News From National: June 22, 2018 | Mental Health America

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News From National: June 22, 2018

News From National: June 22, 2018

By: Catherine Reynolds, Communications and Marketing Associate

In this update:

2018 Annual Conference Update

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MHA’s 2018 Annual Conference is in the books. Thank you for making it a huge success!

To all who joined us last week, thank you for making our 2018 Annual Conference: Fit For the Future a huge success! Hundreds of people from across the United States, Ireland, Israel, and elsewhere came together to talk about what we can do to be fit for the future of mental health!

Please don’t forget to fill out the evaluation - your feedback will help make next year’s conference even better – plus, once you fill it out, you can have access to many of the breakouts presentations from the three days. 

For those of you who couldn’t make it here’s a few things you missed:

Abby Wambach kicked off our conference with her story of recovery and how her sobriety is the one thing she is most proud of. Eugene Robinson reminded us that when it comes to negative stereotypes surrounding mental illness, “sunshine is always the best disinfectant, we just have to talk about it.”


Abby Wambach

The Clifford W. Beers Awards Dinner started with some wise words from Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, of SAMHSA and First Lady of NYCChirlane McCray. MHA gave out its inaugural Corporate Excellence in Mental Health Award to Chevron and awarded our highest honor, the Clifford W. Beers Award to Jennifer Marshall of This is My Brave.

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Clifford W. Beers Award Winner Jennifer Marshall and MHA president and CEO Paul Gionfriddo

Autumn Calabrese spoke about her own journey with anxiety and reminded us all about how important nutrition is to our overall health.


Autumn Calabrese

The MHA Media Awards Luncheon highlighted a group of talented organizations and individuals: John U. Bacon for his collaboration with the late John Saunders and their book Playing Hurt; Greg Dicharry for his work on Suicide: The Ripple Effect; Carlos Andres Lopez of the Las Cruces Sun Times on its collaboration with and KRWG-TV; producer Joy Gorman Wettels on behalf of 13 Reasons Why; Renee Shaw of Kentucky Educational Television and Corey Hirsch on behalf of The Player’s Tribune.

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MHA president and CEO Paul Gionfriddo with the 2018 Media Award Winners

MHA had the honor of recognizing brother and sister duo, Hannah and Charlie Lucas, co-creators of the notOK App with the youth-focused mPower AwardMarie Williams, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS), for her commitment to social work with the George Goodman and Ruth P. Brudney Social Work Award; and MHA of Franklin County and MHA of Middle Tennessee with MHA’s Innovation in Programming Award.

Our 2018 conference closed out with a fantastic conversation with Cynthia Germanotta and Colleen Werner of The Born This Way Foundation, MHA’s own Kelly Davis and president and CEO, Paul Gionfriddo. You can watch that conversation here!

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MHA president and CEO Paul Gionfriddo, Cynthia Germanotta, Colleen Werner and Kelly Davis

This doesn’t even cover all the incredible sessions by our marvelous breakout speakers. We talked about everything from geocaching and wellness to telepsychiatry, about policies and practices that will keep our next generation fit for the future, and dynamic conversations about issues facing our LGBTQ and youth populations.

We want to thank all our sponsors, attendees, and everyone in between for making our 2018 Annual Conference one for the books!

Save the Date!

We can’t wait to see you next year, June 13-15, 2019 in Washington, DC for our 2019 Annual Conference! Our working title for 2019 is Dueling Diagnoses: Mental Health and Chronic Conditions in Children and Adults. You don’t want to miss it!

What's Up with Congress?

In part due to long-term advocacy efforts of MHA and MHA Affiliates, the House of Representatives successfully passed H.R. 6082, the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act. This bill that would conform 42 CFR Part 2 to the Health Information Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA) so that providers may, with consent from a patient, share substance use disorder and other co-occurring behavioral health information with other providers.

This major victory is now at the will of the Senate. We are hopeful that a final opioid response law will ensure people with behavioral health conditions get the best care because their health records are fully integrated.

After all, as Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of MHA says, “you can’t treat a whole person with half a record. “

What We're Reading

MHA's Blog Chiming In

In the Face of Yet Another Tragic Loss, We Must Act
The Gut – Wrenching Problems of Mental Health
Job Searching with a Mental Health Condition

Clips from Around the Country

CNN: The risk of “contagion” after suicides is real (MHA president and CEO, Paul Gionfriddo quoted)
KUT: Family Separation Can Do Long-Term Damage To Children’s Mental Health, Experts Say (MHA president and CEO, Paul Gionfriddo quoted)
Psychology Today: Eradicating Mental Health Stigma in the Military and Beyond
bp: 20 Things You Can Do to Support a Loved One Who Has a Mental Illness 
EsperanzaSelf Care and the Art of Saying “No”

Where In The World is Paul Gionfriddo?

