9th Annual Family Mental Health and Addiction Conference

family conference imageThe 9th Annual Family Conference Presents Groundbreaking Clinical and Practical Advice for Mental Health and Addiction Service-Users, Families and Professionals Day-Long Event Features Powerful Personal Stories of Recovery Alongside Keynote Presentations by Award-Winning Researchers and Clinicians.  (You can download the poster here)

The Family Advisory Committee (FAC) to Vancouver Coastal Mental Health and Addictions Services (VCMHAS) proudly presents its expansive 9th Annual Family Conference: Family Involvement in the Mental Health System on Saturday, April 26, 8:30am – 4:30pm, at Vancouver General Hospital’s Paetzold Theatre. This illuminating symposium offers a wide-range of current and cutting-edge perspectives from the spectrum of healthcare, including presentations by service users, clinicians, doctors, researchers and family members.

“Recognizing the numerous studies that have shown how family and community involvement are key factors in preventing and treating serious mental illness and addictions, the FAC organized this important conference to provide a critical forum for discussing the issues faced by family members and their loved ones,” says Rebecca Sharma, Co-Chair of the FAC.

“This conference provides an exciting opportunity for Vancouverites to have a voice within their own health care system, and for our community to hear personal stories of hope and recovery.”

Highlights include:

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bill Honer, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS Psychosis: Brain and/or Mind? This morning keynote presentation will provide context for the day’s discussions, illustrating how psychiatry is the key discipline using the Brain and Mind concept, and how the Brain or Mind concept can be problematic.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Evan Wood, MD PhD, ABIM, FRCP Mobilizing Families and Communities to Improve Care for People with Addiction This presentation will discuss structural barriers to quality care for patients and families facing challenges with substance dependence. These barriers include limitations of the medical education system, research and the healthcare system.

Breakout Session: Suicide Prevention – We Can Save Lives by Dr. Tyler Black, MD, FRCPC Suicide remains a leading cause of death in Canada, and far outranks the fatalities of any medical illness. There have been a number of trends to note lately: in the detection of suicide, in the assessment of suicide, and in the treatments offered for suicidal individuals. Dr. Black will outline these recent trends, put them into the context of the statistics of suicide, and provide avenues for both access and treatment. This is an interactive session and participation by attendees is encouraged.

Breakout Session: The Power of Peer Support, Stories of Recovery By Erin Emiru (nee Hawkes) and Lee MacPherson Erin Emiru (nee Hawkes) was raised in New Brunswick, studied (BSc) in Halifax, and moved to Vancouver to pursue a Master’s degree in Neuroscience at UBC. Despite a diagnosis in 2001 of schizophrenia, numerous hospitalizations, and several antipsychotic medication trials, she graduated in 2005. Since then, Erin’s memoir, When Quietness Came: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey with Schizophrenia, was published in 2012. She currently works as a Peer Support Coordinator at one of VCH’s Assertive Community Treatment teams. Lee MacPherson is a Peer Support Worker with Vancouver Coastal Health and has been involved with several service organizations since 2008. He attends five Mood Disorders Association of British Columbia support groups some weeks, and facilitates three of those. He has been an information and referral volunteer with 411 Seniors’ Centre in Vancouver, and has also volunteered for the Canadian Mental Health Association, Quest Food Exchange and the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association.

Breakout Session: Factors and Management in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) by Dr. Evelyn Stewart, MD Dr. Evelyn Stewart is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia and is the founding director of the Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic and Research Program at B.C. Children and Women’s Health Centre. She is a clinical, genetic and neuroscience researcher, as well as a child and adult psychiatrist. Her research focuses on genomic, phenotypic, and treatment aspects of childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Dr. Stewart has authored over 50 original papers, reviews and chapters on genetic, clinical, and treatment aspects of OCD, Tourette’s Disorder, and related illnesses. She sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of the International OCD Foundation, on the Medical Advisory Board of the Tourette Syndrome Association and is Co-director of the International OCD Foundation Genetics Collaborative.

Breakout Session: Family Caregivers: Resilience in the Face of Adversity by Catherine St. Denise and Sharon Marmion, MSW The anxiety and fear that often accompanies the unpredictable course of addiction and mental illness has a significant impact on families. The ongoing experiences of grief and loss, the frustration of coping with a system that is inconsistent in its engagement and response to family members, and the challenges of supporting a loved one who has limited or no insight into his or her illness are common themes identified within the body of research exploring the experiences of family caregivers. More recently, researchers have begun to identify that many family caregivers also describe experiences of personal growth and change emerging from the stress and adversity they have faced as caregivers. This session will present both current research and a mother’s personal perspective on resilience in the face of adversity.

Closing Session: Panel Discussion: Family Perspectives Back by popular demand! This powerful panel discussion features four family members with loved ones living with a serious mental illness. Each panelist will share their personal story, outline services they found particularly useful, and offer ideas for improvements to service areas. An open mic Q & A session will follow their presentation – audience member participation is encouraged!

The FAC gratefully acknowledges the support of Vancouver Coastal Health, British Columbia Schizophrenia Society, From Grief to Action, and the Mood Disorder Association of British Columbia.

About the Family Advisory Committee The FAC is comprised of individual family members, mental health and addiction organizations, and mental health care and addiction professionals functioning as an advisory body to Vancouver Coastal Mental Health and Addictions Services. The FAC works toward developing a stronger culture of client and family-centred care, advocating for a stronger voice for families in care and treatment, strengthening the supports provided to families and service users, and representing the family perspective.

Date: Saturday, April 26, 2014 8:30am – 4:30pm

Ticket prices: $45 Individual / $130 Family (of 4) Network Lunch – Additional $15 (must be pre-booked)

Address: Vancouver General Hospital Paetzold Theatre 899 West 12 Avenue Vancouver, BC

Registration: Limited Seating

Pre-registration recommended at http://www.annualfamilyconference.com

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