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National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery | NCMHR

Mission: The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) will ensure that consumer/survivors have a major voice in the development and implementation of health care, mental health, and social policies at the state and national levels, empowering people to recover and lead a full life in the community.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these webinars do not necessarily reflect those of the National Coalition.


Recovery through Personal Care Services

Recorded 4/28/2021. Hosted by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery

Description: Personal Care Services provide an important means of implementing recovery principles. As our mental health system shifts its culture from institutional, professionally directed-services, PCAs enable individuals with behavioral health challenges to integrate into the community. PCA’s facilitate the transition from professionally directed to self-directed care. In this manner, the use of PCAs for behavioral health can further each person’s resiliency, hope and choice.

Topics to be covered:

  1. Eligibility for the Personal Care Services (PCS) program

  2. Description of PCS services and support services; relationship of PCS to natural supports with examples.

  3. Creative use of PCS: showing how PCS can meet the unique behavioral health needs of clients through provision of instrumental Activities of Daily Living (iADL), beyond the standard ADLs for persons with physical disabilities


  • R. Drake Ewbank, QHMA, PSS, PSW, PCA - a consultant with lived experience of the mental health system who has served the peer population as an advocate and volunteer and then as a credentialed clinical and peer provider since the mid 1990's.

  • Dan Fisher, PhD, MD, President of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, and a professor at U. Mass Dept. of Psychiatry.

Recording Link: https://nasmhpd.adobeconnect.com/psaa8p151z47
PowerPoint (PDF) (241 KB, 15 pages)

Revolutionizing Young Adult Peer Support: Autonomy, Advocacy, & Liberation

Recorded 1/28/2021. Hosted by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery

This presentation discussed the components of Young Adult Peer support as they currently exist, challenges with the present structure, and efforts to revolutionize the work. Topics that were discussed include understanding young adults as a social class, problems with tokenizing youth within services, and how to properly advocate with youth and young adults, all with an emphasis on youth liberation. There was also a Q&A session with the presenters. 

Using Lived Experience to Navigate Crises as a Clinician

Recorded 7/31/2020. Hosted by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery

Mental health clinicians are frequently in a position to navigate crises with individuals who are struggling with thoughts of suicide, self-harm, intense emotional distress, confusion, and/or threats of violence and abuse from others. These experiences can be frightening for everyone involved, and professionals are not immune to these fears. Most training in this area, if there is any, involves guidance on assessment and containment, which can be helpful with triage but may not always be what the individual needs most.

This webinar offers suggestions on how clinicians might be able to navigate these difficult situations with a larger toolbox, namely one that includes the perspectives of those who have been there. The presenter, Noel Hunter, is a clinical psychologist who also has personal lived experience. She will cover both research-based and her own experiences of integrating peer-informed approaches into clinical work.

Noel Hunter Web Slides (PDF, 1.8MB, 14 pages)

Peace, Love, and Justice: Healing Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Diverse Communities

Recorded 6/30/2020. Hosted by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery

Since January 1, 2015, there have been 5,403 fatal police shootings, according to a Washington Post database. Studies show that as many as 50 percent of people killed by American police had registered disabilities and that a huge percentage of those were people with mental health conditions. And African Americans are at even higher risk due to the racism in our country and in our police forces.

In this webinar, Celia Brown and Braunwynn Franklin—representing Surviving Race: The Intersection of Injustice, Disability, and Human Rights—will focus on peace, healing, and justice, and how people with disabilities can fight injustice. The webinar will feature a discussion of statistics, and highlight practical strategies to dismantle systemic racism.

PowerPoint (PDF, 20.1MB, 50 pages)


Celia BrownCelia Brown is a psychiatric survivor who was instrumental in developing and implementing the Peer Specialist civil service title for the New York State Office of Mental Health and was the first peer specialist in New York. A long-time activist in the movement for social justice, she served as the main representative to the United Nations for MindFreedom Internationa in collaborating with other disability rights organizations on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Celia is a founding member of Surviving Race: The Intersection of Injustice, Disability, and Human Rights. She engages and motivates the U.S. and global recovery communities as a leader.

