Monthly Meetings

We are continually seeking additional ideas for upcoming meetings!

We meet at 6:30pm on 1st MONDAYS at the Watauga County Public Library*, located at 140 Queen Street, Boone, NC

*PLEASE NOTE: if the first Monday is a holiday, we often meet the 2nd Monday instead. Occasionally, meetings are at St Luke’s Episcopal Church  —  also see Events list on our facebook page 

Walk in to the library foyer, and we’re in the 1st room on your left (before entering the main library). If you arrive after 7 pm, please go around back of the library to the door that will be ajar.


Upcoming Programming

December 3, 2018 — Winter Holidays Party

NAMI High Country Holiday Potluck (1)

Previous Meetings

November 5, 2018 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church– Compassionate Schools Curriculum in Watauga County

October 1, 2018 at Watauga County Public Library — topic: Compassionate Communication, speakers to include Ed Rothstein.


MONDAY AUGUST 6 at Watauga County Public Library, “It’s Not All In Your Head: Food and Lifestyle for Mental Wellness” will be presented by Sandra Diaz. Join us to learn how gut health and immune system balance supports more balanced mental wellness. Optimizing brain heath can help you be more content, focused, productive and resilient.

Sandra Diaz is a health coach, yoga instructor and meditation group facilitator. As a “mental health enthusiast”, she is passionate about empowering individuals in proactively increasing their own mental wellness. She has been using nutrition and lifestyle to work with her own bouts of depression and anxiety. Check out


ASU Staff Psychiatrist Dr Rebecca Moretz will explore with us the Power of Sleep. Why is sleep so important? How does it affect us? Come hear what the evidence shows about how sleep impacts our health and our resilience. Gain some tips and tools to improve your sleep and sense of well-being, starting tonight!

June 4 NAMI words FLAT

May 7, 2018  — LOCATION: St Luke’s Episcopal, 170 Councill St, Boone, NC

Our own beloved Karen Gross led us in the delightful practice of Laughter Yoga. We enjoyed a light-hearted, joy-building, healthful, fun evening.



On *TUESDAY*, April 3, 2018 

Dr Judy Scheel joined us for a viewing and discussion of her 2017 documentary film “Personas: Identities of an Eating Disorder”. Dr Scheel is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist in addition to being the film’s Executive Producer. For more information, please visit

Judy Scheel


Monday, March 5th, 2018

The Annual NAMI High Country membership meeting was held to introduce folks on the ballot for election to the 2018 Board, and to discuss ideas for future monthly meetings.


Monday, February 5th, 2018

Cath Hopkins and Melanie Childers present “Swimming Upstream: One couple’s journey toward accepting difference.” A portion of the presentation is available for reading online at the link in the previous sentence.

FB Swimming Upstream

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Winter Holidays Pot-Luck Supper

Monday, November 6th, 2017

Jennifer Warren Presentation: Watauga Compassionate Communities Initiative (WCCI)

Jennifer covered the history and development of the WCCI and how the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study was the launching point for general focus on Trauma in our community. She gave an overview of the Watauga County State of the Child Forum, which was held on May 5th, 2017. Date for the 2018 State of the Child Event will be Tuesday, April 17th, 2018. Please email Denise Presnell, for more information on how to get involved in the WCCI or about the upcoming State of the Child event.

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Murray Hawkinson presentation: “Suicide Awareness”
General information about suicide, risk issues, and helpful responses.

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Please note location & date change: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in the Great Hall

Mike Tanner will present 
“Ways Faith Communities Can Promote Healing”
Mike will be reporting his research on what helped faith communities become places that felt safe and welcoming to people experiencing mental health issues within a Georgia community. Mike interviewed 12 consumers of mental health services regarding their experiences in faith communities. They reported to him things that helped and things that hurt as they attempted to participate in faith communities.

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Susan Keefe presention: “Depression and Appalachian Culture”



Monday, May 2, 2016

Sean Haupt, of the Watauga County Library,
will present
“How to Maintain Privacy and Confidentiality Online”

The Privacy Act protects one’s privacy when interacting with professionals. But, how much privacy do we give up through our everyday online practices? It’s a world of surveillance and mass marketing with only a snippet of our knowledge and consent. Learn about how this impacts you, the information you think is private and the footprint it can have on health records and our lives.

Sean will discuss viruses, privacy and why it matters, safe emailing with encryption and trusted networks, safe web browsing habits and how to use Tor software.For more information, Sean is offering “Online Self-Defense Classes” at the library. Come to the NAMI meeting and FIND OUT MORE!!

