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The National Council Team

NatCon18: Welcome

April 20, 2018 | NatCon | Comments
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Welcome to NatCon18.

Whether you’re here in person or following the conference at home or from work, we’re glad you’re here.

During the next four days, BH365 will feature a special blog that highlights special sessions or events. We’ll be adding new information all day, so keep visiting us, either through this blog or NatCon Today.

NatCon Today is the next best thing to being at NatCon18 with the latest photos, videos and Tweets. Check us out.

The Opioid Epidemic Roundtable – Its Impact on Communities and What Mental Health First Aid Can Do to Help

Session: The Opioid Epidemic Roundtable – Its Impact on Communities and What Mental Health First Aid Can Do to Help.


  • Joseph Coffey, National Trainer
  • Bryan Gibb, Director of Public Education, Mental Health First Aid, National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Nina Henry, Addiction Specialist, Jewish Center for Action

At today’s Instructor Summit, a new supplement was announced to the Mental Health First Aid curriculum that is geared specifically toward confronting our nation’s opioid epidemic.

The new Opioid Response Supplement teaches Adult Mental Health First Aiders how to recognize and respond to risk factors, signs and symptoms of an overdose, as well as how to administer the opioid overdose antidote, Naloxone.

Capt. Joe Coffey of the Warwick Police Department in Rhode Island explained the devastation the opioid epidemic has caused – and that he sees firsthand. Warwick Police Department officers have already taken the initiative to begin carrying Naloxone, which has been highly effective.

“This is a public health emergency and Mental Health First Aid can be a really big part of the solution,” said Captain Joe Coffey.


The Importance of Cultural Awareness

Session: The Importance of Cultural Awareness

Speaker: Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, Diversity and Leadership Consultant

To kick off the last week of Minority Health Month, during her keynote for the Mental Health First Aid Summit, Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever asked, “How do we best meet the mental health needs of diverse populations?”

Her answer? Cultural competence is key.

Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever praised the work of the Mental Health First Aid Instructors in the room and poignantly expressed not only the value of being culturally aware, competent and inclusive, but also how to be culturally aware, competent and inclusive. Mental Health First Aid, she said, is making a difference.

Take the time and effort to learn about diverse communities. Acknowledge the reality of implicit bias. Remember to take time for yourself. It doesn’t end there – those are only a few of the many tidbits of inspiration Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever touched on.



Welcome to Washington, D.C., and NatCon18!

Linda Rosenberg

President and CEO

National Council for Behavioral Health


By any measure, 2017 was a difficult year. We fought hard to preserve Medicaid and make the case for long overdue investments in treatments and services for mental illnesses and addictions. We continue to fight the good fight in 2018 because lives are at stake.

I don’t need to recount for you the statistics on opioid overdose deaths or declining life expectancy.

All the while, behavioral health organizations continue to be the MacGyver’s of health care — doing more with less, patching things together with a grant here or a demonstration project there.

Yet, I remain optimistic about the future of our profession and our country. Why? Because I know that we take the long view and we intend to be heard!

We understand the science of addiction, and we’re not afraid to have uncomfortable conversations. Dr. Sally Satel will tell us why calling addiction a disease might make it more difficult to treat. Dr. Omar Manejwala will remind us that alcohol is the forgotten killer. Public radio host Glynn Washington will encourage us not to make “snap judgments.”

We are steeped in health care policy. Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal will tell us how health care became big business and how to take it back.

We have embraced high tech without losing sight of the need for high touch. Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will show us how to combat the loneliness epidemic that threatens our physical and emotional health.

We’ve begun to acknowledge the “community crisis” — the lack of well-funded, science-based community treatments for mental illnesses and addictions. Our Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) Track will teach you everything you need to know about this innovative solution.

We fight for our beliefs, even when that makes us feel vulnerable. Sociologist Brené Brown will challenge us to view vulnerability not as a weakness, but as our most accurate measure of courage.

Our courage will be on full display as we take to the Hill April 25, letting our elected representatives know that we will not be silent until all Americans have access to affordable, quality treatment and recovery services for mental illnesses and addictions.

While you’re here, be entertained and enlightened by Anna Deavere Smith, Modern Warrior and thought-provoking films like “The Glass Castle.” Applaud your peers at the Academy Awards of Behavioral Health, our annual Celebration of Excellence Awards. Treat yourself to a massage and pet a pup.

We’ve thought of everything!


I look forward to seeing you.