Published:
Damyn Kelly '83, PhD '20, JD, president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of New York

A conference highlighting the importance of mental health and wellness among Black men.

The School of Social Work will present “BreaKING the Ice: Black Men’s Mental Health and Wellness Conference,” a conference highlighting the importance of mental health and wellness among Black men, on Saturday, April 30. The conference will examine mental health from a holistic standpoint by exploring the multiple issues affecting health and how various institutions interact and reinforce one another.

“In these times of uncertainty, the pandemic coupled with the number of suicide cases amongst Black men, attention must be paid right now to discuss and normalize Black men’s mental health and wellness,” said Schanica Pickens, assistant dean of student affairs and director of the Master of Social Work program.

event flyer

Flyer for the “BreaKING the Ice” conference on April 30, 2022

In collaboration with Arron Muller, MSW ’12, CEO of Modify Wellness Inc., and the Adelphi University School of Social Work, “BreaKING the Ice” will feature keynote speaker Damyn Kelly ’83, PhD ’20, JD, president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of New York, a nonprofit organization that focuses on early childhood education, foster care, immigrant services, supportive housing, immigration legal services and a school for special needs children. Dr. Kelly is one of the foremost social work leaders in New York and is one of the rare Black executives heading a large social service organization. He is a frequent speaker, presenter and lecturer on issues pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion with a special emphasis on the lack of executives of color in the nonprofit sector. He also emphasizes the lack of Black males in leadership positions.

Moderating the conference is Alain Berrouet, director of intergovernmental affairs for the New York City Department of Education. The conference will include a panel of community leaders, alumni and therapists. Panelists will share their stories, experiences, coping skills and resources for achieving mental wellness.

The panelists include

  • Marcel Crooks, MSW ’18, speaker and philanthropist
  • Warren K. Graham, PhD candidate in the Adelphi University School of Social Work, assistant dean of field education and clinical assistant professor at Stony Brook University
  • Silas W. Kelly, MSW ’14, CEO and founder of Kelsunn Communications Inc.
  • A. Brian Leander, PhD, director of training and organizational development at Adelphi
  • Arron Muller, MSW ’12, chief operating officer and therapist at Life Matters Psychological Services
  • Ohiro Oni-Eseleh, MSW ’93, PhD ’21, assistant dean of program development and community engagement and director of the Hudson Valley Center at the Adelphi University School of Social Work
  • Jason Phillips, LCSW, licensed therapist, confidence coach and college professor
  • Paul B. Williams, LCSW-C, LICSW, owner of Hearts In Mind Counseling Services LLC, licensed clinical social worker, relationship adviser, business owner, entrepreneur, corporate consultant and author

“BreaKING the Ice: Black Men’s Mental Health and Wellness Conference” will take place at Adelphi’s Ruth S. Harley University Center from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It is open to the public free of charge, though registration is required.

Todd Wilson
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