What Are Ed Talks?

Mental Health Topics presented by local experts to inform and promote an understanding of mental illness and resources. Everyone is welcome.

EdTalks are scheduled for the Second Tuesday of the month.  They are held at INTEGRIS Cancer Center, 5911 W Memorial, Oklahoma City.  Talks begin at 6:30 pm and end at 7:45 pm.  No registration is required. There is no charge. 

No Ed Talks in November or December.

Check back for the 2019 Ed talk lineup.



October 9, 2018

Ask the Pharmacist and his Daughter:
a discussion about medications and the alternatives

with Dwight Davis D.PH & Jill Amos M.A. PRSS

In this EdTalks we will explore medication. Our father and daughter presenters bring both professional and personal perspectives to this discussion. Dwight Davis is a Registered Pharmacist with a D.Ph from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with 42 years experience in the field. Jill has a Masters of Human Resources from OU. She has been with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse for 13 years. She currently serves as program coordinator for the Peer Recovery Support Specialist program.

Jill, who has been treated with medications for mental illness, said, “My dad and I have been working on bringing our two worlds together for several years now, to explore how medication can be used as a tool in recovery, but also how it is not the only or best tool.”




According to NAMI, “People living with mental illness have a high rate of smoking. In America, 44.3% of all cigarettes are consumed by individuals who live with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. People with schizophrenia are three to four times as likely to smoke as the general population.” 

Earlier this year the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services was approved for a $1.2 million grant to be used over the next three years for the purpose of funding smoking cessation programs for people with mental illness.  

We will be joined by two experts. As the Behavioral Health and Wellness Manager at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Yvon is the state’s leading expert on the science of smoking cessation and the programs designed to help individuals with serious mental illness quit smoking. 

As a Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PRSS) for Red Rock Behavioral Health, Matt teaches the most successful tobacco cessation program in the state for clients with serious mental illnesses. Matt will share with us what he has learned from helping others quit. 



Question, Persuade, Refer: three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide

The QPR mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. The signs of crisis are all around us. We believe that quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know.

Our presenters: Ken is a school counselor with the Oklahoma City Public School District and for 30 years. Ken actively promotes violence prevention, intervention, and postvention in his work with youth and families. Ken’s volunteer community advocacy work includes Co-Chair for the Central Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Community Task Force and a legislative appointment on the Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Council.  He is passionate about supporting children and adults impacted by suicide.

Samantha Kobs is the Director of Guidance Counseling at Heritage Hall School in Oklahoma City. Samantha is passionate about preventing youth suicide.  She is a QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor, and during the past year has collaborated with Ken Elliott on school suicide prevention outreach. 

July 10, 2018: Wendy Nix / NAMI programs and convention news

What is NAMI and what do we do?

A panel of program experts, including Paula Stafford, NAMI Oklahoma’s director of affiliate relations, will explain the structure of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the programs available to support individuals and families dealing with mental illness. Here is what you can expect to learn about: 

The NAMI  organization and mission,  
Why NAMI focuses of the emotional response,
Family Education class, Family to Family, Basics, & Homefront, 
Family Support Groups, & Connections, 
Ending the Silence, & NAMI In Your Own Voice,
How to become a member, & how to volunteer,
What is CIT training for police & more.

June 12, 2018

Helen Coffey and Alison Palmer / Summer Reading 

In this special summer time EdTalks two local authors will share excerpts from their books.  There will be time for discussion.

Helen Coffey graduated from East Central State College in Ada, Oklahoma, completed a Master of Science Degree at Purdue University, and is a retired middle school teacher. She wrote Don’t Let Anyone Know, A Story About Mental Illness—The World Viewed Only the Silhouette! It tells her and her daughter’s story and of tragic loss to suicide. Helen volunteers for NAMI and to facilitates the Crossings Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group.

Allison Lee Palmer grew up in Westminster, Maryland, and majored in Art History at Mount Holyoke College.  After receiving a PhD in Art History from Rutgers University, she moved to Norman and has taught Renaissance and Baroque Art at the University of Oklahoma for over twenty years.  She writes both academic books and novels, and "The Sun King" is her debut novel that blends fact and fiction in a story about her son.

Bring some pocket money for our used book sale. Copies of our author’s books will also be available.

