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The best information and leaders in our field convene at the National Council Conference every year. Tap into the conversation and explore real-world solutions year-round.

The National Council Team

NatCon18: Tuesday

April 24, 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 two 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.

From Columbine to Parkland: A Conversation About School Violence


  • Jon Santopietro, MD
  • Harriet Hall, PhD
  • Steven Ronik
  • Jim Adams, MDiv, TICPI

After a school shooting, no one is left untouched. Children are traumatized, families’ lives are shattered, communities mourn and all of us are left searching for answers.

National Council members shared their experiences on the front lines, as first responders helping individuals, families and the public cope with the emotional fallout. They know what life is like in the immediate aftermath of such events, what happens when recovery efforts become difficult to manage, and what the long-term impact is on their organizations, their staff and their communities after the media and the volunteers have gone home.

For Ronik, it was also personal. His daughters graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., site of the second-worst school shooting in American history. He and his colleagues shared their strategies for helping behavioral health organizations and public health agencies come together to help communities heal.

According to Harriet Hall, PhD, CEO and president of Jefferson Center for Mental Health, public information is key to helping communities that have experienced a school shooting heal.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Dr. Hall said.


Building Authentic Human Relationships: A Surgeon General’s Call to Action

Vivek Murthy


Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy spoke of human connection as a source of strength for families, communities and the nation as a whole at a fireside chat with National Council President and CEO Linda Rosenthal. “The real story of America is the story of collective action, when we recognize our interdependence and how powerful we can be when we stand together.”

Even as technology promises to connect us, we are more disconnected from one another than ever, and it’s literally making us sick. “We need buffers in our life, and relationships are those buffers,” he said. “The state of our relationships is laid bare when we have those stressors.” Building connections keeps us from being vulnerable to manipulation.

Recognizing that we’re living in a world where genuine human interaction is becoming tougher is key to combating loneliness. Drawing boundaries around work and technology to spend time with people you love is necessary to feeling fulfilled.

We all have the power to initiate change. “In a time of confusion and powerlessness, be the source of engagement and clarity,” he said. “Start locally with a problem that you are concerned about…. You’d be surprised at how welcoming people are.”


View Vulnerability in a New Way

Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW

“Stop walking through the world looking for evidence that you don’t belong – you’ll always find it,” said Brené Brown.

There is a sense that the only thing that binds us together now is shared fear and disdain, not common humanity, shared trust, respect or love. Living alone and afraid, hunkered down in our ideological bunkers, we may think we are protecting ourselves, but our isolation is damaging our physical and mental health and our longevity. Loneliness is a better predictor for early death than smoking.

Collectively, we are aching, feeling hollow. Why? We are the most sorted Americans in history. We are lonely.

True belonging is about the courage to stand alone when you have to. True belonging says you must be who are if you want to belong. Brown offered four principles of true belonging:

  1. People are hard to hate close up. Move in.
  2. Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil.
  3. Hold hands. With strangers
  4. Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.

You belong!