MHA Announces Initial Line-Up for 2016 Annual Conference | Mental Health America

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MHA Announces Initial Line-Up for 2016 Annual Conference

Contact: Erin Wallace (

Mental Health America Announces Initial Line-Up for 2016 Annual Conference
Actor Chris Wood, Neon Trees, Soap Opera Star, Athletes Come Together to Change the Conversation

Alexandria, VA—On June 8-10, 2016 Mental Health America (MHA) will hold its 2016 Annual Conference with the theme Media, Messaging and Mental Health at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia. The conference will take an in-depth look at the impact and influence of media and the entertainment industry on the complex issues of mental health and mental illness, and explore how messaging and language can contribute to and perpetuate the destructive stigma and discrimination of people with mental illnesses .

“We will explore the good and the bad of portrayals on the big and small screen, how the digital landscape is revolutionizing how we deal with mental health, and how celebrity can be used to influence—and ultimately change—the conversation.” MHA President and CEO Paul Gionfriddo announced. “With an unprecedented gathering of actors, athletes, musicians and more, we plan to have real conversations about what’s working, what’s not, and how we have the power to bring about change for all those living with mental health concerns.”

MHA is excited to announce that Chris Wood of The Vampire Diaries and the star of the new CW series, Containment is partnering with MHA to share his story. On June 9 at MHA’s conference, he will talk publicly about the loss of his father to mental illness and his family’s struggle to get him help. 

Four years ago, I lost my father to untreated mental illness,” said Chris Wood.  “My family struggled to get him help, and it took his heart failing to begin treating his issues. By being an Ambassador for MHA, I hope to help those struggling with mental illness find answers and the help they need before it's too late. My goal is to spread awareness and begin removing any taboos, and improve the policies in place to better benefit a healthy mind.”

Actress and mental health advocate Ashley Judd is serving as the Chair of the 2016 Annual Conference Honorary Committee. MHA will also host on June 9 A Night at the Movies: Exploring the World of Mental Health Through Films, featuring several short and full-length films exploring the different aspects of mental illness, addiction and recovery.

In addition, a number of high-profile speakers and participants are confirmed for the June event: 

  • Neon Trees:  An American rock band from Provo, Utah known for songs Everybody Talks and Animal will join founder of the You Rock Foundation, Joseph Penola to talk about their work combatting depression and suicide.
  • Suzy Favor Hamilton: A former professional runner and three-time Olympian, and author of Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness.
  • Kimberly McCullough: An award-winning director and actress, best known for her supporting role in Legally Blonde and her portrayal of Robin Scorpio Drake on the daytime soap opera, General Hospital, a role that earned her six Daytime Emmy nominations and two wins.
  • Tyler Atkins: An Australian actor and writer, winner of The Amazing Race Australia and star of upcoming film, The Love Effect, scheduled to be shown at MHA’s A Night at the Movies on June 9
  • Brian Dyak: Founder and President of the Entertainment Industries Council and the Entertainment and Media Communication Institute. 
  • Patrick Mulcahey: An award-winning American television writer who has won seven Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing, sixteen nominations, and two Writers Guild Awards for his work on Guiding Light, Santa Barbara, General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful
  • Chris Herren: A former NBA player and founder of The Herren Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing treatment navigation, educational and mentoring programs to those touched by addiction and to educate people of all ages on the dangers of substance abuse.
  • Kimberly Clayton Blaine: Founder of TheGoToMom.TV, and named one of the most powerful moms in social media by Working Mother Magazine. Kimberley is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), an inspirational speaker, author, Buddhist and a nationally recognized mindfulness and positive-psychology thought-leader. 

For more information and to register for the Mental Health America 2016 Annual Conference, click here.


Mental Health America is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to helping all Americans achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated health, behavioral health and other services for those who need them, and recovery as a goal.

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 Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone (703) 684.7722

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