May 8, 2018

Recovery Month: Hear about how people in recovery help others with Clark Grothe and Shayla Dodge

May is “recovery month.”  What is recovery? We will be joined by two guest who have can she form their perspective what recovery looks like.  Clark Grothe, Chief Operating officer at NorthCare Clark has been with NorthCare for 28 years. His entire career has been dedicated to serving children, adults, and families impacted by serious mental illness and/or trauma. His passion was inspired by his own personal experiences with trauma, mental illness, and recovery. Shayla Dodge is also joining us. Shayla is a Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PRSS) and Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner. Peers are credentialed individuals who work on PACT and Assertive Outpatient Treatment (AOT) teams and in other key positions in mental health settings.  These individuals with lived experience have proven to be invaluable in assisting others achieve and maintain recovery from mental illness. 

December 12, 2017

Housing Options for Individuals with Mental Illness & Substance Abuse - Tammie Vail, ODMHSAS

Tammie Vail graduated from University of Central Oklahoma in 2003 with a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and Minor in Sociology.  Prior to becoming employed at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), Tammie Vail worked as a case manager for one year and Supervisor for Projects for Assistance from Homelessness (PATH) for the next six years at North Care Center.  She has a diverse career background in mental health and social services. 

November 14, 2017

Mental Illness & Substance Abuse: Seven Critical Decisions - Pat Nichols, Parents Helping Parents Edmond

Pat Nichols will share with us his seven critical decisions learned over years of painful struggles with mental illness and addiction. Nichols says, "By incorporating these seven decisions into our family structure we were able to gain back the life we once dreamed of. In addition, we became a vital part of our child's recovery. We fought a twenty year battle with mental illness/addiction and now have a clean and sober son freed from his past demons. 

October 10, 2017

Integrated Behavioral Health Care: Why it's Do or Die  - Clark Grothe, North Care CMHC

Approximately a decade ago, Clark and his colleagues at NorthCare were wrestling with fairly new research demonstrating that individuals having a serious mental illness or substance use disorder had much higher mortality rates than the general public.  Depending on the illness, a person’s life span is decreased by 25-35 years.  Integrated behavioral health and primary care for individuals with serious mental illness was created at NorthCare to address this unacceptable situation. 

September 2017

NAMI's Mission, Vision & Strategies to Serve Oklahomans Brandon Pettit, NAMI Oklahoma's Executive Director

Pettit graduated from Cumberland College with a degree in Psychology and Biology. Prior to accepting NAMI Oklahoma Executive Director position this year, he served as a Program Manager and Unit Supervisor in Ongoing Child Protection for Adams County, Colorado, Human Services Department. He brings experience and a proven track record of success in the understanding of mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence issues and how they impact the community.  Pettit will speak about the NAMI mission and the importance of collaboration between the NAMI state organization and its affiliates.

May 2017

Triumph over Adversity
Stories of Recovery with George Crooks & Friends

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Be inspired by our speakers who will share personal experiences. George Crooks is a graduate of Stanford University where he played football and majored in civil engineering. Shortly after he graduated, bipolar disorder disrupted his life. Today, George is the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance. George is well known in the Oklahoma advocacy community for collaborating with groups interested in advancing the treatment of individuals with mental illness. He and our other speakers have an important message for families and individuals with mental illness, “Don’t give up because you too can have a satisfying life.”

April 2017

The Challenge of Treating Mental Health and Addiction with Lane Peyton M.D.

Ed Talks is happy to welcome back Lane Peyton M.D. Peyton is a Medical Doctor and Psychotherapist. He is also the Principle Investigator and Chief Medical Officer at Rivus Wellness & Research Institute.  In his practice he treats all types of mental illness. As a member of the Oklahoma Pain Society he is involved in efforts to better address both mental illness and addiction treatment in the community as well as chronic pain management. Peyton will discuss why mental illness and addiction often appear together. He will save time for questions and answers. 

February 2017

Legal Options for Caregivers: with  John Brewer

Brewer is an Oklahoma lawyer, licensed since 1974. He is a long time NAMI volunteer, including support group facilitator and Family-to-Family teacher and trainer. He is Vice-President of Mental Health Services  of Southern Oklahoma (a community mental health center).

Topics to include: Legal options for caregivers and their family member.  Discussion of Oklahoma law regarding involuntary treatment, HIPAA and Title 43 of the Oklahoma Statutes (Mental Health Code), Powers of Attorney and their variations, the Oklahoma Advance Directive, Federal Patient Self Determination Act, Guardianship and the Oklahoma Psychiatric Advance Directive.