Breaking the Silence

Website for the American Mental Health Counselors Association's Breaking the Silence initiative to address mental health stigma.

Contributing Authors

jmiller100pxJoel E. Miller

Joel E. Miller, M.S. Ed., is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. He leads over 7,200 clinical mental health counselors who play a critically important impact on the lives of Americans with behavioral health conditions. AMHCA’s mission is to enhance the mental health counseling profession through advocacy, professional development, education and licensing. Mr. Miller is responsible for all operations of the organization and implementing strategic initiatives in support of the Board of Directors. He is the publisher of AMHCA’s Journal of Mental Health Counseling and its Advocate newsletter. He also serves as a member on the AMHCA Foundation Board of Directors. In his previous position at the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), he led the development and implementation of NASMHPD’s policy agenda and regulatory strategies, which were designed to support State Behavioral Health Agencies and the state public behavioral health systems. At the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mr. Miller led NAMI’s State Policy team and Public Policy Institute, dedicated to improving the financing and delivery of mental health services at the state level for people with mental illness, and addressing mental health issues across the lifespan. He has published over 50 articles and reports on behavioral health and health care delivery and financing, new delivery models aimed at integrating mental health and physical health, health care reform strategies, Medicare and Medicaid policy, health workforce issues, and information technology implementation. Mr. Miller earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, and his master’s degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.



LEdgerson100pxDr. LaMarr Edgerson

Dr. LaMarr D. Edgerson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist currently in private practice. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and left home at the very young age of 18 years. After 20 years of faithful service, living around the country and around the world, Dr. Edgerson retired from Kirtland Air Force base in 2003. He completed his military service with an Associate and Bachelor’s Degree in Social Psychology. While working on his Master’s Degree he was employed as a case manager in a treatment foster care agency named High Desert Family Services. In 2005 he completed the Masters degree in counseling (specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy) from the University of Phoenix. In 2012, he completed his last degree – a Doctorate in Psychology (specialization in traumatic stress). Dr. Edgerson’s dissertation was entitled: Advanced Trauma Training: The Integration of Clinical Hypnosis and EMDR for the Effective Resolution of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Currently, he is one of the Alumni Ambassadors for the University of the Rockies.



kmobley100Dr. Keith Mobley

Dr. Keith Mobley is a clinical professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Development at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he directs the in-house training clinic staffed by graduate student counselors. He has been a member of AMHCA since 2004 and joined the board of directors as a regional director in 2010 prior to being elected president for the 2015-16 year. Prior to becoming a counselor educator, Dr. Mobley worked for approximately 15 years as a clinical mental health counselor and LPC in North Carolina. Since that time, he has held numerous leadership positions, has received several awards from state and national organizations, and has numerous publications and book chapters related to counseling, counselor education, and clinical supervision.



ahopethreadgillDr. Hope Threadgill

Dr. Hope Threadgill is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor specializing in individual, couples and family therapy, and maintains a private practice in Clemson, SC.

With over thirty-one years experience as a counselor, and as a graduate of U of Northern Colorado and U of Minnesota, specializing in mental health counseling, s/he is currently serving as private practitioner working with a broad spectrum of clients. Among her areas of expertise are hypnotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Thought Field Therapy (TFT), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), healing the inner child, mind-body-spirit, and Cognitive Behavioral Counseling. In addition to being a prominent mental health counselor, Dr. Hope Threadgill, PsyD has presented at National conferences and to general audiences speaking on the topics of anxiety and depression, mindfulness, couples counseling, and supervision.


WalkerSuzanne L. Walker

Suzanne L. Walker, MS, CCMHC, LCAS, LPC is currently working with addiction issues and co-occurring disorders at Fort Bragg, NC serving the U.S. military. Licensed as a professional clinical mental health counselor since 1988, Suzanne has provided professional clinical mental health counseling services in six states specializing in co-occurring disorders, trauma, psychotic disorders, neurobiological disorders, addictions, military populations, families, adolescents and children. Suzanne is also a NBCC certified clinical mental health counselor and a NC licensed clinical addictions specialist. Having served in clinical management and supervisory level positions for over 18 years and as a clinical mental health counselor for 31 years, Suzanne has a keen working knowledge and appreciation for all aspects of the clinical mental health counseling profession. Her wealth of experience ranges from direct clinical provider and clinical supervisor to behavioral healthcare management in private practice clinics to local, county, state, and federal public sectors and governmental entities. Suzanne has held various leadership positions in state and national organizations for the past 15 years with an ardent focus on advocacy for the profession and licensure as a standard requisite for the clinical mental health counseling practice and profession. Suzanne has been pleased to speak on numerous clinical mental health best practices, counseling association strategic planning and development, and counselor advocacy.


l-mccannLorrie McCann

Lorrie McCann, LMHC, CT graduated from Florida Gulfcoast University in 1999 with Master’s degree in Counselor Education. Ms. McCann holds a certification in Thanatology through the Association of Death Education and Counseling. In 2002 she received the Clinician of the Year Award from the David Lawrence Mental Health Center in Naples, FL. She was awarded Advocate of the Year in 2015 by the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association. In 2016 that same organization recognized her with their Leadership award. In 2016 she also received the American Mental Health Counselors Association’s Legislator of the Year award. Ms. McCann has a private practice in Bonita Springs, FL.  


Dr. Betty Hughes
Dr. Betty Hughes has been in private practice for over 26 years. She holds a Doctorate in Counselor Education, as well as a Masters and Specialist of Education and a BA in Psychology, all from the University of Florida in Gainesville. She has focused on the treatment of eating disorders, trauma-related disorders, anxiety and depression. She is especially interested in integrating spirituality in the treatment process. Dr. Hughes also has a wide range of experiences in public speaking and presenting workshops. She has been interviewed on the subject of ‘Happiness’ by Suzanne Spencer on the Compass2Life show.


Cassandra Riedy
Cassandra Riedy is a current student at Belmont University pursuing a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. She is employed as a case manager at the Center for Living and Learning, an intentional community of healing and learning for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. She serves on the board of and volunteers for Better Decisions, a local nonprofit providing mentorship to incarcerated individuals at a local women’s prison. She has served as a research assistant for the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, contributing research on informed consent for psychiatric drug trials to the Commission’s report on neuroscience. She earned a Master’s degree in Religious Studies, focusing on Biomedical Ethics, at the University of Virginia where she enjoyed fieldwork working with patients in the University Hospital’s Emergency Room. Her inspiration for becoming a counselor arose from fieldwork experience an undergraduate at Georgetown University where she completed fieldwork counseling at a hospice.


Jenise Wilson
Jenise Wilson was born and raised in Bismarck, ND. She currently reside with her two dogs, Lucy and Goose, and cat, Frieda. Her ND roots have kept her grounded, and helped her realize the desire to help those who are in need. She has a bachelor’s in psychology, master’s in counseling, and is currently working on a doctorate in counselor education and supervision. Her professional background varies from advocacy at Youthworks and the Abused Adult Resource Center to being an educator at the University of Mary. She has the pleasure of working with a variety of agencies, people, and in a variety of environments. Her current position with the University of Mary is working with counseling students as they make their way into the clinical world. Her job is to help prepare them and instill the confidence and competence needed to be an effective counselor. She currently serves on the Invisible Innocence board, which is a nonprofit organization that works with survivors of human trafficking, and spends a lot of time serving her church through youth ministry and church council. Her spare time is spent with friends and family who keep her grounded and are the main reason she is a counselor educator. She strongly enjoys working at making the world a better place, helping others in any way possible, and learning how to best serve the North Dakota and surrounding communities.