asha international mental health

We Give Hope

Speakers

An Invitation to Breath & Presence – Diana Hulet

Diana Hulet began her study of yoga at a young age with books written by healers and meditation practitioners – gifted to her by her mother.  Her father taught her the beauty and connection found in the natural world.  After taking her first formal yoga class as a college course in 1990, she committed to engaging both the physical and the mental discipline of a daily practice.  Diana continued her studies at the Integral Yoga Institute in New York, then eventually moved West and completed a 200-hour teacher training at the Center for Yoga in Los Angeles.

With the support of her teachers, and a healthy amount of ambition, Diana moved to Portland and began her teaching practice in 2004.  While she has been influenced by many luminaries across the tradition of yoga, Diana has always seen the unpredictable and beautiful circumstances of life as her greatest teacher.  In 2007, she co-founded The Bhaktishop Yoga Center in Southeast Portland, teaching weekly classes, retreats and teacher training programs. As her teaching life flourished, Diana’s personal life took a drastic turn; in 2010, Diana was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her willingness to persevere through the uncertainty and distinct beauty of having a chronic illness informs her teachings and keeps her focus on yoga as both a transformative and accessible practice. Learn more at https://www.dianahulet.com/

Stepping into healing

In spring of 2019, after 19 years as a clinician and manager of behavioral health services, Ebony Clarke has taken over the very agency that supported her mother’s choice to change. What she learned throughout her upbringing shaped the way Clarke leads — with a deep faith in God, an ingrained sense of responsibility, a passion for equity and a willingness to be vulnerable, take risks and carry on. “If you communicate, build trust and cultivate relationships, you can do anything,” Clarke said. “It’s about creating a level platform where people can have a voice.” Come and hear how Clarke leverages lived experience to support others who are stepping into their journey of healing, hope and recovery.

Ebony Clarke, Director of Multnomah County Mental Health and Addictions Services Division, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who has 20 years of experience working in both the publicly funded and non-profit behavioral health arena developing services and supports, providing leadership, organizational development, people management, and equity and inclusion. Ebony joined Multnomah County’s Mental Health and Addiction Services Division 2010, stepping-in as the Senior Manager of Direct Clinical Services. Before joining the county, she worked as a Service Director of Child and Family Services at Lifeworks NW. In that role, she oversaw child and family outpatient mental health, prevention, and culturally-specific adult mental health and addiction services.

Ebony earned a Bachelor of Arts from University of Oregon in Community and Human Services in 1999, and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Portland State University in 2001. In April 2013, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber appointed Ms. Clarke to the Oregon State Board of Licensed Social Workers, where she currently serves as the Chair. She also currently volunteers her time on the Lake Oswego School District Board Appointed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committer serving as one of the Co-Chairs. Ebony’s mission is to build and support a continuum of care that yields equitable and quality services to promote individual, family and community healing and wellbeing. During her off time, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 17 years Matt, and their two son’s Matteo and Miles ages 12 and 7.

From Adversity to Advocacy: A Personal and Political Perspective on Navigating a Bipolar Life.

Writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author, Melody Moezzi will share her deeply personal experiences both struggling and thriving with bipolar disorder. In addition to sharing her own experiences, she will also discuss advocacy and intersectionality in the fight against sanism and ableism. 

Melody Moezzi is an Iranian-American Muslim activist, attorney, and award-winning author living with bipolar disorder. She is a visiting professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, a United Nations Global Expert, and an Opinion Leader for the British Council’s Our Shared Future initiative. She is the author of Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life and War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims—as well as a longtime columnist for bp Magazine. Her next book, The Rumi Prescription: How an Ancient Mystic Poet Changed My Modern Manic Life, is set for publication on March 3, 2020 from an imprint of Penguin Random House. Moezzi’s essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian, among many other outlets. She has also appeared as a commentator on many radio and television programs, including NPR, CNN, BBC and others. Melody is a graduate of Wesleyan University (BA), the Emory University School of Law (JD), and the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health (MPH). She lives between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Wilmington, North Carolina with her husband, Matthew, and their ungrateful cats, Keshmesh and Nazanin.

