Judith O. Yanacek, President and CEO of New Vitae Wellness and Recovery, attended the April 2015 National Council for Behavioral Health (NATCON 2015) in Orlando, Florida.  The conference provided the opportunity to participate in a variety of diverse and dynamic training sessions and to connect with fellow National Council for Behavioral Health members to discuss holistic health trends.

Among the various discussions and activities, Yanacek attended a presentation entitled, “The Value of Behavioral Health and the Science of Changing Social Norms,” by Pamela Hyde, J.D., Administrator for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Ms. Hyde spoke about the value of knowing your audience and the message that you are trying to communicate in order to be rewarded by behaviors you are hoping to achieve.  Hyde presented examples of marketing campaigns with a new and interesting flair.  She spoke about an anti-smoking campaign advertisement that never mentioned “not smoking,” but rather emphasized the value and social interest of telling a story that is embedded with an important message.

Ms. Hyde reviewed SAMHSA’s message: valuing health, the people who participate in services, and a strongly shared belief that “behavioral health is essential to health.”  Ms. Hyde encouraged participants to focus on prevention and treatment and on propagating the message that treatment works to encourage community members who may need behavioral health care to consider participating in services.

Additionally, Yanacek had the opportunity to meet author Don Buettner, who shared secrets of the best practices for health, happiness, and longevity. Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author whose works include Thrive, The Blue Zones Solutions and The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons For Living Longer.

Mr. Buettner identified five of the world’s “Blue Zones”- areas of the world where people live measurably longer lives. They include Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Icaria, Greece; and the community shared by the Seventh-Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California.  Although the residents in the Blue Zones live in different parts of the world, they shared nine lifestyle characteristics, referred to as the “Power 9.” The Power 9 behaviors include: move naturally, know your purpose, downshift and shed stress, follow an 80% rule (finish a meal when feeling 80% full), endorse plant slant (increase your vegetable intake), drink wine in moderation, belong to faith-based groups, put family first, and connect with right tribes (finding social connections with health-minded others).

Buettner shared project data from Albert Lea, Minnesota, where communities were asked to apply the “Power 9.” At the end of the first year, those who participated added an estimated 2.9 years onto their average lifespan.   As a result of the success of the “Power 9,” Buettner has initiated other Blue Zones in various areas of the United States.

Overall, Yanacek enjoyed the opportunity to represent New Vitae Wellness and Recovery at the 2015 NATCON.  She hopes to return in the future to ensure that New Vitae remains on the cutting edge of developments in holistic behavioral health practices.

For information about our treatment programs, contact New Vitae Wellness and Recovery today.


Pictured: Judy Yanacek meeting with Pamela Hyde (SAMHSA

Pictured: Yanacek and Don Buettner at the 2015 NATCON