Presentation Recap | Wellness Wednesdays: Addressing Mental Health In The Workplace

Posted on October 5, 2021

Wellness Series Event Graphic  Mental Health In The Workplace 10.6.21

A panel of local experts, including Nichole Hotchkiss, CONTACT; Thomas Schwartz, MD, SUNY Upstate Medical University; and Angel Gonzalez and Chia Wee, St. Joseph's Health, discussed ways to identify and support colleagues and loved ones, offered tips to create environments that help people thrive, and shared local resources.


Panelist of experts include:

Nichole Hotchkiss, Clinical Coordinator for CONTACT Community Services and M. Ed in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

Nichole is the Clinical Coordinator for CONTACT Community Services. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas. In 2013, she received her M. Ed in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In 2016, she moved to Syracuse for a life changing opportunity and started a new chapter with Family Counseling Services. In 2019, she joined CONTACT as a Crisis Line worker. She has 10 years of experience with crisis intervention, disaster relief, chemical dependency, working with college athletes and incarcerated women. 


Thomas Schwartz, MD, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Dr. Schwartz is currently a professor and chair of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University where he is  active on many teaching, administrative and academic oriented committees at SUNY.  He also provides direct resident supervision, lectures in several courses with resident, medical PA, and NP students.   He directs and organizes continuing medical education events for the psychiatry department.  Dr. Schwartz received his medical degree from and completed his residency in adult psychiatry at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York.


Angel Gonzalez, Certified Peer Specialist, St. Joseph's Health

Angel been working in the Mental Health field for over 12 years.  Angel helps clients and patient by utilizing personal lived experiences as a Certified Peer Specialist. Angel has over 25 years of personal recovery from depression/anxiety, and substance use.  Angel has been certified for 6 years, and just recently past his exam for the CRPA certification (Certified Recovery Peer Advocate).  At St. Joseph's Health, Angel works with patients whom struggle with suicidal ideations, depression, anxiety as well as substance use disorders.  In addition to his work at St. Joseph's Health, Angel also works for another local agency where he meets with clients at their place of residence and helps them overcome their struggles.    


Chia Wee, LCSW-R, Behavioral Health Outpatient Services, St. Joseph‘s Health 

Chia is a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Chia received her Bachelors in Science from Syracuse University and her Masters of Social Work from New York University. For the past 13 years, she have been working as a Clinical Social Worker at St. Joseph’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Outpatient.  Chia provides individual, family and group therapy to children and adolescents between the ages of 4-18 years old and their family members.  Chia is also responsible for triaging potential new patients for our service. 


Moderator: Lisa Dunn Alford, Executive Director, ACR Health

Lisa is the Executive Director of ACR Health serving the agency since June 28, 2021. Her experience in nonprofits, county government, as well as an extensive local, regional, and statewide network is providing ACR Health with the necessary vision and strategic leadership to guide the future direction of the agency. Alford holds a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University, a master’s degree from The Ohio State University and executive certificates from Syracuse University, UCLA and Georgetown University.

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