Mental Health Conference Will Feature Jazz Musician Sam Miltich

Mental Health Conference

The 19th annual Mental Health Education Conference sponsored by the Twin Cities Jewish community, “Creating Healing and All that Jazz,” will be held 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Sunday, October 20, at Temple Israel.

The event is free and open to people of all faiths and will feature a keynote address from Sam Miltich, a renowned jazz musician who lives with a mental health diagnosis.

Sam is a self-taught jazz guitarist born and raised in the woods of northern Minnesota. He burst on the scene in his teens as a young lion of gypsy jazz, joining Paul Mehling’s Hot Club of San Francisco and touring internationally with the world-renowned Robin Nolan Trio. In his early 20s, Sam suffered a self-described major psychotic break. He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia – a disease he thought would be the end of his music career.

Instead, Sam combined his own mental health journey with the desire to stop the stigma, fear and shame he experienced. He created “The Improvised Life,” a performance highlighting cultural contributions of famous artists with mental illness and a mixture of music interspersed with his own personal story. He has performed this music all over Minnesota, sharing his story of hope and resilience.

At the conference, Sam will explore the intersection of mental health and the creative process in his pursuit of well-being amid the daily challenges of living with a serious mental illness. He will share his definition of recovery and the sense of purpose he cultivates through quality engagement in his career and family life.

In addition to the keynote address, the conference will offer two breakout sessions of workshops with 22 topics to choose from, covering mental health issues affecting youth to people in the later stages of life. Workshop topics include when it’s appropriate to seek therapy, addiction peer recovery, eating disorders, post-par tum depression, suicide prevention, crisis intervention, supporting children and teens during school-age years and social media fatigue.

JFS Community Chaplain Rabbi Lynn Liberman will present a workshop. “The Wholeness of Being: Caring for Our Spiritual Self” is intended for those of faith, little faith or no faith who are looking for ways to care for their spiritual well-being, whether for themselves or their loved ones.

A recent Pew report indicates that formal religion, the kind that takes place inside a house of worship, or with rituals or at certain times and in certain ways, has been steadily diminishing in recent years. Yet 61 percent of the respondents who rarely or never attend say religion is at least somewhat important in their lives.

Participants will consider these questions: do spiritual concerns affect our capacity to heal when facing challenging crises or circumstances; and what does it mean to pray, meditate or chant as part of your personal practice of well being or healing?

Registration for the conference can be completed online or by mail. Click here to register. To register by mail, call JFS at (651) 698-0767 to request a conference brochure and registration form. Everyone who registers by October 4 will receive a free box lunch.