MHA’s 2020 Annual Conference: COVID-19, Mental Health, and the Need for Equity will be held online on September 3rd and 4th from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST.

Over the last few months, the world was thrown into a global pandemic. As the number of cases of COVID-19 increased, so did the associated experiences of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. COVID-19 also brought to light what many in the health care and social justice communities already knew – that Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionately negatively impacted and are dying at much higher rates. Adding to that, the systemic racism that so many people of color bear every day, the trauma and mental health implications are significant.

The last few months have changed everything – and the world is looking at “a new normal.” MHA’s Annual Conference – virtual in 2020 – will discuss it all. From increases in depression and anxiety rates, to adjusting workplaces and employee mental health, to addressing disproportionate inequities due to systemic barriers and historical adversity – MHA is talking about it.

This event is free to the public and all are encouraged to register!

MHA Affiliates: Please note there is a separate registration for Affiliate Pre-Conference Day held on September 2.

Scroll down to read more about featured speakers.


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Bakari Sellers is a CNN correspondent and lawyer. He made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. In 2014 Sellers won the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor and is widely considered to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and leading voice for his generation. Sellers earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he served as student body president, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Dr. Cleveland Sellers, in his tireless commitment to public service while championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity. In addition to his impressive list of early accomplishments, Sellers served on President Barack Obama’s South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election. That coupled with his uncommon ability to reach across the aisle and get things done has led to numerous accolades including being named to TIME Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2010 as well as 2014’s “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans. Sellers has been a much sought-after public speaker and has provided political and social commentary and analysis on many major national news outlets. Sellers practices law with the Strom Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, SC. Sellers is a CNN contributor and is married to Ellen Rucker.

Kenneth Cole is an American designer, social activist, and visionary who believes business and philanthropy are interdependent. His global company, Kenneth Cole Productions, creates modern, versatile, and functional footwear, clothing, and accessories that make daily dressing effortless. For over 35 years, Kenneth Cole has leveraged his passion and unique brand platform seeking to make a meaningful impact on people’s wardrobes, as well as in communities in need. In 1985, with the help of many of the top fashion models in the world, Kenneth launched the first HIV/AIDS public service campaign. He then joined amfAR’s board of directors in 1987, and on World AIDS Day in 2004, he assumed chairmanship, and served in that position for 14 years. Under his leadership, amfAR was instrumental in significant breakthroughs in AIDS research, treatment, and prevention for the betterment of millions globally. In 2016, Kenneth accepted an appointment as a UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador with the goal of helping to end AIDS as a public health crisis by 2030, and in effect, work to achieve one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In 2020, in a shift of focus, Kenneth officially launched The Mental Health Coalition to end the devastating and debilitating stigma attached to all mental health conditions. This effort began with the unprecedented formation of a Coalition of the most respected mental health service providers, leading academics, and influential creative and media organizations. The Mental Health Coalition was launched with an innovative and digital storytelling platform called, “HOW ARE YOU, REALLY?,” which creates a safe social space for individuals to share their stories.

Michelle Williams is a Grammy Award-winning, singer/songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, designer, television host and member of one of the most successful recording groups of all time, Destiny’s Child. In 2018, Williams reunited with Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Kelly Rowland fora long-awaited Destiny’s Child reunion performance during both weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. She has also recorded four critically-acclaimed albums as a solo artist including Journey to Freedom who’s song “Say Yes” was certified Gold. Between recording projects, Williams made her theatrical stage debut as the title role of the hit Broadway musical “Aida”. Williams has since appeared in productions of “The Color Purple”, Broadway and London’s West End productions of “Chicago”. She also was featured in the acclaimed stage play “What My Husband Doesn’t Know,” and a national tour with the musical “Fela!” Williams also starred in the Oxygen network series “Fix My Choir” and has served as a guest host on talk shows such as The View, ET, The Real and many more. In 2019 after making it to the semi-final round, Michelle was revealed as “Butterfly” on the #1 rated FOX television show, The Masked Singer! As an entrepreneur, Williams recently launched Believe at Home by Michelle Williams. A sophisticated bedding collection, featuring exquisite and vibrant comforters, duvets, coverlets, sheets and shams inspired by her grandmother’s quilting. An advocate for mental health and empowerment, Williams is an ambassador for the Office on Women’s Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she promotes awareness for maintaining optimum physical and mental health through nutrition, exercise, and proper medical care.

Learn more about MHA’s 2020 Annual Conference and additional speakers here.