May 31, 2024 all-day

Webinar for Families with Disabilities in MassachusettsOnline event, May 31st, 2024, with the Parent Professional Advocacy League of Massachusetts. This year’s conference will feature the community gathering virtually to recognize the importance of lived experience, award the Children’s Mental Health Community Awards, and attending morning and afternoon workshops on a wide variety of topics within Children’s Mental Health.
* The 2024 Theme is “Pathways to Social Justice”.
* Speakers and topics are listed below, or visit the conference page link for more information.
For more information contact visit /www.eventbrite.com/e/ppals-13th-annual-childrens-mental-health-conference-tickets-793513378877?aff=oddtdtcreator  or contact 1 617-542-7860 or info@ppal.net  

Conference schedule

  • 9:30 AM -Welcome from PPAL Executive Director, Pam Sager, Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL)
  • 9:40 AM – Welcome from Department of Mental Health (DMH) Commissioner, DMH Commissioner Brooke Doyle, Department of Mental Health (DMH)
  • 9:45 AM – Keynote Presentation – Nieisha Deed, PureSpark Founder. Nieisha Deed is anemerging voice and leader in the mental health and wellness space in Boston and is working to advocate for mental wellness in Boston’s Black community.  As a person living with bipolar disorder, Nieisha understands all too well how important access to holistic support services and community are to one’s mental wellness.  She shares her personal story as a Black woman living with a mental Illness.
  •  10:45 AM – 1. The Fight to Stop Suicide. Karen Carreira, MA, LMHC, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.
  • 10:45 AM – 2. Keeping your Kid out of the Juvenile Justice System – Cristina F. Freitas, Esq., Deb Freitas, Esq., Freitas & Freitas, LLP. Review the data on juvenile justice involvement and strategies to keep your kid out of the juvenile justice system.
  • 10:45 AM – 3. Reducing Systemic Trauma: A Neuroscience-Aligned Approach to Discipline. Guy Stephens, Founder and Executive Director of AASR, Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint (AASR). Children with disabilities, Black children, and children with a trauma history are often subjected to systemic trauma. In this session, examine well-intentioned approaches and how they lead to systemic trauma. Reframe the idea and intent of discipline. Consider how traditional methods of discipline are failing kids and how a neuroscience-aligned approach can make a positive difference for children, teachers, and staff.
  • 10:45 AM – 4. Fundamentos Básicos de la Salud Mental.  Johana Rodriguez, Multicultural Outreach Coordinator, Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL). Tu salud mental es la clave para vivir una vida feliz y plena. No se trata solo de evitar las enfermedades mentales, sino de lograr un estado de bienestar en el que puedas prosperar y florecer. Al priorizar tu salud mental y la de tu familia, puedes manejar mejor el estrés diario, construir relaciones más sólidas y llevar una vida más productiva.
  • 10:45 AM – 5. Unleashing the Power of Parenting: Strategies for Nurturing An Intense Child, Celeste Viciere, LMHC. Are you struggling to understand and connect with your intense child? In this session, we will explore strategies for unleashing the power of parenting and fostering a nurturing environment for your intense child. Discover techniques to navigate their strong emotions and unique needs, empowering them to thrive in all aspects of life.
  • 10:45 AM – 6. Working with People with Substance Use Disorders and Supporting Recovery. Haner Hernandez, Ph.D., CPS, CADCII, LADCI. Explore Substance Use Disorders and their disproportionate impacts on individuals, families, and entire communities. Participants will learn about the development of disparities and need to address the Structural Determinants of Health as a way to Support Recovery and wellness. The multiple pathways of recovery will be explored, and the participants will learn about their roles in people in need, those seeking help, and recovery community utilizing an equity lens.
  • 12:30 PM – Children’s Mental Health Award Ceremony
  • 12:50 PM – 7. Achieving Optimal Health and Wellness: Embracing a Holistic Mindset. Celeste Viciere, LMHC.  Embracing a holistic mindset is the key to unlocking our true potential. By considering the interconnectedness of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being, we can create a harmonious balance that promotes overall wellness. Explore the power of embracing a holistic approach to living a vibrant and fulfilling life.
  • 12:50 PM – 8. The Transformational Power of Student-Led IEPs. Katrina Delaney, M.Ed., Empowered Pathways. Student-led Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) empower students, increase self-efficacy, improve student and teacher relationships, strengthen school and family partnerships, and prepare youth with disabilities to transition to adulthood successfully. This workshop aims to share best practices and case studies from districts that have utilized Student-led IEPs to encourage these practices in Massachusetts.
  • 12:50 PM – 9. Early Psychosis: Symptoms, Identification, and Treatment. Emily Gagen, PhD – Director of M-PATH, Tanya Trevett, M.Ed. – M-PATH Family Partner, Sarah Dreyfus – M-PATH Young Adult Peer Mentor. This presentation aims to provide participants with information about common symptoms of psychosis and what kinds of signs to look for to indicate that a young adult may be experiencing psychosis. Review specialized treatment approaches for early psychosis and discuss a new referral and triage program (Massachusetts Psychosis Access and Triage Hub, or M-PATH) that can help to connect clients, families, and providers to these types of resources.
  • 12:50 PM – 11. Taller de Derechos Básicos Ruth de la Cruz, Information-Outreach Specialist, Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN)
  • 12. Cultural Considerations in Supporting Caribbean Families. Tamara Leroy-London, LICSW, Healing with Trust Therapy, Healing & Wellness: Empowering Migrant Minds. This workshop will explore mental health from a cultural lens and will be led by a first generation Haitian-American psychotherapist. Participants will learn best practices in supporting Caribbean families for best treatment outcomes.
  • 10. Eating Disorders and Anxiety Disorders: Overlap, Differences and Treatment – Ally Emig, LCSW-S, CEDS, RYT, Education Specialist, National Alliance for Eating Disorders. Participants will get an overview of eating disorders and anxiety disorders. The importance of proper assessment and treatment will be highlighted. Resources will be offered for connecting individuals to care when a referral to a specialist or higher level of care is warranted.


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