Making a Difference in a Syndemic: Key Sessions at the Mental Health Services Conference

The nation is simultaneously facing unprecedented challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, effects of climate change, and the reckoning with our country’s legacy of systemic racism and inequality. This syndemic has created disruptions in care delivery, anxiety, and even feelings of hopelessness about the future. How can we engage with these issues without becoming frozen?

I am excited to be moderating two sessions at the Mental Health Services Conference that will empower clinicians to help take on these challenges.

The first session will cover how climate change leads to adverse mental health consequences both for our patients and the larger population. We’ll talk about how you can help address these problems in your roles as clinicians, through the APA, and via political engagement.

In a second session, we will hear from three leaders from the peer specialist movement. During the pandemic, peer specialists were vital in expanding access to mental health care and supporting resilience among our patients. At the same time, it’s clear that the peer workforce is not a monolith, but represents a group as varied and diverse as the broader US population. Many peer specialists have needed to navigate roles both as peer providers and as members of underrepresented groups. In this session, you’ll learn how to better support peers in your organizations, and to help them to effectively engage with diverse patient populations.

While these problems can at times feel overwhelming, each of us can find ways in which we can make a difference. At these sessions, we will help you to begin to become part of the solution. I look forward to seeing you there!

Benjamin Druss, M.D.

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2021 Meeting Theme

Learn more about this year's theme, Sociopolitical Determinants: Practice, Policy and Implementation

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