21st Annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (Spring)

On May 5th, 2022, MHA held our 21st annual in-person Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (ECWS), formerly known as the Community Mental Health Conference. This marks our official move for the symposium to coincide with May’s Mental Health Awareness month.  The theme “The Pandemic State of Mental Health” was our focus for this event, and will continue in our virtual fall event taking place on Thursday, November 10th, 2022.

Thank you to our Keynote speakers Priscilla Murphy and Lisa Savage who graciously shared their time and expertise with all those attending.  It would not be an understatement to say that COVID-19 has changed the landscape of not only mental health but our society as we all have been challenged in unique and unprecedented ways.  We are so grateful to our Keynote speakers who both on and off stage are providing the kind of leadership and vision that can guide individuals, families and communities forward in these uncertain times.  We also want to express gratitude to our Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long for delivering the opening remarks for the symposium and her continual efforts to advocate for mental health awareness, education and support throughout Delaware.  

The Empowering Community Wellness Symposium Planning Council would also like to extend a special recognition to Planning Council member Dona Mesko, who will be retiring this May.  Through the many changes that the symposium undertook, Dona has been a consistent participant, leader and voice on the Planning Council.  Thank you for always going above and beyond!

MHA and the Planning Council would like to thank all of our community allies who helped to make this event possible through sponsorship.  We could not have done this without you!

Prevailing Sponsors:
Greenbrook TMS Neurohealth Center
• 
Dover Behavioral Health System
• Rockford Center

Partner Sponsors:
Thriveworks
Lisa D. Thornton

Joint Sponsors:
• Jewish Family Services
Delaware Nurses Association

To our previous attendees and future participants, please remember to mark your calendars for Thursday, November 10th, 2022 and join us for our virtual fall Empowering Community Wellness Symposium!

We would like to thank the following individuals who participated in the conference:

Opening Speakers: 
• Emily Vera • Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long

MC:
• Frank Hawkins 

Keynote Speakers:
• Priscilla Murphy • Lisa Savage

Closing Speaker:
• Dr. LaKeetra Josey

ECWS Committee Members:
•  Jason Coleman • Jennifer Seo • Dona Mesko • Ismay Miller • Jennifer Wendell • Jenna Hoffman • Sophia Llopiz •  Celine Jeun •  Shea Marriott • Matia Bryan • LaKeetra Josey • Monica Shockley-Porter • Frank Hawkins • Desmond Wynn • Onika Harris • Norwood Coleman • Nishelle Hines • John Roland • Adeyimika Isichei

20th Annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (Fall)

“The Empowering Community Wellness Symposium provided a refreshing surge of encouragement during a pandemic. Offering a unique combination of mental health research and self-care exercises, the panel discussion was a masterclass for anyone interested in supporting Delaware’s mental wellness. A big thank you to the MHA staff for making the event warm, inviting, and enjoyable—I can’t wait for next year’s conference!” – Celine Jeun

On November 18, 2021, MHA held our first in-person Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (ECWS), formerly known as the Community Mental Health Conference. We held a panel discussion that allowed our speakers and participants opportunity to discuss two intriguing topics: Normalizing Therapy and Resources and Disparities in Treatment.

Thank you to our speakers for sharing their time and expertise to make this a one-of-a-kind event! As a part of our 20th year anniversary, this event was the second Empowering Community Wellness Symposium held in 2021. Looking forward, the ECWS will continue to be held in-person in the spring and virtually for the fall event.

The Empowering Community Wellness Symposium Planning Council would also like to extend a special thank you to the Riverfront Events Center staff. Amidst the current health pandemic, their efforts helped make the event safe and comfortable for our participants and speakers. Mark your calendars for May 5th, 2022 as we return in-person to celebrate May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Please check back for registration details and information on how you or your organization can become an ally through sponsorship.

From being involved in the planning committee, I got the chance to observe firsthand the hard work that went into brainstorming, outreaching, collaborating and advertising for the Empowering Community Wellness Symposium. It was incredibly rewarding to see the committee’s dedication and commitment pay off at the conference. The conference offered a wide range of perspectives and expertise to reflect upon the impact of COVID, treatment disparities, resources and recommendations. I am excited to see the conference continually evolve, and uphold the tradition of educating, supporting and empowering the community!” – Jennifer Wendell

We would like to thank the following individuals who participated in the conference:

Opening Speaker:
• Emily Vera

Moderators:
• Frank Hawkins • Monica Shockley-Porter

Panelist Speakers:
• Nineka Dyson • David Frye • Rebecca Roebke• Stacy Shamburger • Alexus Sheppherd • Shanelle Sotilleo• Lena Queen

MC & Closing Speaker:
• Dr. LaKeetra Josey

ECWS Committee Members:
•  Jason Coleman • Jennifer Seo • Dona Mesko • Jennifer Wendell •  Celine Jeun •  Shea Marriott • Matia Bryan • LaKeetra Josey • Monica Shockley-Porter • Frank Hawkins • Desmond Wynn • Onika Harris • Norwood Coleman • Nishelle Hines • John Roland • Adeyimika Isichei

20th Annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (Spring)

On May 6, 2021, MHA held the 20th Annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (ECWS), formerly known as the Community Mental Health Conference. The symposium was held virtually for the first time ever due to the pandemic. Marking the 20th anniversary of the conference, the small shift in name highlights what has always been the core goal of the event: empowering and improving our community by providing access to resources, timely information and an opportunity to connect with leading pioneers in mental health.

The keynote was delivered by Lisa R. Savage, LCSW, who spoke on the topic of “Disrupting Systems that Reinforce Trauma and Racism”. A panel discussion followed the keynote focusing on the impact of the Coronavirus Health Pandemic on a number of supportive services industries that directly relate to mental health. Each panel member brought a wealth of experience and insight into the areas of Healthcare, Therapeutic Services, and Higher Education.

The first virtual symposium brought 84 individuals from all throughout the state of Delaware together for the half-day event. As part of the 20th year anniversary, the ECWS planning committee plans and hopes to have a second related in-person event later this year. More details on the event will follow, so please make sure you are subscribed to our email list, which you can sign up for at MHA Chats – Mental Health Association in Delaware.

 19th Annual Community Mental Health Conference

In November 2019, MHA sponsored the 19th Annual Community Mental Health Conference in Wilmington, DE.  The conference was held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront and focused on the theme of “The Mental Health System: Through the Ages”.  Workshops focused on a range of topics including gender and sexuality in the Latinx community, depression and suicide among the elderly, ACE’s informed care for youth, and connections between trauma and substance use disorders.

The event was devoted to increasing the ability of the participants to access resources and a deeper understanding of some topics that can have significant mental health implications throughout the lifespan.  The community members, mental health consumers and providers who attended enjoyed interactive workshops, a panel discussion on the evolution of the Peer Support model in Delaware and a keynote address by Priscilla Murphey on Intergenerational Mental Health Issues.