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Tuesday, March 02, 2021
2:15 pm ET / 11:15 am PT

COVID-19's Impact on Mental Health and How Communities Can Move Forward

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound, negative impact on the mental health of people in communities across the nation. In 2020, over 2.5 million people took a mental health screen at – more than double the number of screens completed in 2019. Many adolescents are dealing with regular thoughts of suicide or self-harm, symptoms of anxiety and depression are on the rise among all age groups, and a number of people are seeking help for the first time. Almost overnight, mental health providers and organizations had to change the way they provide services and remain flexible as the pandemic wears on.

In this 60-minute webinar, hosted by Mental Health America in partnership with CDC Foundation, presenters will discuss trends in mental health screening data from 2020 and the role community-based organizations can play in responding to mental health needs at the local level during a crisis.

This webinar will be recorded and available to the public within 1 week. We do not offer CEUs, but certificates of attendance are available upon request after the event.

Meet the Speakers:

Dr. Judith Monroe, MD, President and CEO of the CDC Foundation, will introduce the topic.

Maddy Reinert joined Mental Health America (MHA) in 2018 and serves as Senior Director of Population Health. In her role at MHA, Maddy manages the online mental health screening program, which has served nearly 8 million individuals who have come to take a mental health screen and are seeking additional support. She is responsible for the collection, cleaning, analyzing, interpretation and reporting of qualitative and quantitative data for MHA’s population health efforts, including MHA’s rapid analysis and dissemination of data for COVID-19 response. Maddy has a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Law, Policy and Ethics, and has a particular interest in applying data-driven public health approaches to the prevention of mental health conditions.

Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia is a program area director in the Public Health Department at NORC at the University of Chicago. Dr. Burke-Garcia is a seasoned health communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience in health communication program planning, implementation, and evaluation, with specific expertise in developing and evaluating digital health communications campaigns and intervention studies. Currently, Dr. Burke-Garcia is leading How Right Now, a communication initiative aimed at increasing people’s ability to cope and be resilient amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In this role, she oversees a portfolio of work that includes rapid formative research to inform the development of a set of new messages and materials tailored to the needs of four priority audiences: people ages 65+ and their caregivers, people living with pre-existing mental and physical health conditions, people experiencing violence, and people experiencing economic distress. Over the course of her career, Dr. Burke-Garcia has spearheaded some of the most innovative communication programs and studies on a variety of health topics. Examples include investigating perspectives and motivations of non-vaccinating online influencers, designing a targeted social media intervention with mommy bloggers to help social media users lower their risk for breast cancer, and leveraging MeetUp groups and the Waze mobile application to move people to action around flu vaccination and HIV testing, respectively. Her book, Influencing Health: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Online Influencers, was released in August 2019 by Routledge Press. She is active in the Society for Health Communication where she holds two co-chair positions on innovation in research and digital media. She is also a member of the American College of Preventative Medicine’s social media committee, the editorial board of Social Marketing Quarterly, the board of ShiftCon, a health and wellness online influencer network, and the scientific committee for BigSurv20, the leading conference on big data and survey science. She has been named to’s list of 10 Modern Female Innovators Shaking Up Health Care and was recently named as Diverse Health Hub’s Woman of the Week. She holds a PhD in Communication from George Mason University, a master’s degree in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University, and a joint honors bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies and Humanistic Studies from McGill University.

Robert N. Davison, CEO of the North Jersey-based Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, Inc. (MHAEM), is an accomplished professional who has been serving the mental health needs of communities throughout New Jersey for more than 35 years.

In his role as MHAEM’s CEO, Mr. Davison manages the overall operations of a comprehensive community mental health facility that each day serves the needs of more than 1800 individuals and their families who are confronted with mental illnesses or emotional disturbances. A staunch advocate for humane, compassionate, and ethical treatment of individuals who suffer from mental illness, Mr. Davison has helped to establish the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris as one of the state’s premiere service providers, with services in Essex, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex Counties.

In addition to his professional service, Davison maintains his interest in community issues in a variety of other ways. He was a founding board member of the Newark-based Partnership for Children of Essex County Inc., a child-welfare agency, and a founding member and past president of Advance Housing Inc., a community-based organization whose mission is to provide independent, normalized living arrangements for individuals with mental illnesses. A former three-term councilman in Caldwell, he also served as a legislative aide to Assemblyman John F. McKeon. He is also a former member of the board of directors of The Bridge, Inc., a non-profit family service agency based in West Caldwell.

In November 2004, Mr. Davison’s commitment to public service was recognized when he was called upon to serve as Chairman of New Jersey Governor Richard J. Codey’s Task Force on Mental Health. Over a period of fourteen months, the task force addressed key issues such as housing, community-based services, insurance parity, and conditions in state and county psychiatric hospitals. Their work and the Task Force’s Final Report provided a blueprint for overhauling and comprehensively reforming New Jersey’s mental health system

In 2006, Mr. Davison served on Governor Jon Corzine’s Transition Team for Human Services and on Governor Corzine’s Policy Advisory Council on Human Services Restructuring. In 2007, Mr. Davison was appointed to the Governor’s Campus Security Task Force. Mr. Davison served on the New Jersey Attorney General’s Less-lethal Advisory Committee. In November 2008, Mr. Davison was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Police Suicide. In 2009, Mr. Davison was elected to the Board of Directors of Active Minds, Inc. a national organization focusing on college and university mental health, located in Washington, DC. In 2014 he was appointed by the Chief Justice of the New Jersey State Supreme Court to the Judiciary’s Mental Health Implementation Committee. Mr. Davison was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Council for Behavioral Health, beginning his term on July 1, 2015, and re-elected for a new term starting on July 1, 2018. He was appointed to the Judiciary Mental Health Review Committee by the Chief Justice in 2020.

A 1984 graduate of Seton Hall University, Davison received his master’s degree in Counseling from Montclair State University in 1990.  In addition to his academic credentials, Davison is a Licensed Professional Counselor (L.P.C.).