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Monday, January 29, 2024
Contact: Maria Kakay
(Office) 412-366-3788
(Cell) 412-607-5412
NAMI Keystone PA’s Annual Conference Features National Speakers and a Panel Discussion on Eating Disorders, Body Image, and Youth Mental Health 


Pittsburgh – NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania’s annual Child, Adolescent, and Transition Age Youth Mental Health Conference, Building Young Minds: Achieving a Healthy Self-Image in Youth, will take place on Friday, February 2, 2024, at The Westin Pittsburgh. The conference will address how self-esteem, self-image, and self-worth factor into a young person’s mental health. One of the main sessions will feature a panel discussion on eating disorders, body image, and youth mental health.

“Many people don’t realize that eating disorders are mental health conditions and they are very complex,” said Christine Michaels, CEO of NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania. “We hope this conference provides some insight for parents, teachers, and even professionals about what to look for and how to talk about it.” 

Two national speakers are headlining the conference. Dr. Samantha DeCaro is a psychologist and the Director of Clinical Outreach & Education for The Renfrew Center, a leading nationwide treatment facility for eating disorders.  

“During the pandemic, hospitalizations for eating disorders increased and they also became more serious,” said Michaels. “We are fortunate to have Dr. DeCaro with us to share her expertise.” 

Dr. Matt Zakreski is a clinical psychologist, professor, author, and researcher who has spoken all over the world about supporting the social, emotional, and psychological needs of kids. Dr. Zakreski is presenting the keynote presentation on imposter syndrome, a psychological pattern where a person doubts their fitness and devalues their accomplishments.  

“Imposter syndrome is common in kids and teens, but we don’t talk about it a lot,” said Michaels. “It affects them at home, in school, and socially, and we want to make sure it's on people's radar."

The conference will also recognize the winner of NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania’s 2024 Youth Mental Health Leadership Award Essay Contest, Grace Lyons, from the Abington School District in Montgomery County. Grace’s essay focused on how she turned pain into action following the suicide of a friend. Grace will read her essay and accept her award and $1,000 scholarship.  


What:  NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania’s annual Child, Adolescent, and Transition Age Youth Mental Health Conference 

Location:  The Westin Pittsburgh | 1000 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 

Date:  Friday, February 2, 2024  

Time:  7:45 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 



MEDIA CONTACT:  Maria Kakay, Dir. of Communications and Marketing, NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania  |  EMAIL:  mkakay@namikeystonepa.org  |   OFFICE: 412-366-3788  |   CELL: 412-607-5412

ABOUT NAMI KEYSTONE PENNSYLVANIA  |  NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania is the state organization in Pennsylvania for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the largest grassroots mental health organization in the country. NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania is a 501(c)(3) grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, adolescents, adults, and families affected by mental illness through recovery-focused support, education, and advocacy. More information is available at www.namikeystonepa.org or by calling (412) 366-3788.

NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania is here for you. If you have questions about mental health resources, call our HelpLine at 1-888-264-7972 or email info@namikeystonepa.org. To find the NAMI affiliate in Pennsylvania closest to you, visit our Find Your Local NAMI page.

If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or thinking about hurting themselves, call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org.


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