2021 Mental Health Summit

Advancing Equitable Mental Health Outcomes for Racially/Ethnically Diverse Populations

Friday, September 24, 2021 • 9:00am – 1:00pm

Virtual Event

Welcome and Opening Monica Fuller Johnson
Invocation Rev. Dr. Sheldon Shipman
Opening Remarks Sonyia Richardson, PhD, MSW, LCSW
State of Mental Equity in North Carolina Victor Armstrong, MSW
Breakout Sessions
Keynote Address Rheeda Walker, PhD
Panel Discussion: Bridges and Barriers

Moderated by: Revella Nesbit, MEd LCMHCS

Diana Duncan
Brittany Glover
Hon. Carla D. Cunningham
Eric M. Deshaies, MD, FAANS, FACS
Yazmin Garcia Rico

Audience Q & A
2021 Champion For Mental Health Honorees Suzanne Jones, BSW
Call To Action Rev. Dr. Karen Owens
Closing Remarks Joan Been
Adjourn Monica Fuller Johnson


The breakout sessions will center on perspectives and strategies towards equitable outcomes in various sectors:

Hospital Systems

  • Innovative models in the healthcare system to improve suicide prevention
  • Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach in the healthcare system to improve youth suicide prevention
  • Examining the hospital’s role in preventing youth suicide

Presenter: Breanna Ussery, MSW, Discharge Planner at Atrium Health – Cabarrus Psychiatric Hospital

Colleges and Universities

  • Suicide prevention for college students/recognizing risk factors of mental health issues among college students
  • Developing a comprehensive approach to mental health promotion and suicide prevention for colleges and universities
  • Engaging students to provide input on matters of student mental health and emotional well- being

Presenter: LaTonya Summers PhD, LPCS, LCAS, MAC, NCC, Asst. Professor of clinical mental health counseling at Jacksonville University

Community-Based Organizations and Practitioners 

  • Practitioner and community engagement/involving community members in mental health initiatives
  • Promoting Mental Health Equity through partnerships with community-based organizations and practitioners communities
  • Sustaining programs & services for practitioners of color

Presenter: Trasha Black, PhD, Co-owner and Clinical Director of Genesis Project 1, Inc.

Clients and Families

  • Engaging clients and families to provide input on matters of mental health and emotional well- being
  • Suicide prevention/recognizing risk factors of mental health issues among clients and families
  • Support programs and services that address the unique needs of clients and families  (adults, youth, children)

Presenter: Arlana Sims, PhD, CEO, Sims Consulting & Clinical Services Inc., and an adjunct faculty member at North Carolina A&T State University

Faith-Based Communities

  • Faith-based interventions to address mental health issues among racially/ethnically diverse populations
  • Engaging faith leaders/faith-based communities to promote suicide prevention
  • Enhancing mental health care services through partnerships with churches/houses of worship to supports clients/consumers and families in their communities

Presenter: Rev. Melissa Heyward, Associate Minister, Membership Counseling and Clergy Support Minister, Oak Grove Baptist Church


For attendees age 16-21 years old, a presentation and discussion centering around hope, mental and emotional wellbeing of teens and young adults. 

  • Perspective on what issues are facing youth concerning their mental and emotional wellbeing
  • What works and what does not work for helping them
  • What makes them hopeful
  • How they are addressing their mental and emotional health 

Presenter: Rev. John Burton Jr., Youth & Children’s Minister at First Baptist Church- West and Clinical Pastoral Education at Atrium Psychiatric & Behavioral Health