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Mental Health America 2017 Annual Conference: Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll

2017 Conference Logo

Thank You for Making It Such a Success!

Over 800 people from across the United States joined us in Washington, DC June 14-16, 2017 to talk about Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll. It was an amazing event!

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here is some of what you missed:

United States Senator Al Franken opened with his story about how he became a champion for mental health in the Senate, and Patrick and Amy Kennedy spoke with Paul about the experiences that led them to form the Kennedy Forum, and where they hope to take the field.

Sen. Al Franken. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,     Sen. Al Franken with Paul Gionfriddo. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,     Patrick and Amy Kennedy. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,    Patrick Kennedy book signing. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,

Singer and actress Michelle Williams not only shared her story, but also performed a cappella for the audience.

Michelle Williams. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,    Michelle Williams. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,

MHA gave Legislator Awards to Senator Bill Cassidy, Senator Chris Murphy, Representative Tim Murphy, and Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson to thank them making mental health reform a part of the 21st Century Cures Act.

Sen. Chris Murphy. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,     Sen. Cassidy and Rep. Johnson. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,    Rep. Tim Murphy. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,  

The Clifford Beers Awards Dinner kicked off with a musical performance by Maya Kuper & Paul McComas of the Dayna Clay Band, followed by speeches from MHA awardees Brandon Staglin, Kate Mahoney, and Nadia Ghaffari. Thank you as well to Bob Gebbia from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for partnering with us and delivering remarks!

2017 Beers, Brudney, mPower Award Winners. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,   Dayna Clay Band. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,   Bob Gebbia, AFSP. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,

Doreen Gentzler of NBC4-Washington moderated MHA’s Media Awards, which went to Gemma Correll, Jaclyn Cosgrove, Ben Selkow, David Solomon, and One Day At A Time (Netflix).

2017 Media Award Winners. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,  

Glennon Doyle joined us again, and a lot happened in her life since she last spoke at MHA’s Conference two years ago. She shared her journey since then and what she found along the way, some of which can be found in her new book, Love Warrior.

Glennon Doyle, Jennifer Butler. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,    Glennon Doyle. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,       

Senator Tim Kaine told the audience about his path toward becoming a mental health champion, as well as how he plans to use his new committee position in the Senate to fight for needed reforms.

Sen. Tim Kaine with MHA staff. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,    Sen. Tim Kaine. Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,   

This does not even include the fabulous breakout sessions on topics as diverse as “Very Special K - A Little Goes a Long Way,” “Sex Addiction and Recovery,” and “Song of Compassion: Supporting Musicians and Access to Care.” We also got to hear from MHA’s own Patrick Hendry about MHA’s new Center for Peer Support and Theresa Nguyen on Screening to Supports.


If you missed the conference, you can check out some of the breakout presentations here

We look forward to seeing all of you again next year, same time, same place - June 14-16 in the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill!


(*All photos - Laura DeSantis-Olsson Photography,