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Thank You for Attending the

20th Annual Bexar County Behavioral Health and Wellness Conference!

Free one-day conference for families, consumers, caregivers, and professionals featuring educational workshops about mental health topics/resources and a health /wellness resource fair.

Track A
Cypress Room

May be best suited for caregivers or professionals.

9:30-10:00 a.m. LGBTQ+ Basics for Providers and the General Public

Presenter: Dr. Lulu (Dr. Lulu’s Life Coaching Lounge)

As a queer pediatrician and mom of a transgender child, Dr. Lulu knows that health inequities and inequalities abound in the LGBTQ+ community. Nearly 1:10 adults in the United States identify in the LGBTQ+ community, so, chances are you interact with the queer community on a daily basis.


Do you know the acronyms, why pronouns and new names matter, what questions to ask, or how to begin a conversation with a queer individual? Do you know what it means to be a safe person or how to create safe spaces? These questions and more will be addressed in Dr. Lulu’s talk, so buckle up and hang tight, it is going to be fun, enlightening and interactive. Come with questions!


10:10 -10:40 a.m. Taking Care of the Whole You!

Presenters: Dr. Ruth Morgan (The Center for Health Care Services), Dr. Clarissa Aguilar (The Center for Health Care Services)

Whole-person health takes into account a person’s mental, behavioral, spiritual and physical health while recognizing that each of us is an individual. Whole person health is important because it focuses on restoring health, promoting resilience, and preventing diseases, not simply focusing on treating a particular disease. This session will explore those connections, discuss the wellness domains, and give tips to build better habits to take care of your whole you.

1:00 – 1:50 p.m. Telltale Signs of Caregiver Stress

Presenter: Tina Smith (WellMed Charitable Foundation)

The stress of caring for a loved one or family member can lead to emotional and physical problems. You will learn that both good and bad experiences can cause stress and how to read the warning signs in order to take action. You will hear of the stressful experiences of other caregivers and their successful methods of coping.


2:00 – 2:50 p.m. Stop Suicide: A Wellness Approach

Presenter: Dr. Jill Palmer (Endeavors)

Attendees will learn of a unique initiative to use six wellness principles as the foundation of integrating mental health care, physical health care, holistic treatments, & supportive services to improve quality of life and decrease suicide. Quality of life is a transdiagnostic construct that aligns with how health care services encourage increased positive health outcomes, behavior change dynamics, & a way to explore continued high rates of suicide.


3:00 – 3:50 p.m. The Legislative Landscape – Discussion with our Bexar Delegation

Presenters: Allison Greer-Francis (The Center for Health Care Services) and Members of the Bexar County Legislative Delegation

Members of the Bexar County Legislative Delegation will discuss the current legislative landscape and will discuss legislation that was passed in the previous session and how it affects San Antonio and Bexar County. The delegation will also talk briefly about their priorities in the upcoming session.


Track B
Live Oak Room

May be best suited for consumers, people in recovery, people who have a loved one in recovery.


9:30-10:00 a.m. The Power of Connection: A Discussion with Peers

Presenters: The Center for Health Care Services Peers

Moderator: Zachary Bullard (The Center for Health Care Services)

Customer service can make or break an experience. In this session, hear the real accounts of people in recovery who found their moment of change through memorable encounters and the power of connection. While positive human interactions are often overlooked, moments of change can be sought out in the most humble of opportunities.


10:10 -10:40 a.m. Self-Care Party

Presenters: Leonor Bermea (The Center for Health Care Services), CHCS Peers (The Center for Health Care Services)

In this workshop, attendees will learn more on what self-care truly means and learn creative ways to implement it in their daily lives.


1:00 – 1:50 p.m. Housing 101: The Ins and Outs

Presenters: Cecil King (The Center for Health Care Services), Stephanie Rodriguez (Opportunity Home San Antonio)

Having a “place of my own” is important for most people in recovery, but it can be difficult to get there. What housing options are available? Is there assistance with rent or utilities? What are a person’s rights and responsibilities, and what can they expect? Professionals from Opportunity Home San Antonio (formally SAHA) and the CHCS Supported Housing Team will tackle these questions along with an overview of important housing topics and considerations. Housing brings stability and safety and knowing more about it can bring hope.


