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5th Annual Mental Health Expo-
“Journeys through Mental Health, Leveling the Field”

The concept of our expo this year continued the theme of journeying from last year’s expo, “Finding Hope amid Stigma and Trauma,” to this year’s “Leveling the Field.” Everyone’s journey with the mental health of his or her children and/or their own mental health is a personal walk on a personal path. Your mental and physical health needs treated equally important for your well-being.

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Jeannette South-Paul, Family Physician at Matilda Theiss Health Center and health care advocate, started us out addressing “Caring for the Underserved.” Dr. South-Paul’s talk involved patient-centered care, the development of cultural competence in medical education, and the impact of race, ethnicity and culture on physical and mental health.  Dr. South-Paul noted the need to rise up physicians who will practice full time in public health systems and community health centers, to treat not just one aspect of a patient, but the whole person.

 


The Ambridge High School Steel Drum Band, and Mime by D’Angelo Mitchell, Steel Valley High School Student that took us into the afternoon presentations, provided entertainment.

 

 

 

 

 


The Journey Continues

 

A skit involving an “interview show”, by the AFN Parent Advisory Board Members opened the afternoon. Invited by the “host” played by Alda Walker, AFN Supervisor/Parent Coordinator in an interview setting, the members shared their experiences with mental health, AFN, their journeying, and their success.

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Six  AFN staff members depicting six different phases (stigma, denial, fear, the “yes” parent, confusion, and culture) that someone coping with the mental health of a family member may find himself or herself.

 

 

First, an AFN parent, then a PAB member and now a staff member, Tammy Harper-Booth shared her journey with everyone, while noting she is “claiming victory while living in the middle.” Tammy highlighted in her talk that her journey will not end when all her children are grown, but the steps of success they have taken is her victory. Tammy also emphasized the vision of AFN in these words, “if I can tell you one thing about AFN, I would say through AFN I feel my family matters. It may be very different from any other family. But we matter. I am here, living proof to tell you, your family matters too.”

 

Thirty-five providers from Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties shared information about their agencies and organizations services.

 

 

Than you to everyone who participated and helped for a successful Expo.

 

We look forward to seeing you again next year!
 

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