2021 Child, Adolescent and Transition Age Youth Mental Health Conference

///2021 Child, Adolescent and Transition Age Youth Mental Health Conference
2021 Child, Adolescent and Transition Age Youth Mental Health Conference 2021-02-10T17:45:33+00:00

Virtual Youth Mental Health Conference

NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania’s annual Child, Adolescent, and Transition Age Youth Mental Health Conference, Closing the Gap: Prioritizing the Needs of Traumatized Youth, took place virtually on Friday, February 5, 2021.

The online format featured speakers from NAMI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Aspen Institute, Complex Trauma Treatment Center Boston, UC Berkeley, UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, and more.

Participants from 11 different states and more than two dozen counties across Pennsylvania attended the event that examined the intersection between the pandemic and complex trauma, and the role trauma plays in rising suicide rates among marginalized youth. 

View the Conference Brochure

Attendees will have access to recorded sessions and presentations until March 7. Recordings are accessible from the Agenda tab on the Event Website. To view the recordings, you may have to log in using the email address and password you created to access the conference.

Continuing Education Credits were provided by the Education & Consultative Services of UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. Participants who requested CEUs are required to complete a brief evaluation by Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. A link is posted in the FAQ section of the Info Desk on the Event Website

If you have questions about the conference, email Sara at slsteinberg@namikeytonepa.org.

Conference Lineup

Opening Keynote Presentation

Coronavirus Pandemic: Coping Strategies for Youth With a History of Complex Trauma


Jana Pressley, PsyD, Director of Clinical Services, Complex Trauma Treatment Center Boston; Senior Training Associate, Foundation Trust.


Current events can trigger complicated and painful responses for youth with chronic relational trauma, or complex trauma. In this presentation, we will distinguish between complex trauma and acute, situational trauma. We will further describe some of the common symptoms and difficulties that complex trauma survivors have been facing during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Given the ongoing nature of the pandemic, individuals and families are feeling cumulative distress: grieving lost time with loved ones and managing disrupted life routines and annual traditions. We will discuss strategies for sustained coping, with a focus on how to build and maintain a sense of safety and connection to support youth and families during this time.

Panel Discussion

The Path Forward: Addressing Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Education for Marginalized Youth


Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., CEO,
National Alliance on Mental Illness

Michelle M. Johns, MPH, PhD, Health Scientist, Division of Adolescent and School Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble, Psychologist; Founder of the AAKOMA Project
Nikki Pitre, Exec. Dir., Center for Native American Youth, Aspen Institute


Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 – 24.¹  Statistics show that when you go deeper, marginalized youth are being impacted at an even greater rate. The suicide death rate among Black youth has been found to be increasing faster than any other racial/ethnic group.²  For Native/Indigenous youth between the ages of 15-19, the suicide death rate is more than double that of non-Hispanic white youth.³  Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.⁴

The numbers are staggering. It’s clear that the current one-size-fits-all approach to suicide prevention and mental health education isn’t working. So what is our path forward? How can we prioritize the needs of diverse youth? How can we adapt our discussions about mental health concerns to better engage all young people? Experts from across the country will discuss the unique risk factors and culturally competent protective factors of suicide.

Closing Keynote Presentation

Re-coding Your Life – Mental Health Fitness for Uncertain Times


Kai Koerber, Mental Health Activist; UC Berkeley, Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health, Board Member


Kai Koerber survived the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Following this tragedy, Kai turned his attention to mental health advocacy. He launched the nonprofit, Societal Reform Corporation, which pushes for mental health in schools, specifically the implementation of mindfulness, mental health training, and the use of neurotechnology tools for students in all grades and universities.

In his presentation, Re-coding Your Life – Mental Health Fitness for Uncertain Times, Kai will share his experience and talk about how he is using technology to connect with his peers to help them manage their mental health, especially negative emotions, to reduce stress and improve confidence.

Youth Mental Health Leadership Award

NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania would like to congratulate our 2021 Youth Mental Health Leadership Award recipient, Abigail Rickin-Marks. Abby, a senior in the Fox Chapel Area School District in Pittsburgh, received four nominations for her tireless work in her school and the community to raise mental health awareness and reduce stigma. 

Abby is the founder of The Second Floor Teen Wellness Committee at the Jewish Community Center, a group formed to empower teens to educate peers about different mental health topics and she serves as a teen advisory council member for UpStreet, a teen drop-in therapy service through the Pittsburgh Jewish Community and Family Services. Abby is also a student advocate with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Youth Advocacy Committee focused on teen mental health in southwestern Pennsylvania.  

Abby helped design and implement the “Igniting A Youth Advocacy Movement” that focused on destigmatizing mental health, building safe and inclusive communities in schools, and increasing school resources for mental health services. She has also spearheaded two social justice symposiums that focused on the intersection of social equity, diversity and inclusivity.  

Abby will be honored during the NAMI Keystone PA Child, Adolescent, and Transition Age Youth Mental Health Virtual Conference on Friday, February 5, 2021.

“Her warm and empathic approach as well as her openness about her experiences creates an environment that is welcoming to teens of all backgrounds.” 
–Deborah Murdoch, Jewish Healthcare Foundation 

Thank You to Our Exhibitors

Allegheny County Department of Human Services

Allegheny County Coalition for Recovery

Achieva Family Trust

Allegheny HealthChoices, Inc.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Beacon Health Options of Pennsylvania

Clarion Psychiatric Center

Community Behavioral Health

Every Child, Inc.

Harborcreek Youth Services

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and

Allegheny Health Network

Human Services Administration Organization

Pace School

Persoma Counseling Associates

Pittsburgh Mercy

resolve Crisis Services

Southwood Psychiatric Hospital

The Meadows Psychiatric Center

The Renfrew Center

Tower Behavioral Health and

Belmont Behavioral Hospital

UPMC for Kids

UPMC Health Plan

Community Care Behavioral Health

UPMC Western Behavioral Health

Western Psychiatric Institute/STAR Research

White Deer Run Treatment Network

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Supporter Sponsor

Prior Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conferences