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AMHCA President to Attend 2012 Invitation-Only Symposium on Mental Health Policy

AMHCA President Karen Langer, LMHC, will participate in the 28th Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy, “Beyond Stigma: Advancing the Social Inclusion of People with Mental Illnesses.” Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will chair this invitation-only event, which will be held Nov. 1–2, at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Initiated in 1985 by Mrs. Carter, the annual Symposium brings together representatives of mental health organizations nationwide to focus and coordinate their efforts on key issues facing the mental healthcare system. 

Past symposia have examined such issues as mental illness and the elderly, child and adolescent illness, family coping, financing mental health services and research, treating mental illness in the primary care setting, and stigma and mental illness.

Though the event is not open to the public, the 2012 Symposium will be webcast live during the two-day event, at no charge. The webcast will include the keynote speakers, panels, and dinner speaker. For information on the webcast, visit .

Learn more about the Carter Center.

SAMHSA Awards a Minority Fellowship Program Implementation Grant

Up to 24 doctoral fellowships will be awarded per year in professional counseling, with a focus on culturally competent mental health and substance abuse counseling, thanks to a Minority Fellowship Grant (MFG) awarded in September to the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded up to $1.6 million—$825,000 each year for up to two years—to the NBCC affiliate in Greensboro, N.C., to expand the behavioral health workforce in order to reduce health disparities and improve healthcare outcomes for traditionally underserved populations. 

The grant will support infrastructure development activities that include: 

  • Providing stipends and other training-related costs for professional counselors to improve their cultural and linguistic competency;
  • Workforce development activities aimed at increasing the pool of doctoral-level professional counselors who deliver culturally appropriate behavioral health services to diverse populations, especially within the public and private nonprofit sectors; and
  • Collaborating with accredited graduate schools for professional counselors to recruit more students, including those in recovery, committed to serving minority populations with mental and substance use disorders.

“Many racial and ethnic groups do not have access to quality behavioral healthcare delivered by practitioners who truly understand the language and culture of the people they serve,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, JD. 

“This grant will help ensure that we can effectively meet the behavioral health needs of all Americans, regardless of language or culture, reducing health disparities and improving the overall health and well-being of everyone who needs behavioral health services.” 

The program will be launched in November, when information about the availability of fellowships will be publicized. 

NBCC thanked AMHCA for its support, which “strengthened our application,” according to NBCC President and CEO Thomas Clawson, EdD, NCC, NCSC, LPC.

AMHCA Diplomate Fall Deadline: Oct. 15

You may already have completed all of the requirements to qualify for AMHCA’s Diplomate and Clinical Mental Health Specialist (DCMHS) credential, the highest level of professional recognition. The Diplomate recognizes both advanced practice and professional clinical expertise in clinical mental health counseling.

Earning the AMHCA Diplomate designation will enhance your stature as a clinical mental health counselor. 

Oct. 15, is the fall submission deadline for the next cycle of 2012 application review.

Promoting Your Practice Online: Tip #12
Social Media 101—Networking to Grow Your Practice

By Sara K. Sims, Director of Business Development,

Mental health counselors know they need an effective online presence to grow their practice, and part of that includes participating in social-media networking. Don’t be overwhelmed! It can be very easy; I’ll show you how. 

Social media includes popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, YouTube, and blogs. Build your following by giving current clients and colleagues your Facebook and Twitter account names, and also promote yourself to any organization or association that you are part of.

To begin, all you really need are Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to create a separate account for your business (Facebook offers the ability to make Pages instead of Profiles). By having a Page for your practice, users can endorse you by promoting your page to their Friends, and the Page can be strictly professional. Be sure to lock the privacy settings on your personal Profile to keep the public from viewing your personal interactions.

Your clients want to engage with you and are looking for fresh content, articles, interesting tips, and thoughts for the day. Using social media, mental health professionals can also help enhance their brand awareness in the community by establishing their niche in their area of expertise. 

You can build partnerships with helpful referral organizations to create a wider following. Communicating regularly through social media will encourage followers to keep you in mind—and to schedule appointments with you when they need to.

Tips for Posting Updates

  • Make your updates “timeless”— posts should be relevant no matter when someone reads them.
  • About 75 percent of your comments should provide value to the reader. They could be inspirational quotes, questions that elicit thought and feedback, or metaphors.
  • The remaining 25 percent of your comments could ask your followers to do something, such as complete a survey, subscribe to your e-newsletter, or register for a free workshop.
  • Make social networking easy and fun for yourself by setting aside time to post on social media just twice a week.
  • To save time, you can link your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that when you post something on Facebook, it is automatically posted on Twitter. offers a comprehensive website service, designed just for mental health professionals, for only $59 a month. We provide sophisticated website creation and Search Engine Optimization to help mental health professionals grow their practice. AMHCA has a partnership with TherapySites—enter promo code “AMHCA” when you sign up and get one month free!