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2020 Conference: About the Theme

Why this theme?

At MHA, we work every day on addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. At the heart of everything we do is the belief in the strength and resiliency of the individual, communities, the power of peers, and that recovery is possible. 

It’s important when working towards recovery of mental illnesses and substance use disorders, we understand the root causes. We know that trauma can greatly impact a person’s mental health - whether it occurs in childhood or as an adult – and the effects of trauma can last for a lifetime. We know that often substance use disorders can also coexist with mental illnesses. We know caregivers and peers can play an integral role in recovery, and we know that if we focus on early identification and care for those who need it, we can change the trajectory of lives.

At MHA’s 2020 Conference:

  • We will examine the individual’s capacity to thrive amid adversity – and how communities are coming together to help address these issues.
  • We’ll talk about the recovery model in mental health care - centered on the belief that individuals with mental health conditions can lead full, rewarding, self-directed lives - and how peer support can be an effective and essential element of recovery-oriented mental health systems.
  • We’ll focus on cognitive, emotional and behavioral effects of childhood trauma, their long lasting impacts into adulthood, and how research shows trauma can cause permanent changes in the structure and chemical activity of a growing brain;
  • We’ll talk about how racism, anti-immigrant bias, anti-LGBTQ+ prejudice, and how other forms of discrimination can impact mental health and wellbeing;
  • We’ll dive into the principles of trauma-informed care – and how safety, trustworthiness, peer support, collaboration, empowerment, and cultural sensitivity must be incorporated into life-long services and supports for victims of trauma; and
  • We’ll learn about the work that communities are developing and implementing in response to the specific barriers experienced by diverse individuals dealing with mental illnesses and substance use disorders.