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A Focus on Diversity

July is Minority Mental Health month and at the forefront are discussions about addressing stigma, access and barriers in minority mental health.

BHECN is taking a closer look at diversity in the workforce as a three-year initiative, so look for more from our team on this topic in the near future.

If you are interested in joining the conversation on #MinorityMentalHealth, The National Council for Behavioral Health is sponsoring a Twitter chat today at 2 p.m. ET – follow at #BH365.

We hope you will take a moment to read our newsletter and learn about many programs that impact rural and minority mental health in our state. As always, feel free to reach out to our team if you have workforce news to share!

Howard Liu, M.D.
BHECN Director
High School Ambassador Conference -
South Omaha 2016
Ambassador Spotlight:
Meet Esmeralda Bravo-Ramos
Growing up in Cozad, Neb., as a first generation Mexican American, Esmeralda Bravo-Ramos was determined to make life easier for those in need.

Inspired by a movie and her high school counselor, Bravo-Ramos pursued an undergraduate degree in social work and is weeks away from receiving a master's in social work. “My career aspiration is to be in a role where I can create the biggest change; I am a macro thinker,” she said. Read more...

Rural students gain hands-on experience at Farm Camp 2017

The fifth annual FARM CAMP (Frontier Area Rural Mental-Health Camp and Mentorship Program) took place last month in Rushville, Neb. This year, 11 students attended from rural communities ranging from Howells to Scottsbluff.

Farm Camp is an annual weeklong summer program designed to give rural students interested in behavioral health careers the opportunity to connect with mentors working in rural communities. The camp, funded in part by BHECN, was created in 2013 by licensed psychologist Catherine Jones-Hazledine, Ph.D., of Western Nebraska Behavioral Health.

“It is often difficult to recruit behavioral health providers to come to rural areas to live and work. And if we are able to recruit them, they often don’t stay,” Dr. Hazledine said. “Instead of trying to recruit providers from urban areas, who will likely ultimately be dissatisfied with the rural lifestyle, we need to be accessing the incredible resources already here in our youth.”


Stigma project inspires origami Messenger Bird – Watch the Video

Isabeau "Issy" Tholen and Bailey Troud, graduates of the 2017 UNMC High School Alliance class, created the Messenger Bird this spring for a stigma assignment. They wanted to create a way of getting information about depression to high school students in a way that would be more interesting than a traditional brochure. The origami bird unfolds to reveal facts about mental illness, along with mental health resources and crisis hotlines.

View this video to learn the inspiration behind the Messenger Bird and detailed instructions to make your own. A downloadable template with folding instructions is available here on BHECN's website

RFI grant to fund mental health curriculum

Mental health stigma is the subject of a recent Rural Futures Institute (RFI) competitive award titled, “Ending Mental Health Stigma & Promoting Mental Health among Rural Nebraska College and University Students.”

The Principal investigator is Sonja Russell, UNMC, Rural Health Education Network, with contributions by BHECN Director Howard Liu, MD and UNMC Associate Professor Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway, PhD.


In July, BHECN, the UNMC Department of Psychiatry and Creighton-Nebraska Psychiatry Residency Program hosted its annual Welcome Event at Hanscom Park Pavilion for psychiatry residents, psychology post docs/interns and other behavioral health students, trainees and faculty members.

“Many of these people are coming to Nebraska for the first time,” BHECN Ambassador Program Coordinator Ann Kraft said.“ This is an event to welcome them to Omaha and the next phase of their training.” 

Upcoming Events & Training:

Break the Cycle Event:

UNMC child psychiatrist, Chris Kratochvil, MD, will spend July 29 and July 30 biking 150 miles to coincide with Nebraska’s 150 year anniversary, along with a small group of community leaders including government representatives, local health care leaders and mental health representatives to show support for pediatric mental health.

The Omaha event is the kickoff for the nationwide Break the Cycle event, which begins on August 17 in Seattle and ends in Washington D.C. on October 23. In Nebraska, participants will ride along the bike trails running throughout the Omaha area.

Several organizations from the area are supporting the event including UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, the Hawks Foundation, Creighton University, CHI, the Kim Foundation, Project Harmony, BHECN and the Nebraska Regional Council of the AACAP.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will join the event the morning of July 29, and will take a break from riding to participate in a press conference to be held at 9 a.m. in the Sorrell Center at UNMC.

“We appreciate the governor joining the cause,” Kratochvil said. “Hard as we try to dispel it, there is still a stigma in the U.S. when it comes to people receiving mental health care.”

Visit the program site for more information.

Substance Use Disorder Training:
Two training sessions are being offered in August regarding the treatment of substance use disorders.

For more information, click the name of each training listed below:

When: August 18, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Scott Conference Center
6450 Pine Street, Omaha, NE 68106 (Free Parking)

Registration is $30 and due August 11 at  unmc.edu/cce/mat

When: August 19, 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

University of Nebraska Medical Center, Maurer Center for Public Health, 519 S. 40th Street, Room 2001, Omaha, NE 68105

Registration: Sign up for 4-hour online course followed by live 4-hour training on August 19th. Register here.  

NebraskaBehavioralHealthJobs.com makes it easy to post and find job openings for a variety of behavioral health careers in Nebraska. Here are some of our most recent job postings:

Licensed Mental Health Practitioner – Midwest Country Clinic (Bassett, NE)

Mental Health Practitioner Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center (Kearney, NE)

Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor – Behavioral Health Specialist, Inc (Norfolk, NE)

It's totally free to search for jobs, and free for employers to post new job openings! For more behavioral health jobs info, subscribe to  The Connection newsletter.

BHECN Updates
Congratulations to BHECN’s Outreach & Program Development Coordinator, Nick Brotzel, who was recently elected to serve a three-year term on the board of directors for the National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH).  

NARMH provides a forum for rural mental health professionals, advocates, and consumers to identify issues and problems, share innovative solutions and model programs, and speak with a shared voice on issues of rural mental health concern.

The BHECN team is attending the NARMH annual conference Sept. 6-8 and will be presenting several sessions on behavioral health workforce programs and models. 

BHECN's Mission
The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), pronounced “beacon”, was established in 2009 by a legislative bill to address the shortage of behavioral health professionals in rural and underserved areas of the state. It is a unique partnership among the state legislature, academic institutions, and community partners
to create a statewide workforce solution to increase the number of licensed behavioral health professionals.

View our video to learn more about our mission, programs and initiatives.

 402.552.7697 | bhecn@unmc.edu