asha international mental health

We Give Hope

For assistance with registration, please email or call 503-226-2377.

Friday, September 18, 2020, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM PST

Registered guests will receive a link to the recording of the conference to view at your convenience. 


Breathe. Move. Play.

Breathe. Move. Play. Is a joyful & authentic Katonah Yoga EXPERIENCE. Rooted in science and the exploration of the brilliant technologies of the human form.

Talaya Renee Thomas will teach us how to breathe deeply into our body and disengage from the chattering of our minds through laughter, breathwork, movement, gratitude and love meditation.

Katonah Yoga is a syncretic Hatha yoga practice. Talaya’s teaching method incorporates classical Hatha yoga with Taoist theory, geometry, magic, mythology, metaphor, and imagination — in a practical, down to earth and universally understandable framework, that’s designed to potentiate personal and communal well-being.

Come exactly as you are!

From the beginner to the seasoned, Breathe. Move. Play. is intentionally designed to meet you right where you are and evolve with you.

Talaya grew up in Boulder, CO practicing yoga as a lifestyle, before yoga was a “thing.”  Talaya’s passion for bringing yoga to the world is more than just a passion; it has been a lifelong mission, a calling, and her purpose.

Managing the Stress of COVID-19 & Building Emotional Resilience

Ruth C. White, PhD, MPH, MSW is a thought leader, change catalyst and advocate in mental health and diversity/equity/inclusion. Dr. White is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California..

Ruth was born in London, England of Jamaican immigrant parents, was raised in Jamaica and Canada, and has spent the past 25 years on the west coast of the USA. She studied at top schools in Canada, the UK and the USA and has worked as a social worker in all three countries. Her passion for exploring cultures and places has taken her around the globe, and along with her immigrant experiences, has inspired her work as a diversity consultant and educator.

As a social worker and someone who lives with bipolar disorder, Ruth has intimate knowledge of the mental health services system in the USA, both as client and provider. After being hospitalized more than a decade ago, she vowed that it would be her first and last time. Determined to continue her career as an academic, she spent hundreds of hours researching brain science to find ways to improve her own mental health. This culminated into her first book, Bipolar 101, which was a successful primer on the illness. While doing this research, she came to understand that what worked for her, as someone with a chronic mental illness, also works for everyday people with no diagnosis who are in search of ways to improve their mental health and well-being. Her public health background led her to focus on the prevention of mental illness – and the promotion of mental wellness – by managing stress and building emotional resilience.

An elite athlete in her youth, she was a champion sprinter and long jumper, and also played field hockey, netball and swam for her high school teams in Canada and Jamaica. She loves the outdoors and is an avid hiker, sailor, kayaker, and neophyte diver. When her schedule allows, she is a model with representation in Paris and San Francisco, and she works as an extra on film sets in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her favorite role as an extra has been as a stand-in for Serena Williams in a Gatorade commercial. She is the mother of one awesome adult daughter.

Dr. White will share her story and strategies to cope with the stress of COVID-19 and build emotional resilience.  Learn more at

Making Ourselves Resilient Everyday

Jeanette Mmunga is a 19-year-old college student and one of three youth co-founders of I Am M.O.R.E. She grew up in a refugee camp in Tanzania. Born into a family who had known only war and running away from violence, her people were called “wakimbizi,” which means “runaways,” so she grew up managing constant trauma, and fighting against the powerful influences of witchcraft, and starvation, malaria and sexual abuse.

As the co-founder of I am M.O.R.E. Jeanette found her voice and has become bold, resilient and empowered. As a professional empowerment speaker, she has inspired audiences. Jeanette’s deepest desire is to use her journey and creativity as a way to remind others, especially young women of color, that they are enough.

Jeanette will share the story of her journey from shame to empowerment and offer tips on how we can all make ourselves resilient every day. Learn more at

Connecting the Mind and Body

What is in the Mind is in the Body, What is in the Body is in the Mind!

With 20 years of experience as a Personal Trainer and extensive research on the mind/body connection aspects of Yoga, Tahirih Fields (Tia), will lead us into an exploration of the mind-body connection and provide techniques to help us relax anytime, anywhere.

