Education Events

We host education events throughout the NYC metro area. And they’re free.

Sign up here to receive e-mail from us to learn about events, workshops, and community fairs.

If you’re interested in hosting or presenting an event or workshop with NAMI-NYC, please email Clara Kiely, our Outreach Coordinator, at

We want your feedback!

We host many education events every year.  Like everything we offer, they are free. We seek out experts in topics that we hope are of interest to the community…  Addiction, advance directives and other legal issues, criminal justice, hoarding, how to create a recovery plan, and our annual NAMI C.A.R.E.S. Minority Mental Health Awareness fair, to name a few.

Click here to tell us about topics that you would like to learn more about!

Upcoming Events

Wednesday May 29
6:30 to 8pm
Town & Village Synagogue
334 E. 14th Street | Manhattan

Navigating the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Systems: A discussion and Q&A

RSVP here!

Moderated by an attorney who specializes in defending people with mental health conditions, this panel will combine personal and professional perspectives. You’ll learn about alternatives to incarceration, the difficulties of getting mental health care in the criminal justice system, the criminalization of mental illness, and what it’s like for individuals and family members who have lived through it. You will get concrete information about navigating the criminal justice system.

Moderated by Elizabeth Kelley, attorney and editor of Representing People with Mental Disabilities: A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Best Practices Manual.

Elizabeth Kelley, our moderator, is a criminal defense lawyer with a nationwide practice specializing in representing people with mental disabilities. She is the Editor of Representing People with Mental Disabilities: A Practical Guide for Criminal Defense Lawyers (ABA, 2018) and the upcoming book Representing People with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Practical Guide for Criminal Defense Lawyers. She co-chairs The Arc’s National Center for Criminal Justice and Disability and serves on the Editorial Board of the ABA’s Criminal Justice Magazine and Criminal Justice Section Council.

Our Panelists

Joseph Williams is working on a public health fellowship exploring incarceration as trauma and its effects on mental health. He graduated from Columbia after being incarcerated himself and he currently works as a Mobile Crisis Team social worker, and participates in “My Brother’s Keeper,” developing social-emotional skills with young men of color.

Tina Luongo is the Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice of The Legal Aid Society. As the Chief Defender of the nation’s largest and oldest public defender office, Tina is responsible for leading a passionate and dedicated staff of over 1100 responsible for representing more than 200,000 people in their trial, post-conviction and parole matters. In addition, Tina oversees two law reforms units that mount class action litigation and legislative advocacy for jail, prison and criminal legal system reforms. Her deep commitment to community engagement lead to the expansion of the organization’s Community Justice Unit. Under her leadership, The Legal Aid Society opened the first-ever defense focused Digital Forensic Unit, launched both the Cop Accountability and Decarceration Projects and increased the capacity of every trial office to provide the highest quality representation to clients. She is dedicated to increasing the diversity of the public defense workforce and is integrally involved in The Legal Aid Society’s efforts to achieve pay parity with City and State government legal staff. She has been an active and public voice in the movement to ensure impacted communities drive the dialogue and discourse on criminal justice and does not shy away from calling out the racial inequities that are oppressing communities in NYC and across the nation.

In addition to her work at LAS, Tina is active in many bar associations and professional organizations that promote our profession. She is a Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Women in Criminal Justice Task Force, President of the Chief Defender Association of New York, a member of the NLADA Defender Council and a Steering Committee member of the National Association for Public Defense.

Hon. Marcia P. Hirsch is the Presiding Judge of the Queens Drug Treatment Court, the DWI Treatment Court, the Mental Health Court, the Veterans Court and the Drug Diversion Court. She was appointed to the New York Court of Claims in March, 2005 and was assigned to Queens Supreme Court, Criminal Term. She presided over hearings and trials before she was assigned to the therapeutic courts in October, 2005. Judge Hirsch has lectured extensively on therapeutic justice, trauma-informed courts, and procedural justice. She is a past president of the New York Association of Treatment Court Professionals. She joined the faculty of the National Judicial College in 2015.

Judge Hirsch is a graduate of Union College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law. She served for nine years on the Rockville Centre School Board and also was a member of her community’s Drug & Alcohol Task Force. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Hirsch was the General Counsel and Deputy Commissioner at the New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal. Before that, she was in private practice for many years.

