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Pair of events March 5 in Downtown Nashville to focus on Mental Health Issues

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | 09:47am

NASHVILLE -– Tuesday, March 5, 2013, will be an exciting day for mental health agencies and consumers as they attend a pair of events in Downtown Nashville.

First will be the 12th annual “Day on Capitol Hill” at War Memorial Auditorium, sponsored by the Tennessee Coalition for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Along with an address by Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney, the event will feature members of the state legislature, a panel of mental health consumers, a training on effective communication, and a keynote address from Retired Army Captain Luis Montalvan, who served his country for 17 years of active duty and is The New York Times bestselling author of “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him.”

Then, in the afternoon, the annual statewide Art for Awareness Conference -- co-sponsored by the TDMHSAS and the Healing Arts Project, Inc. (HAPI) -- gets under way as consumer artists from across Tennessee come together to share their works and their experiences. This year’s theme is “Art –- One Path to Wellness.” Art for Awareness begins at 1 p.m., with registration opening at 11 a.m. in The Nashville Room of the Tennessee/Snodgrass Tower.

The artwork submitted to the Art for Awareness Conference will showcase a variety of themes and media, and some consumers have sold their works to admirers in the past. Art for Awareness has grown every year for the past seven years, moving from a regional event to a statewide conference in 2010. Since that time, more than 1,000 consumers in recovery from mental illness and substance abuse issues have participated in the art-based stigma-reduction program through HAPI-sponsored art classes at peer support centers. A few have entered individual instruction programs and are continuing to study art on their own.

New this year to the conference will be exhibitor booths by industry and government agencies with a focus on wellness through multi-dimensional experiences in recovery.

For more information about Art for Awareness 2013, go to the TDMHSAS website at tn.gov/mental. For more information about Mental Health Day on Capitol Hill, go online to http://www.dayoncapitolhill.eventbrite.com/ or send an e-mail to Anne Fox at aross88@bellsouth.net.

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