2021 Mental Health Summit

Advancing Equitable Mental Health Outcomes for Racially/Ethnically Diverse Populations

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

Virtual Event




9:00 AM Welcome and Opening Monica Fuller Johnson
9:05 AM Invocation Rev. Dr. Sheldon Shipman
9:09 AM Opening Remarks Sonyia Richardson, PhD, MSW, LCSW
9:16 AM State of Mental Equity in North Carolina Victor Armstrong, MSW
9:25 AM Breakout Sessions- Perspectives/Ideas for Mental Equity

Breanna Ussery, MSW
LaTonya Summers, PhD, LPCS, LCAS, MAC, NCC
Trasha Black, PhD
Arlana Sims, PhD
Rev. Melissa Heyward

10:30 AM Keynote Address Rheeda Walker, PhD
11:00 AM BREAK
11:10 AM Bridges and Barriers to Achieving Equitable Outcomes in Mental Health

Moderated by Revella Nesbit, MED, LCMHCS

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

11:40 AM

12:20 PM

Audience Q & A 

2021 Champion for Mental Health Honorees

Revella Nesbit, MEd, LCMHCS

Monica Fuller Johnson

12:43 PM Call to Action Rev. Dr. Karen Owens
12:53 PM Closing Remarks Joan Been
12:58 PM 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 an Atrium Health 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 

  • Developing a comprehensive approach to mental health promotion and suicide prevention in diverse communities by working with practitioners involved in the delivery of mental health services and community based organizations
  • Practitioner and community engagement/involving community members in mental health initiatives
  • Barriers that may prevent community members seeking help and participating in engagement effort to improve mental health
  • Promoting Mental Health Equity through partnerships with community-based organizations and practitioners communities
  • Sustaining programs & services for practitioners of color
  • Practitioners guide for addressing the mental health needs of racially/ethnically diverse populations (adults, youth, children)

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

Clients and Families

  • Developing a comprehensive approach to mental health promotion for clients and families
  • Engaging clients and families to provide input on matters of mental health and emotional well- being
  • Incorporating the perspectives of mental health clients and their families into care planning and delivery
  • Suicide prevention/recognizing risk factors of mental health issues among clients and families
  • Removal of barriers to clients and families seeking help and support
  • Support programs and services that addresses the unique needs of clients and families  (adults, youth, children)

Presenter: Arlana Sims, Ph.D. 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
  • Supporting churches/houses of worship to welcome and integrate mental health consumers into their faith community and to support social inclusion, decrease stigma and discrimination and provide a safe place for people

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