Speaker’s Forum

Honoring Mental Health Month & Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day. “A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” ~ C. Meymillos

May is Mental Health Month— a great time to focus on mental mending. Why should you care? Because you or someone you love could be among the 1 in 5 people affected by mental illness in their lifetime. NAMI cares: We’ve got your back. You are not alone. 


#NAMICARES: We listen and build community. We’ve been there; we understand. We lead the conversation. Mental health conditions should be treated like any other health condition. That’s why we lead the nation in calling for more research and better treatment. We educate and provide support. Knowledge has the power to heal. We advocate. We’ve felt the sting of stigma and discrimination. That’s why we pursue justice, equity and opportunity, particularly for those with the greatest needs.  


The goal of Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee is to give children the best possible start in life through education, literacy, social-emotional development and school readiness programs, and to provide support and opportunities for parent involvement in their child’s development. 

In the words of Pathways Center Director Michelle Blackmon, “We were honored to participate in a mental health art project with NAMI Collier. Creative play and emotional resilience are important components of our educational philosophy. I led this highly interactive art project for our older children and designed it as a teachable moment—talking with the students about healthy ways to express their feelings. I incorporated the lesson into all four of our Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) classes. The Pathways family was very fortunate to have BUCK – I – SERVE Volunteers from Ohio State University, assist us with this amazing project. The Ohio State students worked with 37 VPK students, ages 4 to 5 years old. The theme for the project was, What Makes Me Happy. We took each child’s individual piece of art and wove it together in a huge creative art installation that includes this quote, “Friendships Are Like Pieces Of A Quilt Stitched Together Tightly With Friends”. It radiates positive energy; the parents love it and it brings smiles to the entire Pathways community. Click here to view more of the project artwork. 

Friendships Are Like Pieces Of A Quilt Stitched Together Tightly With Friends


Collier Child Care Resources’ (CCCR) 2019 “Big Impressions by Little Artists” Project launched in January, with a series of talented local artists creating original, expressive art with the children, ages 2 to 5 years old. This year, four local artists— Paula Brody, Nalin Isme, Marvin Rouse and Marcus and Marcus Zotter— collaborated with the children at all four of CCCR’s early childhood development centers in Collier County, FL. The artwork was in the artist’s signature style, which introduced the little ones to new styles of art, new mediums and lots of fun! Art has a major role in the educational philosophy CCCR uses for early education. Click here to meet the artists and view more Big Impressions By Little Artists.


THE ART OF HEALING – 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 creative arts website galleries, as well as mental mending blog articles on our website Speaker’s Forum.

NAMI COLLIER “DOINGS”:  The Warm Line: Instead of a “Hotline” for emergency clinical services, the WARM line is a statewide, peer-run service for individuals in search of a connection with someone who has lived experience in mental health recovery. The Warm Line connects callers with a Florida Certified Recovery Peer Specialist who listens with the understanding and compassion only a Peer can provide. Callers are not required to disclose any personal information that causes discomfort to share. CLEAR Warm Line – Call 1-800-945-1355. 4:00pm – 10:00pm EST, Seven days a week, including holidays.  

MENTAL MENDING IN THE NEWS: We are grateful to the following supportive media organizations that help amplify our messages:

Broken Minds Deserve a Voice – Guest Essay
Click links to read articles: Florida Weekly Bonita Springs and Naples Daily News Guest Commentary

Building Pathways to a Beautiful Mind Takes a VillageOld Naples News & North Naples News Magazines published an article about NAMI Collier programs and services in their March 2019 editions. Click here to read the article.

Time Eat Sorrow – Mental Mending Guest Essay 
Click links to read articles, March 2019Naples Florida WeeklyNaples Daily News, The Banner and Fort Myers News-Press

Helping our Children Friend their Fears Guest Essay Click links to read articles for Mental Health Month, May 2019Fort Myers News-Press  Florida Weekly Naples, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs editions.

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE: “If I refuse to take a nap, is that resisting a rest?” ~ Jenny Murray

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ADVOCACY PRESENTATIONS AND EVENTS: 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. To view a summary of past presentations and photos, click here.

Here are some upcoming presentations. 

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Time: 3:15pm – 3:30pm
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL
Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) Lived Stories Series 
Presenter: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
6216 Trail Boulevard, Building C
Naples, FL 34108-2835This is a closed event.


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