Monday, April 4, 2016
Dr. Elaine Gray

Mindfulness and Mental Health

Elaine has a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Cal. Institute of Integral Studies and teaches a Freshman class called “Conscience and Consciousness”.

She has practiced meditation for 25 years and finds that it grounds her and gives her meaning when she would otherwise be “adrift”.

Monday, March 7 2016
Melissa Selby

Community Care Clinic

Melissa became the Executive Director of the clinic in 2011. She loves the opportunity to network with others in order to educate the community about the clinic, and believes that health care should be a right for all, not a privilege. “The clinic is an amazing resource for Watauga County, and the quality of care that our patients receive is outstanding.”
Melissa will talk about services available to people with mental health issues at CCC.

 Monday, February 1
Ed Rothstein
Peer Support Specialist Information
Ed Rothstein is a Peer Support Specialist at Daymark Recovery in Boone.  He graduated with a degree in Physical Education from San Francisco State University.  In Tennessee, he was the president of the Consumers’ Association and directed a Peer Support Center.  He hopes to develop a Peer Support Center in Boone.

In our meeting, he will talk about his job as a Peer Support Specialist.  He will also talk about what he would like to see happen in Boone with a center where people can go to socialize and connect.  He believes lived experience in mental health, such as what Peers offer, is invaluable.

 Monday, December 7

Holiday Party!

Come prepared to eat good food and sing carols.  This is a great way to spend time with others.  Bring a dish to share if you can!

Monday, November 2

Laura Anne Middlesteadt and Caroline Bond
San Fransisco National Convention

Laura Anne (NAMI VP) and Caroline (NAMI Pres) went to the NAMI National Convention in San Francisco, CA from July 6-9, 2015.  Come to this meeting to hear about sessions they went to and people they met.  There will also be materials about programs and resources that they got at the Convention.

Monday, October 5
Melissa Selby
Community Care Clinic

Melissa became the Executive Director of the clinic in 2011. She loves the opportunity to network with others in order to educate the community about the clinic, and believes that health care should be a right for all, not a privilege. “The clinic is an amazing resource for Watauga County, and the quality of care that our patients receive is outstanding.”

Monday, September 14
Sandra Diaz
Nurture Yourself on a Budget

Sandra Diaz is recently certified as a Integrative Nutrition Health Coach but has been interested in health and nutrition for over a decade. From a young age she battled with depression and anxiety, until it became overwhelming and led her to step back to assess her career path. Meditation, self-care and other contemplative practices have led her to find more peace of mind. She was inspired to help others who may be experiencing these issues through health coaching,
Sandra will talk about our amazing human bodies and minds, and the best ways to nourish all aspects of yourself, even on a budget.

Monday, August 3

Justin Mikel
Psychiatric Service Dogs

Board member Justin G Mikel will present a general overview of the use of psychiatric service dogs (PSD) to aid in recovery from severe mental illness. Topics will include what constitutes a PSD, various tasks PSD perform, and service dog etiquette for the public.

Monday, July 6

Open Mic Night

Monday, June 1

Marisa Cornell
Essential Oils for Emotional Wellness

Marisa Cornell, EdD is a trained mediator, counselor, and educator who has a long-standing commitment to supporting emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growth and wellness.  She currently works as a program coordinator for a local non-profit, and her interests include expressive arts, restorative justice, natural health, and community education.  Marisa can be reached at

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years, in many different cultures, and for many different reasons.  This presentation will include a brief introduction to essential oils, methods of use, and discussion of oils known to support emotional health as both prevention and first aid.

Monday, May 4

Heather Thorp
Expressive Arts

Heather Thorp is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Expressive Arts Therapist. Heather provides supervision for other expressive arts therapists to become REATs. She is interested in writing, ritual, collage, connecting creativity and spirituality, and community building. She can be reached at

Expressive arts for self care and  community building.  Participants will receive information about expressive arts and participate in a multimodal experiential exercise. No previous art experience necessary.

Monday, April 6

Bob Hill
Bipolar Disorder

Robert Hill, Ph.D., ABPP, Clinical Psychologist, Associate Professor of Psychology and past Director of the Clinical Health Psychology Graduate Program at Appalachian State University, in North Carolina. He is a licensed NC Psychologist and has taught graduate classes in psychological assessment, psychotherapy, and clinical diagnosis and psychopathology for the past 20 years. He is Board Certified in Clinical Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. He consults with several mental health agencies in the region providing clinical supervision as well as clinical services, and maintains a private practice in Boone. He serves on the NC Psychology Board since being appointed by the Governor of NC in 2011. He has presented on ethics, psychological assessment and psychotherapy topics for professional audiences regionally and nationally. He received his B.A. from Duke University, with doctoral training at Michigan State University (Ph.D.), and the Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville (Residency training).