Tia was born in Born in Kabul Afghanistan, lived in India, and came to the US in 2001. An exercise enthusiast always on the go, Tia was humbled by her first experience of stilling the mind through Pranayama (Yogic breathing). And, has dedicated herself to learn more about Pranayama and it’s benefits on the mind & body. Two decades later, she continues to learn how it can particularly help with long term stress management and recommends Yogic breathing for a well-rounded mind-body work out. Learn more at

Dear Stranger: How writing letters to strangers saved my life

Growing up, Diana Chao had a secret: she had bipolar disorder, and didn’t believe she deserved the air she breathed. After surviving a series of suicide attempts, she found healing from an unexpected source: writing. In writing letters to strangers, she realized that she wasn’t alone. And learned that one letter–one human connection–can save a life.

Award-winning artist and global changemaker Diana Chao will share her personal story of growing up below the poverty line with parents who didn’t speak English. She will also share strategies for maintaining mental well-being for ourselves and each other.

Diana Chao is a 21-year-old first-generation Chinese-American immigrant from southern California. Diana founded Letters to Strangers (L2S) when she was a sophomore in high school after bipolar disorder nearly ended her life. By beginning to heal through letters, she discovered that writing is humanity distilled into ink. Today, L2S is the largest global youth-for-youth mental health nonprofit, impacting over 35,000 people on six continents. For this effort, Diana has been named a Princess Diana Award Winner, Oprah Magazine’s 2019 Health Hero, the youngest winner of the Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award, and the only American winner of the 2019 Global Changemakers cohort. As part of Adobe’s inaugural class of global Top Talents, Diana seeks to further the intersection of creativity and social impact through conceptual photography. Her “Minority Mental Health Month” self-portrait series went viral with 2+ million views, and she gives workshops and speeches on youth mental health.  But most of the time, she is a rising senior at Princeton University trying to wake up for class on time. Learn more at


What Mama Didn’t Tell Us About Body Love & Eating Disorders

Having grown up in a Mexican immigrant home where eating disorders and body love were not regular topics of conversation, Gloria Lucas had to go out of her way to find answers and support for her eating disorder. Gloria will share the transformative lessons she wishes her mother not only passed on to her but also embraced. And, she will discuss how diet culture and fatphobia robs us of our mental health and how we can embrace ourselves authentically.

Gloria Lucas is an eating disorders awareness activist and the Founder and CEO of Nalgona Positivity Pride (NPP) an in-community eating disorders and body-positive organization dedicated in creating visibility and resources for Black, Indigenous, communities of color (BICC.) Since 2016, NPP has been raising awareness around the specific needs of BICC through digital media, education, grassroots eating disorders treatment models, and art. Rooted in Xicana indigenous feminism and DIY punx praxis, NPP emerged out of a great need not only to shed light on the experiences and barriers that exist in BICC affected by body-image and troubled eating but to create opportunities of healing by and for BICC. Learn more at


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

Sandra joined Cascadia in 2006 as a Program Manager and was subsequently named Clinical Director of Secure Residential Treatment Facilities in 2010. During her tenure, Sandra championed a reorganization of Secure Residential Treatment Facilities (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 Councils 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 the Senior Leadership Team in February 2016 in her new role championing Equity, Diversity & Inclusion efforts, and has been involved in these efforts to make Cascadia 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 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.”

In 2014, Sandra was awarded Facility Dog, Clove III, from Canine Companions for Independence in Santa Rosa, California. Clove continues to accompany Sandra in her work at Cascadia frequently interacting with clients and staff, providing a source of comfort, acceptance, and compassion.

Tanya Hall, MFT, CADC I – Community Liaison, Rainier Springs

Tanya Hall has 20 years of behavioral health experience ranging from counseling and therapy with at-risk adolescents and their family members, to clinical utilization review for three different inpatient behavioral health hospitals.  Tanya received her bachelor degree at the University of Idaho and her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from George Fox University. Tanya is also a certified drug and alcohol counselor. In addition to being a therapist, she has also taught online bachelor level human service classes for 15 years.  Tanya has served in roles such as therapist, program director, director of utilization review and teacher.

Currently, Tanya is a Community Liaison with Rainier Springs Hospital. In addition to business development, a large part of this role is community education and helping to share resources, bring awareness of and working towards de-stigmatization of mental health and substance abuse issues. This includes serving on community task forces, sponsoring events with shared focus and participating in educational presentations to corporations and agencies throughout the community.

In her free time Tanya enjoys spending time with her 6-year-old son and husband, exploring nature in her camp trailer, playing games and spending times with friends.

Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS, Founder & President, ASHA International

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, a cross-cultural memoir. 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 60,000 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 Board of Cascadia Behavioral Health, and 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

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.

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