The 6th Annual Who is Jay? Mental Health Symposium was held on May 19th at the Ocean Center. We are happy to report that it was very well attended with nearly 200 registrants.

The event included keynote speakers Kevin Hines and Pete Earley, who both signed books afterward and met with attendees. Feedback for these amazing speakers was tremendous, including the following comments for Kevin:

“Most truthful presentation on suicide I’ve attended.”
“Incredibly moving story. Never stop moving forward. Beautiful presentation.”
“Amazing and impactful.”
“Love the honesty, enlightenment and vulnerability.”

What did they have to say about Pete? Here are just a few quotes:

“Pete, Thank you for your story. Your story was mine! Emotional and so appreciated! Thank you!!”
“Way beyond anything I could have expected.”
“I really loved the energy of the speaker. He is very inspirational.”
“Amazing advocate for mental health!”

Our breakout presenters were also very well received. One attendee shared that “Scott (Goyette) is fantastic and inspiring. I could learn from him ALL DAY!” Tina Levene’s reviews included “Tina has a second career as a comedian” and “She was one of the most invigorating speakers I’ve ever seen.” Dr. Baracskay was described as “very informative” and Mike Jorgensen shared “very practical and relevant information!

There were several vendors who came out and shared about services and resources available in our community. Thank you Department of Veterans Affairs, Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida, Flagler OARS and Volusia Recovery Alliance, Halifax Hospice, Magellan Complete Care, Mental Health America, NAMI Volusia/Flagler/St. Johns, Nature’s Garden Orange City, SMA Healthcare, SMA’s Volusia Rape Crisis Center, Tina Talks Truth and Wekiva Springs.

The Foundation says it often, but can’t say it enough, that we can’t do what we do without the support we receive from volunteers and SMA staff who come out to work the event. THANK YOU to the more than 20 volunteers who helped with the symposium.



The morning keynoter, Pete Earley, is the bestselling author of 21 books, including four New York Times best sellers. He is the author of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.

Check out the video of the morning session. Note: This session begins with announcements, Hank and Susan share about Who is Jay? at 4:45, and Pete Earley begins at 19:51. You won’t want to miss the video Pete shares about his son toward then end.

Note: Video is not available for Kevin Hines per contract restrictions.


Emerging Mood Disorders and the Mental Health Impact of COVID-19presented by Donald J. Baracskay II, MD, MBA, MSCIS
In this session, we will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on mood and anxiety disorders.  The discussion will include the diagnosis, treatment, and management of these conditions.  The COVID-19 pandemic has also worried many people regarding its potential impact on suicide-related morbidity and mortality.  This will be reviewed, along with the risk and protective factors that can impact individuals contemplating suicide.

Embracing LOVE – Your Tool Kit for Emotional Management and New Found Claritypresented by Scott Goyette, MBA
Expect to be guided through the L.O.V.E. model, which will empower you to remove the distortions in your lenses of perception, allowing you to find clarity and more effectively manage your emotions. More specifically, this model will teach you how to do the following:
LISTEN to your intuitive self and the many teachers who show up in your life
OBSERVE your needs and nurture yourself so that you can be in service to others as well
VOICE your beliefs and feelings to others in a positive way, once you have learned to manage your own inner critic
EMPATHIZE with all people, since we all experience this life in different ways.


Igniting Passion While Preventing Burnoutpresented by Tina Levene, BA
This Breakout Session is a positive interactive and engaging experience that audiences walk away feeling appreciated, inspired and motivated to improve their self-care and wellness management skills and improve their attitudes and communication skills. Tina uses authentic inspiration through professional and personal stories, her 22 years of lived experience with Mental Illness/Substance Use Disorder and shares her recovery journey to provide hope to everyone.
Participants will:
Identify 6 ways to prevent burn-out
Identify 3 ways to recover from burn-out
Strategies to ignite passion
Best ways to develop effective communication skills
Improve ways for team building

Planning for the Future: Legal Protections and Estate Planning for Individuals with SMIpresented by Mike Jorgensen, JD, LLM
Discussions during this session will include the following:
How individuals can be protected now through the use of advanced directives, especially the durable power of attorney;
How to prevent probate and protect beneficiaries;
How to protect assets when government subsidies are needed to help pay for long term care; and
Common terms to understand such as Ex Parte, Guardianship, and the Baker Act

For more information about the speakers/presenters, CLICK HERE.


This event is provided mainly through the Jay’s Hope Fund, managed by the SMA Healthcare Foundation, and by the support of businesses in our community who sponsor the event.