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Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week Virtual Conference – Parent/Provider Track

May 5, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 2:00 pm


Join us on May 5th for our Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week Virtual Conference!

Previously called Children’s Mental Health “Awareness”, in 2022 we’re changing the “A” to Acceptance. This significant shift to “acceptance” speaks more directly to our goal to eliminate bias and discrimination that individuals with a mental illness diagnosis or symptoms experience. We believe the term acceptance more directly combats prejudice. Mental health exists on a spectrum and almost everyone experiences challenges at some point in their life. Recognizing that our mental health is just as important as our physical health and accepting individuals who struggle for a period – or a lifetime – is critical to reducing the fear, worry, blame, and shame that families and their loved ones experience – and increases the likelihood that those who are in need will seek te support and treatment they deserve.

Conference Agenda

9:00 – 10:30  / Celebrating Difference: Unpacking Implicit Bias to Help Youth Thrive
Presented by: Tess Macoy, LMSW-CC, Clinical Manager for Crisis Services, Crisis and Counseling Centers and Elisa Sousa, LSW, MEd, Manager of Community Case Management Services, Crisis and Counseling Centers

It’s okay not to know what to say! Existing in a polarized culture can be confusing for everyone, but for kids, the struggle can literally be life or death. Mental health outcomes are significantly worse among marginalized youth including those who live in poverty, are LGBTQ+, neurodiverse, experience disabilities, and people of color & ethnic minorities. While two presenters cannot speak to all these diverse experiences, we invite you to explore your implicit biases and learn some simple steps to foster compassionate curiosity as a first response.

We will do a deeper dive for one community, LGBTQ+ youth, to understand risk and protective factors for suicide prevention and how positive identity development can save lives.

10:45 am – 12:15 pm / Empower ME System of Care Grant
Presented by:  Kathryn Temple, SOC Director, Ronnie Lowell-Sirois, SOC Lead Family Coordinator; Jennifer Smith, Sue Gagne and Jamie Ploss-Story, G.E.A.R. Parent Network Family Peer Specialists

This presentation will provide an overview of the Empower ME System of Care Grant, four-year grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA.) The goal of the grant is to ensure Maine families have access to community-based services for children, youth and young adults with mental, emotional, and behavioral health needs that is coordinated across systems, individualized to a family’s unique needs, strengths, and culture, and where the families are the primary decision makers in the care of their children. Through partnerships with providers/agencies and the community, our intention is to build upon System of Care values and principles while empowering families to work together.

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm / Suicide Prevention
Presented by: Mike Mitchell, LCSW, CEO, Crisis and Counseling Centers

This workshop will discuss the warning signs and practical approaches to address suicide prevention in children and youth. Participants will have a working understanding of what to look for and how to best address concerns to stem the grown momentum of suicides in our youth.


May 5, 2022
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


Go-To Meeting
View Venue Website


G.E.A.R. Parent Network
(800) 264-9224
View Organizer Website