HALLOWELL — Patricia E. Deegan, PhD, and bestselling author and former WWE wrestler AJ Mendez will be the keynote speakers at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine’s sixth annual conference from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Augusta Civic Center. The theme of this year’s conference is “Healthier Together: Honoring Diverse Perspectives.”

Keynote remarks and breakout sessions throughout the day will explore different approaches to mental wellness and community support systems for those with a mental health need.

For over 30 years Deegan has been a thought leader and disruptive innovator in the field behavioral health recovery. She founded a company run by and for people in recovery. Toward this end she developed the CommonGround Program that includes the award-winning CommonGround software, the online Recovery Library, the CommonGround Academy for peers and practitioners and the Hearing Distressing Voices Simulation.

Since 2009 Deegan has worked as a consultant helping to develop and evolve the OnTrackNY model for coordinated specialty care teams for young folks experiencing early psychosis. She is an activist in the disability rights movement and has lived her own journey of recovery after being diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager. Deegan has held a number of academic appointments, has numerous publications and has carried a message of hope for recovery to audiences around the world. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Duquesne University.

Mendez is a mental health speaker and advocate, former professional wrestling champion with the WWE, and the New York Times Bestselling author of “Crazy Is My Superpower.” Her memoir is being developed for television by Emmy-nominated producers EUE Sokolow, in which she will write and executive produce. She has 6 million followers across Twitter and Instagram.

Following her afternoon keynote remarks, Mendez will hold a book signing that is open to the public from 4 to 4:30 p.m.

Through support, education and advocacy NAMI Maine is dedicated to building better lives for the one in four Mainers who are affected by mental illness.

To register for the conference, visit www.namimaine.org/conference19 or call 207-622-5767, ext. 2308. Early-bird registration rates are active through Monday, Sept. 30, and registration closes on Thursday, Oct. 31.


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