Day Three At Mental Health America’s 2022 Annual Conference, Forward Together: Recovery, Healing, Hope


Mon, 06/13/2022 – 22:24

Allison Schmitt, 10-time world champion swimming medalist, sat down with MHA’s EVP of Communications, Jillian Hughes, to discuss living with depression and her decision to speak out publicly about it after her cousin April died by suicide. “I was scared to say anything,” Schmitt recalled, “I remember the first time I spoke to media about it. I wasn’t able to finish…it made me feel bare. I didn’t have that blanket over me to protect myself, but it was also a weight off.”

She said she continues to speak about it now because, “if there’s someone new in the room I can relate to and help, that is my mission.”

Swimming, she said, helped her through it: “I can proudly say sports saved my life. And I credit that for why I’m here.”

But she also feels that there needs to be a lot more support available: “It feels like America has a hole. And a movement to talk about it is beginning to change it, but we need a lot more resources.”

Congressman Jamie Raskin, U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, Kana Enomoto, Director of Brain Health for McKinsey Health Institute, Utah State Rep. Steve Eliason, John Draper, EVP at Vibrant Emotional Health spoke about strategic leadership during crisis times. “The innovations that are most important are going to be along prevention lines,” Draper said. “My wish for you is to be looking in your home and your community, and take care of yourselves and others. Crisis care starts at home,” he added. 

“Connecting people’s brains and hearts is critical to passing good legislation,” said Eliason, “Find where you can make a difference and go out and make your mark.”

Natasha De Veauuse Brown of the GSU School of Public Health and Lorenzo Lewis of The Confess Project co-led a breakout session on training Black barbers to be mental health advocates for their clients and communities. “We are turning barbershops into the new reimagined health centers of America,” said Lewis. “This is the place where Black men can feel comfortable, supported, not judged,” Brown added.

Debbie Plotnick, MHA’s EVP of State and Federal Advocacy, and Elliot Pinsly of the Behavioral Health Foundation co-led a breakout session on deflection versus diversion in community care. “A deflection program is only as good as the options available for care,” said Pinsly, “…at the end of the day it’s got to be available right there when they need it.”


The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: