Check back here for updates on our activities. We will publish our bimonthly bulletins here.


The National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging Webinar Series featured a webinar on:

NCMHA Webinar Series – Climate Change and the Impact on Older Adults Mental Health: A Primer for Providers and Advocates

Co-sponsors: National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging and the National Council on Aging.

Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2021;

Time: 3:00-4:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Synopsis: Climate change is the biggest threat to human health. Not only is physical health impacted but there are significant mental health consequences. Older adults are especially vulnerable. This presentation will cover the most important mental health impacts of climate change in the general population, with an emphasis on the elderly.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the mental health aspects of acute and slow moving disasters associated with climate disruption.
  2. Describe the impacts of extreme heat on mood, behavior and cognition.
  3. Identify the emotional and psychological responses associated with “eco-distress”.
  4. Understand age-specific factors contributing to mental health impacts of climate change in older adults.


Robin Cooper, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco
Andreea Seritan, MD, Geriatric Psychiatrist and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco

To view this webinar, click here. Please note that you must first log-in to NCOA Connect to view the webinar.

Link to Syllabus provided by Andreea Seritan.


Date: October 13, 2021

Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults

Learning Objectives:

  • You will learn the purpose of Mental Health First Aid and what it covers
  • You will learn the purpose of Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults and what it covers
  • You will learn about the effectiveness of Mental Health First Aid as an evidence-based program
  • You will learn who should take these courses
  • You will learn about the ALGEE action plan (Assess for risk of suicide or harm, Listen non-judgmentally, Give reassurance, Encourage appropriate professional help, and Encourage self-help and other support strategies
  • You will learn how to find a course or contact an instructor in your area
  • You will learn the steps to become a certified instructor and the associated costs
  • You will learn about how the program is administered and supported


Anne Chapman, MPH, Director, Strategic Partnership, Mental Health First Aid, National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Karen Orsi, Director, Oklahoma Coalition on Mental Health and Aging, and Member of the NCMHA Executive Committee

Download Powerpoint Presentation.


July 28, 2021

NCMHA and NCOA co-sponsored a webinar entitled:

Understanding Social Isolation and Its Impact on Older Adults and Those Living with Disabilities”.

Description: Strong social connections are central to our physical and mental well-being. But when vulnerable older adults experience setbacks or life transitions, they may become disconnected and isolated.

Through research, we know that the negative health consequences of social isolation include impaired mental performance, a compromised immune system, and a heightened risk of chronic disease, as well as depression. The health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

This webinar presentation and discussion is designed to help practitioners across sectors – as well as individuals and caregivers – better understand the similarities and important differences between loneliness and social isolation and the impact on health and well-being of older adults.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand risk factors for isolation at both the community and individual levels
  • Better understand the costs of social isolation and recommendations from the consensus study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
  • Learn practical tips on what you can do to help yourself, your loved ones, or other older adults in your community
  • Learn about AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect platform and resources
  • Better understand new innovations and solutions that are having measurable impact on increasing social connections – particularly among low income older adults
  • Learn about the Commit to Connect initiative and how to become involved in the nationwide network of champions addressing social isolation

Presenter: Emily Allen, Senior Vice President, Programs, AARP Foundation

The presentation slides and webinar recording can be accessed here.

The Coalition thanks NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging for hosting the webinar and making the recording and slides available.


May 6, 2021

4th Annual Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day Symposium

The 4th Annual Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day Symposium will be held May 6, 2021.

To view the agenda and register for the OAMHAD Symposium go to: https://connect.ncoa.org/oamhad

Click here to download Facts and Resources on Mental Health, Substance Use and Older Adults

February 17, 2021

Title: Covid-19, Aging and Mental Health: An Evolving Picture

Presenter: Ipsit V. Vahia, M.D. Medical Director, Institute for Technology in Psychiatry Medical Director, Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Programs, McLean Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

NCMHA thanks NCOA for hosting and recording this webinar.

The webinar recording and slides can be accessed here.

January 13, 2021

Oklahoma: One Coalition’s Journey to Re-frame the Older Adult Behavioral Health Message

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the messaging that may enhance coalition building
  2. Examples of action steps/ activities to recruit potential partners and a diverse membership

Presenter: Karen Orsi, Director, Oklahoma Mental Health and Aging Coalition

To access the PowerPoint slides and recording of this webinar, click on this link:


December 16, 2020

Pathways to Homelessness among Older Adults with Mental Illness

Learning Objectives:

This webinar addressed how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected adults 50 years of age and older who are experiencing homelessness and have multiple chronic conditions including behavioral health conditions including early on-set dementia.  This webinar presented interventions and best practices that are most effective in responding to the behavioral health needs of older adults experiencing homelessness, such as, trauma-informed care.

