Practical Strategies to Navigate Mental Health Resources and Services for Older Adults and Caregivers


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Navigating mental health care resources and services for older adults and caregivers can be overwhelming. This session will provide an overview of the landscape, highlight successful initiatives, and provide practical steps you can use to help connect older adults and caregivers in your community to services and supports.

Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

Learning Objectives: 

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

1) Discuss common barriers and challenges for providers and older adults to locate and connect to mental health resources and services. 
2) Identify programs, such as the Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS), that can serve as a linkage between behavioral health services and the community. 
3) Locate resources and supports in their community to assist in connecting older adults and caregivers to mental health services. 

Lynn Cooper

Behavioral Health Advocate, Behavioral Health Policy Specialist

Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging

Lynn Cooper is the Behavioral Health Policy Specialist at the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Ms. Cooper has over 25 years of experience working on regulatory and policy issues for mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers in Pennsylvania. She is now working with the Area Agencies on Aging to help improve access to mental health and substance use disorder services for older adults in the commonwealth. Ms. Cooper also has six years of lived experience helping her mother deal with mental health and substance use disorders in the last of her 85 years of life.

Leigh Ann Eagle

Executive Director

Maryland Living Well Center of Excellence - MAC, Inc.


Leigh Ann Eagle, BS, is Chief Operating Officer of the Living Well Center of Excellence (LWCE), which utilizes the financial management structure within MAC, INC – an Area Agency on Aging. Currently, she oversees all aspects of program development and design, grant application and management, including the state of-the-art gym designed for older adults and adults with disabilities. Ms. Eagle has worked closely with the Maryland Department of Aging and the MD Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, on programming for Chronic Disease Self-Management. Under Leigh Ann's leadership, the Center connects healthcare organizations with the AAAs and community resources throughout the state to coordinate evidence-based programs. She participated in the National Council on Aging Community Integrated Health Collaborative and is a member of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging Health IT Learning Collaborative.

Charles H. Smith, PhD, MA

Regional Administrator – Region VIII

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Region VIII

Dr. Smith is the Regional Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Region VIII.  Dr. Smith is the former Director of the Colorado Division of Behavioral Health and Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse for the State of Colorado.  He is a Licensed Psychologist with over 30 years of experience in fields of forensic psychology, addiction psychology, suicide prevention, crisis intervention, integrated care and behavioral health policy and administration. Dr. Smith holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver, a MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from New York University, and a BS in Psychology from Allegheny College.

Kristie Kulinski (Moderator)

Team Lead

Office of Network Advancement, Administration for Community Living (ACL)

Kristie Kulinski is a Team Lead in the Office of Network Advancement at the Administration for Community Living (ACL), an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her work focuses on advancing strategic priorities related to the alignment of health care and social services, with an emphasis on sustainable partnerships between networks of community-based organizations and health plans/providers. Prior to her current role, Kristie led efforts in ACL’s Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs to support the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based health promotion programs.

Prior to joining ACL, Kristie held positions with the National Council on Aging and Partners in Care Foundation. She has a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State University and a Master of Social Work from California State University, Northridge.


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Practical Strategies to Navigate Mental Health Resources and Services for Older Adults and Caregivers
05/16/2022 at 11:00 AM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
05/16/2022 at 11:00 AM (EDT)   |  60 minutes