MAY 18, 2017

This Is My Brave CastCongratulations to the cast of THIS IS MY BRAVE
for their inspiring performances and storytelling
on May 17, 2017 at the Sedona Creative Life Center

At the microphone is Megan Aronson thanking the audience. Behind her left to right are: Tonya June Moore, Sirena Aboudi, Tyffany Howard, Tyrus Watson, Marita Gale, Ashley Brothers, Susie Brighten, Larry Rosenberg, Lori Morrison and Liz Cornell.

Directed by Kate Hawkes, Producing Artistic Director of Red Earth Theatre.

Sponsored by The Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley, NAMI, Spectrum Healthcare Group, Health Choices Integrated Care and NARBHA Institute.

2016 Mental Health Summit
“Latest Truths and Treatments”
August 26, 2016

Robert Whitaker, Keynote – “Challenges in Today’s Mental Health System”

Dr. Grace Jackson, Keynote – “Are We Treating Essential Causes As Well As We Should?”

Mental Health Awareness Week
“Stronger Than Stigma”
May 11-16, 2015

Bringing new awareness, hope and sensitivity to Sedona and the Verde Valley, the area’s first Mental Health Awareness Week took place May 11-16. Dedicated to all who seek to lift the stigma associated with mental illness and to understand and learn about the resources for treatment and recovery, Mental Health Awareness Week was organized by MHCVV and supported by sponsors. All events were free.

Watch the video of Coalition members Rose Boerner and Barbara Litrell on Yavapai Broadcasting’s COUNTYWIDE program on May 12, 2015. With the theme, Stronger than Stigma, each day will feature a variety of activities in Sedona and Cottonwood including speakers, panels, films and community conversations geared to communicate that it is important to talk about mental illness, there is no shame in seeking help, and there is hope after diagnosis. It is the hope that Mental Health Awareness Week will provide information, assistance, and various forms of awareness and healing for all involved. Erasing stigma with compassion, and ignorance with supportive knowledge, we can become strong agents for Mental Health awareness. Join us and help spread the word throughout the community. Thanks to our sponsors (listed below). All events are FREE!!

Monday, May 11, 9AM-Noon – “In Our Own Voice”
Carmen Griffin will share a first-hand account of what it’s like to live with a mental illness. Members of the Mental health Coalition will lead a community conversation Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Yavapai College, 4215 Arts Village Dr., Rm 34, Sedona. Reserve at 649-0135.
Monday, May 11, 4 & 7PM – Film “Canvas” Plus Panel including the Film Maker
A family is transformed by mental illness when the mother suffers from schizophrenia.  Writer/Director Joseph Greco will be present. Mary D. Fisher Theatre, 2030 W. Hwy 89A, Sedona. Free tickets at the box office or online. Check out the flyer for more details.
Tuesday, May 12, 1:30PM – Film “Alive Inside” Plus Harpist Barbie Edwards
“Alive Inside” chronicles the astonishing experiences of seniors around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music and its healing power that triumphs where prescription medication falls short. Sedona Community Center, 2615 Melody Lane, Sedona Reservations 649-0135. Check out the flyer for more details.
Tuesday, May 12, 6:00PM – Film “Bullied to Silence” & Conversation with the Film Makers
This award-winning documentary gives a voice to the bullied child that will be the positive change to verbal and cyber bullying. Filmmakers, Tami Pivnick and Susan Broude will be present for discussion. Mingus Union High School Auditorium, 1801 E. Fir St., Cottonwood. No reservations needed.
Tuesday, May 12, 6:30-8:00PM – “Mental Illness and Children”
Scott Roderick, Chief Clinical Officer at Spectrum Healthcare, will address the most prevalent mental health problems for children today. Teachers, parents, community members invited. West Sedona School Library, 570 Posse Ground Rd, Sedona. Please reserve at 649-0135. Check out the flyer for more details.
Wednesday, May 13, Noon-2PM – Spirituality & Resilience as a Dimension of Wellness – Treating the WHOLE Person”
Bring your lunch to this presentation by Dr. Steven Dingle, Chief Medical Officer for the AZ Department of Health Services/Division of Behavioral Health Services. Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley, 100 Meadowlark Dr., Sedona. Reserve at 649-0135. Check out the flyer.
Wednesday, May 13, 1:30PM – Film “Alive Inside”
“Alive Inside” chronicles the astonishing experiences of seniors around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music and its healing power that triumphs where prescription medication falls short. Verde Valley Senior Center, 500 Cherry St., Cottonwood. Reserve at 649-0135. Check out the flyer.
Wednesday, May 13, 5:30-7:00PM – A Community Conversation about AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) Services.
Representatives of Health Choice Integrated Care will talk about how AHCCCS behavioral health services are improving in this area. Spectrum Healthcare, 8 E. Cottonwood St., Cottonwood. No reservation needed.
Thursday, May 14, 10:00AM-2:00PM – “Recovery Options”
You or someone you know has been diagnosed with mental illness. Now what? A panel and community conversation will explore recovery options. Light lunch compliments of St. Andrew’s Church. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 100 Arroyo Pinon Dr., Sedona. Reserve 649-0135.
Friday, May 15, 9AM-Noon – “Alternative Healing for Mental Health”
Dr. Oliver Cooperman, Dr. Pam Pappas and Shawna Bowen, better known as “From Rock Star to Therapist.” will discuss the alternatives to traditional approaches of treating mental illness. Dance performance by Pash Galbavy and Veteran/Poet Tom Puetz. Church of the Red Rocks, 54 Bowstring Dr., Sedona. Watch this video to see Pash Galbavy and Tom Puetz performance.

