2017 Speaker Series: REAL Conversations about Mental Health and Mental Illness

A speaker series focusing on resilience, addiction and reducing stigma. 

Even in Marin: Exploring Addiction in our protected community
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, sanctuary

"What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong?" Those are the wrenching questions that haunted every moment of journalist David Sheff's journey through his son Nic's addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic Sheff became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings.

In 2008, Marin County resident David Sheff and son Nic released twin New York Times best-selling memoirs: Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines. The books quickly rose to New York Times Best Seller status and helped spark a national conversastion about addiction and recovery. 

In their latest books, the father/son duo explore the progression of the recovery journey in both their lives. David's research-based storytelling in Clean seeks to understand the root causes of addiction and path to recovery. We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction, tells the story of Nic's continued recovery process, including eye-opening stays at rehab centers, devastating relapses, and hard-won realizations about what it means to be a young person living with addiction.

Join David and Nic for an engaging conversation on addiction and recovery in families, and learn what you can do to address substance abuse in our Marin community.

Embracing the Stranger: Overcoming Fear and Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness
With Liza Long
Thursday, March 23, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, sanctuary

"When my second son's increasingly erratic and even dangerous behavior was finally diagnosed as bipolar disorder, he had already been in juvenile detention four times, and he had three stays in an acute care mental hospital. He was only 13 years old.

I did not know how to help him then. But I did know one thing for sure: my son was not a bad kid... As I fought for justice for my own child, I learned that we were not alone in our struggle."

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five children will experience a mental health challenge before age 18, and half of us will experience a mental health challenge in our lifetimes. Yet for many, the stigma and discrimination of mental illness is as bad, if not worse, than the diagnosis itself.

Join Liza Long - author, educator, and mother of four children, one of whom lives with bipolar disorder - for a personal discussion on ending the stigma of mental illness, including real solutions for children and families.

Liza's book, The Price of Silence: A Mom's Perspective on Mental Illness was a 2015 "Books for a Better Life" award winner. Since her essay, I am Adam Lanza's Mother, went viral, she has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Erin Burnett Out Front, Anderson Cooper 360. Dr. Oz, the Diane Rehm Show, NPR's Weekend Edition, and other programs. Liza holds an M.A. in Classics from UCLA and an Ed.D in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University. Her dissertation research focused on mental health advocacy and leadership strengths. Liz is a president of NAMI-Boise and sits on the board of the International Bipolar Foundation. She encourages everyone to speak up for children's mental health.