Where is PG

Paul will be traveling to Copenhagen next week to keynote the #1 Voice Summit, a worldwide patient summit sponsored by Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals. He will also be facilitating a workshop at the two-day event, and doing three video interviews on the summit, on discrimination in mental health and to promote World Mental Health Day.

Did You Know?

After wrapping up the 2018 Annual Conference, the Chair of the Board of Directors at MHA passes the reins onto his successor. We'd like to thank Reggie Williams for his service as Board Chair for the past two years. We couldn't have asked for a better #mentalhealth advocate and leader for our organization. Now, the torch passes on to Tom Starling, Executive Director of MHA of Middle Tennessee, our affiliate in Nashville. Best of luck in your new role, Tom!

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New MHA National Board Chair Tom Starling, MHA president and CEO Paul Gionfriddo, past board chair Richard Van Horn and immediate past chair Reggie Williams at MHA's 2018 Annual Conference

In addition, MHA is proud to welcome three new members to its Board of Directors!

Fatima M. Mncube-Barnes, Ed.D, MPH, MSIS, is the executive director of the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library at Howard University. Dr. Mncube-Barnes is responsible for the management and administration of the library and all other Health Sciences Library services, with a special focus on academic programs and related requirements of the health sciences. Prior to the appointment of her current position, Dr. Mncube-Barnes served as the associate vice president, Instructional Technologies, at Meharry Medical College in Nashville as well as assistant professor in graduate and research studies, library director and bioinformatician.

Laura Bay is the immediate past president of National PTA, a nonprofit association dedicated to making a difference for the education, health, safety and well-being of every child. In her role as the president of National PTA, she focused on whole child initiatives and expanding the PTA’s platform to deliver more relevant programs to local schools. Ms. Bay serves as a coordinator for assessment and instruction for the Bremerton School District in Bremerton, Washington.

Susan Fordice is the executive director of the Hackett Center for Mental Health, a permanent operating program of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. She previously served as the president and CEO of our affiliate, MHA of Greater Houston. Under her direction, the affiliate established a regional center for school behavioral health; a state-recognized veterans’ behavioral health program that serves Texas’ first felony veterans’ treatment court; and a state-level community of practice for medical schools focused on integrated health care.

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Former MHA National Board Chair Reggie Williams and new board members, Fatima M. Mncube-Barnes and Laura Bay at MHA's 2018 Annual Conference

Minority Mental Health Month is right around the corner!

Each July, MHA recognizes Minority Mental Health Month and this year, we are focusing on highlighting and validating the voices and experiences of individuals from across diverse communities through our #MyStoryMyWay campaign.

We want to listen and learn from you as you help to shed light on the way that diverse, marginalized, and minority communities perceive, narrate, communicate, and address mental health and mental illness.

MHA will also be releasing Spanish translations of the fact sheets from our May is Mental Health Month toolkit.

Stay tuned and join us and our partners throughout July for #MinorityMentalHealth Month.  

Help Us Make Mental Health Month even better!

Did you download the 2018 May is Mental Health Month toolkit? You could save big in the MHA online store. Your feedback is very important to us, take the survey here and get 15% off in our online store which is stocked with cool new swag like water bottles, mugs, shirts and more!

Hear from Pulitzer Prize finalist, Pete Earley and PsychU!

In 2006, Pete Earley spent 10 months in the Miami-Dade County Jail observing and speaking with inmates with mental illness. This experience, along with his personal experience with his son’s own struggles with mental illness, led him to pen his Pulitzer Prize finalist book, Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness. 

During this interview, Mr. Earley sat down with PsychU to discuss his experiences with the mental health system in the U.S., and the respect and dignity health care professionals need to afford to their patients with serious mental illness. Speaker was a paid consultant to Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc.

Affiliate News

Calling all Policy Enthusiasts!

If you love deep dives into policy, lots of advocacy strategies, hobnobbing with industry partners, and having a wonderful time with MHA colleagues, you don't want to miss out on the upcoming Regional Policy Meetings. Rooms are going fast (and there's a $500 stipend waiting for you) for either Los Angeles on August 1st or New Orleans on August 8th. Click on the links to view the agenda and to register. And it's not too late to nominate a legislative mental health champion from your state.  To do so (or with any questions) contact Caren Howard:

MHA Welcomes the Mental Health Association in Wayne County

The MHA Board approved the affiliation of the Mental Health Association in Wayne County (MHAWC) in Goldsboro, NC at its June meeting. MHAWC has been providing mental health resources to its community since its inception in 1962. MHAWC is well-known in its community, provides online screenings, professional development workshops and informational sessions. MHAWC president Emily Peacock believes that MHAWC’s best opportunity for growth and greater impact from a policy perspective is to be affiliated with MHA National. MHA is pleased to welcome MHAWC to its affiliate network.

