State Conference Keynote Speakers Announced!

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The 2014 NAMI Wisconsin State Conference, Perspective Makes A Difference, celebrates diversity, making the most of every individual's background, experiences and perspectives. Join over 400 mental health consumers, families and professionals, May 2-3, at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, WI, for a two-day event chock full of education and fun for everyone! Sponsorship, ad and exhibit space are available. 

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Mike Veny discovered his talent for speaking through convincing staff at psychiatric hospitals to discharge him 3 times during adolescence. He was hospitalized as a child, was expelled from school 3 times and was medicated in attempts to reduce his behavioral outbursts. By the fifth grade, Mike was put in special education, where he learned that pencil erasers make a great sound when tapped on a desk. Today, Mike Veny is a professional studio drummer with over 21 years of experience, entrepreneur, speaker and consultant. He is a graduate and faculty member at the Long Island High School for the Arts and is on the Board of Directors for the Fender Music Foundation. Daily, he challenges his uphill battle with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, anger and depression. His speech will address the challenge of mental illness stigma through a message that encourages simple, proactive actions. He will pump up the energy to kick off the conference on Friday, May 2, by incorporating drumming into his speech and will later do an interactive breakout session where participants themselves will have a chance to drum. Conference attendees will love his enthusiasm and motivation and will smile all day long.


The Johnson family was loving and close when the youngest daughter Linea began to experience debilitating bouts of suicidal depression. After numerous trips to the psych ward she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Mother-daugther duo Cinda and Linea Johnson detail their remarkable journey from the initial worries to long sleepless nights and the slow understanding and rebuilding of trust in their co-authored book, Perfect Chaos. Linea Johnson is a recent graduate from Seattle University, with a major in English and Creative Writing. Linea is currently working as a research assistant at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She has worked as an intern at the World Health Organization in the Mental Health Department. Cinda Johnson, Ph.D., is a professor and director of the special education graduate program at Seattle University. She is a national leader in the area of transition from high school to post-high school setting for young people with disabilities. Both Cinda and Linea have worked and presented with national leaders at BringChange2Mind, NAMI and One Mind for Research. Cinda and Linea will speak from 9:00-10: 00 am on Saturday, May 3, and their book will be available for sale and signing throughout the day!