Friday, May 15, 7:00PM – Film “Running From Crazy”
Documentary of Mariel Hemingway and her family’s journey living with mental illness. Old Town Center for the Arts, 5th St. and Main, Cottonwood. Free Tickets: 649-0135. Check out the flyer.
Saturday, May 16, 10:00AM-11:00AM ~ “The Faces of Compassion for Mental Illness”
A community gathering and portrait ceremony to honor those we have lost to mental illness and to show support of individuals living with mental illness as well as their families and caregivers. Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, 336 Hwy 179, Sedona. Join us!

Special Thanks to our Sponsors and Partners:
Sedona Community Tennis Association, Sedona International Film Festival, World Peace Productions, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Yavapai College, Old Town Center for the Arts, Christ Lutheran Church, Church of the Red Rocks, Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Mingus Union High School, Sedona Community Center, Verde Valley Senior Center, Harpist 2Q Barbie Edwards, Andrea Smith Gallery, City of Sedona, City of Cottonwood, West Sedona School, Purple People Inc., Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, Spectrum Healthcare, NAMI Sedona, In Memory of Ryan Harlan, NARBHA/Health Choice Integrated Care, Members of the Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley, and all speakers panelists, film makers and performers listed under each day’s events.

Mental Health Summit
“The State of Mental Illness in the Verde Valley”
September 25, 2015

This was a special gathering of community leaders in behavioral health, government, education, law enforcement, faith communities, first responders, caregivers, individuals and families living with mental illness. Sponsored by the Mental Health Coalition of the Verde Valley in partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Yavapai College, Sedona. Thanks to Everyone for a Very Successful First Annual Mental Health Summit!

12:00 – 12:45 PM: Light Lunch and Welcome
12:45 PM – 1:45 PM: Keynote Speaker: Ms. Eddie Sissons, First Executive Director for the Arizona Foundation for Behavioral Health with 25 years in health/social/governmental and community policy settings in Arizona. The State of Mental Illness in Arizona”.
1:45 PM – 2:45 PM: Panel Moderator: Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher, “Mental Illness, Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice System”. Panelists include: Judge Cele Hancock, Yavapai County Superior Court; Capt. David Rhodes, Yavapai County Detention Services Division; Malcolm Wilkinson, MD, Medical Director, Wexford Health Sources; Larry Green, CEO, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic.
2:45 PM – 3:00 PM: Break
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Panel Moderator: Lori Morrison, Director of Education, Mental Health Coalition of Verde Valley. “Crisis or Not? PTSD, Suicide, Addiction, and Other Mental Disorders”. Panelists include: Scott Roderick, LPC will address Suicide; Merilee Fowler, Executive Director MATFORCE will address Addiction; Jose Lujan and Cleo Monette, VA Hospital; Dr. Courtney Keckich, Chief Medical Director, Spectrum Healthcare will address Brain Disorders.
4:00 – 4:45 PM Panel Moderator: Rose Boerner, Executive Director, NAMI Sedona. “Personal Stories: Challenges to Living with Mental Illness in the Verde Valley”. Panelists include: Rose Boerner, Margaret Joy Weaver, Carmen Griffin, Gordie Bufton
4:45 – 5:00 PM: Open forum and next steps: Discussion led by Barbara Litrell, MHCVV

Mental Health Awareness Week
MAY 10-16, 2014

Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley


Joe Greco and Mayor of Sedona, Sandy Moriarty.

On May 10 at Vino di Sedona, CANVAS filmmaker Joe Greco talked about making the film and his life growing up in a family where his mom was diagnosed with schizophrenia. There was a lively Q&A with the attendees.


Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley



Joya Comeaux led a group of dancers celebrating empowerment.



Mental Health Coalition Verde ValleyMonday, May 11, “In Our Own Voices” sponsored by NAMI and hosted at OLLI at Yavapai College Sedona. Attendees at this first of 12 events of Mental Health Awareness Week heard Carmen Griffin speak about what it is like to live with mental illness — she is part of the NAMI “In Our Own Voices” Program. She is an amazing woman and the community conversation that followed identified ways our community can increase the awareness of mental illness, eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness, and understand that it is a biological brain disorder that can be treated and from which one can recover. Carmen spoke beautifully about her life journey and her life today. In the photo Carmen is in the back row right in the center! Thank you Carmen — and everyone who attended.

Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley


Tuesday, May 12, the film “Alive Inside” was shown at the Sedona Community Center. The movie focuses on the role music can play for seniors with memory loss and in nursing homes. Hearing music they loved brought them alive and had them dancing! Sedona Harpist Barbie Edwards showed how she uses harps to help individuals heal with the music and the vibrations. The film was shown on Tuesday in Sedona and again on Wednesday at the Cottonwood Senior Center. Thanks to both venues for hosting the film.