Third Annual Mental Health Symposium

Tickets Going Fast To Hear Mental Health Advocate Dottie Pacharis

Author: Susan Bennett
Posted: 9/10/2013

Tickets are still available for the Third Annual Mental Health Symposium featuring Mental Health Advocate Dottie Pacharis and other major presenters.
HOPE Clubhouse of Southwest Florida will host the symposium Tuesday, Oct. 1, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in observance of Mental Health Awareness Week October 7-13.  Registration begins at 10:30 a.m.
Tickets for “Mental Illness: A Family Affair” cost $35 including lunch and $50 with 2.0 CEUs for mental health professionals.  Tickets are available at HOPE Clubhouse at 239-267-1777 or may be purchased online at Tables for eight may be purchased for $750 with corporate recognition.

Pacharis, author of “Mind On the Run,” will discuss her family’s struggle to get help for her son, who ultimately committed suicide.  The symposium also will include a presentation on the genetics of mental illness by Fort Myers psychiatrist Dr. Steven Machlin.
A highlight of the symposium will be a panel discussion by Pacharis and three well-known local women, each of whom has been impacted by mental illness in her own family:
?  Dawn-Marie Driscoll, an executive fellow at the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University and a former corporate attorney, who has a 61-year-old sister diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type;
?  Sarah Owen, CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, who has a 23-year-old son living independently with mental illness; and
?  Andrea Prather, co-owner of the Broadway Palm, who was diagnosed with depression and has managed her illness with appropriate medication.
The Broadway Palm, Florida Weekly and The News-Press Media Group are the major sponsors with support from FineMark National Bank, Gavin’s Ace Hardware, Gulf Coast Clinical Research Center, Northern Trust, Park Royal Hospital, Rehak & Branning Attorneys at Law, and Storm Force.
HOPE Clubhouse Board Vice-Chair Shawn Seliger will serve as master of ceremonies.
“We are very honored that Dottie Pacharis, Dr. Machlin and our three distinguished panelists have agreed to join us for our Third Annual Symposium on Mental Health,” said Symposium Chair Jeanne Sweeney of the Above Board Chamber of Florida.  “They have a wealth of knowledge about the mental health field that we can all learn and benefit from.”

Dr. Machlin is board-certified in Adult Psychiatry and has practiced in Fort Myers for 22 years. He is a graduate of the medical school at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and completed his internship and residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Md., where is a part-time assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.  He has published research papers on neuroimaging and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and treats all psychiatric disorders in adults and geriatrics.

HOPE Clubhouse of Southwest Florida is a model of rehabilitation for people living with severe mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and clinical depression. Hope Clubhouse opened its doors in March, 2010, and has 138 active members.  HOPE Clubhouse, the only one of its kind in Southwest Florida, fills a significant gap in the mental health system by offering opportunities for meaningful work, education, friendships and access to housing in a supportive, caring and dignified community setting.  HOPE Clubhouse received a three-year accreditation from the International Center for Clubhouse Development earlier this year.

HOPE Clubhouse is based on the principle that meaningful work is critical in bringing positive change to the lives of those living with mental illness.  Clubhouse staff help “members,” as they are called, to develop work skills to enable them to return to productive employment in the community.
For more information about HOPE Clubhouse, visit