National Council for Behavioral Health

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The Milbank Memorial Fund report, Health Worker Shortages and Global Justice, points to a shortage of about four million health workers needed to deliver essential health services. The World Health Organization asserts that health workforce shortages have replaced system financing as “the most serious obstacle” to realizing the right to health within countries. Behavioral health is not alone in the workforce challenges we have long grappled with.

Long-committed to ensuring a robust, qualified workforce that meets the needs of those we serve, the National Council for Behavioral Health recognizes that healthcare leadership and workforce development are critical now more than ever. With an impending influx of patients on account of healthcare reform and parity, we must be prepared to better leverage our human resources and build staff competencies and skills. The National Council offers a vast array of leadership and workforce development initiatives to help behavioral health organizations develop their human capital.

We can adapt any of our current major leadership and workforce development initiatives to your needs or develop a custom suite of programs and trainings to address your unique challenges. Contact Jody Levison-Johnson at the National Council to ask how we can customize a program for you.


Executive Leadership Program
The National Council for Behavioral Health’s Executive Leadership Program nurtures executives with policy acumen who will excel in a dynamic healthcare environment and build a strong workforce that embraces change. The inaugural 10-month program for 29 selected CEOs, COOs, CFOs, Medical Directors, and other C-suite executives was launched in December 2012. The program offers coaching, training, performance improvement, and networking opportunities to strengthen each participant as a leader, community problem solver, and futurist. An expert team of policy and practice improvement principals forecasts how the healthcare payment and delivery system landscape will change and give participants best practices and tools to navigate this changing landscape.

Middle Management Academy
The National Council for Behavioral Health’s Middle Management Academy helps managers at all levels enhance their ability to lead in increasingly complex environments characterized by tighter budgets, policy changes, and evolving clinical and business practices. The live, 3.5 day program offers focused, hands-on training for clinicians and social workers who step into managerial and supervisory roles without any formal training in  business management. The Middle Management Academy offers interactive learning opportunities on the full spectrum of critical management skills — ­role of the middle manager, moving from clinician to manager, how to run meetings, team building, recognizing and analyzing financial trends, staff skills and strengths development, conflict management, performance improvement, data-driven decision making, and more.

Addressing Health Disparities
Eliminating disparities in health requires leadership, vision, teamwork and an understanding of the issues from like-minded leaders. The need is critical in the light of the rapid growth in racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., projected to account for 90 percent of the increase in national population by 2050. The Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program is designed to mentor culturally diverse mid-level managers into executive positions, nurturing leaders who can represent and serve our nation’s diverse communities. Participants join a year-long peer-to-peer learning community with live and virtual options for group and individual coaching from expert consultants. The program includes a rich array of education, mentoring, career guidance, and networking opportunities.

Moving Case Management to Care Management
As healthcare reform advances and as more states move to health home models, the evolving healthcare marketplace will rely on case managers’ existing knowledge and skills in new ways. The National Council for Behavioral Health’s Moving Case Management to Care Management in-person, 1-day training helps case managers step into the role of care managers prepared to meet the demands of the new healthcare marketplace. Training topics include the role of case managers in helping clients navigate the healthcare system; the physical health needs of people with behavioral health challenges; and skills to support health behavior change. Care managers are able to develop strategies to build strong partnerships with primary care providers, help prepare patients for primary care appointments, increase patient self-management, and  apply basic chronic care principles to managing heart disease and diabetes.

Whole Health Action Management
The National Council for Behavioral Health offers 2-day in-person trainings in WHAM — Whole Health Action Management — built on a science-based curriculum from the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions. The training prepares persons with mental illness and addiction disorders, employed in behavioral health organizations, to facilitate WHAM groups that help their peers reach whole health, wellness, and resiliency goals through effective self-management. WHAM teaches participants to set and achieve whole health goals through weekly action plans and 8-week support groups. The training also teaches basic health screens for prevention and encourages shared decision making with health professionals. Participating peer leaders are taught to identify strengths and supports in 10 science-based whole health and resiliency factors; write a whole health goal based on person-centered planning; and lead WHAM peer support groups to create new health behaviors.

