Mental Health on the National Level

Mental Health on the National Level

Season 1, Episode 11

Host(s): Dr. Larry Force, Andrew O’Grady, Elisa Gwilliam

Guest(s): Paul Gionfriddo: CEO of Mental Health America

The INTERSECTIONS Exchange team is joined by Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America. Gionfriddo discusses his professional journey from the Connecticut State Legislature to the mental health field and his firsthand experience with difficulties accessing care for family members. At 21:30, Gionfriddo and Dr. Force discuss changing perspectives in mental health treatment.

Topics Discussed

  • Punitive aspects of mental health care
  • History of deinstitutionalization out of psychiatric wards and into jails and prisons
  • Differences in treatment for chronic diseases versus mental health disorders
  • Solution-focused treatment
  • Mental health policymaking
  • Expanding access to care with technology


Key Quote(s)

  • “It’s through the miracle of technology that we’re able to draw ourselves closer together.” – Paul Gionfriddo
  • “We need more cheerleaders for mental health.” – Andrew O’Grady
  • “Get rid of the silos, treat the person as a person.” – Dr. Larry Force
  • “The problem with the system we’ve built, almost  the entire time I’ve been in policy, is that it’s all too frequently built around the needs of providers and payers and all too infrequently built around the needs of individuals.” – Paul Gionfriddo
  • “There is always hope.” – Paul Gionfriddo


INTERSECTIONS is an innovative, peer delivered, modular self-care program developed by the National Organization of Adult Addictions and Recovery (NOAAR) and Mental Health America of Dutchess County.

Addiction, chronic illness, and mental health are dimensions in our lives that isolate us. They isolate us from ourselves, from others, and from our spirit. INTERSECTIONS helps us connect and reconnect to reach our full potential.

INTERSECTIONS promotes the reduction of reoccurrence, improved maintenance of recovery plans, and success within family systems and the community.

Modules include:

  • Orientation
  • Meditation
  • Movement
  • Nutrition
  • Mindfulness
  • Personal Visions and Goals
  • Spirituality

INTERSECTIONS is based on a theoretical orientation called The Theory of Dimensionality and is rooted in a Practice-Based Intervention, Dimensional Solution Based Treatment (DSBT).

“We cannot fix you because you are not broken … everybody has stuff. We are all in Recovery from something.”

About MHA Dutchess County

Mental Health America of Dutchess County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making sure nobody gets left behind in our community due to lack of mental health services. Our staff and volunteers work day and night to:

  • Strengthen families
  • Overcome fear
  • Help people dealing with anxiety
  • Link individuals to the supports they need
  • Provide safe spaces to heal
  • Break down stigma
  • …and much, much more.