Elin Widdifield, Grayson Bowen, & Joanna Bowen

The Hopester Guide to Psych Care: A Patient and Family Perspective with FREE COOKIES

Elin Widdifield, MA, NAMI Orange County Board of Directors

Elin Widdifield received her MA in counseling psychology from Tufts University and completed an externship in family therapy at The Philadelphia Child Guidance Center. She has worked extensively with adolescents, families, young adults, and sexual assault survivors. Elin has documented histories, including life experiences of combat veterans. Elin resides in Chapel Hill where she serves on the board of NAMI Orange County NC and is a NAMI Family Support Group facilitator. She is the mother of two sons. Elin, with her sister, Mary Widdifield, wrote the book Behind the Wall: The True Story of Mental Illness as Told by Parents. She has spoken at many NAMI affiliates across the country.

Grayson Bowen, MFA, MAAT, UNC Center of Excellence in Community Mental Health

Grayson Bowen holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, an MFA from Western Carolina University, and recently completed his MAAT at Saint Mary of the Woods College. He completed an internship in art therapy at the psychiatric unit at Central Prison in Raleigh. He is also a certified Peer Support Specialist. Grayson is employed by the UNC Center of Excellence in Community Mental Health where he conducts Art and Wellness classes and curates the Brushes with Life art program.

Joanna Bowen, JD ~ UNC Psychiatry Services Patient and Family Advisory Council

Joanna Bowen, a graduate of Pace University School of Law, practiced law in multiple Connecticut firms in general practice and litigation. She lives in Chapel Hill where she serves on the board for NAMI Orange County. She is always an active advocate for more and better mental health services in North Carolina. Joanna is a UNC Hospital volunteer and a member of the UNC Psychiatry Services Patient and Family Advisory Council. She is Grayson’s mother.

Providing insights into the recovery process from the patient and family perspective, this program has been presented multiple times as part of the UNC psychiatric orientation program to RN’s, Nursing Assistants and Behavioral Health Technicians.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will improve skills for communicating with patients in a way that motivates patients to commit to their own recovery journey;
  • Attendees will learn skills for communicating with family members that will inspire hope and increase their understanding and support for loved ones who are living with mental illness;
  • Attendees will develop strategies for partnering with local providers to provide an educational program that will enhance empathy with the patient and family through crisis, hospitalization and recovery, and will teach these communication skills to doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians, clergy and others who interact with psychiatric patients -all of which will improve mental health outcomes.