2018 Workshop Speakers

2018 Building Bridges Conference

Workshop Speakers
10:40 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. in Beck Hall

Leah Ida Harris

From Punishment to Healing: Breaking Cycles of Criminalization

Trauma and resilience educator, activist, and writer Leah Harris will talk about alternatives to these cycles of criminalization, including restorative justice-based, expressive arts-based, and trauma-informed, and community-led approaches. Racism intersects deeply with “mentalism," defined as othering, discrimination and violence against people of all races who are perceived as unstable or mentally ill. The various systems designed by those in power tend to reinforce entrenched and interlocking patterns of racism, mentalism, power and control. The school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately affects children of color who are survivors of trauma and/or those with mental, physical and developmental disabilities.


Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre is an MC, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist, and educator. He is a Minneapolis-based artist whose work explores the relationships between identity, power, and resistance. He has been featured on Upworthy, Welcome to Night Vale, Everyday Feminism, MSNBC, the Huffington Post, and beyond. Garnering over ten million views online, Guante has also performed live at the United Nations and given a TedxTalk.

Marya Hart

A member of the Fidgety Fairy Tales - Mental Health Musicals use gentle humor, great music, and compelling performances by talented youth to raise awareness about children’s mental health. The goals of the group are to provide accurate information about mental health disorders using clear and accessible language, dispel the myths and reduce the misunderstanding surrounding mental health disorders, portray the strengths and struggles of children with mental health disorders, and to help families, friends, and communities respond with compassion, understanding, and support.

Jessica Gourneau

Jessica Gourneau Ph.D. focuses her work on Intergenerational Trauma in Native American Communities. The mission of the American Indian Family Center (AIFC) is to provide American Indian families with programming and services enriched by traditional American Indian values and culture. She will be sharing her experiences, and providing ways for all to be activists in their lives and speak out against mental health discrimination.

3:10 p.m. in Beck Hall, Second Floor

An essential component of the Building Bridges Conference is the Interpretive Walk Through, taking place this year on the 2nd floor of Beck Hall. Through an interactive experience we will utilize visual and performance art to explore the ways our culture perpetuates and normalizes mental health stigma and discrimination. The walk through will mimic a museum where attendees can walk through at their own pace, and experience each room on its’ own. Mental health is an incredibly unique experience that cannot be generalized to include the experiences of all; because of this, five rooms are used to display the experience. 


5:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall

Sue Abderholden & Mark Anderson

Sue Abderholden, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Mark Anderson will talk about the need to see people in crisis as needing help and not just a threat. They will highlight how we need to be responding to the whole person by using an asset based response rather than a blaming and shaming response. Discussions regarding the recent tragic deaths of individuals in crisis who were responded to by law enforcement and the need to partner with communities on mental health issues as a way to avoid these tragedies will also be covered. In addition, a history of the mental health movement and a detailed look at our mental health system will be explored.