Braunwynn FranklinBraunwynn Franklin is a black woman with lived experience in regard to mental health, incarceration, and gender-based violence; and she is a nationally known advocate and trainer in the peer mental health and prison reform communities. She is dedicated to making a difference in these communities by supporting people to gain a better quality of life mentally, spiritually, and physically. She sits on the boards of directors of many service agencies and is on the Planning Committee for Surviving Race.

Ways that Peers and Supervisors Use Principles of Recovery to Improve Engagement of Adults in Crisis

Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:00:00 PM EDT - 3:30:00 PM EDT

A SAMHSA sponsored webinar developed under contract by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) and presented by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR)

In this webinar, we are proposing to describe the experience of peer workers and peer supervisors providing crisis services. We will cover the range of crisis services that peers are participating in from warmlines to crisis teams.

We will then explore ways that peers are uniquely suited to engaging persons in acute distress because their lived experience enables them to empathize at a deep level and to reduce the stigma which typical clinical services often represent. The workers will share how they use their peer experience to promote recovery. They will also describe how they work with their supervisors to balance the values of recovery with the expectations of the clinical team.

Mutuality for instance is a value of peer support, whereas in crisis situations the team often needs to take charge of the consumer’s decisions. Peers also find it important to focus on their self-care as crisis work at times triggers past traumas. Unique recruitment and training needs for peers planning to work in crisis services. Participants of the webinar will learn:

  • Objective 1: The range od crisis services employing peers
  • Objective 2: Ways that peers are uniquely suited to engaging persons in acute distress in services
  • Objective 3: Ways that supervisors help peers balance their peer role with the clinical expectations of the system
  • Objective 4: Ways that peers and supervisors facilitate self-care and supports enabling peers to build resilience and avoid burnout
  • Objective 5: Unique recruitment and training needs for peers working in crisis services


  • Rosie Corliss is a Program Coordinator for Recovery Institute of Southwest Michigan, overseeing operational function of classes, groups, and activities for the community.
  • Sean Harris has been the Executive Director of Recovery Institute, a peer run organization, since 2010.
  • David Measel is the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition and is a Pennsylvania Certified Peer Specialist (CPS), CPS Supervisor, and National Certified Peer Specialist.

Recording Link: https://nasmhpd.adobeconnect.com/pitqtarz149m
PowerPoint (PDF, 633KB, 25 pages)

Restraint and Seclusion - A Survey of the Current Situation in our Nation’s Institutions

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery needs your help to develop guidelines and spread the word about what we’ve learned about seclusion and restraint practices in the United States.

Patricia GodseyIn this webinar, c/s/x activist and scholar Patricia Godsey spoke about her work to advance two NCMHR legislative priorities over the past year regarding restraint and seclusion practices in the United States. Patricia shared the findings of her recent survey, which gathered stories from individuals who have been subjected to seclusion and restraint as well as from the staff who have been tasked with carrying out these practices. The pleas and themes that emerged from the survey were highlighted, and Patricia requested assistance from the group to create a map of the steps that must be taken to substantially reduce -- and eventually eliminate -- the practice of seclusion and restraint in the United States.

Also available as a PowerPoint (2.9MB, 47 pages)

Group Reminiscence for Older Adults with Serious Mental Illness by Elder Peers

Recording Link: https://nasmhpd.adobeconnect.com/pzg5y08xv3dh (requires Adobe Connect which is a free download)

A SAMHSA sponsored webinar: Group Reminiscence for Older Adults with Serious Mental Illness by Elder Peers

Group Reminiscence for Older Adults with Serious Mental Illness by Elder Peers

A SAMHSA sponsored webinar developed under contract by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) and presented by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) will take place Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 2:00pm Eastern Time called Group Reminiscence for Older Adults with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) by Elder Peers.