Erica Weissman, J.D., Psy.D., is Director of Student Mental Health Services and Associate Professor at Touro College, New York, and maintains a private practice in forensic psychology. At Touro College, she has taught graduate courses in research methods and in the theory and practice of individual and group psychotherapy. As a longtime Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Forensic Psychology master’s program at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, she taught graduate courses in forensic psychology and family violence. She has served as the Unit Chief of the Forensic Psychiatry Service at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York; Clinical Director of the Forensic Psychiatry Service at Bellevue Hospital in New York, New York; and Director of Quality Improvement for Bellevue Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry. As a forensic examiner, she has conducted numerous evaluations for cases in state and federal courts, focusing on competency to stand trial, mental state defenses, and sentencing issues, including risk assessments. Before becoming a clinical psychologist, she was a practicing attorney.

Check back as we keep updating with panelist info!

RSVP here to let us know you’re coming!

Thursday June 20
6 to 7:30pm
Grand Central Library
135 E. 46th St | Manhattan

Ask the Expert: Special Needs Trusts

RSVP here!

Learn about some of the ways you can ensure your family and loved ones are taken care of.  Ask questions of professional financial advisors and a qualified attorney.

A presentation by Benjamin Stark (Financial Advisor), Thomas Pallogudis (Wealth Management Advisor), and Salvatore DiCostanzo (Elder Law Attorney). Part of our Ask the Expert series!

RSVP here to let us know you’re coming!

Previous Events

April 3, 2019

Self-Care and Self-Compassion: A Workshop

“Self-care” can be easy to talk about and difficult to practice – especially for those who are living with mental health conditions or supporting someone who is struggling. Learn how to awaken self-compassion and support self-care as an ongoing part of life!

Our speaker:

Maxine Outerbridge is a New York City native, hardworking and passionate mother of two (including a special needs child) and mental health and healing advocate. Maxine’s testimony of surviving domestic violence and sexual abuse, teen pregnancy and financial distress during her pursuit of her undergraduate degree landed her a role as surrogate to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Maxine was the youngest delegate to represent the state of New York at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Maxine studied Finance and Accounting in her undergraduate and graduate studies and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) working in the Financial Services industry.

Self-Care and Self-Compassion A Workshop

February 25, 2019

Ask the Lawyer – Insurance Edition

A presentation and opportunity to ask questions about the law and mental health, facilitated by Judith Grimaldi.

Learn about:

  • The Affordable Care Act
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • ABLE Accounts
  • Navigating the mental health system

Our speaker:

Judith D. Grimaldi is a partner in the pioneering elder law firm Grimaldi & Yeung LLP. Ms. Grimaldi’s perspective on the issues facing the elderly and disabled is unique; it was shaped by more than a decade of field experience as a social worker.

As an attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Grimaldi has represented the rights of the elderly and disabled. She has special expertise on Medicare and Medicaid, health law, trusts, and wills and estates. Her particular focus is on family caregivers and homecare. Ms. Grimaldi is a Certified Elder Law Attorney.

Ask The Lawyer Insurance Edition - Pub Ed Feb 25

January 30, 2019

How To Reach Agreements in Family Mental Health Care Conflicts – Learn from Mediators

Dealing with mental health is confusing, and there are many conflicts.  Families often disagree about how to talk about mental health, how to know which treatments to pursue, and what lifestyle choices are best.  Mediators have tactics for useful, empowering conversations during disagreements, and for creating realistic, sustainable agreements to resolve them.

Workshop with Dan Berstein, mediator and co-founder of the Dispute Resolution in Mental Health (DRMH) Initiative at the CUNY Dispute Resolution Center.

We learned how to:

  • make someone feel heard even when we disagree,
  • ask the right questions to discover everyone’s needs, and
  • reach agreements that resolve the conflict in an effective, lasting way.

About Dan Berstein

Dan is the nation’s leading expert in conflict resolution and mental health. He combines his professional expertise as a mediator, his academic background in mental health and public health, and his personal experience living with bipolar disorder to develop innovative conflict resolution skill-building programs for diverse mental health stakeholders. Through his company, MH Mediate, Dan has traveled the country training mental health service providers, peers, families, universities, workplaces, housing providers, and government agencies at the city, state, and federal levels.

Dan co-founded the Dispute Resolution in Mental Health Initiative at the CUNY Dispute Resolution Center, he sat on the Mediator Advisory Board of the New York Peace Institute, and he serves as Vice-Chair of the Diversity Committee at the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution. He holds a master’s degree in Mental Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School.

