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 An annual conference to help those journeying with people with mental illness

Due to space limitations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be presenting a virtual conference this year.

Friday, August 28
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Hosted by the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
VIRTUAL Conference
Registration Cost:  $15
IL CEUs (for mental health professionals): $10

Illinois Continuing Education Units Offered for Attendance

When Mental Illness Hits Home Brochure
Mental Health Facts Resources


Where’s the Shrink? (And Why Do I Need One Anyway?): Challenges with Access to Mental Health Care

American culture has skewed people’s perception of mental illness. From “pull yourself up by your boot straps” to “you’re crazy,” people don’t understand the true nature of mental illness.  This misunderstanding has led to stigma, bias and structural inequities when attempting to access care. We will explore the biological basis, prevalence, and efficacy of treatment for mental illness. We will also address the challenges that exist for people who seek mental health care – from lack of providers to unfair insurance coverage. This first session will explore the challenges people face when seeking mental health care and set the stage for the second session.


Psychiatry as Mainstream Medicine: How to Make Access to Psychiatric Care as Easy as Access to Any Other Medical Specialty

The mental health system of care has developed completely separate from the rest of medicine. Recent trends and deliberate efforts, however, are returning psychiatry to the House of Medicine. We will explore efforts that are improving access to mental health treatment.  These efforts range from policy and advocacy to the actual delivery of services. Attendees will understand new ways that people can access mental health services and efforts they can participate in to improve the system of care.

Keynote Presenter: Kari Wolf, MD

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Dr. Kari Wolf joined SIU School of Medicine in 2016 to serve as Chair of Psychiatry. She came to SIU from Austin, TX, where she built the psychiatry department to support the new University of Texas Austin Dell Medical School. Dr. Wolf served as CEO of Seton Mind Institute, CMO for Seton Shoal Creek Hospital and as Associate Professor of Medicine at UT Austin. Prior to the creation of UT Austin Dell Medical School, Dr. Wolf led the Austin Psychiatry Department for UT Southwestern Medical School. During her tenure in Austin, she dramatically expanded educational programs for psychologists, psychopharmacologists, medical students and psychiatry residents and fellows. She also led the development of numerous new clinical services including outpatient clinics, telemedicine, integrated behavioral health clinics, consult-liaison services, school-based services and a psychiatric emergency department.

Dr. Wolf completed a psychiatry residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after earning her medical degree at the University of Iowa. Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, she is a member of numerous organizations including the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry. Dr. Wolf has significant expertise in curriculum development, mentoring, quality improvement processes, health policy development, change management and strategic planning.


Overwhelmed, Overloaded, Overwrought: Navigating a Year of Changes and Uncertainty with Awareness and Mindfulness

Mental health can be hard to balance on a good day. This year has brought many situations that can be challenging, to say the least. When all of these things pile up at the same time, we can very quickly feel like we’re in it alone. A starting point to find our way through difficult times is to become more aware. Together, we will explore how to move “From Isolation to Inclusion” by shifting from mindlessness and mind fullness to mindfulness.

Presenter: Brittany McCrady, LCSW

Brittany McCrady is currently a Clinical Manager for Outpatient Services at Centerstone in Alton, IL. She continues to work with clients in therapy as well, using her experience navigating most mental health and substance use needs. Mindfulness is a beneficial method she uses with clients and staff, and practices it on her own.

Schedule for the Virtual Conference

9:00 am
Welcome by Tom Smith

9:15 – 10:30 am
Dr. Kari Wolf – Where’s the Shrink? with Q & A

10:30 – 10:45 am

10:45 – 11:45 am
Brittany McCrady – Overwhelmed, Overloaded,
; Q & A if time

11:45 – 12:00 noon

12:00 – 1:00 pm
Dr. Kari Wolf – Psychiatry as Mainstream Medicine, Q & A if time

1:00 pm
Closing by Tom Smith




Chestnut Health Systems
NAMI Southwestern Illinois
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
St. Clair County Mental Health Board

For more information, contact 618-394-6281