The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges and aggravated existing obstacles to mental health care and well-being. Individuals, families, and communities nationwide are grappling with financial insecurity, increased difficulty accessing mental health and substance use care, and an elevated level of overall stress and anxiety. This pandemic also threatens to widen existing disparities in access, treatment, and recovery for mental illness and substance use disorders. All of this culminates into a possible "second wave" of rising mental anguish, addiction, and social dislocation.

The May 6th webinar will discuss the unique challenges for mental health in the wake of COVID-19. Attendees will learn about current advocacy efforts to improve the mental health system, what specialized resources in response to the pandemic have been released to date, and what else may be needed.


Wendy Ellis, PhD

Project Director, Building Community Resilience

Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness

Washington, DC

Wendy Ellis is the Director of the Building Community Resilience Collaborative and Networks at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. The Building Community Resilience (BCR) collaborative and networks are testing and implementing a process based on Ms. Ellis’ research in designing a strategic approach for…

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Jill Harkavy-Friedman, PhD

Vice President of Research

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

A pioneer in suicide research, she was the first researcher to ask high school students about suicidal ideation and behavior. Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman leads the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s growing research grant program. She works with over 190 scientific advisors to evaluate progress in the field and chart the…

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Benjamin Miller, PsyD

Chief Strategy Officer

Well Being Trust

Oakland, CA

A self-proclaimed “fragmentation fighter,” Ben has worked to redefine the national policy landscape for mental health and health care. He comes to Well Being Trust from the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where he was the founding director of the Eugene S. Farley,…

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John M. Auerbach, MBA

President and CEO

Trust for America’s Health

Washington, DC

John Auerbach is the President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), as of January 1, 2017. Previously, he was the Associate Director for Policy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He oversaw the Office of the Associate Director for Policy which focuses on the promotion of public health…

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Presentation Slides