Porter-Starke’s 6th Annual Living Health, Balance and Hope Symposium Focuses on Resiliency

Clinicians, supporters, and business representatives in the community attended the 6th Annual Living Health, Balance and Hope Symposium for Porter-Starke Services in the Valparaiso University Harre Union Ballroom, to learn more about resilience in mental health.

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After a delicious breakfast, participants listened to speakers who spoke about stories of resilience, including: Nick Sommer, Vice President at Century 21 Alliance Group and board chair of Porter-Starke Services Foundation, Heather Henderlong, Owner of Extra Mile Fitness Company and board secretary, Stacia Yoon, partner at Genetos Retson & Yoon and board member, and Rocky Schiralli, President/CEO of Porter-Starke Services.

“We have the ability to grow and learn new skills, to be a better person, to grow professionally and be a better person even when we are faced with adversity. As you are inspired to grow, Porter Starke is a resource not only for treatment when necessary, but also for wellness, prevention and change throughout the year,” Rocky Schiralli, President/CEO of Porter Starke Services Foundation said.

The keynote speaker, Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. is the research director of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment of Victims of Violence. His presentation was entitled Bouncing Back: Creating your Path to Resilience.

Meichenbaum has consulted at he VA hospital with veterans who are struggling with PTSD and the resilience that they show in regaining their strength after traumatic experiences in war.

His main points and stories revolved around the idea of resilience in not only PTSD patients, but also mental health patients throughout every spectrum. Resilience is the ability to bounce back. It is the ability to experience ongoing adversity. Meichenbaum told stories of people who have being able to bounce back, what gives us resilience, and how we can create our own paths in being resilient in our lives

“The important thing is that the community is supporting a really worth while organization here who is doing good things for both resilience and the community,” Donald Meichenbaum said of the event.

Later in the day, Donald Meichenbaum was able to expand on his expertise and train clinicians further with more specialized communication with the clinicians participating.

Participants of the event really took a lot away from the lessons of all the speakers and were challenged to think about resilience in their lives. Among the guests was Mann Spitler who speaks to kids about drugs, after losing his daughter to addiction.

“This whole aspect of resilience has a lot to do with whether or not a kid will use drugs of not. I came here today because I wanted to learn more about resilience and how I could cultivate that and foster that in other kids I talk to in my presentations,” Spitler said.

1 in 5 people in a given year and 1 in 4 people in a lifetime are affected by mental illness. Events like this are important because they teach the community about mental illness and how to not only help people, but also apply the teachings to their own lives.

“This is part of our community’s annual celebration of health, balance and hope. In this room today are our leaders, partners, advocates, supporters, friends and contributors. Their support not only allows us to bring knowledgeable speakers, but also grow Porter-Starke Services and helps the clients that seek our care. We hope all attendees are leaving this room with additional knowledge and compassion in our community,” Elliott Miller, Director of Marketing at Porter-Starke said.