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Mental Health America's Annual Conference


MHA's 2016 Annual Conference: Media, Messaging and Mental Health will take an in-depth look at the impact and influence of media and the entertainment industry on the complex issues of mental health and mental illness. With a particular focus on film, television, the digital landscape and the press, we will explore the good and the bad of portrayals on the big and small screen; how celebrity can be used to influence the conversation; how  messaging and language can sometimes contribute to and perpetuate the destructive stigma and discrimination of people living with mental illness; and how mental health advocates can work together to change the conversation.

Mental Health America (MHA) – founded in 1909 – is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention for all, early  identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated health, behavioral health and other services for those who need them, and recovery as a  goal. our work is guided by the Before Stage 4 (#B4Stage4) philosophy – that mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach  the  most critical points in the disease process. When we think diseases like cancer or heart disease, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before  Stage 4—we begin with prevention, identify symptoms, and develop a plan of action to reverse and hopefully stop the progression of the disease.We  need to address these symptoms early, identify the underlying disease, and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health.

The Annual Conference is designed to provide educational opportunities for a diverse group of individuals and organizations working to advocate for and implement innovative interventions within the Before Stage 4 philosophy. Each year, Mental Health America’s Conference brings together advocates, educators, researchers, business and community leaders, Members of Congress and the Administration, and health professionals from across the country. Past speakers include Tipper Gore, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Rosalynn Carter, Glenn Close, Glennon Doyle Melton, George Stephanopoulos, and entertainer Demi Lovato.


Missed our 2015 Conference? Check out our recap below:

On June 3-5, 2015 MHA welcomed over 600 participants to our 2015 Annual Conference: Intervention and Innovation Before Stage 4, where they heard from speakers including United States Surgeon General VADM Vivek Murthy; U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Christopher Murphy, Representative Tim Murphy (PA-18), Glennon Doyle Melton, and many other leaders and advocates around the country within the mental health community. Attendees of the Clifford Beers Awards Dinner even got a surprise when the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama (via video) opened the program with a special message for the group and thanked everyone for their commitment to addressing mental health before Stage 4.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy     Paul Gionfriddo

Debbie Stabenow     Pam Hyde, Tom Insel, Brandon Staglin, Paul Gionfriddo

Throughout the conference, we highlighted the impact MHA and our affiliates have had in improving mental health in America, and the challenges and opportunities in the years ahead. We examined innovations and programs that will play a vital role in shaping the future of mental health care.

Glennon Doyle Melton and Angie Goff     Rep. Tim Murphy

We discussed the critical need to address those initial signs of a mental illness—before Stage 4—so that we can intervene early and make a difference. We heard from many individuals about their own personal struggle and triumph in the face of mental health problems; and we premiered the ITN Productions/ABC program, #B4Stage4.

Terrie Williams      Doreen Gentzler

Dwight Hollier      Senator Chris Murphy


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