Maintaining Mental Health During a Crisis


Maintaining Mental Health During a Crisis
Our panelists discuss the impact of multiple stressors on our emotional well-being, the specific challenges people in the music community are facing, and some strategies for restoring our emotional well-being. The panelists hope coming together for this important discussion will bring those of us who are suffering some comfort and provide resources for all of us.

Moderator: Nicole Bonder

Panelist: Dan Gottfried
Dan Gottfried is a retired clinical social worker and educator. He worked for more than thirty years as a therapist for individuals, groups, and families. He is passionate about developing connections among people to support mental health. He served for over 20 years as the director and executive director of the Unitarian Universalist Camp and Conference Center, Unirondack. He is presently the treasurer of both NERFA and The Ashokan Center, and also serves on the Board of Directors of Penn South Social Services in New York City. Dan is the founder of Voices in the Heights in Brooklyn and a long-term advocate for social justice and the arts.


Panelist: Heather Mae
Unfazed by what a typical pop artist today is “supposed” to look or sound like, Heather Mae, an award-winning songwriter whose evocative vocals and rhythmic piano style call to mind artists like Stevie Nicks and Sara Bareilles, creates intoxicating music that tackles complex topics surrounding mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, self-love, racial injustice, social inequality, and women’s rights. Inspired by her own personal experiences and identities – a queer, plus-size woman living with Bipolar Disorder – Mae is an on-fire musical and emotional experience. In her most sonically adventurous project yet, GLIMMER (Sept 2019) – her second produced record and first full-length album – breaks the stigma surrounding mental health, reminding us all that we are not alone.



Panelist: Jennifer Leff (Musicares)
Jennifer Leff LCSW is a Senior Director at MusiCares, the charity of the Recording Academy.  Prior to MusiCares, Jennifer had a private practice in New York City for 14 years where she worked with adults and couples, many of whom were in the entertainment/creative arts world.  Prior to private practice, she worked in hospital settings with individuals living with chronic and severe and persistent mental illnesses and was the Director of an outpatient mental health clinic.  She currently sits on the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Steering Committee for Behind the Scenes, a relief organization for the entertainment community.

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