Promoting Choice, Self-determination and Total Participation
Serving persons with disabilities and Mid-Hudson communities since 1987
11th Annual Mental Health Conference
On Thursday, December 1st at Anthony's Pier 9 in New Windsor, NY, over 250 stakeholders of the mental health system, including individuals with psychiatric diagnoses, family members, and service providers from Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, Rockland and Dutchess Counties, gathered for the 11th annual mental health, wellness and recovery conference: a cooperative regional forum sponsored by Independent Living, Inc. and Rehabilitation Support Services, Catholic Charities, Crystal Run Village, Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, JMHCA, Occupations, Inc. and the Orange County Department of Mental Health.
The focus of this year's conference was healthcare reform and the obstacles that need to be addressed to design a well-orchestrated system, integrating both physical and mental healthcare supports and services. Michael Hogan, PhD, NYS Commissioner of Mental Health, gave the keynote address, and speakers and panelists throughout the full-day program reiterated a common message: Behavioral Health Organizations, Health Homes, Provider Organizations and Government need to work together to ensure that effective services are provided, leading to intended outcomes as directed by the consumers being served.
Prior to a lunch break and afternoon workshops that included information regarding consumer-advised, peer-directed Recovery Center services, Chris Ashman, Commissioner of the Orange County Department of Mental Health, who has announced his retirement in January, 2012, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Remarks by former Orange County Executive, Mary McPhillips, who appointed Ashman as Commissioner of Mental Health over 20 years ago, and Kristin Jensen, on behalf of Orange County Executive Ed Diana, expressed gratitude and recognized Commissioner Ashman for his leadership and commitment to consumers over the years, resulting in an excellent system of care for people with psychiatric disabilities. In future years, this conference will be known as "The Annual Chris Ashman Mental Health Conference."