Release: MHAOK Annual Zarrow Mental Health Symposium

2022 Zarrow Mental Health Symposium

OKLAHOMA CITY & TULSA – Mental Health Association Oklahoma has opened registration for its annual Zarrow Mental Health Symposium, a three-day virtual event focused on exploring family constructs.

“We are really looking forward to the opportunity to explore not only the evolution of what family looks like in today’s society, but how to nurture a strong familial system,” said Terri White, MHAOK CEO.

With an understanding that today’s concept of family has moved beyond just genetics and the ancestral line to include a broader archetype of familial bonds, it is imperative to both acknowledge and explore the wide range of intersecting relationships. The 2022 Zarrow Mental Health Symposium: Exploring Family Constructs will address the changing needs of families, examining the many facets of family relationships, dynamics, development, and systems. 

“Given the influence the pandemic has had on our lives these last couple of years, and the impact the stress and strain has had on family life, there has not been a more important time to delve into this,” said Karen LaPlante, MHAOK Director of Education. 

This year’s event includes opportunities to earn professional continuing education credits and features fifty-four breakout sessions in addition to four expert keynote speakers.

Stuart Ablon, PhD, is Founder and Director of Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. As one of the world’s top-rated thought-leaders and keynote speakers, he teaches educators, parents, clinicians, managers, and leaders a unique approach to understanding and addressing challenging behavior of all types and in all people.

Claudia Black is the clinical architect of the Claudia Black Young Adult Center at The Meadows. Her seminal work with children impacted by substance abuse in the late 1970s created the foundation for the adult child movement. Today Claudia is a renowned author and trainer internationally recognized for her pioneering and contemporary work with family systems and addictive disorders. 

Elena Joy Thurston is an inspirational LGBTQ+ speaker, trainer, author, and founder of the nonprofit Pride and Joy Foundation, which is dedicated to reducing the rate of suicide and homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble, Founder and Board President of the AAKOMA Project, Inc., is an internationally recognized scientist, author, media personality and speaker. With a primary focus on teens, college students, families and communities of color, she is recognized for her remarkable ability to motivate and inspire by translating complex scientific concepts into everyday language. 

“Over the years, the Zarrow Mental Health Symposium has built a strong reputation for featuring not just great speakers, but also forward-thinking content that focuses on emerging knowledge, evidence-based, and innovative programs and practices. Our attendees have the opportunity to learn new skills, make new connections, and see how others are tackling the current challenges,” said LaPlante.

The 2022 Zarrow Mental Health Symposium: Exploring Family Constructs will be held virtually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST Wednesday, September 28 through Friday, September 30, 2022.  Register online at

ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION OKLAHOMA: MHAOK is the state’s premier boots-on-the-ground non-profit serving at the intersection of mental illness and homelessness – fighting everyday to promote mental health, prevent suicide and end homelessness.

If members of the media would like to learn more, contact Adi McCasland at 405-250-6331 or, and she will help coordinate interviews.