Follow her on Twitter at @MelodyMoezzi and on Instagram at @Melody.Moezzi.

My Year of Living Relatively Dangerously

When anxiety robbed Courtenay of her job hosting a nationally-syndicated  public radio show in 2013, she set out to teach her anxious brain that everything was going to be alright by doing things that scared her and then writing about them — like exposure therapy, but to the entire world. Her strange journey included a trip to a sensory deprivation tank, a professional cuddler, and “Build-Your-Own-Burrito-Night” at a sex club. Courtenay will talk about what the year taught her and how reframing our stories can quite literally change our lives.

Courtenay Hameister is an author, speaker, and teacher. She was the host and head writer for Live Wire, a public radio variety show recorded in Portland and now syndicated on over 100 NPR affiliates for nine years. Her work has also appeared in McSweeney’s, Bustle, Portland Monthly, and far too many Instagram posts about her cats. She co-wrote the web series “The Benefits of Gusbandry,” which the New York Times called a “A masterpiece of pretension-puncturing.”  Her first book, Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went From Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things, a humorous memoir about her struggle with Generalized Anxiety and OCD, was released in July of 2018. It was listed in People Magazine’s Best Books of the Week in August of that year and is currently a semi-finalist for the Thurber Prize in American Humor. She is currently working as an advertising Creative Director and teaching Humorous Memoir courses for Literary Arts and Portland Center Stage.

Breaking the Silence: Finding Hope With Your Community

Former collegiate volleyball player and outspoken mental health advocate, Lanesha Reagan will dive into the facets of young athletes struggling with mental health while dealing with the pressures of competitive sports. Additionally, she will share how her writing on depression and shared stories have helped create a path for increased education and awareness around mental health.

Lanesha Reagan is a Seattle native, who played Division 1 volleyball for Oregon State University. From middle school on, she knew the emotions she was struggling with became heightened by the various pressures that came along with being in a competitive environment. After struggling in silence for years, Lanesha wrote a piece about her personal struggles with depression, bulimia, self-harm and the specific aspects of competitive sports that made her feel isolated while she was a junior at Oregon State. Within the next few days, her blog was shared thousands of times and lead into two ESPNW pieces and coverage from various media outlets. Since then, Lanesha has found comfort in writing, therapy and helping others so they never feel alone as she once did. Now a public relations professional in Seattle for technology companies, she volunteers with organizations focusing on mental health and connecting youth with sports in a healthy, inspiring way.

Follow her journey on her blog at www.laneshareagan.com and her social channels on Twitter at @laneshareagan and Instagram at @lanesha_reagan.

 

Turning Tragedy into Triumph

Eversince Megan Blunk was 5 years old, she carried heavy feelings of sadness, insecurity, and fear that would not leave. By age 13, she was finally diagnosed with depression. At the age of 18, Megan woke up in a hospital bed only to learn that a tragic motorcycle accident had left her paralyzed from the waist down. Megan made a vow while still in the hospital that if she ever had the chance to play a sport again, she would never let fear or insecurity get in her way.

Megan followed through on her vow and in 2016, she won a Paralympic Gold Medal for Team USA in the sport of Wheelchair Basketball. Today, Megan uses her athletic platform to inspire and encourage others with mental health conditions to share openly, embrace love, and normalize feelings.

After spending so many years battling severe depression, thinking something was wrong with her, and feeling alone, ashamed of the person she was, being honest and open to let others know that they are not alone and that it is okay to feel the way they do has become one of her biggest missions in life. Megan believes that honesty is a vital key to making the world a better place.

