• More than 200 health care professionals from around the area gathered Friday, Nov. 3 for a day-long conference titled, “Think Like an Olympian,” at the Vernon Downs Casino Hotel Conference Center, Vernon. The event, hosted by the Senior Behavioral Health Unit (SBHU) of Rome Memorial Hospital, featured a number of speakers providing practical information on overcoming adversity, the value of perseverance as well as the effects of bi-polar disorder and the newest methods of diagnosing and distinguishing mental illness.

    According to event coordinator Greg Jones, admissions and marketing coordinator of the SBHU, the conference provided valuable information to caregivers who work with the mental health and aging population. “This year’s event offered a variety of information to participants on both the clinical side of care giving as well as the importance of moving forward through difficult circumstances,” he said.

    The conference’s keynote speaker, Johnny Quinn, a current U.S. Olympian in the sport of bobsled and a former NFL player delivered a thought provoking, motivational speech with a specific focus on health care and mental health. “Johnny did a great job of sharing the knowledge he has gained from the trials and tribulations of being a former NFL player and encouraged attendees to break through barriers and use them as opportunities for professional and personal growth,” Jones said. “His unique story was both inspirational and focused on the value of perseverance.”

    “The conference was a great success,” continued Jones. “The participants ranged from hospital and nursing home workers, nurses, physicians and psychiatrists, to members of the community, all of whom learned a great deal about the challenges associated with caring for the elderly, the mentally ill and healthcare in general today.”

    Other speakers included Gabriel DiCristofaro on “Overcoming Mental Health Adversity” and Marcellus Cephas, MD, MBA, medical director of the SBHU on “New Methods of Diagnosing and Distinguishing Mental Illness.”

    “Everyone was able to take away something from each of the speakers,” continued Jones. “This was our 14th annual conference and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event. Each year, we look to bring in speakers who will either introduce new theories and techniques or reinforce what is being done now.” He also stated that he is always open to suggestions for topics for next year, and can be reached by calling 315-338-7399.

    Located on the hospital’s second floor, the 12-bed Senior Behavioral Health Unit is a New York State Office of Mental Health certified inpatient psychiatric unit that offers a secure therapeutic environment and provides healthcare for adults ages 55 and older who have depression, anxiety and other mental health related issues. Treatment includes prescribed medications, psychotherapy and other activities to help the older adults regain their well being.

    The Senior Behavioral Health Unit can take admissions seven days a week, 24 hours a day to meet the needs of seniors in crisis. For more information, please call 315-338-7399.

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     2017 SBHU Photo 
     “Think Like an Olympian,” was the theme of a conference held at the Vernon Downs Casino Hotel Conference Center Fri. Nov. 3. More than 200 people attended the event hosted by the Senior Behavioral Health Unit (SBHU) of Rome Memorial Hospital. Pictured from left: Gabriel DiCristofaro, speaker; Greg Jones, admissions and marketing coordinator of the SBHU/event coordinator; Johnny Quinn, keynote speaker; and Marcellus Cephas, MD, MBA, medical director of the SBHU.