National Conference to Address Housing and Recovery for People in Need

Jul 12, 2012, 11:52 ET from Mental Health America

TULSA, Okla., July 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 2012 National Zarrow Mental Health Symposium and Mental Health America Annual Conference – From Housing to Recovery: Building Community, Building Lives – being held September 19-21, 2012 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will look at innovative approaches to helping people with mental health conditions obtain and maintain affordable housing, along with much-needed support systems.

Approximately 1,000 participants are expected to attend the conference, which is hosted by the Mental Health Association in Tulsa (the Association), in conjunction with Mental Health America. The three-day conference will provide participants with information and practical tools they can use in their professional practice, agencies and communities to assist with facilitating homeless prevention/intervention, housing development, clinical practice, recovery services and wraparound supports for individuals who live with mental illness and/or substance use-related disorders, and other vulnerable at-risk special populations.

On Thursday, Sept. 20th, The Clifford Beers Awards Dinner will feature a keynote address from Jessie Close, who lives with bipolar disorder and, with her sister Glenn Close, aims to erase the stigma and discrimination of mental illness through the non-profit organization Bring Change 2 Mind.

Dr. Mark Vonnegut, who is the son of author Kurt Vonnegut, will give a lunch keynote on Sept 20th. Vonnegut's second memoir, "Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness, Only More So," has been praised as "an honest, witty and vivid depiction of 'normal' life in between interruptions of mental illness."

In addition, the conference will offer 50 breakout sessions across 10 tracks that emphasize emerging knowledge and best-practice approaches. One track, "Community Supports and Recovery Services," is being sponsored and assembled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The conference agenda features a wide array of breakout sessions ranging from housing development and retention, to recovery-focused sessions including current research, special populations and social inclusion. Participants may also opt to pursue education regarding professional ethical practice. To view the full conference agenda, please visit

Michael Brose, the Association's executive director, emphasized that the conference is about learning innovative ways to help people with mental health conditions obtain, and maintain, affordable housing, along with much-needed support services.

"The reality is that when people living with mental illness are given safe, decent and affordable housing," Brose said, "there is immense opportunity to succeed."

This is the second time the Zarrow Symposium, now in its 18th year, has broadened to a national audience. The conference also marks the first time in over a decade that Mental Health America has held its annual meeting outside of Washington, D.C.

Dr. David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America, said, "By holding the meeting in Tulsa, which is a beautiful and centrally located city, we will make the conference more accessible and affordable than in D.C. and, therefore, increase our outreach to advocates across the nation. Tulsa also offers the opportunity for conference participants to see first-hand how a Mental Health America affiliate, and the community it serves, can unite to address the housing- and recovery-related needs of some of its most vulnerable citizens."

During the conference, attendees have the option to participate in Workshops in Motion, which will find them boarding busses to tour the Association's nationally recognized housing and recovery support programs that are making a difference in the Tulsa community.

To kick off the conference on Wednesday, Sept. 19th, Tulsa Habitat for Humanity, the Association and Mental Health America will dedicate "The Zarrow Symposium House," a 4-bedroom home built for Tulsan Gaylia Patrick, whose family has been affected by mental illness.

To learn more about this national conference, including exhibitor information, confirmed speakers, and travel information, please visit, call 918.382.2423 or email:



2012 National Zarrow Mental Health Symposium & Mental Health America Annual Conference  -- From Housing to Recovery: Building Community, Building Lives


Sept. 19-21, 2012


Tulsa Convention Center, 100 Civic Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma


Mental Health Association in Tulsa and Mental Health America

Early Bird Registration:

Early-bird savings are only available until August 15, 2012


Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, Barry and Karen Davis Charitable Fund, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Brookhaven Hospital, Celebrate Recovery, CORT Furniture, Counseling & Recovery Services of Oklahoma, CREOKS Behavioral Health Services, Daybreak Family Services, LLC, George Kaiser Family Foundation, INTEGRIS Mental Health, Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital, Lilly USA, LLC, Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri, Mental Health America of Los Angeles, Mental Health America of Texas, Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, Merck, NAMI Oklahoma, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, Oklahoma State Department of Health, OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions, OU Physicians / OU School of Community Medicine, Oxley Foundation,  Skin Care Institute, Shadow Mountain Behavioral Health System, Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

Sponsorship/Exhibitor Opportunities:

Still available. Please contact Linda Williamson at 918.382.2410 or email: Details can also be found on the conference website at  

Additional Information: 

Christian Coy, Mental Health Association in Tulsa

Telephone: 918.382.2423


SOURCE Mental Health America