She is currently a player on USA’s 2019 ParaPan American Wheelchair Basketball team, a Nike, Hartford and Per4Max sponsored athlete and works closely with the Challenged Athletes Foundation doing speaking engagements along with volunteering her time coaching various adaptive sports camps.

Follow Megan’s journey on her blog at MeganBlunk.com as well her social media channels on Instagram at @meganblunk and on Facebook at megan.blunk.1 and catch her and Team USA wheelchair basketball athletes as they journey towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Molly McNab M.D. has spent much of her adult life in the hospital, first as a medical student, then as a resident physician, then as a patient.  Growing up dreaming of becoming a small-town family doctor, Molly never knew that her life would lead to 25 psychiatric hospitalizations and life as an advocate for mental health awareness instead.

Molly also didn’t know in medical school that instead of treating patients with conventional medicine, she would use laughter.  Molly is a now a stand-up comic with a group called Mental Health at the Mic, using her life with schizoaffective disorder and life on disability as fodder for laugh out loud comedy.  Molly’s comedy is almost all autobiographical and that’s what makes it so funny!

As an ASHA Storyteller, Molly gives hope and normalizes conversations about mental health, one laugh at a time.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Kelly Wilson is an author and comedian who entertains and inspires with stories of humor, healing, and hope. She is the author of Live Cheap and Free, Don’t Punch People in the Junk, and Kelly Wilson’s The Art of Seduction: Nine Easy Ways to Get Sex From Your Mate. Her latest book, Caskets From Costco, has been chosen as a finalist in the 18th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, the 10th annual National Indie Excellence Book Awards, and the 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest.Kelly’s work has also been featured in a variety of anthologies (see Books to Buy for a full list) and she has published a wide range of work for both children and adults. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Feminine Collective, and Sweatpants & Coffee, among others.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Kelly writes and speaks about finding hope in the process of recovery. She has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. She is the founder of PTSD Parent, a website and podcast that educates, supports, and inspires all people living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in their homes and families.

Through both stand-up and improv comedy, she brings laughter to audiences of all ages using a wide range of subject matter, including silly songs, parenting stories, and jokes and anecdotes revolving around mental health issues. Kelly works for Stand Up for Mental Health, where she teaches people with mental illness how to write and perform stand-up comedy.

As an ASHA Storyteller, Kelly gives hope, and normalizes conversations about mental health one joke at a time. Read more about her at www.wilsonwrites.com

Learning how to mindfully redefine what success in fitness means.

Sadie was raised by circle of strong women with core values – a love of nature, dedication to self-awareness and a commitment to supporting each other. It was a safe place where everyone was seen, heard and free to be vulnerable. A place where she discovered the courage to follow her dreams.

Today, Sadie is the co-founder and CEO of barre3, a fitness company focused on teaching people to be balanced in body and empowered from within. Starting in 2008 with the flagship studio in Portland, Oregon, barre3 has grown to include more than 150 franchise studios powered by female entrepreneurs, plus an online-workout streaming-subscriber base in 98+ countries. What started as a workout has blossomed into a full-blown movement made up of millions of people focused on body positivity, being empowered, and redefining what success in fitness means. Sadie runs her company, like her family circle.

Sadie is on Inc.‘s Female Founders 100 list, has been featured on NPR’s How I Built This, and speaks regularly on the topics of mindful leadership, the power of body wisdom, and the movement to redefine what success in fitness means. Beyond running her company and being a global spokesperson, Sadie still enjoys teaching barre3 classes to many of her founding clients in her hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Social Media: www.barre3.com | instagram.com/barre3 | instagram.com/sadielincol

Everything we need to thrive already exists within us

Anna considers herself a “mental health plumber,” having worked in private practice and multidisciplinary healing and support teams for two decades in the U.S. Australia and the U.K. In 2017, Anna created The Insight Alliance, an organization that works with men and women and youth in the Oregon Correctional System with a simple focus: understanding the limitless nature of the human mind, and recognizing our own innate wellbeing—that everything we need to thrive already exists within us.

