The Mental Health Crisis in America: Recognizing Problems, Working Toward Solutions
Conference Director: Eric M. Plakun, MD
Annual Fall Conference Celebrates the Austen Riggs Center's 100th Anniversary (1919-2019)
Decades of research on the brain and biology have dramatically increased our understanding of the complexity of mental disorders, but have not “moved the needle” in delivering better outcomes. Despite the focus on and funding for biomedical research, evidence is mounting that both nurture and nature play crucial roles in the causation and treatment of mental disorders.
At the same time, funding and insurance coverage for treatment is often limited to crisis stabilization rather than recovery’s goal, which is living a self-directed life. Access to care is limited by the large numbers of uninsured or underinsured individuals, assaults on the Affordable Care Act, incomplete implementation of the federal mental health parity law 10 years after its passage, and the many faces of stigma.
“Our mental health system is broken, and the statistics are sobering: suicide rates have increased 30%, homeless individuals struggling with mental disorders are part of the urban streetscape, the opioid crisis is exploding, and emergency room boarding of patients who need psychiatric care is a growing problem,” states Medical Director/CEO and Conference Director Eric M. Plakun, MD. “We are convening this conference on behalf of Americans who are dealing with profound mental health issues, and to tackle critical concerns, both clinical issues and those related to access to care, which is often improperly limited to symptom relief or crisis stabilization rather than the treatment of important underlying problems.”
Dr. Plakun Give an Overview of the Fall Conference
Confirmed presenters, speakers, and panel participants include national and international experts in the fields of mental health care, treatment, research, advocacy, and the law(as of January 2019):
- Meiram Bendat, JD, Founder and President at Psych-Appeal, Psychotherapist, and Attorney
- Anita Everett, MD, DFAPA, Director of the Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Peter Fonagy, PhD, OBE, FMedSci, FAcSS, FBA, Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College London (UCL) and Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (London)
- Tom Insel, MD, Co-founder and President of Mindstrong Health and former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
- Harold Kudler, MD, Psychoanalyst, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, and former Chief Consultant for Mental Health Services at the US Veterans Health Administration (VA)
- Saul Levin, MD, MPA, FRCP-E, Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and Clinical Professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
- Nancy McWilliams, PhD, ABPP, Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, Author, and Visiting Professor at Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology
- David Mintz, MD, Director of Psychiatric Training and Associate Director of Training at the Austen Riggs Center and American Psychiatric Association (APA) Psychotherapy Caucus Leader
- Margaret Parish, PhD, Director of Patient Care at the Austen Riggs Center and former President of the Board of the Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems, Boston’s A. K. Rice affiliate
- Eric M. Plakun, MD, DLFAPA, FACPsych, Medical Director/CEO at the Austen Riggs Center and American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees member representing New England and Eastern Canada
- Caroline E. Reynolds, Esq., Partner at Zuckerman Spaeder, LLC, and Plaintiff Counsel for Wit v. United Behavioral Health
- Jane G. Tillman, PhD, Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research at the Austen Riggs Center and Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center
Training and research are core elements of the Austen Riggs Center and are offered through its Erikson Institute for Education and Research. This Austen Riggs Award for Excellence in Psychotherapy recognizes and supports the development of psychiatric residents who have demonstrated interest and ability in psychodynamic psychotherapy and/or psychodynamic psychiatry or have shown promise as researchers in biopsychosocial approaches to psychiatric practice, including psychotherapy. Nominations are due by June 15, 2019, and applications are due by July 15, 2019. Nominate a resident now.
Check back soon for a detailed conference schedule and registration information.
Limited media passes for the conference are available upon request through the Riggs communications office.