Bridging the Divide: Mental Health and Cancer Care 3rd Annual Symposium

Jun 17, 2019
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It was a day of egoless minds and educated hearts, of sobriety and light.  It was a day that brought strangers across town, state, country, and even world lines to reflect and unite on a common cause: the bridge in care that needs to be created and reinforced between those with both a serious mental illness and cancer, a gap that threatens quality of lives and shortens those lives who are seriously mentally ill with cancer everywhere, every day. 

It was the Third Annual Symposium focused on mental health and cancer care, held on April 12th of 2019, located at the Boston Marriott in Cambridge. I found the outbreak session on “research” to be especially empowering, and, surprisingly, personal.  I have schizoaffective disorder and brain cancer and as I sat there brainstorming with two family members, my husband, and a couple of strangers about how to be more included in the world of research (amongst other things), I felt a strange sense of peace come over me – as if, for once, I truly belonged in the world of academics that I was forced to leave behind fifteen years earlier because of the onset of my serious mental illness.  

I think every person there left this unique Symposium with something they didn’t enter the building with – something different from each other, too.  Hearing the guest speakers, their voices carried across the great dining room of the Boston Marriott with gentle passion and fierce knowledge, and being able to participate in this crucial ongoing conversation, was special indeed.  Dr. Kelly Irwin and Amy Corveleyn, MSW, did a remarkable job not only in organizing this event, but in putting many special touches into it. This Symposium is a day I will not soon forget, and is a day I am already looking forward to participating in again. 

About the Author

Becky Gelinas

The bridge in care that needs to be created and reinforced between those with both a serious mental illness and cancer

we are a coalition dedicated to ensuring mental health is never a barrier to cancer care