Ok...I want to think out loud about these questions they want answered. 1. What are the reasons you wish to attend the conference? As a person who has lived with bipolar disorder, both personally and with my son, I would like to attend NAMI's National Convention because I have a compelling personal interest in keeping abreast of the latest news in the mental health field. I have been a consumer of mental health services for me and my son for the last 17 years and feel I have advocated for both of us to the best of my ability. I have always felt that arming oneself with knowledge is so important when dealing with mental illness. 2. Are you making a presentation at the conference? N/A 3. How will you disseminate information obtained at this conference to local or statewide consumer groups? <GULP!> I plan to take copious notes, and may record, the workshops that I attend. I would then summarize this information into leaflets that could be printed and released locally or statewide. It is also my understanding from reading the NAMI Convention website that they offer CDs of all the workshops which could be an invaluable asset. I have also been toying with the idea for the last year or so of putting up a website to help the consumers of mental health services more easily access information through web based portals. I am firm believer in using todays technology wherever we can. 4. What are the specific issues relating to mental health in which you are most interested? I have several issues that I am very interested in. I am very interested in Bipolar Disorder in both adults and children. The Human genome project and how it relates to new advances in medications for mental health fascinates me. I hold out much hope that in the very near future medication trials will be a thing of the past. I am also very interested in the disaster that happens when the mentally ill end up revolving through the prison system. Borderline Personality Disorder is also something that is near and dear to my heart. 5. Are you currently involved with any related programs and activities? I am in ongoing therapy through Community Innovations for the past two years. I completed a group therapy program for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and am looking forward to a group that is to be started soon using DBT. I have also been an active member for 9 years of an online Parent to Parent support group for parents of emotionally, behaviorally and mentally ill children called ConductDisorders.com. This website has been recognized in books such as Dr. Doug Rileys The Defiant Child, on the Oprah show, and many state websites.