Click here to watch Dan’s TEDxTalk about conflict resolution and mental health.

November 29, 2018

Ask the Lawyer

Ask questions about the law and mental health, facilitated by Robert Freedman.

Topics included:

  • Legal guardianship
  • Advanced directives
  • Benefits and entitlements
  • Special needs trusts

Robert Freedman is a knowledgeable and experienced attorney with a practice that focuses on elder law and special needs planning. He is a nationally recognized expert and pioneer in Elder Law and Special Needs Planning. He was one of the creators of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section of the New York State Bar Association and served as Chair. He brings knowledge and experience to addressing legal and financial issues for clients and their family members with mental illness. Robert works with clients to obtain government benefits, set up special needs trusts, and address guardianship issues.

October 23, 2018

Mental Illness and Addiction – Hope for Double Trouble

A panel discussion about an essential and often-overlooked topic: the intersection of mental illness and substance use.

Our panelists were Dr. Lloyd Sederer, Chief Medical Officer of the New York State Office of Mental Health and author of The Addiction Solution: Treating Our Dependence on Opioids and Other Drugs, Dr. Richard Friedman, New York Times contributor and psychopharmacology clinic director at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Karen Varano, NAMI-NYC Program Director, and parent of a recovering addict.  They shared insight and personal experiences, and answered questions in a moderated discussion by Alexandra Botti, of WNYC’s The Takeaway.

You can watch a video of the panel here on our Facebook.

Oct 23 Mental Illness and Addiction panel

September 25, 2018

“Every time I tell my story, it’s a promise” – Talking About Suicide, Depression, and Substance Use Through Storytelling

In recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, hear Jamie Brickhouse discuss his experiences.  Part performance, part story-telling, and part Q&A, you’ll get a unique perspective on topics that are taboo even in the world of mental health.

Jamie Brickhouse is a writer, a comedic storyteller, and a keynote speaker.  He’s the author of the critically acclaimed Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother – and his solo show based on the book won an Audience Choice Award at the 2017 FRIGID Theater Festival in New York.  Jamie is a three-time StorySLAM champion of The Moth.  And as a keynote speaker, Brickhouse covers a range of topics from alcoholism / addiction / recovery / suicide prevention from the perspective of an SAS (suicide attempt survivor), the art and craft of memoir writing, overcoming HIV stigma, dementia (specifically Lewy body dementia), storytelling (as performer and instructor), book marketing and publicity, and GLBTQ issues. You can read an even longer list of Jamie’s accomplishments on his site.

He’ll begin the evening by sharing his story, and excerpts from his work.  Then we’ll have a candid question and answer session.  Learn how this artist has been able not just to tell his story, but to own his story. Please join us!

September 24 2018 education event - Every Time I Tell My Story

July 28, 2018


The Brooklyn Public Library Macon Branch, at 361 Lewis Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

In recognition of Minority Mental Health Month, NAMI-NYC is holding our community mental health fair—NAMI C.A.R.E.S. (Community Advocacy, Resources, Education, & Services). This year we’re heading to Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn.

The goal of NAMI C.A.R.E.S. is to highlight mental health issues that specifically face communities of color. Through storytelling and live presentations, we show you that help is available, and recovery for people living with mental health challenges is possible. We connect you to local resources that specialize in serving diverse populations, and are available in your neighborhood.

NAMI CARES community mental health fair


In Our Own Voice — From “dark days” to “successes, hopes, and dreams,” people living with mental illness share their stories. IOOV is a unique and powerful public presentation that offers insight into the hope and recovery possible for people living with mental illness. (12:30 pm – 1:30 pm)

Mothers of Color and their Mental Health – Advocating for Ourselves — Alicia James, President of The PAM Project, (Preserve A Mom) a social enterprise agency for maternal mental health, will be moderating an interactive discussion about mothers of color and their mental health. (1:30 pm – 2:30 pm)

Suicide and Emotional Pain — Presented by Brett Scudder, of SISFI. How can you recognize if someone is in emotional distress, even if they aren’t talking about suicide? How do you meet people where they’re at and acknowledge their pain without trying to fix it? If you were unable to attend his presentation in June, you won’t want to miss this. (2:30 pm – 3:30 pm)

June 19, 2018

Suicide and Emotional Pain: Seeing and Supporting Those in Crisis

How can you recognize if someone is in emotional distress, even if they aren’t talking about suicide? How do you meet people where they’re at and acknowledge their pain without trying to fix it? Brett Scudder is a counselor, speaker, and suicide attempt survivor. After one of his suicide attempts in 2005, he dedicated his life full-time to helping people prevent or manage emotional pain and crisis to prevent suicide ideations and attempts.