  • Cynthia D. Zubritsky, Ph.D. is the Director of Policy Research for the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Rob Walker works for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Office of Recovery and Empowerment, responsible for providing a bridge from the Department to provider agencies, persons receiving services, family members and the community at large.

Recording Link: https://nasmhpd.adobeconnect.com/pitqtarz149m

Creating a Space for Diverse Voices to Be Heard and Grow Leadership

Presenters: Celia Brown, Lauren Tenney, Jen Padron, Jonathan P. Edwards, and Braunwynn Franklin

Description: Celia and Lauren speak about their work and activities with Surviving Race. Jen speaks about alternatives to calling 911 for “psychiatric/mental health reasons.” Braunwynn shares that her journey has led her “to move forward in social and system change for people who experience mental health challenges, incarceration, and gender-based violence.” Jonathan discusses “goal setting and success as coping mechanisms but blinders.” He shares: “We can hide behind achievements, or we can acknowledge the struggle that drove us beyond the labels society has created for us…”

Self-Direction through Personalized Budgeting

Webinar Recording [Requires Adobe Connect (free)]
PowerPoint Slides (PDF, 36 pages)


Self-direction is a model for organizing supports in which the participant manages an individual budget to purchase for a variety of services and goods used to facilitate their recovery journey.

This webinar starts with an introduction to Self Directed Care (SDC), including a brief history and the places that are testing it out. There will be three perspectives shared:

Bevin Croft, MPP, PhD – Research Associate at the Human Services Research Institute. The research that has been done, preliminary results here and in England. Future directions in research and funding for research.

Julie Schnepp – has participated in the Consumer Recovery Investment Fund Self Directed Care Program for the last seven years. During this time she has become a Certified Peer Specialist with additional training in working with youth and young adults, older adults, forensics, LGBTQA+ and more.

Pam Werner – Manager with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of Recovery Oriented Systems of Care.

Moderated by Daniel Fisher, Ph.D. – Co-founder and CEO of the National Empowerment Center.

Lessons Learned by Statewide Consumer-Run Organizations

Please visit www.nasmhpd.adobeconnect.com/p4ugoxgw26d to view.
Click to view PowerPoint slides (as PDF, 1.03MB, 29 pages)

Sponsored by SAMHSA and presented by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery

Participants will learn about:

  1. Establishing a strong mission statement with goals and objectives
  2. Building a strong board
  3. How to establish strong, inclusive leadership
  4. Building a strong membership, with ongoing feedback to/from the board
  5. Training the grassroots to advocate passionately and how to be aware of critical issues
  6. Fund raising strategies

Moderator: Dr. Daniel Fisher, the executive director of the National Empowerment Center and the chairman of the board of directors for the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery.

Panelists: William Parke-Sutherland, Executive Director of Grassroots Empowerment Project (GEP), Anthony Fox, Chief Executive Officer of Tennessee Mental Health Consumers' Association and Sally Zinman, Executive Director of the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO).

Peer-run Respites: Effective Alternatives to Hospitals

A SAMHSA sponsored webinar presented by National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery took place Wednesday, April 26, 2017 called “Peer-Run Respites: Effective Alternatives to Hospitals."

Description: Leaders of Peer-run Respites from around the country will provide an overview of Peer-run Respites and how they voluntarily engage people and offer a continuity of care which is often unavailable with traditional care and hospitalization. Success stories will be shared, along with reports from the latest research on Peer-run Respite effectiveness.


  • Steve Miccio – Executive Director, Projects to Empower and Organize the Psychiatrically Labeled, Inc. (PEOPLe, Inc.)
  • Bevin Croft, M.A., M.P.P., Human Services Research Institute
  • Daniel B. Fisher, MD, Ph.D. – Chief Executive Officer, National Empowerment Center, Inc.
  • Jayme Lynch – Director of First Peer Support and Wellness Center in Decatur, GA
  • Camille Dennis – Program Coordinator, SHARE! (the Self-Help and Recovery Exchange)
  • Val Neff, CPS - Certified Peer Specialist and works with NAMI Fox Valley as the House Manager at Iris Place Peer Run Respite
  • Roslind Hayes – Statewide Coordinator of the Peer Support, Wellness and Respite Centers (PSWRC)

Moderater: Oryx Cohen, MPA

Click here to hear the archive recording (You need the Adobe Connect Add-in installed. If it's not installed, you will be prompted to download it).