This understanding of the mind was transformative in Anna’s own life. Having struggled with 20 years of eating disorders and substance misuse she realized she wasn’t broken. Realizing her own innate wellbeing and understanding the nature of the mind allowed her to finally come to find peace inside and move past the mental anguish that plagued her for so many years.

Anna, invites you to join her to explore the power within.

Read more about Anna and her work at https://theinsightalliance.org/who-we-are/

The Secret Wisdom of the Lotus

Lotuses are beautiful flowers and have been recognized for millennia as having amazing talents. In this presentation, we will hear the journey of one artist who overcame great adversity and who is guided by the powerful metaphor of the Lotus. She will guide us in creating our very own lotus drawing based on our own life story. All levels of artistic experience are welcome.

Meghan Caughey is the Senior Director of Peer and Wellness Services at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. She is on the faculty of Portland State University where she trains peer wellness specialists. She is also a Clinical Instructor at Oregon Health and Science University’s Psychiatry Department. And, the Vice Chair of the Oregon Healthy Authority Traditional Health Worker Commission. Meghan serves on the Board of Directors at ASHA International and is a member of the ASHA Storytellers Team.

As a painter, her work has been featured in museums and galleries in California, Texas, and Oregon. She is currently represented by the J Pepin Art Gallery in Portland, Oregon.

Meghan is a Certified Peer Specialist and Peer Wellness Specialist, and Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner who has designed and implemented peer wellness services in Oregon. She is a frequent presenter and keynote speaker across the United States.

Meghan’s passion for her work comes from having been hospitalized over one hundred times and finding the ability to recover and thrive despite a psychiatric diagnosis.

Tasha Joy [Jablonski] Miller was brought home in 1974 to Hidden Hollow Trailer Court located in the Buffalo County of Nebraska. She lived in four of the United States by the age of 15. Her favorite piece of childhood was carved into the redwood forests of Mendocino County while her father was out to sea and her mother baked pies from berries in the garden. The huckleberry hound grew to be just shy of six feet tall. She married the man of her life in 1998 and together, they created three more Millers. They bought a house in Portland and named it Valentina. The love inside that home warranted its own song, released in 2016.

For her first 23 years, Tasha hid in corners of her story…pulling her hair from the roots while trying to find a control panel in the dark. After a classical piano and choral beginning, Tasha found her solo voice. That voice found the light of day. Her music is now listened to in over 40 countries worldwide. Since 2002 [ignited by the birth of her eldest child], Tasha has been capturing light with 35mm film, prose, chord changes…and a microphone. While once accused by a paternal uncle of using truth as a guise to sell her music (his request to keep her process within the confines of a therapy session), Tasha has been fueled by clarity…and has studied the lines drawn (and erased) by those who came before her with curiosity. She found purpose in sharing what it means to share…and hopes that the word “family” will officially become something more than drops of blood.

An anguished and volatile intensity combined with major depression has threatened suicide on more than one occasion. Tasha found herself in the Urgent Care center of a hospital with nothing more than instinct, hope, love and a life-threatening mood disorder called Bipolar 2. Carrying an artistic temperament and severe levels of obsessive compulsive behaviors, Tasha Miller embodies “a fine madness.” She now receives an anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, twelve supplements, an extremely clean diet, individual therapy and a 26-week program entitled Dialectical Behavioral Group Therapy (known by her husband and children as “anger management class”). As a mental health advocate, Tasha sees no reason to keep her truth under wraps. She has discovered that the truth is friendly, because we can all grow from it. Miller found a compliment in the sentence last spoken to her by her paternal grandmother as the old woman turned around to face her in the front doorway of Valentina, “Tasha, you think too much.” That is one person’s opinion. Tasha’s next album [currently in the works] will reveal how beautiful madness can be.