You can watch the video of this event on Facebook.

Brett A. Scudder is a certified Mental Health, Psychological, Trauma and Suicide First Aid Practitioner who provides services and support to people worldwide. He is the Executive Director of SISFI’s Abuse and Suicide First Aid Response and Wellness Center and the founder of Scudder Intervention Services Foundation, Inc. (“SISFI”) and The Suicide Institute. In 2017 SISFI had 1173 successful suicide interventions with individuals ages 4-87.

April 26, 2018

Ask the Lawyer

A presentation and opportunity to ask questions about the law and mental health, facilitated by Robert Freedman.

Topics include:

  • Legal guardianship
  • Advanced directives
  • Benefits and entitlements
  • Special needs trusts

March 28, 2018

When “Fine” Isn’t Good Enough: School Advocacy Tips for Caregivers

Come learn about mental health services available in NYC schools for children ages 4-21 and how to access them, presented by Lisa Krizman, MSW and retired Special Education Law Attorney.

Topics will include:

– Eligibility for special education services

– Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

– How to approach school administrators, including scripts to use

– Common obstacles to receiving services

Lisa has had a long career representing families with children with mental health and developmental disorders and giving public presentations. She also has personal experience with special needs children and is a member of NAMI NYC Metro’s Family Advisory Board.

March 1, 2018

White Walls: A Conversation and Book Signing With Judy Batalion

Author, essayist, and performer Judy Batalion will discuss how she went from a childhood surrounded by her mother’s collection of stuff to a militant minimalist adulthood to unexpected parenthood. She will answer questions about her experiences and discuss research that has helped to clarify the meaning behind hoarding. A book signing will follow her talk.

Thank you to Brookdale Battery Park for providing space!

White Walls by Judy Batalion

“White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between” is a poignant and humorous tale of “stuff and survival,” considering four generations of Jewish women as they navigate hoarding and antihoarding, the search for home, and the emotional legacy of the Holocaust. The book has been featured on the Today Show, the New York Times Sunday Review, LA Review of Books, The Believer, the New York Post and the Forward.

October 26, 2017

Special Plans for a Special Life: An overview of financial and legal options for families with special needs

Experts will answer your questions about

Special Needs Planning • Medicaid • Social Security

Estate Planning • Special Needs Trusts • ABLE Act

Dinner Will Be Provided


Thomas Pallogudis has over 18 years of experience working with business owners, professionals, and families who are serious about preparing for their futures. He looks at the financial goal of each client first, then seeks to develop a strategy to most effectively reach those objectives. Above all else, when you become a client, the emphasis is on the total picture, not just part of it. The goal is to ensure that your objectives have been incorporated into your strategies and that you are working with a professional you can trust.

Benjamin Stark works with professionals and families who are serious about preparing for their futures. Benjamin has an extensive knowledge of the special needs world and his area of specialty is working with families who have a child with special needs. In his spare time, Benjamin acts as a board member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Morris County Chapter as well as the Middlesex County Family Support Organization. He also actively volunteers with the New Jersey Center for Tourette’s Syndrome.

Salvatore M. Di Costanzo is a partner with the firm of Maker, Fragale & Di Costanzo, LLP located in Rye, New York and Yorktown Heights, New York. Salvatore is an attorney and accountant whose main area of practice is elder law and special needs planning which consists of estate planning, wills, trusts, probate and administration of estates, Medicaid planning, asset preservation, nursing home and home care planning and planning for individuals with special needs.

July 22, 2017


To celebrate Minority Mental Health Month, we host an annual NAMI C.A.R.E.S. (Community Advocacy, Resources, Education, and Services) Community Mental Health Fair.

This year we’re heading to the Lower East Side. We’ve partnered with several mental health-focused organizations serving the community.

There will be family-friendly activities, refreshments, and of course, free swag.

2017 NAMI CARES Fair for Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

English Workshops

  • In Our Own Voice — people living with mental illness tell their stories.
  • The unique challenges for international students and 1st generation children.
  • Common cultural and language barriers to mental health services.

Mandarin/Cantonese Workshops

  • Personal stories of immigration.
  • What is mental health?
  • Immigration stressors and family life.


