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 three 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.
An American Sickness: How Health Care Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back
Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD
We all need health care at one point or another, and most of us have experienced sticker shock, received a bill we didn’t expect or wondered whether we really needed that test or procedure. American health care has become big business, said Elisabeth Rosenthal – physician turned investigative journalist.
And it’s not even a typical business – prices will rise to whatever the market will bear. $772 for a vitamin D test. $8,000 for a colonoscopy. $30,000 for a vaginal delivery – the biggest price tag for giving birth in the world.
When the health care system no longer has our wellbeing at heart, it’s time to take it back by being an informed consumer to demanding far-reaching reform.
Don’t miss Dr. Rosenthal’s book signing today (Monday) 5:15-5:45 p.m. in the Bookstore (Potomac A Lobby, Ballroom Level).
Doing Time in Education: The School-to-Prison Pipeline
Anna Deavere Smith
The room was so crowded that people lined the floor as Anna Deavere Smith, of West Wing and Nurse Jackie fame, used her seemingly limitless talent as a writer and actor to “become” people caught in the school-to-prison pipeline.
She seamlessly transitioned between characters. She was a mother doing her best to keep her children safe. She was an emotional support teacher overwhelmed by the trauma her students experienced. She was an administrator who said most young people get in trouble because of what comes out of their mouth.
Capturing every nuance with the tools of her profession – facial expression, gesture, posture, vocal cadence – she told their stories in their words, shining a light on what she calls “a lost generation of American youth.”
Smith’s stellar performance is proof positive that storytelling is an integral part of both breaking stigma and bettering behavioral health services in our world!
Don’t miss Anna Deavere Smith’s Fireside Chat immediately following her powerful presentation at 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. (Annapolis, Ballroom Level) or her book signing 3:45 – 4:15 p.m. in the Bookstore (Potomac A Lobby, Ballroom Level).
And They Call It Puppy Love …
Stop by Booth #1024 between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday to get some puppy lovin’. Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is going to be on hand with some of their most precious pooches to meet and mingle with. Can you resist these adorable doggies? Of course not! Don’t even try.
Join us meet our friends at Lucky Dog. National Council has donated to volunteer-powered nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals from certain euthanasia and finding them loving forever homes. We’re also a Labrador Sponsor of their Casino Night at Clarendon Ballroom (Arlington, Va.) on October 13, 2018.
Lucky Dog also reaches out to the community to help pet parents be the best they can be starting with the basics of pet parenting – spay/neutering, obedience training and good nutrition.
We All Have a Story to Tell
Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council, kicked off NatCon18 with a personal story. “I ignored the chest pains and shortness of breath,” said Rosenberg. “I didn’t have time to be sick. I had important work to do, trips to take, grandchildren to play with.”
Eventually, she had triple bypass surgery, and she mused about how different her treatment was than that of a person with a mental illness or substance use disorder. Someone who might not be able to access accurate diagnoses, standard treatments and recovery supports.
It’s part of a broader story about lack of community investment in comprehensive services for people with mental illnesses and addictions. But there’s also a hopeful story – about the role that Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) are playing in expanding access to evidence-based care and about other innovative ways to structure comprehensive care for mental illnesses and addictions.
Life with a Beat
“The mental disease took so much from my brother… but it can’t take his story. Every time I talk about him, he rips a little bit back from the darkness,” said Glynn Washington.
Master storyteller Glynn Washington, creator of NPR’s “Snap Judgment,” talked about searching for his brother – a once successful bond trader who became homeless and psychotic in Las Vegas. Washington believes stories allow him to seize control of my own narrative. He encouraged the audience to tell their own stories and to help the people they serve tell theirs.
“Stories rob our loved ones with mental illnesses of the ability to tell their stories and stop us from telling them because of stigma. But we’re going to steal those stories back!”