Assistant Professor of Psychology Jamie Bodenlos and her PSY 221, “Psychopathology,” class will attend a conference hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the largest organization that commits itself to improving the lives of families who have either suffered from, or had a relative with, a mental illness. The event will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 7 in Syracuse.
Students attending the conference will have the opportunity to learn about mental health and how NAMI Syracuse, Inc., works with those who have serious psychiatric illness. At the conference, students will learn more about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic depressions) and severe depression.
At HWS, Bodenlos has had speakers from NAMI lecture in her classroom and in Fall 2012, took her PSY 221 class to the NAMI conference in Syracuse. She says that the experiences have been excellent learning opportunities for students.
“It is important for them to hear real life experiences of mental illness as this complements our readings, lectures and discussions,” Bodenlos says.
The trip will give students the chance to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the research that is conducted by psychologists. In addition, the trip is funded by the HWS deans’ offices.
Presenters such as Stephen Kuusisto ’78, director of the Honors Program and professor of Disability Studies for the Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies in the School of Education at Syracuse; Dr. Abdulhafiz Ahmed and Dr. Rich O’Niell will offer remarks on mental health and wellness, behavioral healthcare, addiction, diversity, disability, education and public policy. The speakers and panel discussions will enhance the students understanding of mental illness.
After the completion of the NAMI conference, Bodenlos hopes students will gain a better awareness of what barriers and issues patients with mental illness deal with in the community.
“I hope they understand the stigma associated with having a mental illness and how this affects their lives,” she says. “I also hope they gain a better understanding about the current work being done to help these patients.”