The annual summer conference for 2018 was held at US Department of Veterans Affairs, New York Regional Office. The conference had three speakers focusing on mental health issues in three spheres.
The first presentation was by James Gibaldi (MS Neuroscience), Outreach Coordinator of the ThriveNYC initiative. This is a unique undertaking by the NYC Mayor’s office, under close guidance of the city’s first lady Chirlane McRay. ThriveNYC’s mission is to make mental health services accessible to all NYC residents. Among other services, the program offers short training opportunities to current qualified individuals, to become crisis counselors, or Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) providers. Mental Health First Aid providers are becoming and will continue to become a part of all communities across the 5 boroughs, who the City can call upon to support fellow New Yorkers in crisis. ThriveNYC also coordinates the free, 24/7, call/text/chat, counseling services, now most New Yorkers know as NYC Well.
The second speaker, Mary Liz McNamara (M.Ed, CRC) has worked in the field of rehabilitation as a service provider and advocate for many years. She currently is the Assistant Director at New York University Moses Center for Students with Disabilities
She elaborated the services that are available to NYU students with varied disabilities and reasonable accommodation needs that her office tries to address every semester.
The third speaker was Carolyn D’Aquila (LCSW, MPH), Social Work Supervisor,Manhattan AOT (Assisted Outpatient Treatment), NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She presented on what her office is responsible for in case
of New Yorkers who have been recognized to be in need of or mandated to be in mental health treatment
This is the time of the year when MetroNY NRA also presents awards to nominated rehabilitation service providers, advocates, academicians, or service recipients who have overcome insurmountable obstacles to become inspirations to others.
The first award of the way was presented to Ms. Ifeoma Okoba, a former service recipient and a rehabilitation counselor now.
The next award, the Dr. Alfred H. Schwartz and Iris Nelson-Schwartz Humanitarian Award, was presented to long time board member of NRA Metro Chapter and advocate of the field, Mr. Joseph Bruno.
The Rehabilitation Program of Distinction Award was given to Ready Willing and Able (RWA) rehabilitation agency. The award was accepted by Mr. Filipe Vargas, VP of Programs, The Doe Fund (standing in the right in the pic below).
And while there was still time, the MetroNY Chapter board members decided to present award of appreciation to out-going co-presidents, Ms. Wendy Hersh and Amrita Misra.