Save the Date! Alternatives 2021
July 8 & 10 and July 15 & 17

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery is pleased to announce the 35th annual Alternatives Conference, to be held virtually over four non-consecutive days: Thursday July 8th, Saturday July 10th, Thursday July 15th, and Saturday July 17th. We look forward to connecting nationally and internationally with old friends and colleagues, and to making new connections. We invite you to join us from wherever you are.

Alternatives 2021 will be a “working conference” where we will return to our roots of advocacy and social justice. In addition to a wide array of keynotes, workshops, and fun events, conference participants will be able to join work groups to develop action steps in key priority areas. These may include starting and running peer respites as alternatives to hospitalization, as well as developing and implementing warmlines and creating crisis response teams; examining what advocacy and support look like in a Covid-19 world; and many other relevant topics. More info...

2021 Policy Priorities

The overarching priority of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery is to advocate for a recovery-focused mental health system that prevents crisis, protects rights, and promotes social justice, wellness, economic empowerment, and social inclusion.

  • Goal 1: Advocate for the civil and human rights of persons with mental health challenges and trauma histories, especially in periods of protests over racial and social injustice, such as those that are occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Goal 2: Increase the availability and accessibility of voluntary supports to prevent crisis and promote recovery and social inclusion.
  • Goal 3: Improve conditions and opportunities for people working in peer roles.
  • Goal 4: Sponsor Alternatives Conference/NCMHR Hill Day

More ...

National Coalition of Mental Health Activists Calls for Ending Police Role in Mental Health Crises

[Press Release – June 20, 2020]

WASHINGTON (June 20, 2020)—In light of the repeated senseless killings by police officers of African Americans—many of whom are in a mental health crisis—the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) strongly supports the call by racial justice groups to “unbundle the police” and transfer a significant portion of police funding to health and human services—especially voluntary, community-based services.

“A report by the Ruderman Family Foundation indicates that up to 50 percent of individuals killed by police in the U.S. had disabilities, and a large percentage of those were people with mental health conditions,” said NCMHR founder Daniel B. Fisher, MD, PhD, who himself has lived experience of a mental health condition. “And African Americans are at higher risk than other individuals.” More ...

Organizing Guide for Psychiatric Survivors

The new Organizing Guide for Psychiatric Survivors is a handbook for those who would like to engage in advocacy for human rights in the mental health system and alternatives to traditional psychiatry. The Nut section offers information and suggestions for minimizing your risk of forced treatment or adverse medication effects, and exploring alternative ways of thinking about your mental health struggles besides a medical diagnosis. The Tree section covers several alternative support systems and healing modalities to the medical model. Finally, in the Grove section, you can learn more about how to get involved with the psychiatric survivors' and disability rights movement, and how these movements are connected with other social justice efforts. Read more... (PDF)

A Discussion Regarding the Evolution of a Social Movement, by Philip A. Kumin

For anyone privy to the dynamics of the discussion surrounding the manifest destiny of the mental patients' movement one thing is clear; those founding activists who survive are aggrieved at the loss of their native movement.  In almost any venue in which these activists air their grievances, there is an aggregate atmosphere of nostalgia and bitterness.  The perceived loss of vitality of this movement of the 1970's is mourned. Read more...

National Advocacy Organization of People with Psychiatric Histories Condemns Horrifying Treatment of Immigrant Children

WASHINGTON (6/25/18)—The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR)—a coalition of statewide and other organizations run by and for persons labeled with mental illness—strongly denounces the human rights abuses resulting from the Trump administration’s heartless “zero tolerance” immigration policies.

