When Mental Illness Hits Home

Friday, August 24
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Shrine Visitors Center
Cost:  $40 (lunch included)

Illinois Continuing Education Units  Offered for Attendance
5.25 CEUs, LCSW and LCPC – $35
5.25 CEUs, APN, RN, LPN – $35

This year’s conference will focus on the topic “Managing Mental Health Transitions.”  The morning keynote session will be led by a panel of speakers who will share their personal stories about the challenges they face in dealing with mental health transitions.  The morning and afternoon breakout sessions will be conducted by mental health professionals, who will lead discussions on life transitions, aging transitions and crisis management.  The afternoon general session will feature a performance by the comedy troupe “Stand Up For Mental Illness.”  Lunch will be provided, and is included in the registration fee.

The 2018 “When Mental Illness Hits Home” conference will provide valuable information and skills for anyone – individuals, families, caregivers and mental health professionals – who deals with issues having to do with mental health transitions.

Morning Keynote Presentation:  Managing Mental Health Transitions

Leslie Hellig Presenter:  Leslie Hellig
Leslie was born in Kittery, Maine into an Air Force family. She lived in several locations
before being stationed at Scott Air Force Base, where she met and married her husband
Christopher. They now make their home in Shiloh, Illinois.

Leslie earned an MBA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. For 26 years she
worked for the federal government as a Transportation Specialist before retiring in
2013. Since then she has been involved with various non-profit organizations, including
the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Karla Smith Behavioral Health and St. Nicholas
Catholic Church.

Jim and Doris Gagen Presenters:  Jim and Doris Gagen

Jim and Doris are the parents of nine children, two of whom were diagnosed at an
early age – Thomas with Asperger Syndrome and anxiety, and Jonathan with childhood
bipolar disorder. With the help of doctors, therapists, the “Navigate” program, and
their support group at Karla Smith Behavioral Health, they strive to keep balance and
stability in their lives as much as possible.

Jim is retired from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Doris spent several years as
a Foster Parent Support Specialist for Illinois DCFS.

Pat BreshearsPresenter:  Pat Breshears

Pat is a staff therapist at Karla Smith Behavioral Health. She is a Licensed Clinical
Professional Counselor, Licensed Practical Nurse, Certified Advanced Drug and Alcohol
Counselor, Mental Illness Substance Abuse Counselor and Certified Intervention
Professional. She has worked in all modalities of treatment, both adult and adolescent.

Pat is a successful and respected interventionist, consultant and contractor who travels
worldwide to help families and loved ones who need treatment. She is currently
president of the Association of Intervention Professionals.

Afternoon Keynote Presentation: Stand Up for Mental Health

Recovery Support Center presents “Emotional Relief through Comedy.” Comics from the Recovery Support
Center will discuss their mental health journeys through their stories and joke telling. Each comic has gone
through a course called Stand Up for Mental Health to learn how to become a comic.

Stand Up for Mental Health is run by founder David Granier of Vancouver, British Columbia. SUMH is a
program that teaches stand-up comedy to persons with mental health issues as a way of building self-esteem and
fighting public stigma.

Breakout Sessions
Change Is Loss: Strategies for Processing the Grief Associated with Significant Life Changes

This session will look at the ambiguous losses, unspoken grief and other stressors related to life’s transitions. It
will focus on the ways a person can acknowledge and effectively manage these losses. It will explore the issue
of allowing for loss, rituals to help process losses, and strategies for reducing avoidance and denial.

Chaz Franke, MSW, LCSW is a therapist for Chestnut Health Systems. His practice focuses on trauma and its
long-term effects. He specializes in psychodynamics, self-compassion and integrating Eastern thought and
philosophy into the therapeutic process. Chaz also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Masters in Social
Work program at Saint Louis University.

Transitions in Aging

The aging process leads to many transitions in health, lifestyle, mood and relationships. It is a frequent, yet
incorrect, assumption that aging leads to depression. Older age should be viewed not as a time of loss of value,
but as a time to use wisdom and skills to contribute to and stay connected with family and community.

Jodi Gardner, MSW, LCSW is a counselor and geriatric consultant for the Older Adult and Caregiver Counseling
Program at Southwestern Illinois College’s Programs and Services for Older Persons. She provides individual
counseling and resourcing sessions, and leads support groups and educational talks related to Alzheimer’s
disease and memory loss, caregiving, Parkinson’s disease, mood disorders and adjustment disorders in older adults.

Challenges for Disaster Mental Health

This session will focus on three main points in considering the role of mental health in responding to disasters: Why does disaster impact us so strongly? What possible manifestations of mental disturbance will we most likely confront, and how should we best respond for the recovery of the entire community? What are some of the most useful interventions we can prepare to use?

Darrell M. Coons, MDiv, CCISM, CTSS serves as Chaplain for several local fire departments. He is certified in Critical Incident Stress Management and is an Approved Instructor for the ICISF. He is a Certified Trauma Service Specialist, a member of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and a team leader for the St. Clair County Disaster Mental Health Volunteers.




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


Furry Friends Recovery
Karla Smith Foundation
Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation
Victorious Missionaries and many more!

For more information, contact 618-394-6270