Community Health Worker Training
For more than 60 years, community health workers have demonstrated promise in improving health behaviors and outcomes, particularly for racial and ethnic minority communities and others who have traditionally lacked access to adequate healthcare. Community health worker interventions enlist and train community members to work as bridges between their ethnic, cultural, or geographic communities and healthcare providers. The National Council for Behavioral Health’s 2-day in-person Community Health Worker training is designed to expand the skills of existing community health workers in providing services to people with behavioral and physical health challenges. The training includes introduction to mental and substance use disorders; introduction to counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing; referrals and supports for mental health services; and mental health promotion, including stigma reduction and recovery.

Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid USA is a public education program designed to give ordinary people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. A live training uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to recognize and respond to the warning signs of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders. Clinical and non-clinical staff from behavioral health organizations, as well as peer leaders, can train to become instructors in Mental Health First Aid. The current instructor corps includes case managers, counselors, marketing and business development staff, and community relations experts. Instructors are certified to teach the Mental Health First Aid program and also champion the program’s growth and development in their communities. The youth version of Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults — family members, caregivers, school staff, health and human services workers, etc. — who work with young people 12-25, and is also appropriate for older adolescents. The National Council for Behavioral Health is now offering Mental Health First Aid instructor trainings across the country in the adult and youth versions.

Integrated Health Curriculum in Schools of Social Work
The nationwide effort to integrate primary and behavioral healthcare services provides an ideal opportunity to expand social work training opportunities. Under a grant awarded by the New York Community Trust, the National Council for Behavioral Health is developing a comprehensive approach — classroom education, online courses, and field placement/internship experiences — to improve the core competencies of graduate social work students to work in an integrated, post-healthcare reform environment. The National Council is partnering with schools of social work to implement the Integrated Health Social Work Curriculum featuring a masters-level clinical practice course in integrated care as well as an integrated health policy course developed by the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions.

University of Southern California Partnership for Web-based MSW
The National Council for Behavioral Health has partnered with the University of Southern California School of Social Work, ranked among the country’s top schools of social work and the first prestigious research university to offer an accredited Master of Social Work degree on the web nationwide. Scholarships are offered to staff from National Council member organizations who enroll in the MSW program featuring classes held live in virtual classrooms and USC selected hands-on field internships in students’ own communities so they can gain real-world experience. Healthcare provider organizations are also invited to join the MSW@USC national network of field placement agencies to leverage internship opportunities and develop the workforce of the future.

Continuing Education: Online Courses and Learning Management System
The push for accountable care and outcomes reporting in the healthcare reform era intensifies the need for continuously updated staff training schedules in behavioral health organizations. Today, many organizations are reaping the benefits of moving more toward online training, from cost, productivity, and staff satisfaction standpoints. Through its exclusive elearning partner, Relias (home of Essential Learning and Silverchair Systems), the National Council offers a Learning Management System. An organizational subscription to the LMS gives all staff access to a library of 800+ online courses on clinical, recovery, and compliance topics offering multiple national and state Continuing Education credits. The self-paced, online courses offer the flexibility that staff need to pursue continuing education.  The LMS allows an organization to easily deliver, assign, track, and report on mandatory employee training for OSHA, HIPAA, Joint Commission, COA, CARF, URAC, NCQA, EAGLE, and other licensing and accreditation requirements.

Serving Our Veterans Behavioral Health Certificate
Civilian practitioners are on the frontlines of our veterans’ battlefield back home as more returning veterans and their families are seeking mental health and addiction treatment services outside the VA — in their own communities. The National Council for Behavioral Health has partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense Center for Deployment Psychology and Relias (home of Essential Learning)  to offer the “Serving Our Veterans Behavioral Health Certificate.” The evidence-informed curriculum offers 14 self-directed, self-paced, online courses for 20+ hours of CE credit. The course content provides the latest clinical guidelines from the Department of Defense, applicable knowledge and skills through real-life examples, and understanding of cultural sensitivities to ensure clinical competency. The certificate program is ideal for clinicians, case managers, and peer support specialists in general healthcare, mental health, and addictions treatment settings that serve veterans and their family members in the community.