In light of current events, MHA’s 2020 Conference theme has been changed to “COVID-19, Mental Health and the Need for Equity.” This event will take place as planned September 3-4, 2020 (pre-conference September 2) and will now also have a virtual option.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for updates, program details, and new registration prices. If you have already purchased a registration, you can receive a full refund by emailing Jennifer Cheang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year, the Mental Health America (MHA) Annual Conference brings together hundreds of MHA affiliates, community stakeholders, peers, caregivers, providers, government officials, media and more from across the country to discuss important and emerging mental health issues. MHA’s 2020 Annual Conference will take place September 3-4, 2020 and is themed COVID-19, Mental Health, and the Need for Equity. We are currently planning for a virtual component and will have an in-person option if deemed safe and District of Columbia regulations allow. We will host a Pre-Conference Day for MHA Affiliates on September 2.
WHY THIS THEME?
Over the last few months, the world was thrown into a global pandemic. As the number of cases of COVID-19 increased, so did the associated experiences of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. The mental health effects of COVID-19 are as important to address as are the physical health effects – but we know that not everyone has equal access to care. And for the one in five who already have mental health conditions – or the one in two who are at risk of developing them – we need to take personal, professional, and policy measures now to address them. And we need to do it an equitable way.
MHA has been monitoring its Online Screening Program throughout the pandemic. As of early June, more than 88,000 additional people have developed symptoms of anxiety or depression because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, more than 21,000 depression screeners reported thinking of suicide or self-harm on more than half the days – a number that suggests a coming wave of mental impacts that could be of epidemic proportions. What is most troubling is that the numbers – consistent with the numbers from the U.S. Government’s Census Bureau - demonstrate not only that there is not yet any relief from the mental health impacts of the pandemic, but that the impacts actually seem to be spreading and accelerating.
In addition, COVID-19 brought to light what many in the health care and social justice communities already knew – that Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionately negatively impacted and are dying at much higher rates. Adding to that the systemic racism that so many people of color bear every day, the trauma and mental health implications are significant. Past trauma is prominently mentioned as the reason that people experience serious mental health conditions today – and nearly half of those taking a mental health screening with MHA who received a moderate to severe result since Spring 2020 cited trauma as the reason.
The last few months have changed everything - and the world is looking at “a new normal.” Our 2020 Annual Conference – now with a virtual component – will discuss it all. From increases in depression and anxiety rates, to adjusting workplaces and workplace mental health, to addressing disproportionate inequities due to systemic barriers and historical adversity - MHA is talking about it. Join us.
Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. Past speakers at MHA’s Annual Conference include Dr. Vivek Murthy, Dr. Timothy Shriver, Cynthia Germanotta, Eugene Robinson, Patrick Kennedy, Abby Wambach, Katelyn Ohashi, Chamique Holdsclaw, Glennon Doyle, Michelle Williams, Neon Trees and Demi Lovato.