Conference to educate on ‘self-care’

By Dan Hardin, Staff Writer

The Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PysR) Conference provides a safe and supportive environment for those who have made huge gains as future therapists.

In honor of these accomplishments, the city of San Pablo will host Contra Costa College’s health and human services department’s fifth annual Psychosocial Rehabilitation 2018 Spring Conference on Saturday in the Maple Hall Community Center, at 13831 San Pablo Avenue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event also acts as a reaching out tool to help those with undiagnosed mental and emotional disorders to know that help is out there.

“A continental breakfast will be served prior to the 11 a.m. kick-off,” CCC professor Mary Johnson said. “Licensed clinical psychologist Cathia Walters-Knight, the keynote speaker, will shed light on the topic of self-care.”

Tickets are free and can be obtained at

“The conferences have grown tremendously, primarily due to word of mouth,” Johnson said. “Our first two conferences in 2014 and 2015 were at Argosy University in Alameda; the third and fourth conferences in 2016 and 2017 were at the Community Center near Helms Middle School here in San Pablo.

“The conferences outgrew the room sizes and had to find a larger venue; and that brings us to where we are currently being accommodated,” Johnson said. “It has always been important to me to have the conferences off campus, so that the students would feel special and be at an event that everyone would look forward to and remember.”

Health and human services department Chairperson Aminta Mickles said, “It is important for individuals to learn about the tools that will aid them in dealing with fundamental tribulations and divergence.”

She said the conferences are for debriefing, socializing and reinforcing tools that have been acquired in the HHS program.

Student Victoria Fairchild said this will be the second conference that she has participated in.

“At my first conference last year I spoke as a member of a panel on stigmas and told my personal story of how I changed my life,” she said.

“I was diagnosed with severe ADHD, which means I have a problem being still; but I am better equipped because I learned techniques to rest my mind and not jump around so much from the information that was disseminated at the 2017 conference.”

Fairchild said she participates in these conferences because she wants to give hope to others so that they too may one day change their lives.

“We go through our lives daily running into people with mental health issues and we do not realize that something as simple as a smile or friendly hello may make a world of difference,” she said.

Fairchild said, “Last year, in January, I became a mental health case manager. I began to work with people with mental illness. Therefore, I have been able to take the tools that I learned at last year’s conference back to my work site and apply them. But what I am most proud of is that I have learned skills to help others.”