What Are Ed Talks?

Mental Health Topics presented by local experts to inform and promote an understanding of mental illness and resources. Everyone is welcome.

EdTalks are scheduled for the Second Tuesday of the month.  They are held at INTEGRIS Cancer Center, 5911 W Memorial, Oklahoma City.  Talks begin at 6:30 pm and end at 7:45 pm.  No registration is required. There is no charge. 

Medicaid Expansion
Lynn White
September 10, 2019

NAMI supports medicaid expansion in every state.Learn more about the effort underway to put it to the vote of the people.Our speaker, Lynne White, is the Vice President of Government Relations and Political Action for the Oklahoma Hospital. She is coordinating efforts among Oklahoma’s hospitals to participate in the SQ 802 petition drive to allow Oklahomans to vote to expand Medicaid in the 2020 election cycle.Association. Medicaid expansion brings more than a billion of our tax dollars home from Washington every year. That’s money 36 other states get but Oklahoma has lost out on for years. We can help hardworking Oklahomans get access to doctors and boost our economy — by bringing our money home and putting Oklahoma first.  Medicaid expansion will lead to better health outcomes. Mounting evidence shows that Medicaid expansion states have seen improved health of citizens, including fewer heart disease deaths, lower infant and maternal mortality rates, reduction in the proportion of adults with depression who were without insurance, and higher incidence of cancer screenings. 

Medication and the Side Effects
Dr. Lane Peyton
October 8, 2019

Psychiatric medications are an important part of treatment for many people who live with a mental illness. They can improve symptoms and help promote recovery and wellness, but side effects can be problematic. This month's EdTalks will focus side effects as an obstacle to compliance and the growing use of long-lasting injectable medications. Our speaker is returning physician Dr. Lane Peyton of the Rivus Wellness and Research Institute. Peyton brings to the discussion his background as a psychotherapist, medical doctor, with an interest in wellness. He will share his strategies for having meaningful dialogue about about the costs and benefits of taking psychiatric medications.

Criminal Justice Reform and Mental Health
County Commissioner Carrie Blumert
November 12, 2019

The National Alliance on Mental Illness recently announced its strategic plan. It has three goals they area as follows: people get help early, people get the best possible care, and people get diverted from justice system involvement. Carrie Blumert, Oklahoma County Commissioner, district 1, recently proposed a plan to the City Of Oklahoma to invest in mental health services. The Commissioner will update us on the problem, the proposal, and her vision for the county. Carrie Blumert was elected to County Commissioner, district 1, in November 2018 and took office in January 2019. Her journey to Commissioner included knocking on over 14,000 doors in her district. She is the youngest female county commissioner in state history and joins six other female commissioners out of 231 commissioners statewide. Her policy focus is local justice reform and mental health and addiction treatment. She serves on the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments Board, the Oklahoma County Planning Commission, and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Board. She is also a member of Impact Oklahoma.

Addressing Homelessness in Oklahoma City
Megan Mueller
December 10, 2019

NAMI says, "An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders." In this EdTalks we will be hearing about the efforts being made in Oklahoma City to end homlessness. Our speaker, Meghan Mueller, will explain the resources and the best ways to help. Meghan attended the University of Oklahoma where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and a Minor in International and Area Studies IN 2009 and a Masters of Social Work in 2014. She has worked at the Homeless Alliance since 2014 where she is currently the Director of Community Capacity Building. At the Homeless Alliance, Meghan oversees housing programs for veterans, families, and single adults and coordinates teams of more than three dozen nonprofit and government agencies working to streamline services and end homelessness. Meghan is a fellow for the Interdisciplinary Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program, and has professional and research experience with youth, poverty, homelessness, and people with disabilities. Meghan believes that all of our friends and neighbors deserve the dignity of a place to call home.

PAST ED TALKS                                         

July 9

Focus on Youth 

with Steven Buck


Steven Buck, executive director of the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA), will talk to participants about early childhood/teen indicators such as health and wellness, data about the emerging concerns related to engagement with smart devices. In addition, Buck, who also serves on the governor’s executive Cabinet as secretary of human services and early childhood initiatives, will discuss Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)-related issues affecting OJA youth. Prior to joining OJA, Buck served the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) as deputy commissioner for communications and prevention for nine years. At ODMHSAS, Buck directed the agency’s prevention and provider certification initiatives. Before working at ODMHSAS, Buck enjoyed a 10-year career with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. During his tenure, he served in multiple capacities, including national director of state policy, national director of state relations, and executive director of NAMI Oklahoma.  

