I’m thrilled to announce that Diane Kratt, Joe and Elizabeth Meyer and Greg Arms will be writing blogs for us about the National Alliance on Mental Illness convention. More than a dozen of you answered my request for correspondents to cover NAMI’s convention on June 27th to 30th in San Antonio, Texas. Thanks so much.
Diane Kratt is a native of Fort Myers, Florida and has worked as an educator for the past 25 years, most recently as an instructor in the College of Education at Florida Gulf Coast University and as the coordinator of the Level 1 Student
Teaching experience. She is married to Jim and has a blended family with three sons. She became involved in NAMI seven years ago through its Family to Family class. Not long after that, she became a board member for NAMI Lee County. She has served the board as secretary and is currently the president. Her passion for education and mental health has put her on the path to increase mental health awareness and services in the schools. She established a Children’s Mental Health Conference for the university which is currently planning its 3rd annual event. Diane is working to further the training of pre-service teachers in the area of mental health and hopes to contribute quality research to the field as she pursues her doctorate degree.
Joseph and Elizabeth Meyer live in Austin, Texas. Joe is an employee at Texas State University and Beth is a former human resources professional who stays home to care for their children. Joe wrote, “Our interest in the NAMI Convention is strongly related to experiences as the adoptive parents of a child who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type-I with psychotic features when he was 7 years old. Our perspectives on issues like parenting, nature, nurture, morality, dogma, criminal justice, and homelessness have changed dramatically as a result of what we’ve seen.
Mostly, we’re a lot less certain and a lot less judgmental about everything!” In an effort to educate young people about the complexities associated with the problem of mental illness in our country, Joe is organizing a Common Experience program called ‘Minds Matter: Exploring Mental Health and Illness’ at Texas State University that will offer an academic year of presentations, discussions, and workshops on the topic of mental illness. This program and the work that has gone into organizing it are the topics of a poster presentation at the NAMI Convention. A webpage with more information about the Common Experience topic can be found at www.txstate.edu/commonexperience and a Facebook page is available at www.facebook.com/MentalHealthandIllness.