May 19, 2022

May 31, 2022, 2 – 3:30 p.m. ET

NAMI Ask the Expert Webinar welcomes author, speaker and trainer Becky Haas; Senior Medical Advisor to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Dr. Brian Sims; Owner of Shekinah Counseling Dr. Laklieshia Izzard; and Chief Executive Officer of the National Empowerment Center (NEC) Oryx Cohen.

This webinar will feature insights on how trauma impacts the human experience related to mental health, communication and relationships. Experts will share ideas on how to create safe spaces for those who have had traumatic experiences and adverse childhood experiences, as well communication strategies to foster awareness and sensitivity. The session will be moderated by Dr. Christine Crawford, NAMI’s Associate Medical Director.

This session will be recorded and posted to our website in the days following the webinar. All registrants for this webinar will automatically receive a link by email to view the recorded session once it is available. A typed transcription of the audio will also be available online within one week of the webinar.


Our Experts

Becky HaasBecky Haas

Becky Haas is an international advocate and trainer on using a trauma informed approach, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study and Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) study. She is a pioneer in creating trauma informed communities. The work she led while working for the Johnson City Police Department in Northeast Tennessee was recognized by SAMHSA in 2018 as a model for other cities to follow. In 2019 she co-authored the "Building a Trauma Informed System of Care" toolkit for the TN Department of Children's services detailing a blueprint for creating community resilience. This toolkit has been recommended as a “practical tool” in John's Hopkins, Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action. Becky is the author of several sector specific professional development trainings with two receiving statewide accreditation in Tennessee as evidence-based training.


Dr. Brian SImsDr. Brian Sims

Dr. Sims is a Psychiatrist, working in the behavioral health field for nearly 4 decades. He has worked with diverse populations, including individuals, groups; Military; School Settings; Corrections; Inpatient and outpatient hospital settings; BIPOC, Tribal Nations and LGBTQ, all promoting trauma informed system transformation, healing and recovery. He is passionate about the delivery of culturally responsive practices to all he encounters, including training, teaching and direct care to individuals and groups both nationally and internationally. His work in health equity and disparities, with emphasis on marginalized communities and communities of color have been his focus of attention for the past 15 years, in his present role of Senior Medical Advisor with NASMHPD. His emphasis centers on Connection, Collaboration with subsequent Empowerment.


Dr. IzzardDr. Laklieshia Izzard

Dr. Laklieshia Izzard is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia and New Jersey, Georgia Certified School Counselor, a National Certified Counselor, an Approved Clinical Supervisor, and a Tri-Care Mental Health Counselor. Dr. Izzard is the owner of Shekinah Counseling a virtual private practice with 17 years of community mental health counseling experience with diverse populations. Dr. Izzard practice services include counseling, clinical supervision, mentoring, and training. Dr. Izzard was appointed by the Newton County Board of Commissioners to serve as representative on the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council. Dr. Izzard serves on the board of directors for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Georgia, and is a founding member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Dr. Izzard is a founding member and has served as President from 2019-2020 for the American Counseling Association of Georgia.


Oryx CohenOryx Cohen

Oryx Cohen, M.P.A., is a leader in the international mental health consumer/survivor/ex-patient (c/s/x) or mad pride movement. Currently Oryx is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Empowerment Center (NEC). In addition to organizing the national Alternatives Conference every three years and other responsibilities, he assists states that have an underdeveloped consumer/survivor voice to find that voice and then work toward transforming the mental health systems in those states to become peer-driven and recovery-oriented. Prior to joining NEC, Oryx was Co-Director of the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. He helped to spearhead an innovative peer-run approach focusing on recovery, healing, and community. Oryx is also the co-founder of Freedom Center, the Pioneer Valley’s only independent peer-run support/activist organization.


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text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).