Speaker’s Forum

Spring Forward – April 2018 Mental Mending Update
Happy Easter, Happy Passover & Happy Spring – a time for renewal. 
Mental health is an important and timely topic in the aftermath of the Parkland, FL, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 15 students and 2 teachers were slain on Valentine’s Day. Mobilized students across the country, under the banner of #Enough and #NeverAgain, are demanding legislative action on reducing gun violence and access to affordable mental health resources. We endorse their peaceful, inclusive mission to make all public and community spaces safe for all children, teens, adults and seniors.
Online Guide – Kids & Depression: This new guide from USA.gov helps parents, grandparents and teachers recognize symptoms and risk factors in children, teens and young adults, and highlights treatment options. Click here to view the guide.
Collier County, FL, is taking the lead and becoming a model for screening kids’ mental health during doctor visits.  Click here to read the Naples Daily News article by Liz Freeman. 
Healthy Lee, a civic group dedicated to improving public health in Lee County, Florida, hosted a first-of-its-kind community conversation to address mental health and substance abuse needs. Click here to Jennifer Reed’s article about their first Community Conversation. Spoken Word Artist Lenz Daluzma, presented the opening poem at this event. You can view his poem, Mask, on our project website – https://www.writeonmymind.com/the-poetry-gallery/.
A story of hope and community: ’I Never Thought That Would Happen in Our Family’ – Behind the movement for early discovery and treatment of kids with emotional problems. Click here to read about community mental health services, including NAMI of Collier County, that help families get re-grounded. Thanks to Gulfshore Life Magazine and journalist Jennifer Reed for their spotlight on mental health.
Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter’s Guest Commentary on navigating through the holidays after sudden loss was published in Florida Weekly and the Naples Daily News/USA Today. We thank them for helping us shine a light on mental health and NAMI’s helpful programs and services.
Mental Health Advocate Norman J. Ornstein shares his story about he challenges he and his wife faced when invoking Florida’s Baker Act to try to help their adult son who suffered from serious mental illness. “…until we devote the needed resources to making the mental health system work, we will continue to have unnecessary tragedies.” Click here to read his New York Times commentary – No Quick Fix for Mental Illness.” 
Singer, songwriter and activist Judy Collins shared from the heart @ the NAMI-CC Hope Shines Benefit Luncheon on December 8, 2017. Click here to read Dayna Harpster’s Spotlight Naples News Magazine article about Judy’s presentation.  
THE ART OF HEALING – www.WriteOnMyMind.com: A positive way to de-stress is through art. We welcome artwork, photos, poetry, prose and multi-media works created by children, teens and adults for display on our website galleries as well as mental mending blog articles for our website Speaker’s Forum. We are delighted to introduce two new art projects for our art gallery: 
1. A Warm Salute to Everglades City Public Schools 4th & 5th Grade American History Course Artists: Art teacher James Tribble inspired his 4th and 5th graders to express their views on their recent American history course. Click here to view their uplifting patriotic artwork. Everglades City was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Irma in September 2017 and the community’s resilience is inspiring. Thanks to Everglades City Public Schools Counselor Carolyn Rambosk for coordinating this project.
2. We Welcome the Marco Island Academy High School Art Students: Art teacher Rob Eder invited Deena Baxter to visit his class. Deena spoke with the students about surviving sudden loss and ways we can use art to help us heal. She brought a guest – spoken word artist Lenz Dalusma – who performed two poems: MASK and GLASSES. His messages were inspiring. Afterwards, the students worked on an art project that expressed their emotions in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and other recent trauma in their lives. We are honored to showcase their powerful and emotive artwork. Thank You Marco Island Academy Art Students, Mr. Eder and MIA Principal Melissa Scott.  Click here to view more of their artwork.
LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE: “The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” ~ Terry Prachett 
ADVOCACY: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter is making presentations at venues throughout SW Florida – and nationally. See below for upcoming presentations. If you have a professional organization, company, civic, social or church group who would be interested in a mental mending presentation, contact her at DeenaBaxter2@gmail.com for more information. View a summary of past presentations and photos at: https://www.writeonmymind.com/whats-news/.
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Surviving Suicide - Searching For Normal with Heartache and Humor
About The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project: After losing her youngest adult son to suicide, Deena Baxter launched The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL, in September 2014. The project’s mission is to promote life-affirming mental wellness. It includes a book, a creative arts website, www.WriteOnMyMind.com, and outreach presentations. The book is titled, SURVIVING SUICIDE – Searching for “Normal” with Heartache and Humor: All profit from book sales flows to NAMI of Collier County, FL. Click here for eBook information. Hard copies have sold out on Amazon but we have a few for sale at NAMI – contact deenabaxter2@gamil.comThe book has been endorsed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS).   
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Upcoming Presentations and Events:
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Naples United Church of Christ
WISE Event hosted by NUCC Stephen Ministry Program
5200 Crayton Rd, Naples, FL 34103
McSpadden Hall
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Tim McArthur – “A Primer on Mental Health”
Deena Baxter & NAMI of Collier County, FL, were invited to attend.
This is a closed event
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Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Time: 3:30pm – 5:00pm
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL
Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) Family Panel Presentation
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter will be a panelist
6216 Trail Boulevard, Building C
Naples, FL 34108-2835
This is a closed event.
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Friday, June 22, 2018
Time: 3:30 – 4:30pm (35 min. presentation; 25 min. Q&A)
Collier County Public Library – Estates Library
1266 Golden Gate Boulevard West, Naples, FL 34120
Presentation by Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Title: Mental Mending after Sudden Loss – Searching for “Normal” with Heartache, Humor & Art
Open to the Public. Contact the Library to register: 239-455-8088
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018 
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Naples United Church of Christ
WISE Event hosted by NUCC Stephen Ministry Program
5200 Crayton Rd, Naples, FL 34103
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Dr. Sara Griffith Lund, author, Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness In Our Congregations, in Our Families, and In Ourselves 
Deena Baxter & NAMI of Collier County, FL, were invited to attend.
This is a closed event
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Best regards,
Deena Baxter and Team NAMI-Collier
The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project

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