Mental Health America of Greater Houston Selects New President and CEO

Mental Health America of Greater Houston (MHAGH) is pleased to announce that its board of directors has selected Renae J. Vania-Tomczak as the organization’s next president and chief executive officer. Tomczak, who most recently served as the president and CEO of Mental Health America of Lake County (MHALC) in Indiana—an organization focused on prevention and early intervention efforts of families with children ages 0-5—will succeed Susan Fordice, the company’s previous leader, on July 16. 

“After thorough succession planning and a comprehensive search process, the board is pleased to have found the best individual to assume leadership of this first-class team and organization,” said Dr. Stephen Linder, board chairman of MHA of Greater Houston. “Renae has a track record of strong leadership and exceptional performance in turnaround and high-paced organizations. This combined with her deep industry knowledge makes her uniquely qualified to lead MHA successfully into the future.”

“I’m honored, and I’m grateful to the board for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization of creative, dedicated and talented professionals,” said Vania-Tomczak. “MHA of Greater Houston produces innovative, relevant and insightful programming that improves the wellbeing of people every day, and our service impacts the area and far beyond where we live. This is a terrific opportunity that any leader would welcome.” To read more, click here.

Mental Health Association in Indian River County Seeks New Executive Director

Dr. Robert BrugnoliI is retiring as the executive director of the Mental Health Association of Indian River County at the end of the year. “It has been a pleasure leading this agency for the past five and one-half years, but it is time for me to slow down,” said Dr. BrugnoliI.                                          

MHA Board Chair, Karen Mersky, Ph.D., says Dr. Brugnoli has left an incredible legacy in the local mental health community. “Dr. Bob has worked tirelessly to identify and meet both the emerging and unmet needs of our community. He has done so with an eye for fiscal responsibility and has worked passionately to develop clear policies and procedures to ensure the MHA’s ongoing success.  He has also continually sought opportunities to deliver the MHA’S message that It’s OK To Get Help.”

MHAIRC is seeking a dynamic, experienced executive director to manage all aspects of MHAIRC. The start date for the position is January 1, 2019. The executive director will report directly to the Board of Directors and will be responsible for overseeing the operation, financial performance, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. The preferred candidate should have a master’s degree in behavioral health or business administration and 10 years of progressively responsible experience in behavioral health administration. Salary range is $85 - $105K. For the full job description and to learn more about this opportunity, send an email to Dr. Brugnoli will remain at MHAIRC during the transition process. He plans to continue to support the needs of those facing mental health challenges following his retirement.

Mental Health America of Franklin County’s Occumetrics Program

Are you looking for a ready-made line of business that brings you an expandable revenue stream? Mental Health America of Franklin County – one of this year’s winners of the Innovation in Programming Award –would like to offer you just such a social enterprise opportunity.

Occumetrics is a powerful, science-based diagnostic tool for assessing organizational health and making recommendations to improve the work environment for employees. Occumetrics is able to help employers in any type of business—nonprofit or for-profit—increase employee retention, job satisfaction, morale, and productivity.

The affiliate has already parlayed Occumetrics into a perennial funding stream from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to help Ohio’s certified behavioral health providers stop a hemorrhage of workforce talent. Soon MHAFC will have completed 27 Occumetrics assessments with over 5,000 behavioral health employees, and they are beginning to branch out on a fee-for-service basis to other industries.

If you missed the breakout session at last week’s MHA conference, please contact MHAFC for more information if you’re interested. The affiliate will help you understand the Occumetrics assessment process and how you can partner with them to use this cutting-edge assessment process in your service area. You’ll do about 60% of the overall work and keep 60% of the revenue. The assessment involves a survey, focus groups, and data analysis in order to create a Wellbeing Profile with practical recommendations for moving the needle.

The potential is great, depending on your initiative and drive to develop healthy workplaces for a healthy workforce. Please visit Occumetrics online, contact Maggie Hallett at or 614-221-1441 for further information.

500 Montgomery Street, Suite 820
 Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone (703) 684.7722

Toll Free (800) 969.6642

Fax (703) 684.5968

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