Back from BlogHer16

To Confer or Not to Confer

Recuperating from BlogHer16. Wondering if I want to go to NAMI California conference later this month. Prefer intimate get togethers where fellow writers support each other by sharing their knowledge. Do not get much from panel discussions. Plus, staying in hotels is expensive. Besides, I do not really want to monetize my blog. I identify as a writer and as a mental health advocate, not as a web-based entrepreneur.

Blessed to have met so many wonderful women in person, including the amazing and inspirational speaker Clementine BihigaSarah Fader – who also rocked the stage, Julie AndersonHasty Words, Renee RobbinsMarla Carlton, Courtney KeeseeGunmetal Geisha, and Ra (Rarasaur). Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to meet everyone I had hoped to connect with.

Conferences This Summer



In August, I will attend (or at least I registered for and paid to attend) two conferences: #BlogHer16: Experts Among Us in Los Angeles and NAMI California: Back to the Future – Building on the Past for a Better Tomorrow in Burlingame, a suburb of San Francisco near SFO airport.




I’m kind of freaking out, worried about going to the conferences, nervous that I may become overwhelmed and trigger mood cycling (live in too much fear of triggering symptoms). I plan to stay in hotel rooms by myself, for that will enable me to recuperate each day, and will give me somewhere to hide and decompress.



As part of #BlogHer16, I joined the BlogHer Social Media Influencer Network, enrolling four of my social media channels for potential advertising: Facebook (personal profile), Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, and Instagram. This site will remain ad-free (for now).

Using my social media presences to advertise is a completely new thing for me. The ads will be clearly labeled as such (as is legally required). Honestly, not sure how comfortable I feel about it. Testing the waters…

Young Adult Mental Health

Last Friday and Saturday, I alternately volunteered at and attended the NAMI California Conference. You can purchase CDs or MP3s of the California conference held last Friday and Saturday in Newport Beach, the NAMI National Convention held in San Francisco in July, and past conventions here.

As I mentioned in my last post, attending the conference, like all social interaction, overstimulated me, and I’m still trying to slow myself down. Coloring helps.


The first session I attended was on transitional aged youth (aka “TAY” which should be called young adults or adolescents and young adults, because calling an eighteen-year-old legal adult a youth is insulting, really).

The facilitator was Gustavo Loera, EdD. He spoke of the importance of young adults telling their stories. Storytelling leads to purpose. Your story can make a difference. YCMAD: You Can Make a Difference.


DeAndre Evans shared his story of growing up in Richmond, California. He opened up the conference with an awesome spoken word performance. DeAndre works at RAW Talent in Richmond, CA. He is an actor and spoken word performing artist whose work is featured in the documentary Romeo Is Bleeding, and he has written the screenplay Poverty, Poetry & Paradise.


Ellen Frudakis, co-founder and Program Director of Impact Young Adults (IYA), a non-profit created and run by young adults for young adults seeking mental health. She spoke about the need to create a bridge from in the storm to out. IYA has a social focus to overcome isolation. When isolated, thoughts get distorted. She recommended Stan Collins’ Directing Change Project, a student film contest promoting the mental health of California students.


City Fall by Amanda Lipp
“City Fall” by Amanda Lipp

Crayon artist (her work inspires me to pull out my tub of crayons), videographer and public speaker Amanda Lipp (like me, creative, bipolar and more) moderated a panel of fellow young adult mental health advocates: Chris Allen, Ronny Choe and Troy Mondragon.


Chris Allen is a former Marine who suffered PTSD upon his return from combat and was for a time homeless. He now works for the California Veterans Assistance Foundation, helping fellow veterans and their families as Program Director of Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) Priority 2 & Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP), Transition in Place (TIP), Step Up, Rally Point & Shelter Plus Care. Thank you, Chris, for all you do for veterans and their families.


Ronny Choe’s brother has schizophrenia. Ronny spoke of the need to reach out to the Asian American community and offer caregiver support. As a UCLA teaching assistant, Ronny reaches out to young adult students by finding what they are interested in, then tying mental health into it. Ronny’s passion is for neuroscience, so his research may someday help those of us who struggle to maintain our mental health.


Troy Mondragon was diagnosed as bipolar at fourteen-years-old, and just got his MSW from Cal State San Bernardino. His success is due to early intervention. He organized a positive response to the campus police killing of a bipolar student. He spoke of the need for systems, a medical response team, and crisis intervention team (CIT) training to move forward with hope and healing. Troy calls himself a social entrepreneur and challenges us to embrace the change to be more effective advocates.