June 11, 2019

 Why Dialectical Behavior Therapy?  

with Kris Bryant  


Participants will interact with DBT therapist Kris Bryant and learn why DBT is a uniquely powerful mental health treatment.  Validation and acceptance are Kris' psychotherapy super-powers. Kris studied Psychology at Southern Nazarene University (2006) and Counseling Psychology at the University of Central Oklahoma (2009). He received intensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) through the Linehan Institute in 2011. As a supervising clinician for a community mental health center in Oklahoma City, he was integral in developing the first outpatient DBT program for adolescents in the state of Oklahoma. He was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to the Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Council. Kris loves to share in the human experience and that which is good, true, and beautiful. He enjoys the Victorian small town life with his family in historic Guthrie, Oklahoma where he also serves on the Planning Commission. 


May 14, 6:30 - 7:45 p.m. -

"Overcoming Mental Illness"  Integris Cancer Institute

with Nadine Lewis and Eric Gates


May is recovery month so we celebrate with stories of triumph over mental illness.  Our speakers, both veterans, will share their personal experiences to remind us that life with mental illness can be joyful.

Nadine is retired Coast Guard member.  She struggled with growing up in a home where both of her parents had mental illnesses and then hers became apparent in her early adult life.  Nadine is involved with NAMI at the state and national level.

Eric is a Wyoming native, with Colorado roots, an Air Force veteran.  He has worked for State Department of Mental Health as well as the Federal Department of Veteran Affairs as a peer recovery support specialist.  He is an active advocate volunteering with several support organizations.

April 2019

How to Advocate if your Loved One is Arrested 

with Reggie Hines 

People with mental illness are arrested at alarmingly high rates.  How to advocate for your loved once if they are arrested or incarcerated will be the topic for this EdTalks presentation. Our presenter will help us navigate the ins and outs of the criminal justice system.   

 In 2006 Reginald Hines was appointed as Division Manager of the Division of Community Corrections.  His responsibilities include operations of adult felony community supervision consisting of Community Corrections Centers, Work Centers, Halfway Houses, Probation and Parole Offices. Reggie is the current President of the NAMI Oklahoma Board of Directors and has been a board member since 2012. 

  March 12, 6:30 - 7:45 p.m. -

Good Grief

with Lisa Marotta

Death is a universal experience, so why is it so difficult to talk about? Our March EdTalk will tackle this tough topic in a surprisingly upbeat manner. Join us to begin a conversation about loss due to death, divorce, and unexpected change. Dr. Marotta will explore predictable grief responses in addition to the symptoms and causes of complicated bereavement. This positive workshop will help you express grief in a healing way and help you comfort your grieving loved ones. 

Dr. Lisa Marotta is a clinical psychologist celebrating 25 years of private practice in Edmond, where she works with women, children, and families. Her first children’s book Suki and Sam was written to help children express feelings of grief. Copies of Suki and Sam will be available for purchase and signing after the EdTalks. 

                                              FEBRUARY 12, 2019, 6:30 - 7:45 p.m. - NEW LOCATION

Making a Difference Through Advocacy

with Brandon Pettit

Policy change is one major way we can make a difference in the lives of people living with mental health conditions and their families.  Brandon Pettit, Executive director of NAMI Oklahoma since 2017, has taken an active role in mental health coalitions seeking to improve care in Oklahoma.  He will bring us up to date on current state legislative proposals and priorities, on Oklahoma agencies’ efforts to delivery accurate mental health data, and on NAMI National’s efforts to improve mental health parity in health insurance.  Brandon has Bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Biology.  Brandon resided in Denver, CO from 2007-2016.  While in Colorado, he served Adams County’s Child Protection Division as a Social Caseworker, Unit Supervisor and Program Manager.  Additionally, he served in brief roles as a Housing Coordinator for Dallas County, TX and Probation Officer in Colorado.  Brandon began his professional career in his home state of Ohio providing case management for 5 years to adjudicated juveniles in a residential treatment center. 

                                                                        JANUARY 8, 2019, 6:30 - 7:45 p.m. - NEW LOCATION

Are You Experiencing Compassion Fatigue?

with Ken Elliott

The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project © says, “Compassion Fatigue symptoms are normal displays of stress resulting from the care giving work you perform on a regular basis. While the symptoms are often disruptive, depressive, and irritating, an awareness of the symptoms and their negative effect on your life can lead to positive change, personal transformation, and a new resiliency. Reaching a point where you have control over your own life choices will take time and hard work. There is no magic involved. There is only a commitment to make your life the best it can be.”

