NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania’s fourth annual Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference took place on Friday, February 28, 2020, at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott. Nearly 400 people attended the conference, “Resilient Youth: Strategies to Overcome Adversity” and exhibitors from 52 organizations were there to provide resources.
The conference is one of the only events in the region specializing in youth mental health. Participants from all over the country attend to learn about the newest research and best practices to assist and advance the mental health needs of young children, adolescents, and young adults.
2020 Conference Presenters
Keynote Presenter: Suzanne A. Levy, PhD, Drexel University
This year’s event featured keynote speaker, Suzanne A. Levy, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and director of the Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) Training Program at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. Dr. Levy’s presentation focused on suicide prevention and how parents, caregivers, and educators can communicate with a young person who is experiencing depression and/or suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Morning Plenary: Kate Fitzsimons
NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania also welcomed international youth speaker, student resilience specialist, and certified life coach Kate Fitzsimons. Kate shared her personal story of how she overcame anxiety, an eating disorder, and the death of her sister by turning her despair into a drive to persevere. Kate also explained her three-step strategy to help young people take back a sense of control over how they’re feeling and reacting, even when there’s nothing they can do about what they think is causing it.
Kate, who is originally from Australia, is now based out of Princeton, N.J. and she’s touring schools around our region. If you’re interested in more details, email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Advocate: Elle Snyder
NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania presented its first-ever Youth Mental Health Leadership award to Elle Snyder, a junior in the Upper St. Clair School District. Elle is a founding member of the Student Wellness Steering Committee, a group that works to raise mental health awareness at the high school. Elle also delivered the presentation, Creating a Movement: Why Young Voices Matter, where she described why youth voices are critical in starting the conversation among their peers. Elle highlighted the progress that she and other advocates are making to better help fellow students achieve mental and physical wellness.