News & Events

Author Wally Lamb to headline mental health forum at Backus

May 6, 2014

Norwich, CT)  — Best-selling author and Connecticut resident Wally Lamb will be the featured panelist at The William W. Backus Mental Health Forum on Friday, May16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Hartford HealthCare East System Support Office, 11 Stott Avenue, Norwich. This event is free and open to the public.

Can’t Keep it to Ourselves: A Community Dialogue on Mental Health is the latest in a series of interactive mental health forums sponsored by affiliates of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network.

Lamb is the author of such best-selling books as She’s Come Undone, I Know this Much is True and We Are Water, the settings of which are often inspired by the landscape of eastern Connecticut. His New York Times best selling Christmas story, Wishin’ and Hopin’, will be made into a feature film, with the author serving as co-executive producer. Under the direction of Colin Theys and a screenplay by John Doolan, the film is currently scheduled to shoot in Connecticut this summer.

Lamb is a mental health advocate and works closely with inmates at the Niantic Correctional Facility, an effort that resulted in a book of stories by inmates entitled, Couldn’t Keep it to Our­selves: Testimonies from our Imprisoned Sisters.

This event is part of the ongoing National Dialogue on Mental Health Series being held at various locations throughout the state and features presentations from mental health experts, advocates and consumers. Attendees are invited to ask questions, share their stories, and learn more about this topic. Additional panelists include:

  • Kathleen Flaherty, lawyer, mental health consumer and advocate
  • Jim Sorensen, President, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southeastern Connecticut Chapter
  • Chris Erskine, Mental Health First Aid instructor, Natchaug Hospital

Event moderator is Backus Hospital’s Jim O’Dea, Ph.D., Hartford HealthCare East Region Director of Behavioral Health Services.

The National Dialogue on Mental Health Series was conceived in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook that occurred in December of 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. In early 2013, behavioral health leaders from around the nation convened to begin a discussion with United States Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. to outline a plan that would focus attention, as a nation, on mental health – and thereby create opportunities to de-stigmatize mental illness through education, discussion, and improvements in systems of care. The plan’s ultimate goal was to help people recognize trouble signs and be willing to seek help and access to care.

Pre-registration is requested. To register, please call 860.892.6900. For more information, please email [email protected]