In response to this American tragedy, the NCMHR has issued the following statement:

“We who have psychiatric labels, many of whom have experienced trauma at the hands of the psychiatric establishment, are horrified by the forcible drugging of immigrant children in U.S. custody with powerful and toxic psychiatric medications.

“Although, on June 20, the president signed an Executive Order ending his cruel policy of tearing children from their parents’ arms at the border, we now learn of additional tortures being perpetrated,” said NCMHR board president Daniel B. Fisher, M.D., Ph.D. “Besides being caged and then subjected to placements with records of abuse, the children already in custody are being forcibly drugged with powerful psychiatric medications to quiet their understandable reactions to trauma. These practices will have catastrophic repercussions for the children, their families, and society.

“Although the Trump administration now says it has a plan to reunite the families it has torn apart, ‘the reunions won’t happen quickly,’ according to a CNN report. We appeal to our government to stop drugging these already traumatized children, and to quickly reunite them with their families, who have fled their countries to escape with their lives, which have been threatened by drug cartels, domestic violence, and other terrible dangers.”

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) is a coalition of statewide organizations (representing 26 states and the District of Columbia) run by and for persons labeled with mental illness, and other organizations that support the movement for social justice of individuals with psychiatric diagnoses. NCMHR works to ensure that individuals with lived experience of a mental health condition have a major voice in the development and implementation of health care, mental health, and social policies at the state and national levels, empowering people to recover and lead a full life in the community. Contact: Daniel B. Fisher, M.D., Ph.D, NCMHR Board President via our contact form.

Seven Reasons Why the US's New Mental Health Law Is Dangerous

By Noel HunterTruthout | Op-Ed Published 12/15/2016

This week, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act, touting the bipartisan mental health measure as "bringing to reality the possibility of new breakthroughs to some of the greatest health-care challenges of our time." However, the reality behind this legislation is not quite what it appears to be.

The 21st Century Cures Act will increase the ease with which individuals can be involuntarily hospitalized in a locked ward, increase funding for institutionalized settings, and demand that states implement forced outpatient treatment in order to receive funding. Many media reports are suggesting that it will fix a broken mental health system, incorporate patient voices into clinical processes, decrease mass violence and modernize clinical trials. But will it really? Here are seven reasons why Obama's signing of the 21st Century Cures Act is less than grounds for celebration.

  1. Sandy Hook and other tragedies will not be avoided by the measures contained in this bill.
  2. The "reform" actually sets back many advances made in the 20th century.
  3. It does not help people live in the community.
  4. No extra money is going towards helping people.
  5. Effective treatment is not the focus of this bill.
  6. This bill is not based on the advocacy of users of mental health services.
  7. Pharmaceutical greed and conflicts of interest underlie everything about this bill. 

Read full article at TruthOut.org

NCMHR is a member of the National Disability Leadership Alliance, which consists of
15 national disability groups, is opposed to the Murphy bill HR 2646


Dear Reps. Upton, Whitfield, Pallone, Burgess, Barton and Shimkus: Our alliance of 15 national disability organizations, all run by persons with disabilities remain opposed to Rep. Murphy' s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis proposed bill, HR 2646, while we support HR 4435, Comprehensive Behavioral Health Reform and Recovery Act, sponsored by Reps. Green, DeGette, Matsui, Tonko, Loebsack , and Kennedy.

NDLA is a coalition of 15 national grassroots organizations run by persons with disabilities. We value the opportunity to make meaningful choices about our lives, to live and work in the communities of our choice, to have a full voice in all of the policies that affect our lives, and to be treated with dignity and respect for our civil and human rights. Click to read the letter (PDF, 558KB, 3 pages)

National Disability Leadership Alliance as well as the following of its individual members:

Autistic Self-Advocates Network
APRIL (Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living)
Little People of America
National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
National Council of Independent Living
National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities
Not Dead Yet
United Spinal Association


Dan Fisher's keynote address, "Heartbeats of Hope" to the Asia Pacific Conference, Brisbane, Australia, October 25, 2016

The radio interview of Dan Fisher and Jenny Speed on topic of Emotional CPR, by Australia Broadcasting Corporation, Dec. 4, 2016

Psychiatrist Daniel Fisher would like to shift the paradigm of mental health services and empower people to play a strong role in their own recovery—so he’s teaching emotional CPR. Click to listen

Living With Schizophrenia

Here is a touching essay by a woman who was recovering from "schizophrenia" and was killed by police while holding a pair of scissors. These killings by police of our people must end.

