Inspiring Hope Conference to address mental health, safety issues

Kevin Breel, a mental health advocate and TED Talk speaker, will present the keynote address at NAMI Delaware’s Annual Inspiring Hope Conference, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, on Thursday, Oct. 10.

To be held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront at 815 Justison Street, Wilmington, the event will begin with registration and breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Breel will speak at 9:30 a.m. General admission tickets cost $50, or $45 for members of NAMI Delaware. See for more information.

Breel’s TEDx Talk, “Confessions of a Depressed Comic,” has garnered more than 4 million views, making it one of the most-watched talks on mental health.

Breel is scheduled to present an honest and humorous take on his first-hand experience with depression, and his message of ending the stigma around mental illness. Combining his mental health activism with comedy, Breel has been a guest speaker at schools such as Harvard, Yale and MIT, as well as for Fortune 500 companies and the Canadian government.

He wrote the memoir “Boy Meets Depression” and has received awards, including those for social activism.

Also at the conference, Miss Delaware 2019, Hillary May, will present “Miss Understood: The Journey from Depression to Miss Delaware.”

“Seeing the impact a suicide loss had on my best friend’s family got me involved in the mental health community,” May said. “It wasn’t until five years later when I realized just how important the resources, connections and skills I’d developed would be to me — because I never imagined I’d be fighting my own battle with depression.

“This presentation chronicles my journey from the girl trapped in the trenches of depression, to the powerful warrior I am today. Together we will learn what it means to be a mental health warrior, how obstacles shape us into the powerful people we become, and how we can work together to build an army of hope and ensure no one fights alone,” she said.

Annie Slease and Kris MacBury will present “Addressing School Safety through the Lens of Prevention.” What steps should schools and families take to keep students safe? Experts agree prevention is a crucial component, yet many do not know where to turn for effective, affordable prevention programs for youth, staff and families.

The session will offer a general introduction to school safety, including insights from a local high school principal managing challenges every day and an overview of prevention programs.

The Sandy Hook Promise, available to school communities, will be discussed.

There will also be Narcan training and many breakout sessions, including LGBTQ+ and Mental Health Challenges Panel, Wellness in the Faith Community, Healthy Interpersonal Relationships for Law Enforcement, Treatment Resistant Depression, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Healing Overall Well Being: Mindful Movement as an Adjunct Clinical Intervention and The Opioid Crisis in Delaware.


By Susan Canfora

Staff Reporter