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National Council for Behavioral Health Offers Integrated Response to Public Health Crises

 January 3, 2018

Joy Burwell
(202) 748-8789

With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, public health officials will address the opioid epidemic and the need for integrated health and behavioral health care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A total of 40 public health officials representing 22 states are participating in the third cohort of an eight-month Behavioral Health Training program offered by the National Council for Behavioral Health. The program is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support.

“With an opioid epidemic that shows no signs of abating and significant unmet need for mental health treatment, communities around the country have adopted an all-hands-on-deck approach to deal with these public health crises,” said Tom Hill, National Council vice president for addiction and recovery. “The Behavioral Health Training program brings public health and behavioral health officials together to enhance the capacity of comprehensive, integrated programs and services to serve some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.”

The program addresses the pressing needs of participants and their communities, including the opioid crisis, integrated care and trauma-informed practices. Participants have access to tailored in-person training, webinars and other resources. They also attend a two-day training at NatCon18, the annual National Council Conference, April 23–25, 2018, in Washington, DC, where they will be trained in Mental Health First Aid.

A member of the second cohort of trainees, Jackie Lindner, of Clermont County Public Health in Batavia, Ohio said, “This was the first time I have ever taken Mental Health First Aid, and it just so happened that two days back in the office, I had the opportunity to put those new-found skills to use. Having just completed that training made me feel more confident in my approach to this unusual circumstance.”

“Strategic partnerships are crucial to leveraging resources and building capacity across the public health system,” said José Montero, MD, director for CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support. “Public health officials participating in this program will learn about tools and resources they need to help them address the mental and behavioral health issues, such as the opioid epidemic, that affect many individuals and families within their jurisdictions.” Nearly all – 96 percent – of previous participants have rated the program very helpful or helpful, and 72 percent have initiated or established new partnerships, conversations and collaborations with behavioral health partners as a result.

“The experience was a professional game changer for my work to integrate behavioral health into public health in my community,” said Debbie Swanson of the Grand Forks, N.D., Public Health Department. “I realized that much of what we have accomplished and are currently working on would not have been possible if not for this program.” Swanson participated in the first cohort and served as a mentor for the second cohort.

The selected participants for 2017–2018 are:

  • Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health – Bismarck, N.D.
  • Blackfeet Tribal Health – Browning, Mont.
  • Chicago Department of Public Health – Chicago, Ill.
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma – McAlester, Okla.
  • Coffey County Health Department – Burlington, Kan.
  • County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency – Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • Dickey County Health District – Ellendale, N.D.
  • Dona Ana County Health and Human Services Department – Las Cruces, N.M.
  • Fremont County Department of Public Health & Environment – Canon City, Colo.
  • Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board – Rapid City, S.D.
  • Health and Human Services, City of Worcester – Worcester, Mass.
  • Jackson County Health Department – Murphysboro, Ill.
  • Jefferson County Department of Health – Birmingham, Ala.
  • Knox County Health Department – Galesburg, Ill.
  • Las Animas Huerfano Counties District Health Department – Trinidad, Colo.
  • Lewis County Public Health & Social Services – Chehalis, Wash.
  • Livingston County Department of Health – Mt. Morris, N.Y.
  • Mercer County Health Department – Aledo, Ill.
  • Minnesota Department of Health – Saint Paul, Minn.
  • Mohave County Department of Public Health – Kingman, Ariz.
  • Ontario County Public Health – Canandaigua, N.Y.
  • Orleans and Genesee County Health Department – Albion, N.Y.
  • Otsego County Department of Health – Cooperstown, N.Y.
  • Pembina County Public Health – Cavalier, N.D.
  • Richland Public Health – Mansfield, Ohio
  • Riley County Health Department – Manhattan, Kan.
  • San Juan Public Health – Blanding, Utah
  • Sedgwick County Division of Health – Wichita, Kan.
  • Louis County Department of Public Health – St. Louis, Mo.
  • Mary’s County Health Department – Leonardtown, Md.
  • State of Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health – Carson City, Nev.
  • Tazewell County Health Department – Tremont, Ill.
  • The Chickasaw Nation – Ada, Okla.
  • Town of Enfield – Enfield, Conn.
  • Warren County Health District – Lebanon, Ohio
  • Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department – Port Washington, Wis.
  • Wauwatosa Health Department – Wauwatosa, Wis.
  • Wells County District Health Unit – Fessenden, N.D.
  • Whatcom County Health Department – Bellingham, Wash.
  • Woodford County Health Department – Eureka, Ill.



The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 2,900 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 1 million Americans have been trained. For more information, please visit

©2018 National Council for Behavioral Health. All Rights Reserved.