The Crisis Call Center Hub

In 2013, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds told CNN that he was alive for just one reason: to work for change in mental health. Just a week earlier, his son “Gus” stabbed him 10 times and then ended his own life by suicide. This happened only hours after a mental health evaluation determined that Guss needed more intensive services, but unfortunately, he had to be released from custody before the appropriate services could be found. Read more

Measure Something!

David W. Covington, Quality Management, David Lloyd, MTM Services, National Council for Behavioral Health, Behavioral Health Version 3.0, RecoveryI just returned from the National Council for Behavioral Health Board of Directors annual retreat, which was held this year in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is always invigorating to network with colleagues from across the country, receive an update on the innovations of the National Council team, and plan together on how best to advance the cause of behavioral health in the coming year. I travelled 3,008 miles from Phoenix, Arizona to participate. Read more

Is Suicide Really a Choice?

shutterstock_3191962After multiple trips down the hall, I dumped the last bucket of ice into the bathtub, then topped it off with cold water.  Just a couple hours earlier, I had completed my first marathon in New York’s Central Park, finishing fifteen minutes north of three hours. My legs cramped badly in the last half-mile, and after returning to our hotel, my friend Michael and I thought it would be a good idea to do what the professionals do to expedite recovery: take an ice bath. Read more

What’s the Best New Year’s Resolution?

Health and Wellness, David W. Covington, Integrated Care, Behavioral Health Version 3.0, RecoveryNearly half of Americans made a New Year’s resolution over the past week. I did. I pledged to return to the Six Gap Century road race in north Georgia, which means I’ll need to spend a lot more time on my road bike in 2014. In fact, many people’s resolutions revolve around health and wellness, and the top ten year over year include losing weight, getting fit, eating better, and quitting smoking. Read more

Zero Suicide in Healthcare

Zero Suicide, David W. Covington, Behavioral Health Version 3.0, Recovery“Over the decades, individual [mental health] clinicians have made heroic efforts to save lives… but systems of care have done very little.” With this quote from SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Bureau Chief Richard McKeon, we launched our two-day kick-off meeting of the new Zero Suicide in Healthcare Advisory Board last week in Baltimore, Maryland.

Nearly 20 years ago, I received a phone call that I was unprepared for. Read more

25% Peers by Tuesday

Peer Leadership, Recovery, David W. Covington, Behavioral Health Version 3.0 His reaction was definitely not one I was anticipating: he looked disgusted, ready to spit. It was 2010, and I had just been blown away at the NAMI Arizona annual conference by Phil Pangrazio’s keynote. Phil is President and CEO of the Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL). Phil, himself disabled, oversees $30 million in a wide array of programs Read more

No Recovery By Force

No Recovery by Force, Seclusion and Restraint, David W. Covington, Recovery, Behavioral Health Version 3.0There were only two of us left in the group room and the ten chairs that had been in a circle were now scattered. To my left 15-year old Kenneth* towered over me holding his chair above his head, with huge tears streaming down, his lips quivering, the angriest I had ever seen him. To my right, I could see my co-worker Mark, standing outside in the hall, peering through the small round portal in the door. He was holding his hand to his ear like a phone and his eyes were questioning. We didn’t need to talk for me to know he wanted to call 9-1-1. Read more

The Future of Crisis is Now!

A Crisis Has No Schedule, Crisis Intervention, David W. Covington, Recovery, Behavioral Health Version 3.0A crisis has no schedule. Frequently in the middle of the night, individuals and families conclude all other options and supports have failed, and handwringing in distress reach out to 911, call local hotlines or visit emergency departments. They may not be able to articulate it clearly, but they are seeking recovery and help that is safe, effective and delivered with the utmost care. Read more