Monday, March 2

Elisabeth Cavallaro
Suicide Safety Plans

Elisabeth Cavallaro is the Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator at Appalachian State University. Before moving to Boone, she worked for the Florida Youth Suicide Prevention Project. She is the creator of the website
She will be discussing safety plans.  A safety plan consists of triggers, distractions/coping skills, people to contact, and places to go, all written down on a piece of paper. Having a plan before you are actually suicidal makes it so that when you have those thoughts, you already know what to do. Ms. Cavallaro will facilitate group discussion and help anyone interested devise his or her own safety plan.

Monday, January 5, 2014

Open Mic Night

Open Mic Night!  Be prepared to read a poem you have written or like, sing or play a song you have written or like, or anything your creativity allows.  Spread the word – it’s going to be lots of fun!

Monday, February 2
CANCELLED due to weather

Monday, December 1, 2014|

Holiday Party

Don’t miss this year’s holiday party!  We will have a turkey, side dishes, and dessert for all.  Bring a dish to share if you can!  There will be music and a short program and lots of time to be together and enjoy the season.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Victoria Casey
Anorexia from the Inside

Monday, August 4, 2014
Music and Recovery

Come listen to local musicians/NAMI Members who have struggled with mental health challenges.  Hear them play and hear how music has helped their recovery!

Monday, July 7, 2014
Melanie Childers
Coping and Spirituality

Rev. Melanie Childers is a hospital chaplain and a licensed professional counselor. She currently serves as Director of Pastoral Care at Watauga Medical Center in Boone, NC, where she has lived for 15 years.  A North Carolina native, she graduated from Mars Hill College in 1990, from Southern Seminary in 1994, and from ASU in 2009. Before entering professional chaplaincy, she worked as a writer and editor in Oklahoma and Kentucky.  She became board certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains in 2000. She is passionate about spirituality, wholeness, and peace and justice efforts.

In 2002 she was named Chaplain of the Year by the North Carolina Chaplains’ Association. Melanie’s most recent article, “Holy Havoc: The Chaplain’s Unique Role in Healing Spiritual Abuse,” was published in the Autumn/Winter 2012 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Chaplaincy Today. In June 2013, Melanie received the Outstanding Local Leadership Award from the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Melanie’s focus as a chaplain is to meet individuals where they are on their particular spiritual path and to provide support, crisis intervention, spiritual care, and gentle challenge. She works with people of any faith as well as those who are agnostic or atheist.

Melanie has both personal and professional experience with mental illness.

Melanie and her partner live in Vilas and enjoy outdoor adventures, advocacy, and simple living.

Monday, June 2, 2014
Vanessa Brumfield
Vanessa Brumfield works at Smoky Mountain LME-MCO as  a liaison to Smoky Mountain LME-MCO’s Consumer & Family Advisory Committee and Human Rights Committee. She is part of Smoky’s Consumer Relations Team, which also includes Family Partners and Peer & Family Support Specialists. Vanessa is a certified WRAP® Facilitator.  At the June 2 meeting, Vanessa will speak about Wellness Recovery Action Plan® (WRAP®) and how having a plan can help deal with health and life challenges. She will also give an update on Smoky Mountain’s efforts to offer WRAP classes throughout the 23 counties in its service area, and will share information about local resources for help with behavioral health crises.

Torrey Gorla
Monday, October 6, 2014

East-West Approaches to Mental Healthcare

Torrey Gorla received his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Rhode Island. He continued his education and graduated from one of the most respected schools in the country, Southwest Acupuncture College, with a Masters degree in Oriental medicine (L.A.c, M.S.O.M.). This four year degree provided him with the foundation to treat patients using Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Torrey completed his pose graduate work in Naturopathic Medicine (N.M.D.) which gives him the distinction of being one of only a handful of clinicians in the Southeast region with training in both Eastern and Western medicine. He has advanced training in numerous areas of medicine, specifically, functional endocrinology, advanced blood chemistry, and nutrition. Torrey has been treating patients since 1999 and has been in private practice since 2001. He is viewed by his peers as an expert in integrated medicine and respected by patients for his dedication, knowledge, and compassion. He excels at finding and eliminating the causes of health problems, and because of his degree of training, he has many safe, effective tools to help patients achieve their health care goals.

Torrey’s lecture will focus on Eastern Medical Perspective on mental health (organ function) and western neurological perspective focusing on metabolic influences on neurons (brain cells) specifically; glucose utilization, hormones, vitamins/minerals, and neurotransmitter substances.

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