What You Need to Know about Mental Health Crisis Response Strategy -- An Interview with David Covington | Episode 4

Also available on SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/user-225414284-842732102/hope-illuminated-david-covington-remastered-03-11-19/s-9Yf0r

Crisis Response Then and Now

When people are in the depths of a mental health crisis the last thing they need is a response that is based in fear. Having a crisis response strategy that is rooted in dignity and compassion can make all the difference. Join me in my interview with international visionary David Covington, who shares with us his journey in implementing crisis services from many leadership perspectives. David shares compelling science that challenges our misperceptions of what works and provides a road map for effective support for people in their darkest moments.

In this podcast David and I explore the importance of strategy, especially when it comes to crisis response. We discuss how awareness and educational efforts are necessary but not sufficient for true cultural change, and how instead we need to “bake it in, not bolt it on” with changes that are comprehensive and sustained.

David shares with us his early days as a crisis response professional in Georgia and how he saw shocking mistreatment of people who were experiencing suicidal thoughts and behavior. He explains with us that the experience of many people reaching out for support during crisis is often like lifting a 400 pound phone. Many have relied on inner strength and support resources until all else has fallen away. The act of reaching out is often daunting and throughout history, many forms of crisis response have failed to deliver adequate care. Today we have standards and technology that are improving wait times, costs, and quality of care.

David explains some of the science behind contemporary crisis response and how the findings often put conventional wisdom on its head. In particular, he advocates for a form of evaluation that allows for rapid cycle robust improvement of care. Some of the hallmarks of current framework for crisis care are the full integration of peer support and a benchmarking process that helps keep behavioral healthcare systems accountable to improvement.

More information: www.CrisisCare.com

David Covington

About David Covington, LPC, MBA

Visit http://davidwcovington.com for more info.

As co-lead of the US National Action Alliance Zero Suicide Advisory Group, David has inspired leaders around the world to make suicide prevention a central focus of healthcare.

  • TED Style Talk Featured Speaker

o   National Council for Behavioral Health 2015 and 2016

o   American Association for Suicidology Conference 2016 and 2017

·        “Is Suicide Really a Choice?” blog has been read over 2,000 times across 20 countries

·        Keynote and/or plenary speaker in 13 US states and presented on Zero Suicide in Australia, Canada, China, Estonia, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom, and US


His experience leading innovative projects:

·        Alongside Dr. Mike Hogan, co-led task forces responsible for two breakthrough white papers, Crisis Happens Now and Zero Suicide: An International Declaration for Better Healthcare

·        As Vice-President of Clinical & Program Outcomes at Magellan Health, David was responsible for the $750m health plan contract with Arizona, and led its Zero Suicide initiative (2009–13)

·        As co-lead of the Zero Suicide Advisory Group, he was an architect of the Suicide Care in Systems Framework document in 2011 that influenced the revised US National Strategy

·        His survey of more than 30,000 in the US public sector behavioral health workforce about skills, training and attitudes on suicide published in partnership with Florida State University

As CEO & President of RI International, David has hosted three international summits for Zero Suicide, Oxford (2014) and Atlanta (2015), and Sydney in February 2017.

David’s unique background bridges the chasms between healthcare and suicide prevention, big data/technology and crisis care. He is currently the President elect for the American Association of Suicidology, an Executive Committee member for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and the Steering Committee Co-Chair National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.



Crisis Now: http://crisisnow.com/

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: http://actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/task-force/clinicalcare

Exemplary Crisis Centers:

·        Didi Hirsch: http://www.didihirsch.org/

·        The Harris Center: http://theharriscenter.org/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Research on hotline effectiveness:

·        http://www.rcsservicesinc.com/aol/suicide_prevention/suli.2007.37.3part2.pdf

·        https://msrc.fsu.edu/system/files/Gould%20et%20al%202012%20National%20suicide%20prevention%20lifeline--%20enhancing%20mental%20health%20care%20for%20suicidal%20individuals%20and%20other%20people%20in%20crisis.pdf

RI International videos:

·        Transforming Crisis Services https://youtu.be/ORq1MkODzQU

·        Crisis Has No Schedule: https://youtu.be/cXK4Ks-W4Eg


Sally Spencer-Thomas