Presenter Laura Worth, ESG/Homeless Program Coordinator, State of North Carolina

To access the presentation slides and webinar recording click here.

November 18, 2020

PTSD and Aging: Perspectives from the Veterans Health Administration

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will be able to identify at least 3 symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD);

  • Participants will be able to describe late life considerations for assessing and treating PTSD;

  • Participants will be able to identify at least 3 National Center for PTSD resources and educational products.


Elissa McCarthy, PhD PTSD Consultation Program Consultant, National Center for PTSD;

Sadie Larsen, PhD PTSD Consultation Program Consultant, National Center for PTSD Associate Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin; and

Michele J. Karel, PhD, ABPP National Mental Health Director, Geriatric Mental Health Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

To access the PowerPoint slides and recording of this webinar, click on this link:


October 14, 2020

Older Adult Peer Support in a Time of COVID-19

Peer support is an effective recovery intervention for older adults with mental health conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of telephonic and digital technologies to deliver mental health services. This webinar will present efforts to bring research to practice in the use of telehealth to provide peer support for older adults.


Cynthia Zubritsky, Director of Policy Research, Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
Robert Walker, External Consumer Engagement Liaison, Program Manager, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Office of Recovery and Empowerment


September 23, 2020

Social Determinants of Mental Health for Older Adults: A New Perspective

This webinar identifies socio-economic conditions (with an emphasis on discrimination and racism) that have an impact on the mental health of older adults, and actions that can be taken to address these conditions.

Presenter: Joel Miller, Executive Director, American Mental Health Counselors Association, and Chair of the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging

To access the PowerPoint slides and recording of this webinar, click on this link:


November 13 (12:00 PM EST) – Family Caregivers and Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

The Invisible Health Care Provider: Family Caregivers of Individuals with Dementia

Presenter: Stephanie Hughes, M.P.P.

Ms. Hughes performs research in the Aging, Disability and Long-Term Care Program at RTI and the National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center (NADRC).

This session will provide information on technical assistance being provided to organizations in the planning of their dementia-related services and supports, the types of programs that are available, and the approaches that have been successful. This session also will spotlight how comprehensive management of the patient with dementia includes building partnerships between health professionals and family caregivers and psychosocial interventions where indicated.

October 10 (2:00 PM EDT) – World Mental Health Day

Home & Community-Based Mental Health Services: Meeting the Needs of Older Adults

Moderator: Mike O’Donnell

Presenters: Sheila Greuel, Bryce Goff and Sharon Smith

Mr. O’Donnell is a Member of the Executive Board of the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging.

Ms. Greuel is Director of Covenant Transitions is an Instructor and Coordinator for the Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS) in Illinois.

Mr. Bryce Goff is the WRAP Program Coordinator at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Ms. Sharon Smith is the Administrator at the Harvard Senior Center.

Ms. Greuel will present an overview of PEARLS and Healthy IDEAS; describe efforts to train professionals in Illinois to deliver these programs

Bryce Goff will provide an overview of WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan); describe their efforts to partner with the Chicago Housing Authority and other program partners in Illinois to engage older adults in WRAP.

Sharon Smith will share their experience providing evidence-based behavioral health programs for older adults in McHenry County (IL), and partnerships they have established to support their programs.

September 18 (12:00 PM EDT) – Suicide and Healthy Aging Month

Strategies for Reducing Suicide in Older Adults

Presenter: Michael F. Hogan, Ph.D.

Dr. Hogan is Professor of Psychiatry (Clinical) in the School of Medicine at School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, and an Executive Committee Member with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.  He is the author of the Suicide Care in Systems Framework.

This session could identify the many different strategies and multi-layered prevention initiatives that combine universal, selective, and indicated prevention strategies that provide the greatest benefit in reducing suicide in older adults.

August 21 (12:00 PM EDT) – Senior Citizen’s Day

Prevention and Health Promotion for Late-Life Mental Health Disorders

Presenter: Amanda Leggett, Ph.D.

Dr. Leggett is a Research Assistant Professor in the Program for Positive Aging and Geriatric Psychiatry Section of the Psychiatry Department, at the University of Michigan.

