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Cultivating a Culture of Connection through Community-Designed Initiatives 

Dates: June 12th, June 26th, July 10th

Time: 1 - 2:30 CST

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has called for action to address the public health crisis and the devastating impact of the epidemic of loneliness and isolation in the United States.
Dr. Murthy explains that disconnection fundamentally affects our mental, physical, and societal health. He also states that loneliness and isolation increase the risk for individuals to develop mental health challenges in their lives.


Through funding from SAMHSA’s Transformation Transfer Initiative, NASMHPD has partnered with peer-run and community-designed initiatives to serve diverse populations, including those experiencing trauma in their daily lives and individuals struggling with serious mental health challenges.


This Town Hall series will provide an opportunity for discussion and implementation of the six foundational pillars outlined by Dr. Murthy’s important report. Click here to view the report. 

Town Hall One:  
Faith Communities Respond

Date: Monday, June 12, 2023 from 1 – 2:30 PM CST
Deepening trauma-informed knowledge, faith leaders are providing innovative programs that restore connection to self and others.  The TAMAR program, originally funded by SAMHSA, provides weekly groups focused on understanding the impact of trauma on all aspects of our lives, offering connection, healing, community, and hope.


Joan Gillece, Ph.D.
Neelley Hicks, M.Div., B.S.

David S. Smith, M.Div., M.B.A., B.S.

Arsania Wright, QPR, CPRS, MHFA Trainer

Charryse N. Wright, M.Div., B.S.W.

Town Hall Two:  
Peer-Led Inclusive Approaches Designed to Support, Unify, and Prevent Isolation 

Date: Monday, June 26, 2023 from 1 – 2:30 PM CST

Understanding the impact of isolation and loneliness on emotional well-being and health, survivors of trauma, labels of mental illness, and substance use challenges have long-established healing communities designed to advance healing through connection and shared experience.  Join us as we explore these examples, that range from open-access wellness centers to 24/7 peer phone lines and peer-run respites, which create an alternative to hospitalization during mental health crises.


Raul Almazar, RN, MA

Cherene Caraco

Mary Ferreri

Vesper Moore

Rich Hollett 

Town Hall Three:  
Combatting Loneliness and Isolation
in Diverse Communities

Date: Monday, July 10, 2023 from 1 – 2:30 PM EST

Description: Creating relevant connections requires engagement of community members in development and implementation of culturally relevant initiatives. Discussion led by youth leaders, LGBTQ+ advocates, and Indigenous people representatives will share innovative approaches and resources developed to enhance connection and reduce loneliness for individuals experiencing isolation and emotional pain. 


Raul Almazar, RN, MA

Mylan Barnes

Joan Gillece, Ph.D.

Delores Jimerson

Randy Killings

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