Certified Compassion Fatigue Therapist Kenneth Elliott will help us to identify and address this issue. Ken is also a Licensed Marital & Family Therapist, Clinically Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, Clinically Certified Forensic Counselor, and Certified K-12 School Counselor. Ken actively promotes violence prevention, intervention, and postvention in his work with youth and families. Ken is a returning EdTalks speaker. He previously presented on suicide prevention. 

Attend this webinar for guidance on drafting effective and compliant scripting that ensures you motivate your customers to pay-in-full without violating UDAAP!

October 9, 2018

Ask the Pharmacist and his Daughter:
a discussion about medications and the alternatives

with Dwight Davis D.PH & Jill Amos M.A. PRSS

In this EdTalks we will explore medication. Our father and daughter presenters bring both professional and personal perspectives to this discussion. Dwight Davis is a Registered Pharmacist with a D.Ph from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with 42 years experience in the field. Jill has a Masters of Human Resources from OU. She has been with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse for 13 years. She currently serves as program coordinator for the Peer Recovery Support Specialist program.

Jill, who has been treated with medications for mental illness, said, “My dad and I have been working on bringing our two worlds together for several years now, to explore how medication can be used as a tool in recovery, but also how it is not the only or best tool.”




According to NAMI, “People living with mental illness have a high rate of smoking. In America, 44.3% of all cigarettes are consumed by individuals who live with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. People with schizophrenia are three to four times as likely to smoke as the general population.” 

Earlier this year the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services was approved for a $1.2 million grant to be used over the next three years for the purpose of funding smoking cessation programs for people with mental illness.  

We will be joined by two experts. As the Behavioral Health and Wellness Manager at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Yvon is the state’s leading expert on the science of smoking cessation and the programs designed to help individuals with serious mental illness quit smoking. 

As a Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PRSS) for Red Rock Behavioral Health, Matt teaches the most successful tobacco cessation program in the state for clients with serious mental illnesses. Matt will share with us what he has learned from helping others quit. 



Question, Persuade, Refer: three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide

The QPR mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. The signs of crisis are all around us. We believe that quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know.

Our presenters: Ken is a school counselor with the Oklahoma City Public School District and for 30 years. Ken actively promotes violence prevention, intervention, and postvention in his work with youth and families. Ken’s volunteer community advocacy work includes Co-Chair for the Central Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Community Task Force and a legislative appointment on the Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Council.  He is passionate about supporting children and adults impacted by suicide.

Samantha Kobs is the Director of Guidance Counseling at Heritage Hall School in Oklahoma City. Samantha is passionate about preventing youth suicide.  She is a QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor, and during the past year has collaborated with Ken Elliott on school suicide prevention outreach. 

July 10, 2018: Wendy Nix / NAMI programs and convention news

What is NAMI and what do we do?

A panel of program experts, including Paula Stafford, NAMI Oklahoma’s director of affiliate relations, will explain the structure of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the programs available to support individuals and families dealing with mental illness. Here is what you can expect to learn about: 

The NAMI  organization and mission,  
Why NAMI focuses of the emotional response,
Family Education class, Family to Family, Basics, & Homefront, 
Family Support Groups, & Connections, 
Ending the Silence, & NAMI In Your Own Voice,
How to become a member, & how to volunteer,
What is CIT training for police & more.

June 12, 2018

Helen Coffey and Alison Palmer / Summer Reading 

In this special summer time EdTalks two local authors will share excerpts from their books.  There will be time for discussion.

Helen Coffey graduated from East Central State College in Ada, Oklahoma, completed a Master of Science Degree at Purdue University, and is a retired middle school teacher. She wrote Don’t Let Anyone Know, A Story About Mental Illness—The World Viewed Only the Silhouette! It tells her and her daughter’s story and of tragic loss to suicide. Helen volunteers for NAMI and to facilitates the Crossings Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group.

Allison Lee Palmer grew up in Westminster, Maryland, and majored in Art History at Mount Holyoke College.  After receiving a PhD in Art History from Rutgers University, she moved to Norman and has taught Renaissance and Baroque Art at the University of Oklahoma for over twenty years.  She writes both academic books and novels, and "The Sun King" is her debut novel that blends fact and fiction in a story about her son.

Bring some pocket money for our used book sale. Copies of our author’s books will also be available.

