Honoring the 50-year Legacy and Celebrating The Future of Advancing Integrated Health and Wellbeing

On November 17, 2017, The NARBHA Institute marked its 50th anniversary of service in northern Arizona. Our journey began in 1967 as the Northern Arizona Comprehensive Guidance Center. Built as a coalition of behavioral health providers serving poor and vulnerable populations, we progressed to become the state-contracted regional behavioral authority serving for three decades.

As Arizona’s goal of integration emerged we partnered with health choice Arizona, formed a joint venture; Health Choice Integrated Care, and became the new integrated entity in 2015. This evolution demonstrates our devotion to our heritage and commitment to advancing wellbeing in northern Arizona.

To honor and celebrate this milestone, we hosted the Mental Health and Wellbeing Symposium: The Future of Integrated Health in Northern Arizona at the High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff with 300 attendees from across the state. Highlights of the event include:

My Journey: Making Mental Health Essential Health

Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy

Congressman Patrick Kennedy discussed why mental health is critical to the overall health and wellbeing of all Americans, why the healthcare system needs to adapt to better accommodate mental healthcare, the underlying public policy imperatives of parity, and why we need to invest in innovation.

Why People Die by Suicide

Professor Thomas Joiner

In his new theory of suicidal behavior, Professor Thomas Joiner proposes three factors that mark those most at risk of death: the feeling of being a burden on loved ones; the sense of isolation; and, perhaps chillingly, the learned ability to hurt oneself.

The Future of the Public Behavioral Health System in Arizona

AHCCCS Director Thomas Betlach

Director Betlach provided a current overview of the National and local landscape with regards to Medicaid and detailed several of the AHCCCS delivery system initiatives that the agency is pursuing to improve the delivery of behavioral health services for a variety of complex groups served through AHCCCS.

Responding Together to the Opioid Crisis in Arizona

Dr. Sara Salek & Shana Malone

Dr. Salek and Ms. Malone highlighted emerging best practices related to prevention and intervention efforts to address the opioid misuse crisis in Arizona. Collaborative solutions - linked to data-driven outcomes and state-wide initiatives.

Leadership and Justice Reform: A Policy-Maker’s Perspective on the Intersection of the Justice System, Behavioral Health, & Community

Coconino County Supervisor Elizabeth Archuleta

Supervisor Archuleta discussed the impact of innovative programs, collaborative solutions and regional approaches in the criminal justice system in Coconino County.

Veterans’ Health: Be Connected

Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Director Wanda Wright & Thomas Winkel, MA, LPC, NCC

The Be Connected program is a statewide program focused on reducing deaths by suicide in Arizona's military and Veteran population by connecting service members, veterans and their families to support and resources. Be Connected expands on this success to bring this support to all service members, veterans and family members throughout Arizona.

Coming of Age: Hope and Healing replacing Depression and Doubt

Dr. Jon Perez

Increasing concerns about young people, depression, and suicide potential, are real and valid, but so are ever more effective means and methods to treat and heal. Dr. Perez discussed the issues we are facing, what works, and what holds promise for understanding, taking action, and healing, for young people, parents, community, and professionals.

Bullying and the LGBTQI Community: What can you do?

Katherine Meyer, LCSW

Building a safe environment for LGBTQI youth is vital as we work to address the disparate rates of suicide experienced within this community. Ms. Meyer discussed valuable tools for addressing bullying and creating safe spaces for our LGBTQI youth.

Drugs, Bugs, Screens and Greens- The Past and Future of Psychiatry

Dr. Teresa Bertsch

In the last 25 years, the practice of psychiatry, especially in a rural environment, has changed dramatically. More people than ever are taking psychotropic medications, but are we happier? Dr. Bertsch explored the evolution/revolution of behavioral health care and consider exciting new developments that might hold the keys to well-being.

Advancing Behavioral Health in the Indian Health System

Dr. Rose Weahkee

Dr. Rose Weahkee discussed current behavioral health initiatives in the Indian health system to promote Native American health to the highest level, the importance of traditional and cultural practices in Western medicine, and focus on what’s working in Tribal nations and Urban Indian communities to advance behavioral health.

Northern Arizona Population Health

Dr. Mark Carroll

Health and wellbeing are affected by a diverse and dynamic range of influences. Dr. Carroll discussed principles for a collaborative framework to approach holistic, community-engaged solution development and evaluation.