Welcome to our new “Nebraska Beacon” newsletter.

At BHECN, we strive to connect with behavioral health students and professionals from all corners of the state.

We’d like to hear from you! We are always interested in learning about behavioral health workforce success stories, new programs or training opportunities. 

I hope you will take a moment to read about our latest programs, partnerships and progress in behavioral health. Reach out and let us know what you are up to!

Howard Liu, M.D.
BHECN Director
New High School Course Teaches Valuable Lessons in Behavioral Health
This spring semester, high school students from various local schools have been attending a new UNMC High School Alliance course, “Intro to Behavioral Health: Concepts and Career from Family Therapy to Forensic Psychiatry.” The course was developed in collaboration with faculty and staff from the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), the Munroe-Meyer Institute and the High School Alliance. The students have learned valuable lessons about common mental health diagnoses and treatment, types of careers in behavioral health and the impact of mental health stigma. 

High School Alliance Behavioral Health students Bailey Troudt (left) and Isabaeu Tholen (right) hold up the “Messenger Bird” they created for their stigma project.

Brooklyn Larimore was part of a group who created a website to educate middle school aged children on using “people-first language,” which is the use of language that focuses on people rather than merely defining them by the mental illness with which they suffer. 

Graduate Students Receive Insight on Working in Corrections

Graduate level students interested in working with mental illness in a correctional setting had the opportunity to ask professionals questions at a reception held on April 12th.

The reception with the Nebraska Department of Corrections, held at UNL, hosted professionals in social work, nursing, psychology, psychiatry and other behavioral health fields.

Students attending came from programs in UNO counseling and social work, UNL psychology and nursing, UNMC medicine and Union College physician assistant programs.

Top left: Dr. Julie Houfek, associate professor at UNMC's College of Nursing, discusses psychiatric nurses’ roles in corrections environments. 

Pictured left to right: Mario Scalora Ph. D., Harbans Deol D.O., PhD., Howard Liu, M.D.

Ambassador Spotlight
Meet Erin Kindred
Erin Kindred is not your traditional medical student. After years working in state government jobs, she had a change of heart and realized her passion was in helping people. She began working in a group home for teens and pursued undergraduate degrees in psychology and psychobiology with the goal of becoming a psychiatrist.

She is now only a week away from realizing that dream as she graduates from UNMC on May 6th and enters the Creighton University Psychiatry Residency Program this July.

Read more
Apply for ACE Award by June 1
BHECN is excited to announce the launch of the Ambassador Career Engagement (ACE) Awards, aimed at increasing awareness of behavioral health professions across the state.
BHECN will make funds available for community groups to introduce local youth to behavioral health professions through experiences closer to home. Priority will be given to programs that reach students in rural and/or underserved communities. BHECN will fund seven awards up to $1,200 each and two awards up to $5,000 each.
The deadline to apply is June 1 and funds must be used for programs offered between July 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018.  Visit BHECN’s website to learn more about the application process and download the Request for Proposal. 

BHECN’s Dr. Howard Liu Co-edits Medical Directors’ Report

In late March, the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Medical Director Institute released a report explaining the need for an adequate psychiatric workforce in the United States, as well as recommendations to ensure there are enough psychiatrists to treat those who need mental health assistance. BHECN Director Dr. Howard Liu is a member of the Medical Director Institute and also co-edited the report.

According to the report, psychiatric patients face overly brief clinical appointments and long wait times, while physicians age out of the profession. Fifty-five percent of U.S. counties have no psychiatrists at all, and if the rate continues, demand for psychiatric treatment will outstrip the available supply by 25 percent by the year 2025.

The report offers recommendations such as expanding the psychiatric workforce, increasing use of tele-psychiatry and other on-demand technological services, implementing innovative models of integrated health care delivery, training psychiatric residents and existing workforce on treatment and care delivery technologies and adopting effective payment structures.

The full report can be accessed at: https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Psychiatric-Shortage_National-Council-.pdf

Mobile App Makes Job Searching Easier

NebraskaBehavioralHealthJobs.com has launched a FREE mobile phone application to make your job search even easier!

Just take a few seconds to sign in (or if you’re already registered on the website, use your existing log-in) and begin searching, saving and applying for jobs, right from your mobile device. It’s just that easy! 

Nebraska Science Festival to host free screening of "Inside Out" at UNMC

When: Thursday, April 27th at 8:30 pm 

As part of this year's Nebraska Science Festival, a free screening of Disney's "Inside Out" will be held on the University of Nebraska Medical Center's green space. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs and non-alcoholic refreshments. 

Prior to the movie, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., attendees will also have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), to learn more about improving access to behavioral health care across the state of Nebraska.

In the case of inclement weather, this event will be canceled. Learn more here...
Upcoming Events & Training
Integrating Mental Health and Primary Care - May 19
 Join us for for a free, half-day conference discussing:
  • How integrating a mental health professional helps maximize time and resources
  • Improved patient outcomes – research findings from Nebraska
  • The nuts and bolts of setting up and funding an integrated practice
When: Friday, May 19, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

University of Nebraska Kearney
Nebraskan Student Union
1013 West 27th St.
Kearney, NE 68849
Who should attend? physicians, physician assistants, nurses, office managers and health care administrators.
Register by May 5 via this link:

Managing Mental Health in the Classroom – June 23*
 Join us for a free, full-day conference discussing:
  • Behavioral health concerns in the classroom
  • Bullying
  • Suicide
  • School-wide interventions
  • Teacher initiated interventions
When: Friday, June 23, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

University of Nebraska Kearney
Nebraskan Student Union
1013 West 27th St.
Kearney, NE 68849
Who should attend? teachers, administrators, counselors, practitioners working in schools
Register by June 9 via this link:
*Note: BHECN will not be hosting a School Mental Health Conference in Omaha this year.

Upcoming Training in Region 3
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