27th Annual Conference (2015) - Thriving in Recovery

Held on November 13, 2015

Morning Emcee

Ms. Starr Dobson
President & Chief Executive Officer
Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia

Conference Speakers

"Retelling the Story of Mental Illness: Resistance, Reclamation, and Recovery"

Laura Burke, M.A., CCC
Drama Therapist / Playwright / Actor / Spoken Word Poet

As a self-proclaimed mad woman with several psychiatric diagnoses under her belt, Laura has come to think a lot about how we define ourselves. As an artist, mental health clinician and consumer advocate, she is keenly aware of the difficulty of wearing multiple hats, but also sees the opportunity to provide an important bridge between these different perspectives.

Wearing her therapist hat, Laura has worked most recently at the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program, and blending drama therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy at the Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment Program, where she just completed a DBT certified training. 

As a playwright, Laura was recently granted funding for the writing phase of her work on a new play: what is shaping up to be an exploration of the way women’s trauma has been contextualized throughout the development of psychiatry. As an actor, she is currently touring her one woman play, “Heartwood”, about her journey from psychiatric survivor to therapist.

"Recovery from Schizophrenia"

Frederick J. Frese III, Ph.D.
Summit County (Ohio) Recovery Project
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Northeast Ohio Medical University

Dr. Frese is a psychologist with more than forty years experience working with people who are living with severe mental illnesses. Since retiring from the Ohio mental health system where he served as Director of Psychology at Western Reserve Psychiatric Hospital for 15 years, he has coordinated the Summit County Recovery Project, serving folks who have experienced mental illness in the Akron area.

He serves on the clinical faculty at the Northeast Ohio Medical University and Case Western Reserve University. He has served on the Boards of the National Institute for the Severely Handicapped (NISH), and was also the longest serving member of Board of Trustees of National Alliance on Mentally Illness (NAMI). He currently serves on the Board of the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC) and CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) International.

"Worth Living"

Keith Anderson, LL.B., LL.M.
Public Speaker / Mental Health Advocate / Author / Consultant

Keith Anderson is a lawyer who had depression. In 2003, the illness had such a devastating impact that he lost his personal relationships, his career, and almost his life. After years of being confined to the house, he wanted to explain to the world what had happened. He was desperate to have a voice.

He has since written for the National Post, the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, and the Canadian Bar Association. And, as part of sharing his relevant and inspiring journey of succeeding over depression, Keith has spoken at national conferences, universities, awareness campaigns, and fundraisers.

Keith has found his voice.

"Moving from Pathology to Recovery"

Chris Summerville, D.Min., CPRP
Chief Executive Officer
Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Dr. Chris Summerville is a resident of Steinbach, Manitoba, and has had personal experience with mental illness as a family member and as an individual. He has been the executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society since 1995, and CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada for the past eight years

As a provincial and national leader, Chris serves on numerous boards and committees, including the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, and he is Co-Chair of the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health. On August 31, 2007, Chris was named by Prime Minister Harper as one of eleven non-governmental directors of the board of the newly established Mental Health Commission of Canada, then chaired by The Honourable Michael Kirby.

With an earned doctorate, Chris is a Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP), an ASIST Suicide Intervention Trainer with Living Works, and he is a trainer with the Co-Occurring Disorders Initiative of Manitoba Health and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. He is an ordained pastor credentialed with the Associated Gospel Churches of Canada.

Chris’ passion is the creation of recovery oriented mental health services that address body, mind, soul and spirit in the context of community from a bio-psycho-social-spiritual-recovery-empowerment perspective.

In his advocacy for enhanced mental health services for all people groups of Canada, Chris believes our society and leaders must see mental illness and mental health challenges, not merely as a health issue, but as a social justice issue that addresses the inequities, inequalities, and injustices towards those living with mental illness (and their families), who have been ghettoized, stigmatized, marginalized, and disenfranchised through systemic discrimination.

"Our Family’s Journey from Illness to Wellness"

Cecilia McRae, B.Ed., B.Sc.
Member, Pictou County Mental Illness Family Support Group

Cecilia McRae is a retired teacher, a co-facilitator of the Pictou County Mental Illness Family Support Group, a member of the Creative Wellness Group in Antigonish, Past President of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, and a former member of the Advisory Committee for the 2012 Mental Health and Addictions Strategy for Nova Scotia, Together We Can. She holds a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Prince Edward Island.

Conference Sponsors

The conference logo is an original graphic design donated by Terri Vernon, faculty member, Nova Scotia Community College, Annapolis Valley Campus, Middleton.

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