A Tale of Two Conferences

2015-05-05_14-07-38“It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…” So begins Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” and in the case of behavioral health conferences, the cities were Orlando for the electrifying National Council and Atlanta for the soulful American Association of Suicidology. The former hosts community behavioral health leaders and the latter hosts suicide researchers, policy makers, family members, crisis centers, and people with lived experience. Read more

RISE Awards!

2015-04-29_14-26-27Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care hosted the first annual RISE Awards at the Parsons Center for Health and Wellness in Phoenix, Arizona this morning to celebrate Resilience, Innovation, Service and Empowerment in the transformation of the behavioral healthcare system.

There was a time not too long ago that many professionals in behavioral health kept their work in the closet, or hung their heads low. Read more

Igniting Hope with Recovery Education

2015-03-05_5-42-40Nelson Mandela believed the catalyst for a better future was learning. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Equipped with the right tools, the disenfranchised and disabled become engaged and empowered. Hope is ignited.

In behavioral health, recovery education opens an individual’s eyes to recognize potential beyond the despair of a limited life; giving courage and creating possibilities. Read more

Improving Performance with the Balanced Scorecard (and the King)

2015-02-03_17-02-18It’s been said that frameworks are a dime a dozen… but you have to have one. Prior to 1990, many businesses focused their measurement on finance alone, which tended to discourage continuous improvement and innovation. These companies lacked a systemic model.

In 1992, the Harvard Business School devised the four quadrant Balanced Scorecard, “a fast but comprehensive view.” Instead of isolating a single issue to the potential detriment of other important factors, the Balanced Scorecard sought to integrate four key perspectives: Read more

Avoid Crisis Not Top Ten… Join #NatCon15

In the last few years, nearly a dozen US states have determined it was time to end the “Not Top Ten.” This decision is leading to an investment of hundreds of millions with a new level of expectation for psychiatric crisis services; crisis stabilization facilities, crisis respite, mobile crisis and high-tech crisis call centers.

What is the “Not Top Ten?” On Super Bowl Sunday, it’s easy to think about the plays that made SportsCenter for the wrong reasons. Read more

Spreading a Different Courage

CourageThink back to this time last year. A little story was lurking somewhere behind Kim Kardashian breaking the internet. We simply weren’t paying it much attention.

In fact, the “little story” was only the largest Ebola epidemic in human history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. More than 25,000 individuals were diagnosed with the disease, and more than 10,000 succumbed to the scourge, including many healthcare workers. Read more

America Shrugs: A Glimpse into the Future of Suicide

shutterstock_54460900 (1)In order to catch a glimpse of the future of suicide prevention, perhaps it would be helpful to visit the past, a time when our nation was first complacent, then went to war.

So many deaths of people in the prime of life… and yet “America simply shrugs.” This was last week’s hard-hitting USA Today article on suicide, but it sounds a lot like something that could have been written about cancer…back in 1943. Read more

Everything We Knew About Suicide… Is Wrong

David W. Covington, Everything we knew about suicide was wrong, Recovery, Behavioral Health Version 3.0In “How to Train Your Dragon,” the citizens of Berk had observed, measured, categorized and chronicled dragons for decades. They thought they knew most everything there was to know about these violent beasts. But when Hiccup, a small, anything-but-Norse-like-warrior boy comes into contact with one of the most feared and misunderstood dragons, his eyes are opened wide. Putting aside his preconceived notion of dragons, he develops a loving friendship with “Toothless,” admitting, “Everything we know about you guys…is wrong.” Read more

Can Clinical Match the Power of Peer Supports?

David W. Covington, Clinical Versus Peer Supports, Recovery, Behavioral Health Version 3.0Generally, people ask the opposite question looking to researchers to examine the outcomes of peer supports and comparing them with established clinical best practices. Consider, though, the school shooting that was averted due to the actions of a peer. How would we clinicians have done in her shoes? Read more

Robin Williams & #Standupfor Cancer

David W. Covington, Recovery, Robin Williams, Stand Up For Cancer, Behavioral Health Version 3.0
Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com

As national leaders in suicide prevention, we can say with all urgency that our field can learn a lot from the fight against cancer.

A bittersweet irony of Robin Williams’ death by suicide was the support he gave to the fight against cancer, which, like suicide, takes millions of lives. He was a strong backer of St. Jude’s Research Center and Stand Up to Cancer, and he visited patients and brought joy into lives that would be cut short as unfairly as his was.

We once whispered about cancer, but the movement to Read more