Facilitator

Genevieve Reaume, Emcee

Genevieve is an Emmy-nominated reporter for KATU News in Portland, Oregon. She grew up in Portland, graduated from Jesuit High School and then traveled to the Midwest for college. She graduated from the University of Missouri, the world’s first journalism school, and then came back to the best coast to start her career in journalism. She worked in southern Oregon for two years as a reporter/anchor in both news and sports before making the jump home to Portland.

She was selected to be a reporter on KATU’s groundbreaking youth mental health campaign, Kind Is Better. That’s how she first learned about ASHA International. Through Kind Is Better she’s been able to tell the stories that often went untold, the stories about mental illness and suicide, in an effort to shatter the stigma. It’s unchartered territory for journalism, as for decades experts told journalists not to cover suicides, in fear of copycat attempts.

KATU realized suicide was too large of a problem not to cover, and decided it needed to be addressed. So did other journalists in the state. She was also a part of the state-wide effort to confront the reality of suicides in Oregon, called Breaking the Silence. ASHA International strives for the same outcomes. That’s what attracted Genevieve to the organization. She understands the power of storytelling and believes both hearing and sharing stories can be transformational.

Outside of work you can find her napping (just being honest! The morning shift can be brutal!), running or on some sort of rooftop enjoying the weather. She feels very blessed to be working in the town she grew up in and to be back home with her family and best friends.

Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS

Gayathri Ramprasad is the Founder and President of ASHA International, a nonprofit organization promoting personal, organizational, and community wellness through mental health education, training, and support. And, the author of Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within. Her successful battle in overcoming debilitating depression taught her the power of hope and holistic wellness. Since the launch of ASHA International’s programs in 2006, Gayathri’s keynotes, wellness workshops, and cultural competence trainings have reached more than 50,000 people nationally and internationally with a resounding message of hope and recovery. Individuals and organizations alike applaud Gayathri as an agent of hope and transformational change.

Gayathri received her first undergraduate degree in science from Bangalore University in India. She earned a second undergraduate degree in Management and Business Information systems and a Master’s in Business Administration at George Fox University. She is a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). And, serves on the Advisory Board of the Movement for Global Mental Health.

Gayathri is the winner of many prestigious awards including the Eli Lilly Welcome Back Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Voice Award for Consumer Leadership sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Outstanding Alumna Award from her alma mater George Fox University, the Esperanza Hope Award, and the Lifetime Innovator award presented by the International Association of Peer Supporters. In 2017, Gayathri was awarded the Mental Health Hero award by Trillium Family Services.

To learn more about Gayathri and see her TEDx Talk Be the Hope, please visit https://myasha.org/about-us/our-story/

Sandra Wilborn, MS – Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.

Sandy Wilborn joined Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare in Portland, Oregon in 2006 as Program Manager and was subsequently named Clinical Director of Secure Residential Treatment Facilities in 2010. During her tenure, Sandra championed a reorganization of SRTF programs, actively integrating complex disciplinary teams and promoting reclassification of direct care roles, increasing the level of professionalism and treatment provision across those programs. In 2011, Sandra was named to the National Council’s Inaugural Class, Addressing Health Disparities Program, and has remained involved in assisting future classes to meet their goals. One of her passions is identifying and developing emerging leaders while providing opportunities for leadership teams and individuals to recognize and utilize group and personal strengths in order to enrich services and safeguard continued innovation.

Sandra joined Cascadia’s Senior Leadership Team in February 2016 in her new role championing Equity, Diversity & Inclusion efforts. She has been involved in Cascadia’s efforts to work toward a more inclusive and equitable workplace since 2007. As an active participant in Cascadia’s Diversity Champions, Training Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion (TADI), and the Diversity Steering Committee, Sandra’s deep rooted aspiration to positively transform workplace culture derives from personal experience, “I like to think we all desire to be a part of a universe where each individual can be celebrated for what they bring to the table, where our successes and our struggles can be accepted and recognized as valiant and courageous efforts at bringing us together as one.”

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