Harvest of Hope 2023
15th ANNUAL WELLNESS CONFERENCE
Building Bridges of Hope
Saturday, September 30, 2023
Conference Center at Mercer County College
Special Guest: Ashley Judd
Ashley is a Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actress who adroitly stars in both indie gems and box office hits. A feminist and social justice humanitarian, she is the UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, advocating for the sexual and reproductive rights and health for girls and women worldwide. She has traveled to 22 countries, spending time in brothels, refugee camps, hospices, and slums, learning directly from the vulnerable and resilient about male sexual violence and how to overcome gender inequality. Her New York Times bestselling book, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, chronicles these journeys. Her forthcoming travels summer 2023 are to Slovakia, Ukraine, and the Sahel.
Ashley graduated from the Honors Program at the University of Kentucky and earned an MPA from Harvard's John F. Kennedy's School of Government. Her paper, Gender Violence: Law and Social Justice, was awarded the Dean’s Scholar Award at Harvard Law School. She has been Leader in Residence at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School.
She serves on several boards, including the International Center for Research on Women, the Rape and Incest National Network, Demand Abolition, the Gloria Steinem Sex Equality Fund to End Trafficking in Women, and is Ambassador for Culture Reframed (focusing on the public health crisis of pornography). She is Chairperson of the Women’s Media Center Speak Project: Curbing Abuse, Expanding Freedom. Her TED Talk about online misogyny has over two million views.
She is a sought after public speaker and frequent OpEd author on topics as diverse as conflict mineral mineral mining and child marriage. Recently, she wrote in the New York Times about her beloved mother`s death by suicide and the need for privacy laws in such tragedies.
Ashley was Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2017 as one of the Silence Breakers. In 2019, the United Nations honored her as Global Advocate of the Year.
Ashley lives part of each year in the Central African rain forest in Democratic Republic of the Congo, where her partner has a bonobo research camp. Bonobos, our closest living relatives, are egalitarian, matriarchal, and free from male sexual violence. Their stable and peaceful societies are undergirded by female coalitions. They give her hope.
Harvest of Hope, NAMI Mercer's wellness conference, is held annually in conjunction with National Mental Illness Awareness Week. Launched in 2009. this event brings people together to learn strategies and resources that promote mental wellbeing and to expand knowledge and understanding of mental illness. Harvest of Hope includes: a keynote featuring an inspirational mental health advocate; practical, interactive workshops; thoughtful conversations rooted in personal experience; an uplifting performance; and plenty of opportunities for community-building.
Directions to The Conference Center at Mercer County College are available here
The year's workshops include:
- Ask the Doctor
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills for Family and Caregivers
- Mandala and Zentangle: Perfect Together
- Navigating Bipolar Disorder: From Hopeless to Hopeful
- Tai Chi: A Gentle Path to Building Strength
Conference attendees will have the opportunity to engage in Compelling Conversations, a NAMI Mercer anti-stigma program developed to normalize conversations about mental health and challenge negative, discriminatory perceptions of mental illness. The program creates safe space for those with "lived experience" (called “communicators”) to engage in open, honest dialogue about a variety of mental health topics with those who are interested in learning and understanding "more." The intimate, small group setting facilitates conversations intended to be personal and confidential.
Past Keynote Speakers
Weathering the Storm
2021: My Pain, From Pain to Purpose
2020: Creating Mental Harmony in Times of Uncertainty
2019: Dream Big. Act Now. Know the Science.
2018: Partnering for Prevention and Recovery
Winning at Wellness
Living with Purpose
Finding Your Voice
Recovery through Discovery