Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute For Mental Health Education At The Chicago School Of Professional Psychology Announces Annual Mental Health Conference Panel And Discussion Group Leaders

The conference, Understanding and Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness, will take place June 7

May 15, 2015, 13:37 ET from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

CHICAGO, May 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Understanding and Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness" is the theme of the annual Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute (NRCI) for Mental Health Education at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's (TCSPP) 14th Annual Community Conference on Sunday, June 7, 2015 (9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue located at 1224 Dempster Street in Evanston. Registration is required.

"We are proud to support this annual conference, which is an important part of our work at The Chicago School," said TCSPP President Michele Nealon-Woods, Psy.D. "By increasing awareness of mental health issues, we have opened the doors to a vastly underserved segment of our population, but we have such a long way to go."  The Chicago School is a nonprofit university, and one of the leading institutions devoted to psychology, and related behavioral and health sciences.

Among 18 discussion group topics offered after Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) makes introductory remarks and the panel speaks to all attendees are:

"The Emotional Impact on Family Members and How They Can Seek Help" is led by Nancy Sussman, program director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Cook County North Suburban region. A father, mother, spouse, and daughter (none related) will share experiences.

"Stigma doesn't stop at the individual with mental illness," Sussman said. "The emotional impact on family members is huge! Our panel of varied perspectives will pull together great 'group wisdom' offering resources, ideas, and compassion to all involved."

"As a little girl, I thought somehow I could fix my mom. I thought if I cleaned the house, set the table every day for breakfast -- those things would make her happy. I never learned her diagnosis until 21 years later: manic depression. Too much secrecy and shame; what our family really needed was education. It was the job of medication to make her feel better, not me,'' explained Pat Doyle, daughter.

"How Mental Health is Portrayed in the Media" is moderated by Patricia Arredondo, Ed. D., campus president, Chicago Campus, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

"How Different Cultures View Mental Illness" is led by moderator of the conference, Michael Horowitz, Ph.D., president of TCS Education System. Two discussion group members are Sylvia Corcoran, LCSW, CADC and Marcus Campbell, principal at Evanston Township High School and assistant superintendent for District 202. Ms. Corcoran is a member of the conference planning committee, and Mr. Campbell planned and hosted his school's first "Black Male Summit."

"We are thrilled to have a culturally sensitive dialogue about mental health at the Naomi Ruth Cohen Conference," Dr. Horowitz enthused. "Our African-American colleagues will help us move this agenda forward."

"As an African American woman, a prevalent message I received as a child was 'What goes on in this house is our business,'" said Ms. Corcoran. "Similar messages I received as an adult were 'God is able' as well as 'Jesus will fix it.' There is the prevailing notion that if one seeks the counsel of a mental health professional/counselor/therapist, one is somehow less of a Christian, less of a believer and that one's faith is diluted."

"I don't believe mental health is a dominant topic in many black communities," said Mr. Campbell. "There is a lack of awareness and access to mental health providers. Some African Americans believe that seeing a mental health professional is a weakness or that the act demonstrates a lack of faith. We want to stress that mental health is important to a person's faith and well-being in society. People should be well: mind, spirit, and soul."

Before break-out sessions, three panelists will share their own stigma stories. They are the Rev. Cheryl T. Magrini, Ph.D., chair of the National Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance; Patrick Corrigan, Psy.D., principal investigator of the National Consortium for Stigma and Empowerment (funded by the National Institute of Mental Health), and former Bolingbrook, Ill., Police Commander Chris Prochut, one-time partner of notorious former police officer Drew Peterson who is imprisoned for the murder of his third wife, and is suspected in the disappearance of his fourth wife.

Deep stress forced Mr. Prochut to leave the Bolingbrook force where, for a time, he answered media questions. He now lectures on mental health awareness and trains police on suicide prevention.

Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education
The Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute was established by the Cohen family in memory of their daughter, Naomi Ruth Cohen. With the proceeds of Naomi's estate and contributions from family and friends, NRCI works to prevent others from suffering as she did. Its goal is to overcome the stigma of mental illness. Funding is used to promote educational programs and to support organizations engaged in mental illness research, education, self-help, anti-discrimination and advocacy. For more information, visit

About The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Founded in 1979, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) is a nonprofit, private university devoted exclusively to psychology, and related behavioral and health sciences. The university serves nearly 4,500 students across campuses in Chicago; Southern California (Los Angeles and Irvine); and Washington, D.C., as well as through online programs. The Chicago School is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, (WSCUC), and its Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program in Chicago is accredited by the American Psychological Association. A member of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology, TCSPP is recognized for its distinguished service and outstanding contributions to cultural diversity and advocacy. The community service initiatives on the Chicago Campus have also earned recognition on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for seven consecutive years. The Los Angeles Campus gained its second recognition in 2014, and its Washington, D.C. Campus received its first award in 2014. With more than 20 graduate degree programs, thousands of hours of real-world training, and a wealth of international opportunities, TCSPP is the leader in professional psychology education. To learn more, visit

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SOURCE The Chicago School of Professional Psychology