Our 1st Annual Conference & Benefit Was Incredible!

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Tom Braxton, Lina Stalters, Pam and Christian Liipfert

Back row: Tom Braxton (composer and instrumentalist) and Pam Liipfert. Front row: Linda Stalters SARDAA Founder with Christian Liipfert. The Liipferts are the winners of the Smooth Jazz Cruise “Greatest Party At Sea” with Tom Braxton and the Stalters.

The Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) hosted its national conference, Minds on the Edge: A Call for Hope and Recovery, on Saturday, September 29th  2012 at the Houston Marriott Energy Corridor Hotel. The accompanying workshop taught people how to start and maintain a Schizophrenics Anonymous (SA) support group. As a result, two new SA groups were founded in Houston. The conference provided friends, families and professionals with knowledge to aid individual’s in recovery and analyzed the challenges faced by professionals, the criminal justice system, and policy makers. Key note speakers were Dr. Penelope Frese, Dr. Frederick Frese, and Dr. Thomas Powell.

Dr. Penelope Frese drew on her experience as a wife and mother to people with mental illness to give suggestions for recovery. The “Minds on the Edge” video and panel, moderated by Richard Kilberg and featuring Dr. Frederick Frese and others, also discussed how families can help their loved ones. The conference gave families the tools to negotiate public health resources and the criminal justice system. Dr. Catherine Cerulli explained how the criminal justice system addresses mental illness and gave families suggestions for navigating it. Susan Raffle spoke on NAMI’s “Family 2 Family” program that teaches families how to prepare for psychiatric emergencies, and Sgt. Patrick Plourde explained how the Houston Police Crisis Intervention Team program trains officers to deescalate these crises. Dr. Steven Lamberti showed how early intervention can prevent relapse in schizophrenia. Susan Sheena described the support friends and families receive from SARDAA. The SA workshop featured presentations by Joanne Verbanic (SA Founder), Jim Cronin (SA Co-Administrator),  Dr.Tamara Navarro and Dr. Thomas Powell.

Following the exceptional conference, a fantastic evening was enjoyed by many influential community members as well as guests from around the country.  We thank our great major corporate sponsors: The Smooth Jazz Cruise, Houston Motor Club, Concept Searching, EHS Insight, Advantage BMW Midtown, MediaTech and Gimmal Group.

This conference and benefit would not have happened without the many volunteer hours donated by some outstanding people.  We especially want to recognize Carmen Hedley for her unbelievable work throughout the year.

It is without question that SARDAA would not exist without the extraordinary commitment and contributions of Co-Founder, Mr. Russell Stalters.

Guests were totally enthralled by Dr. Frederick Freses’ entertaining address.  Dr. Frese, internationally acclaimed expert and speaker regarding schizophrenia, magically enlightened everyone.

Guests couldn’t resist dancing to the amazing sounds of Tom Braxton.  Tom graciously volunteered to play for this event last January while playing on The Smooth Jazz Cruise.

The conference and gala netted about $17,000 in support of improving lives affected by schizophrenia-related disorders.

Conference and Gala Hosts were SARDAA Founders Mr. & Mrs. Russell Stalters of Houston, TX.

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