AHCJ’s first-ever Summit on Mental Health begins Monday

From devastating death tolls, strict stay-at-home orders, virtual learning, and a constant state of uncertainty, it’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the state of mental health on a global scale.

Anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and substance abuse rates have surged to alarming levels, with Black and Hispanic communities disproportionately impacted by this crisis in the United States, according to the CDC. To address these growing concerns, AHCJ decided for the first time ever, to dedicate its fall summit entirely to mental health.

“When brainstorming about a theme for this workshop, we realized we have never had a program dedicated specifically to mental health,” said AHCJ Executive Director Andrew Smiley. “During the pandemic, mental health has continued to rise to the forefront as an issue of paramount importance for journalists. We are excited about the panels and sessions assembled for the summit and are confident that our members will generate fantastic story ideas from participating in these sessions.”

AHCJ’s Summit on Mental Health, to be held from Nov. 8-11, 2021, will bring together some of the brightest, most accomplished researchers, educators and visionaries across the country. Experts from major health care providers, public health entities, research institutions and nonprofits will discuss a wide range of mental health topics from the impact of social isolation on the aging community and the impact of the pandemic on teen substance abuse to the complicated topic of vaccine hesitancy and how to report on suicide. AHCJ core topic leaders and faculty as well as a few other seasoned health care journalists will moderate the panel discussions.

The three spotlight speakers are:

  • Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Boston University’s School of Medicine, founder, and medical director at the Trauma Center in Brookline, Mass, and director of the National Complex Trauma Treatment Network, will offer insight on collective trauma. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Body Keeps the Score.”
  • Rep. Katie Porter, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, 45th District; a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee; and vice chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, who will talk about the Mental Health Justice Act.
  • Vikram PatelPh.D., M.B. B.S., Pershing Square Professor of Global Health at Harvard Medical School, who will offer a “big picture” perspective on global mental health and a grassroots solution to the problem of mental health care access.

In addition to attending engaging and interactive panel discussions, participants will have the unique opportunity to network virtually with colleagues and speakers between sessions in breakout rooms with the panelists.

The Summit on Mental Health is hosted by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Sponsors include The Commonwealth Fund and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

There’s still time to register. Visit the Summit on Mental Health registration page.

All sessions will be recorded and made available to registrants on the same day. Stay tuned on our social media channels and our homepage for summit coverage and other important updates.

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