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Disability and Mental Health Summit

Disability & Mental Health Summit

This year’s Disability and Mental Health Summit [1], hosted by state Rep. Dan Miller, will, as most everything in our lives these days, bend to the will of COVID-19. The summit will be held virtually, and most of the topics revolve around living in a pandemic.

The summit will take place on Monday, April 12 and Tuesday, April 13. Registration is required. At press time, a keynote speaker had not been chosen. Some speakers and topics are listed below.

Dr. Tracy Scanlon, Outreach Teen & Family Services clinical director, will speak about the impact of remote learning on children with disabilities. Parents and caregivers have been forced through a trial-and-error process to find what works—and what doesn’t—to support and encourage children to adapt to the ins and outs of a new virtual education.

Deborah Murdoch, Program Manager at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, will host a panel of youth advocates and school-based mental health providers for a discussion of teen mental health in the era of COVID-19. Panelists will share how the pandemic has impacted teen mental health, what supports have been most helpful from parents, schools, and community partners, and their perspective on the way forward.

Miller will moderate a legislative panel on state disability and mental health policies. Representatives, senators, and elected leaders from across the area will get together for a panel discussion to talk about state policies and legislative initiatives that need to advance  to increase independence and opportunity for everyone.

Attorney Bobby Silverstein will speak on returning to the workplace after a lockdown. The session features examples of disability-inclusive federal and state pandemic recovery related policies, as well as employer practices to ensure the health and safety of all workers in returning to the workplace. Learn about the intersection between COVID-19 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

Christine Michaels, COO of the Keystone chapter of the national Alliance on Mental Illness, will discuss how the pandemic has challenged our physical, mental and emotional health. The presentation will discuss the sources of stress and signs that you may be overwhelmed. It will also explore how to manage stress through self-care.