SMA Healthcare Foundation to host 4th annual Mental Health Symposium

The SMA Healthcare Foundation (the Foundation) is pleased to announce its 4th Annual Who is Jay? Mental Health Symposium to be held at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach on Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The symposium, titled Transforming Lives Through Hope & Healing, is open to the community, and media is welcome.  Held in May as part of National Mental Health Month activities, the symposium is designed to bring awareness, education, and inspiration.

The opening keynote speaker is Sam Tsemberis, Ph.D. Dr. Tsemberis is presenting “Transforming Systems and Changing Lives”, explaining how a person-centered approach to engagement, treatment and housing has proven effective in turning treatment failures into a success.

The keynote speaker over lunch is Joshua Rivedal, actor and author. Josh will present “Navigating Out of the Ocean of Why – Making Meaning After a Suicide Loss”, a combination of his one-man Broadway style play and a keynote that provides the powerful message that suicide is preventable when we speak out, and the journey or process that helps make meaning after a suicide loss.

Presentations throughout the day will include the following:

  • Ending the Criminalization of Mental Illness, presented by Judge Steven Leifman, Administrative Judge for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, overseeing the Miami-Dade Mental Health Court
  • Introduction to Mental Health First Aid, presented by SMA’s Salvatore Gintoli and Shawn Proctor
  • Research Updates in Behavioral Health, presented by Sara Jo Nixon, Ph.D., University of Florida’s Department of Psychiatry, McKnight Brain Institute
  • The Great Divorce: Faith and Mental Health, presented by Dean Kate Moorehead, St. John’s Cathedral Episcopal Diocese of Florida in Jacksonville

“We are excited to bring such high caliber speakers from around the US and the State of Florida to our community” said Jennifer Secor, Executive Director of the Foundation. “The symposium was designed to bring mental health awareness and education to our community, and to touch on current and relevant topics.”

The cost to attend is $45 if registered and paid on or before April 12 ($55 after). Students are $25, and NAMI members can attend for free.  The registration fee includes the full day of speakers and presentations, parking at the Ocean Center, lunch and refreshments.  All attendees will also receive a free copy of Josh Rivedal’s The i’Mpossible Project Lemonade Stand: Volume I. For behavioral health professionals, they can also earn up to 5.25 CEU’s.  To register, please visit and click on the registration link.

Sam Tsemberis is a clinical psychologist who developed the “Housing First” model. He serves as President of the Pathways Housing First Institute and on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center.  Dr. Tsemberis also serves as Executive Director of the VA-UCLA Center of Excellence for Training and Research at the Greater Los Angeles VA.   Dr. Tsemberis has published numerous articles and book chapters, and two books: Housing First by Hazelden Publishing, and with Drs. Padgett and Henwood Housing First by Oxford University Press.   He has received wide recognition and media coverage for his work, including the Distinguished Contribution to Independent Practice Award from the American Psychological Association and the Meritorious Service Cross from the Government of Canada.

Josh Rivedal is the creator and founder of Changing Minds: A Mental Health Based Curriculum and The i’Mpossible Project. He is trained in community counseling from the Southern California Counseling Center; human capital management with an emphasis in coaching from NYU; and is also trained in QPR, ASIST, and the teacher’s edition of emotional intelligence at Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence. He has spoken about suicide prevention, mental health, diversity, anti-bullying, and storytelling across the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia. He currently serves on the advisory board of Docz, a startup peer-to-peer mental health app. He wrote and developed the one-man play, Kicking My Blue Genes in The Butt, which has toured extensively throughout the world paired with suicide prevention education. His memoir The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah, based on his one-man play, is on The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s recommended reading list. His second book, The i’Mpossible Project: Volume 1—Reengaging with Life, Creating a New You, debuted #1 in its category on Amazon in January 2016. Three more editions of The i’Mpossible Project have been published including Lemonade Stand: Volume I. He is the co-author of two journal papers, one on the trajectory of the survivor of suicide loss, the other on surviving trauma.

The Who is Jay? mental health awareness campaign started in May 2015 with a few billboards and t-shirts directing individuals to a website with mental health resources. To date the site has over 24,000 visits.  In 2016 there was the addition of a half day mental health symposium held in St. Augustine.  In 2017 the event was moved to the Ocean Center and expanded to include a full day symposium with national speakers.  “The Who is Jay? mental health awareness campaign and symposium continues its annual growth and has become an incredible outreach tool for SMA Healthcare and the SMA Healthcare Foundation” said Carl Lentz, Chairman of the Board for the Foundation. “The Foundation is committed to supporting this wonderful endeavor in hopes to reach all those affected in our area.”

Funding for the event is provided in part by the Jay’s Hope Fund, which is managed by the SMA Healthcare Foundation, registration fees and sponsorships. If you are interested in sponsoring the event, please contact Cyndi Hines, Public Relations & Events Specialist at SMA Healthcare Foundation 386-254-1136 or  For more details about the event, please visit or

If you are interested in supporting SMA Healthcare and the SMA Healthcare Foundation, please contact Jennifer Secor, CFRE, Executive Director, at 386-254-1139 or