guide to mental health advocacy.

In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Build an understanding of mental health policy issues and importance of being an mental health advocate, especially in the current economic climate.
  • Differentiate roles and responsibilities of key players in state government and key processes/dates that decide state mental health policy.
  • Explain easy-to-use advocacy tools and strategies to maximize your impact and how to further grow advocacy skills through NAMI trainings and other opportunities in the future. 

Why Advocate? Why Now? will be presented by Stephanie Pasternak.

Stephanie Pasternak is the Manager of State Affairs for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).  In her role with NAMI, Pasternak tracks and analyzes state mental health policy developments. Pasternak works closely with NAMI State Organizations to help advance their policy priorities, advise on advocacy strategy, and explain NAMI’s federal policy actions.

Please CLICK HERE to view the recording of Why Advocate? Why Now?


July 2020 – Who Ya Gonna Call? NAMI Helplines!

In this workshop, our presenters will share the value of NAMI HelpLines as providers of essential information, resources and peer support. No one is prepared for mental illness when it strikes but having a NAMI HelpLine to call makes a big difference. In this workshop, discover why HelpLines are special, the power of peers and learn about a new effort to align NAMI HelpLines across the Alliance. Together, NAMI HelpLines can offer better help and support to people contacting NAMI while supporting each other.

Individuals with lived experience of mental illness, family members, and mental health and provider professionals are welcome to attend and learn more about NAMI HelpLines!

Participants at this workshop will:

  • Learn about the unique value of peer informed resource and information development and peer support.
  • Learn about essential resources and information that will benefit their recovery.
  • Be motivated to volunteer and be a part of the NAMI HelpLines effort.

Who Ya Gonna Call? NAMI HelpLines! will be presented by Dawn Brown and Quinn Anderson.

Dawn is NAMI’s director of community engagement overseeing and directing the NAMI HelpLine. Her involved with NAMI spans 15 years as a NAMI Family-to-Family graduate, support group participant and for the past 9 years a member of the NAMI HelpLine team. She has a background in non-project project management.

Quinn is the NAMI HelpLine Manager who oversees operations and volunteer recruitment and training. She joined NAMI as a HelpLine volunteer before joining the staff. Quinn has professional experience as a legal recruiter.

Please CLICK HERE to view the recording of Who Ya Gonna Call? NAMI HelpLines!


Submit Your Proposal!

NAMI Kansas invites workshop proposals which help us stretch our vision and provide tools for taking the next steps consistent with our Conversations on Mental Health theme and our strategic roles and goals.  Workshop opportunities are 60 minutes in length and will require a PowerPoint style presentation to help visually engage the participants. NAMI Kansas staff will navigate the online platform experience.

Our strategic roles are 1) Educate and Support, 2) Advocate, 3) Lead the Conversation, and 4) Listen and Build our Community.

Our strategic goals are 1) People Get Help Early, 2) People Get the Best Possible Care, and 3) People Get Diverted from Justice Involvement.

We want to empower everyday heroes to make a difference at all levels of society, from the individual and family unit to the larger communities in which they live, and across the delivery systems which affect those living with mental illness. Workshop proposals should therefore include a description of the workshop content and a brief explanation of how the workshop aligns with one or more of our strategic roles and strategic goals.

While we are particularly interested in soliciting workshop proposals which are consistent with our 2020-2021 Online NAMI Kansas Conversations on Mental Health theme, we will entertain any meaningful proposals relating to emerging trends and best practices of interest to an audience largely comprised of individuals living with mental illness and their families. Areas of request include, but not limited to: Tele-health; Responding to COVID-19 Landscape and Mental Health; Strategies for Warm-Lines, Help-Lines, and Resource-Lines; Offering Support through Online Platforms and Strategies; Assisted Outpatient Treatment; Advocacy and Online Platforms; Crisis Intervention Teams and Initiatives; Living on Fixed Budget: Cooking, Healthy Meal Planning; Finding Work After Release from Prison; Crisis Intervention; Cultural Diversity; How Diet Impacts Mental Health; Overview of NAMI Signature Programs; Responding to the Needs of Veterans, Military Personnel, and Their Families; Strategies to Grow Affiliate Memberships; Peer Focus: Respite, Communication, Support, Recovery, and Peer Specialists; Specialized Mental Health Focus: Bi-polar Disorder, OCD, Anxiety; Children and Teens Focus.

All workshops will be offered on the third Friday of each month, 3pm – 4pm, US Central time, beginning July 17, 2020 through June 18, 2021, via GoToWebinar.

Submit your workshop proposal here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2020-2021_Online_Workshops

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