2:00 -2:50 p.m. The Intersection of Law Enforcement and Mental Health

Presenter: Amanda Miller (The Center for Health Care Services), Members of the San Antonio Police Department, Members

of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office

In this session, we will discuss how The Center for Health Care Services and other local organizations partner with local law enforcement and first responders to offer mental health support to those who need it most.


3:00 -3:50 p.m. Support and Empowerment Program

Presenter: Antonio Martinez, Jr. (Alamo Area Council of Governments)

Currently, there are an estimated 641,000 persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (IDD) over the age of 60 in the U.S. By the year 2030, those numbers are expected to double and potentially triple. Furthermore, there are approximately

39.8 million caregivers providing care to adults (18+) with a disability or illness. With the growing need to support aging persons with IDD and their caregivers, the Support and Empowerment Program can help pave the way for healthier empowered lives. Attendees will learn how to further support persons with IDD as they age.

Track C
Elm Room

May be best suited for people with an interest in behavioral health or professionals.

9:30-10:00 a.m. From Collective Trauma to Collective Healing: Impact of COVID on Teen Mental Health

Presenters: Meredith Howe, Michael Valdez (City of San Antonio Metro Health Department’s Project Worth)

Cascading events over the past two years have affected us all. In this session, we will take a look at teens, their experiences about their mental health, and what is being done to promote healing.

10:10 -10:40 a.m. Same Planet, Different Worlds: Supporting Neurodiverse Adults

Panelists: Dr. Alan Daniel (Texas A&M University – San Antonio)

Because of advances in understanding neurodiversity over the past few decades, there is more and more need to support the increased numbers of individuals who are diagnosed. The other side of this coin is that many neurodivergent adults are undiagnosed since the diagnostic infrastructure wasn’t in place when they were kids (or they faced other barriers). This means there are many individuals who may not even realize they would benefit from accommodations. This session will help individuals and organizations develop support strategies and flexibility that will help us recognize the strengths in our differences and how we can all benefit from each other.

1:00 – 1:50 p.m. Understanding Specialty, Treatment and Drug Courts

Panelists: Judge Yolanda Huff (Bexar County Court of Law No. 12), Judge Wayne Christian (Bexar County Court of Law No. 6), Judge Rosie Speedlin-Gonzalez (Bexar County Court of Law No. 13), Judge Tommy Stolhandske (Bexar County COurt of Law No. 11), Judge Helen Petry Stowe (Bexar County Court of Law No. 1)

This informative session will feature judges from all five misdemeanor Specialty Courts. Attendees will learn more about the Mental Health Court, the Domestic Violence/Reflejo Court, the DWI Court, Adult Drug Court, and the Veterans Treatment Court. In this session, attendees will learn what a specialty court is, how they benefit the judicial system and how they operate.

2:00 -2:50 p.m. The Ellie-phant in the Room We All Hide From

Presenter: Gloria Mendez (Ellie Mental Health)

Talking about mental health struggles elicits feelings of shame, doubt, disgrace, and other negative feelings. That being said, it lends itself to being a vicious snowball effect, growing larger as time passes. Mental health isn’t the issue. Our mindset and approach are what need to evaluate for growth. Ellie Mental Health-San Antonio tackles the Ellie-phant in the room in a different manner. We introduce a new culture of mental health that evokes an inviting environment, collaboration, a client-clinician match system, and core values that start from the top and filter down through the community. A culture of mental health where everyone is equal, where humans help humans. A culture of normalizing therapy and de-stigmatizing mental health. This session will introduce attendees to the Ellie approach and allow for open dialogue.

3:00 -3:50 p.m. Mental Health and Faith Communities

Panelists: Donna Costa (NAMI SAT), Amy Joyce Ponder (NAMI SAT)

For so long, people hid in shame and secrecy about their struggles with mental health. Certain populations such as African American and Latino communities are now seeing how detrimental this has been to their health. Right now is a “Moment of Change” for our faith communities. Faith leaders are often the first point of contact when individuals and families face mental health issues or traumatic events. In times of crisis, many members of faith communities will turn to their trusted leaders, friends, and family before they turn to mental health professionals. Faith communities are in a unique position to reach the millions of Americans who experience mental health and substance use challenges.