In the essay, Deborah Danner described the challenges of living with mental illness, including interacting with law enforcement. Read at NY Times...

New study by HHS shows benefits of peer delivered services

Peers in a variety of settings are shown to inspire hope, facilitate empowerment and reduce frequency of hospitalization.

Click to view study by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE] (PDF, 1.24MB, 90 pages)

Recovery Now!

The Recovery Now! Campaign advances innovative strategies to improve the quality of mental health care, promoting recovery for all Americans affected by mental health conditions. Learn more and join the campaign today!


Advocates Launch Campaign to Advance Recovery-Focused Mental Health Care

As House and Senate Democrats and Republicans focus on comprehensive mental health reform, and a recent poll by the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research indicated that 71% of Americans are calling for “significant “ or “radical” changes in the way that mental illnesses and addiction are treated, leading mental health experts and advocacy groups have announced the formation of the Recovery Now! Campaign. The campaign has been created to address the crisis in our mental health service system and the personal crises faced daily by individuals and families in great distress. Click here to read the campaign launch announcement.

GAO Report on Health and Human Services Leadership Misleading, Incomplete

In 2014, Representative Tim Murphy (PA-18) engaged the GAO to enumerate the programs the Administration funds to assist persons with severe mental illness, to determine the degree to which these programs are coordinated, and to assess the evaluations done on the programs. The GAO identified over a hundred federal programs, but comes to misleading conclusions in its report. Read the GAO report and our position statement (PDF, 120KB, 1 page).

Editorial: Does the scientific evidence support the recovery model?

One of the most robust findings in schizophrenia research is that a substantial proportion of those with the illness will recover completely and many more will regain good social functioning. Click here to read the entire editorial. (PDF, 74KB, 6 pages)

For docs, more biology info means less empathy for mental health patients

New Yale study challenges the notion that biological explanations for mental illness boost compassion for the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from mental-health problems. Click here to read the findings | Effects of biological explanations for mental disorders on clinicians’ empathy by Matthew S. Lebowitz1 and Woo-kyoung Ahn (PDF, 637KB, 5 pages)

New Research Briefs

NCMHR has compiled lists of references and citations to support legislative advocacy and public education efforts.

To access research and citations on Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), also known as Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), click here (PDF, 157KB, 5 pages).

To access research and citations documenting the weak link between mental health diagnoses and violence, click here (PDF, 156KB, 5 pages).

To access research on the evidence base for peer support and recovery-oriented approaches to distress and crisis, click here (PDF, 208KB, 13 pages).

New!Involuntary Outpatient Commitment: What the Evidence Really Says

Under Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), a person with a serious mental health condition is mandated by a court to follow a specific treatment plan, usually requiring the person to take medication and sometimes directing where the person can live and what his or her daily activities must include. Proponents of IOC claim that it is effective in reducing violent behavior, incarcerations, and hospitalizations among individuals with serious mental health conditions. However, repeated studies have shown no evidence that mandating outpatient treatment through a court order is effective; to the limited extent that court-ordered outpatient treatment has shown improved outcomes, these outcomes appear to result from the intensive services that have been made available to participants in those clinical trials rather than from the existence of a court order mandating treatment.

Involuntary Outpatient Commitment: What the Evidence Really Says (PDF, 152KB, 4 pages)

NCMHR Visionary C/S/X Leadership Conference - Audio Recording Now Available!

Another lively and inspiring discussion took place this year, featuring Daniel Fisher, Susan Rogers and Wilma Townsend, and moderated by Keris Myrick. If you missed this annual NCMHR event, please click here to access the audio of the presentations.