This webinar will focus on encouraging findings from existing preventive interventions in pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and psycho-social efforts. The session will address depressive and anxiety disorders, and interrelated areas of health, such as sleeping patterns, and provide future directions of research and practice in geriatric mental health prevention.

July 23, 2019 (2:00 PM EDT) – National Minority Mental Health Month

Integrating Culturally Relevant Mental Health Services in Primary Care Medicine for Older Adults

Presenter: Patricia Areán, Ph.D.

Dr Arean is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center, and a licensed clinical psychologist.

The webinar will focus on integrated care models that have successfully served older adults of color and from different cultural groups. In particular, Dr. Areán will discuss assessment and treatment best practices, how to integrate family effectively in shared decision making and how to overcome the time and transportation challenges this population faces in accessing care, even in primary care.

February 27, 2020

Bridging the Science-Practice Gap through Implementation Science: Opportunities for Geriatric Mental Health

Presenter: Stephen Bartels, MD, MS, Director, The Mongan Institute

January 23, 2020 (12:00 PM EST) – Mental Health Wellness Month

“Solutions to Behavioral Health Workforce Shortages and Lack of Funding”

Presenter: Ron Manderscheid, Ph.D.

Dr. Manderscheid is the Executive Director of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors (NACBHDDD) and the National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH).

The 2012 IOM Report, The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce: In Whose Hands noted that the national mental and behavioral health care workforce is ill-equipped – in numbers knowledge and skills – to care for a rapidly aging and increasingly diverse population. HRSA has projected the supply of workers in selected behavioral health professions to be approximately 250,000 workers short of the projected demand in 2025. The problem is most acute in rural areas as most behavioral health professionals tend to cluster in urban areas.

The session will look at new and increased efforts in recruitment for and training capacity in many mental health disciplines, use of tele-behavioral health programs, and policy initiatives such as funding the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program.

February 27, 2020 (2:00 PM EST) – Eating Disorders and Mental Health Month

Bridging the Science-Practice Gap: Potential Opportunities for Geriatric Mental Health

Stephen Bartels, M.D., M.S. who is James J. and Jean H. Mongan Endowed Chair in Health Policy and Community Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Only 4-28 percent of older adults with mental health and substance use disorders receive evidence-based mental health services. This is despite numerous treatments and services proven to be effective by science-based research. This webinar would cover home and community-based mental health outreach services, dementia caregiver support, integrated mental and physical health self-management, and prevention and health promotion for late-life mental health disorders.

Members of the planning committee event from the Coalition include Deborah DiGilio, Kim Williams and Christy Malik – along with representatives of federal partners involved with planning like Joan Weiss, Jennifer Solomon, and Shannon Skowronski.

HHS Assistant Secretaries of SAMHSA and Administration for Community Living are invited to speak.  In addition, representatives from academia and community and clinical practice will be participating in the program that have expertise to address issues of serious mental illness, suicide prevention, peer support, and trauma- informed care associated with older adults.

In addition to the Awareness Day, Eric reported that SAMHSA is preparing webinars on older adults and opioids, plus a webinar on co-occurring conditions.  NCMHA is also planning several webinars beginning in July 2019 to continue to bring attention on older adult mental health issues (see more information just below).

March 26, 2020 (3:00 PM EDT) – Brain Injury Awareness Month

Traumatic Brain Injury and Mental Illness among Older Adults: The Problem and New Management Approaches

Presenter: Matthew Peters, M.D., is Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Peters is an active clinician, teacher, and researcher, and sees patients in the Acquired Brain Injury Clinic and Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center at Johns Hopkins Bayview. He has been internationally recognized for his research work and has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center.

If you suffer a head trauma, your risk of developing certain mental disorders increases significantly – in some cases by more than 400 percent according to some studies. This session will cover traumatic brain injury (TBI) in older adults and the mental health sequelae, and the new TBI in the aged and aging with a TBI, and provide a new focused clinical approach, and new geriatric approaches to TBI research.

April – Postponed – Date TBD – National Public Health Week and World Health Day

“Social Determinants of Mental Health for Older Adults: A New Perspective”

Presenters (TBD)

Proposed Follow-Up Webinars to Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day & Request for Volunteers.

While the May 20th event will address suicide prevention and the opioid crisis, there are limitations to the amount of important content that can be offered in this one afternoon session.   The NCMHA is proposing a series of webinars that will augment the content delivered at the Awareness Day event. The proposed webinars are tied to monthly national observances and could include the following.