Know someone in the neighborhood who might be interested in going? English-language flier (PDF) | Chinese-language flier (PDF)

Co-sponsored by Chinese-American Family Alliance on Mental Health (CAFAMH), NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — Office of Consumer Affairs, University Settlements, and YMCA Chinatown.

June 22, 2017

Ask The Lawyer

Got questions? We’ve got answers! The Affordable Care Act, elder care law, healthcare proxies, Medicare and Medicaid, Supplemental Needs Trusts, navigating the mental health system, and more!

Judith D. Grimaldi is a partner in the pioneering elder law firm GRIMALDI & YEUNG LLP. Ms. Grimaldi’s perspective on the issues facing the elderly and disabled is unique; it was shaped by more than a decade of field experience as a social worker.

As an attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Grimaldi has represented the rights of the elderly and disabled. She has special expertise on Medicare and Medicaid, health law, trusts, and wills and estates. Her particular focus is on family caregivers and homecare. Ms. Grimaldi is a Certified Elder Law Attorney.

Judith Grimaldi

March 21, 2017

This was a two-part event, with an afternoon workshop at NAMI-NYC, and an evening discussion at the New School.

WRAP Workshop: Wellness Recovery Action Plans

Gina Calhoun struggled to find the right mental health treatment and care when she was hospitalized – until she found a program where she could create the road to recovery that best fit her needs and her life: WRAP.

WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) is a personalized coping strategy designed by the client, for the client, in order to succeed beyond recovering from mental illness.

Integral to the values and ethics of WRAP is communicating through the language of experience, rather than diagnostic language. In this way, each WRAP is framed through each client’s individual perspective, the expert on what’s worked best for them.

Gina ran an afternoon workshop at NAMI-NYC Metro about what a WRAP is, as well as how to create and use your very own WRAP. These are invaluable skills for those living with a mental illness, family members and loved ones, as well as mental health practitioners.

Gina serves as the National Director for Wellness and Recovery Education at the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery. She is a certified peer support specialist and previously worked for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Personalized Recovery: A Panel Discussion on One Family’s Unique Journey

Gina Calhoun struggled to find the right mental health treatment and care when she was hospitalized – until she found a program where she could create the road to recovery that best fit her needs and her life.

Gina, her mother, and her sister shared their stories as their family fought for Gina’s recovery. They talked about the difficulties accessing mental health treatment, their experiences as family members, as well as how they each came to thrive today.

Gina is one of the nation’s most inspiring leaders on personalized recovery and well-being in the face of mental illness.

Co-sponsored by the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery and The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School

January 11, 2017

Panel Discussion: Mental Health and Criminal Justice

Providers, policymakers, parents, and people living with mental illness—we have an exciting panel discussion you’ll want to be a part of. Our diverse panel features New York’s thought leaders in psychiatry, public healthcare, and criminal justice: Francis Greenburger, Cindy Rodriguez, and Detective Jeff Thompson.

We open with a presentation by the Chief Medical Officer for the NY State Office of Mental Health, Dr. Lloyd Sederer on his new book, Improving Mental Healthcare: Four Secrets in Plain SightImproving Mental Healthcare provides a unique springboard for a dynamic discussion, moderated by Dr. Lisa Dixon, on the intersection of the criminal justice system and mental health care.

Dr. Lloyd Sederer

Dr. Lloyd Sederer, M.D.

Dr. Sederer is Chief Medical Officer for the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), “chief psychiatrist” of the nation’s largest state mental health system. Dr. Sederer also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia/Mailman School of Public Health as well as Medical Editor for Mental Health for the Huffington Post.

Dr. Lisa Dixon

Dr. Lisa Dixon, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Dixon is the director of the Center for Practice Innovations at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She is also a Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center and the director of the Division of Behavioral Health Services and Policy Research within the Department of Psychiatry.

Francis Greenburger

Mr. Francis Greenburger

Mr. Greenburger is the President and Founder of the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice. He has a family member with serious mental illness in the criminal justice system.

Cindy Rodriguez

Ms. Cindy Rodriguez

Ms. Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio. Her stories include in-depth looks at homelessness, neighborhood violence, and more recently on crisis intervention policy with the NYPD.

Jeff Thompson

Detective Jeff Thompson, Ph.D.

Detective Thompson is a NYPD Detective, and is involved in Crisis Intervention/Communication in a variety of different roles including the Crisis Intervention Team training.