In this session, we will discuss how faith communities can be and are a valuable resource of healing beyond prayer alone.

Track D
Pecan Room

May be best suited for people in recovery from substance use, friends or family of people with a substance use disorder or professionals.

9:30-10:00 a.m. Suicide Prevention and Social Media

Presenter: Susan Smart (The Center for Health Care Services)

In this session, attendees will learn how social media drives the alarmingly high rate of suicidal thoughts, feelings and attempts in children 8-20. After completing the session, attendees will understand how self-esteem is correlated with social media usage and how to prevent youth from entering the spiral of suicidal thoughts and actions as it pertains to social media usage.

10:10 -10:40 a.m. Session Cancelled

1:00 – 1:50 p.m. Non-Medical Use of Prescription Drugs – Why You Should Be Concerned

Presenter: Vickie Thomas (San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Awareness)

This session will cover the non-medical use of prescription drugs and two at-risk populations: young adults and 65+. This session will also cover the three most commonly misused drugs: stimulants, central nervous depressants, and opioids. We will cover topics such as how people transition from use to misuse, how America found itself in the middle of the opioid epidemic, and strategies to reduce opioids and other unwanted medications in the home.

2:00 -2:50 p.m. Finding a Recovery Practice: How Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) Helped Me

Presenter: Kiley Clark (San Antonio Clubhouse)

Recovery practices such as WRAP are vitally important when people are secluded in COVID isolation, working from home, or institutionalized in hospitals, jails, and prisons. Recovery practices play a particularly important role in mental health systems, where historical oppression, violence, and discrimination present significant barriers to recovery for many people. In this session, you will learn about this valuable tool for staying out of crisis, dealing with isolation, trauma, mental health challenges, substance use disorder, and rebuilding a better support system.

3:00 -3:50 p.m. San Antonio’s First Recovery High School: Creating Change in Adolescent’s Continuum of Care from Substance Misuse

Presenters: Bea Blackmon (Rise Inspire Academy), Ian Boarnet (Rise Inspire Academy)

As San Antonio’s first recovery high school, we firmly believe that every city across the nation should offer a recovery high school where students are able to receive continued recovery support services while receiving their high school education. This presentation will address how recovery schools are changing the look of adolescents SUD continuum of care.

Track E
Magnolia Room

May be best suited for people looking to improve their life, well-being, and self-care skills, or professionals.

9:30-10:00 a.m. The Relationship Between Chronic Pain and Mental Health

Presenter: Dr. Clarissa Aguilar (The Center for Health Care Services)

This session will address the link between condition of chronic pain and mental health status. This session will provide an overview of the connection between mental health and pain and provide skills and strategies for managing pain and improving wellness.


10:10 -10:40 a.m. Public Transit – Connecting our Community

Presenters: Gloria Boysen (VIA Metropolitan Transit), Andrew Guajardo (VIA Metropolitan Transit)

In this session, attendees will learn about VIA Metropolition Transit offerings and other various rideshare services available to the community.

1:00 – 1:50 p.m. Destroying Barriers to Be in Control of Your Life: How Occupational Therapy Practitioners Can Help

Presenter: Dr. Ricky Joseph (The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio)

Occupational therapists help individuals not only resolve problems that hinder their participation in life-sustaining activities but also adapt the activities and/or environments to remove immediate barriers to functioning. In this session, Dr. Joseph will share how Occupational Therapists help us stay in control of our life.


2:00 – 4:00 p.m. **Racial Healing Circle

Presenter: Cristela Garcia (Northeast Lakeview College), Ursella Castaneda (Northeast Lakeview College)

A racial healing circle is a safe space to learn from one another, enable self-reflection and dismantle the misconception of racial hierarchy. In the process of healing, some traumatic experiences may resurface, therefore we recognize that trauma- informed care is a critical part of racial healing. As we know trauma healing is possible; individuals can engage in the healing process and find ways to be resilient, recognize their strengths, and continue to thrive despite barriers that may have prevented them from moving forward. There is something powerful about experiencing the interconnectedness of one another as we engage in the liberation journey and reclaim our humanity. Overall, racial healing involves the heart and soul.

**This is a two-hour session

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