NCMHA members interested in sponsoring and/or assisting in the planning of the events should contact Joel Miller at jmiller@AMHCA.ORG.

For the individual webinars, speakers will include representatives from state and local coalitions to highlight promising and evidence-based practices underway in various communities.

April 2019 – Liaison and Partnership Opportunities with Public and Private Mental Health Stakeholder Organizations

An incredibly important goal of the Coalition is to engage key organizations that we can work with to advance and improve older adult mental health care and services.

At a recent NCMHA Meeting, Helen Lamont, PhD – with the Office of Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy, at Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – reviewed the purpose of the Act establishing the National Alzheimer’s Project (NAP) and highlighted recent accomplishments.

Dr. Lamont highlighted that NAP summits held, help to identify research priorities for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, care and services.  NAP is actively involved in the ACL National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center (NADRC) and the Healthy Brain Initiative.

The Alzheimer’s Plan is a National Plan not just a Federal Plan. The project offers a good partnership across federal agencies and with outside groups and leaders through the participation of advisors. Laura Gitlin, PhD is currently the Chair.

NAP has emphasized that the project calls for a national plan to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, optimize care quality and efficiency, expand supports, enhance public awareness and engagement, track progress and drive improvement. Current priorities of the project include reducing inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs, and improved functioning of reimbursement for care planning.

The NAP website has extensive videos and materials that can aid coalition members.

The Coalition has also recently engaged JBS International’s Projects with States and Organizations.  JBS is providing technical services, including data collection and mobilizing partners to address substance abuse and related needs of older adults. Mary Ellen Shannon and Angie Jones of JBS spoke to Coalition members in February.

For the past thirty plus years, JBS International has worked across all of the states and other jurisdictions to address behavioral health prevention, treatment and recovery systems for populations of all ages. Their work has included several SAMHSA contracts focused on older adults that included webinars, issue briefs, policy academies, technical assistance and training.

JBS has recently offered a series of four webinars on older adult use of opioids and other high priority concerns. As follow-up to the webinars, JBS International was charged with helping states advance older adult behavioral health.  Twenty-two single state authorities have expressed interest in furthering their understanding of behavioral health issues across the lifespan, available data, promising practices and evidence-based programs that address older adult issues. JBS helped organize 1-2 day dialogues within states bringing coalitions, behavioral health and aging services together to share understanding and resources. In recent years JBS has worked with Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Utah and others.

Medicare Advantage Plans and Behavioral Health

The Coalition is reviewing coverage issues for mental health services in Medicare Advantage Plans (MAPs).

Coalition members in some states want to know whether the limitations they are experiencing are more widespread in other states.

The APA Committee on Aging has developed a paper titled “Disadvantages of Medicare Advantage Plans (MAPs) and Behavioral Health – Issues List the committee compiled in 2017.  This  paper lists the following  concerns: that MAPs have contracts with limited hospitals and provider groups, thus access to high quality care is limited; some MAPs carve out behavioral health services to outside companies making it very difficult for beneficiaries and providers to learn about the policies and regulations for accessing mental health care; many MAPs and their behavioral health carve outs have very small panels of behavioral health providers and panels are very difficult for providers to get on.

The Coalition is following up with the Center for Medicare Advocacy to gain a better understanding of the issues.

Mike O’Donnell suggested that Tim McNeill, expert business consultant to ACL, may be able to

Member Initiatives

The American Psychological Association  has recently issued a YouTube video, Why Did I Explore a Career in Aging?, and a whiteboard video “Five Reasons to Work with Older Adults”  have just been completed.

The Maryland Coalition on Mental Health and Aging has recently hired a person to develop peer education.  They may use the COPE model however they may consider others.  She has invited information on other peer models.

The National Council on Aging hosted a webinar on March 12 on evidence-based programs for depression in older adults. The PEARLS and Healthy IDEAS programs were featured.  In addition, NCOA has surveyed community agencies to gain an understanding of their issues concerning opioid use and the resources needed to address these issues.

The Oregon, Older Adults/People with Disabilities Behavioral Health Advisory Council has developed two pieces of legislation in an effort to bring additional resources to the field. These efforts include additional funding for behavioral health services for older adults and persons with disability, and access to behavioral health care for persons receiving long-term care in their homes and in residential facilities.