May 8, 2018

Recovery Month: Hear about how people in recovery help others with Clark Grothe and Shayla Dodge

May is “recovery month.”  What is recovery? We will be joined by two guest who have can she form their perspective what recovery looks like.  Clark Grothe, Chief Operating officer at NorthCare Clark has been with NorthCare for 28 years. His entire career has been dedicated to serving children, adults, and families impacted by serious mental illness and/or trauma. His passion was inspired by his own personal experiences with trauma, mental illness, and recovery. Shayla Dodge is also joining us. Shayla is a Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PRSS) and Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner. Peers are credentialed individuals who work on PACT and Assertive Outpatient Treatment (AOT) teams and in other key positions in mental health settings.  These individuals with lived experience have proven to be invaluable in assisting others achieve and maintain recovery from mental illness. 

December 12, 2017

Housing Options for Individuals with Mental Illness & Substance Abuse - Tammie Vail, ODMHSAS

Tammie Vail graduated from University of Central Oklahoma in 2003 with a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and Minor in Sociology.  Prior to becoming employed at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), Tammie Vail worked as a case manager for one year and Supervisor for Projects for Assistance from Homelessness (PATH) for the next six years at North Care Center.  She has a diverse career background in mental health and social services. 

November 14, 2017

Mental Illness & Substance Abuse: Seven Critical Decisions - Pat Nichols, Parents Helping Parents Edmond

Pat Nichols will share with us his seven critical decisions learned over years of painful struggles with mental illness and addiction. Nichols says, "By incorporating these seven decisions into our family structure we were able to gain back the life we once dreamed of. In addition, we became a vital part of our child's recovery. We fought a twenty year battle with mental illness/addiction and now have a clean and sober son freed from his past demons. 

October 10, 2017

Integrated Behavioral Health Care: Why it's Do or Die  - Clark Grothe, North Care CMHC

Approximately a decade ago, Clark and his colleagues at NorthCare were wrestling with fairly new research demonstrating that individuals having a serious mental illness or substance use disorder had much higher mortality rates than the general public.  Depending on the illness, a person’s life span is decreased by 25-35 years.  Integrated behavioral health and primary care for individuals with serious mental illness was created at NorthCare to address this unacceptable situation. 

September 2017

NAMI's Mission, Vision & Strategies to Serve Oklahomans Brandon Pettit, NAMI Oklahoma's Executive Director

Pettit graduated from Cumberland College with a degree in Psychology and Biology. Prior to accepting NAMI Oklahoma Executive Director position this year, he served as a Program Manager and Unit Supervisor in Ongoing Child Protection for Adams County, Colorado, Human Services Department. He brings experience and a proven track record of success in the understanding of mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence issues and how they impact the community.  Pettit will speak about the NAMI mission and the importance of collaboration between the NAMI state organization and its affiliates.

May 2017

Triumph over Adversity
Stories of Recovery with George Crooks & Friends

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Be inspired by our speakers who will share personal experiences. George Crooks is a graduate of Stanford University where he played football and majored in civil engineering. Shortly after he graduated, bipolar disorder disrupted his life. Today, George is the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance. George is well known in the Oklahoma advocacy community for collaborating with groups interested in advancing the treatment of individuals with mental illness. He and our other speakers have an important message for families and individuals with mental illness, “Don’t give up because you too can have a satisfying life.”

April 2017

The Challenge of Treating Mental Health and Addiction with Lane Peyton M.D.

Ed Talks is happy to welcome back Lane Peyton M.D. Peyton is a Medical Doctor and Psychotherapist. He is also the Principle Investigator and Chief Medical Officer at Rivus Wellness & Research Institute.  In his practice he treats all types of mental illness. As a member of the Oklahoma Pain Society he is involved in efforts to better address both mental illness and addiction treatment in the community as well as chronic pain management. Peyton will discuss why mental illness and addiction often appear together. He will save time for questions and answers. 

February 2017

Legal Options for Caregivers: with  John Brewer

Brewer is an Oklahoma lawyer, licensed since 1974. He is a long time NAMI volunteer, including support group facilitator and Family-to-Family teacher and trainer. He is Vice-President of Mental Health Services  of Southern Oklahoma (a community mental health center).

Topics to include: Legal options for caregivers and their family member.  Discussion of Oklahoma law regarding involuntary treatment, HIPAA and Title 43 of the Oklahoma Statutes (Mental Health Code), Powers of Attorney and their variations, the Oklahoma Advance Directive, Federal Patient Self Determination Act, Guardianship and the Oklahoma Psychiatric Advance Directive.