I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeffrey McQueen, MBA, LCDC, the Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Nassau County (MHANC). Mr. McQueen is a combat veteran who has live experience with multiple facets of recovery. Prior to his journey in recovery, Mr. McQueen has experienced several institutions battling emotional distress, PTSD, and substance abuse. Mr. McQueen has presented implementation techniques throughout the country on topics such as Personal Growth and Change, Time Management and other Recovery Based modalities. He has learned from a variety of adversities and obstacles throughout his recovery process and has embraced these experiences as well as learned to use them to not just educate society, but to find purpose and empowerment in these experiences.
As Executive Director of MHANC, Mr. McQueen takes a unique position and works for his staff to makes sure that they’re armed with the appropriate tools and knowledge to get the job done and support their community in becoming the healthiest community it can be. Holding the candle and fanning the flame of desire for recovery so that recovery isn’t simply possible or probable but expected. When the right care is provided and the staff supporting them cares about outcomes, then those they serve get better. Mr. McQueen’s job is to provide the community with vision, tools and people that assures them recovery is inevitable.
Congratulations on being selected for our July cover. What does it mean to you to be selected from the stiff competition? “First off, thank you for selecting me as just one of the community leaders in behavioral health. It’s truly an honor. What it means is that Industry Rules sees into the mission of my work and felt that there was a story worth telling. I’m grateful for that!” You certainly have a background that relates to your mission so therefore, you not only walk the walk, but you certainly talk the talk. “Absolutely! My background is simple as I was a kid with humble beginnings from South Bronx that was a product of his environment. With two great parents at home, I still managed to allow the community and its determinisms to raise me. After years of untreated mental illness, substance use disorder and incarceration, I managed to find my way to solid ground and believed that there was a community that could use my lived experience and grow from it and quite possibly, maybe even avoid having to experience the trauma for themselves. I pursued a higher education and now have an MBA from Syracuse University, became a licensed chemical dependency counselor, and have since been living my life in the service of others.” I truly admire and commend you for that.
With your background, I know you could lead any organization that services people with mental health challenges. How did you come to working with MHAMC? “After having lived in many states, I returned to my roots in NYC and pursued a career in behavioral health. MHANC had a mission that spoke to my passion. MHANC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to improving mental health in our community while fostering awareness for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our behavioral health care system through advocacy,
education, program development and the delivery of direct services. We have 32 different programs I won’t name them all, but we have housing programs, support and recovery-oriented programs, crisis diversion programs, mobile and community-based programs along with restorative and assistant programs. Further, we have programs that provide training and awareness, programs for veterans and their families, as well as advocacy programs.” I can see why the mission of the organization spoke to you. “Yes, we proudly serve approximately 9,328 people annually and the number continues to grow. We are a membership-based organization, so we gain new supporters by renowned publicity like Industry Rules giving us the platform to tell our story. I’ve learned that word of mouth is still the best form of advertising. When we work hard to provide quality care in the community, word gets out and people support that.” Industry Rules is proud to highlight your great work and the programs that you offer to the community as sadly, the number of mental health patients is on the rise.
Please tell us about the Overdose Prevention & Awareness Walk at Jones Beach October 8, 2022. “Gone But Not Forgotten is a Walk at Jones Beach that stands on 3 pillars. Awareness, Fundraising, and the Expansion of Community Outreach. Overdose is the number one cause of accidental death in America. An epidemic of this proportion in our community requires a community response. The goal of this annual Walk is to make the community aware, request their involvement through action and donations, and utilize this vast support to expand implementation of the 4 leading interventions such as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Narcan Training, Harm Reduction Services, and education to individuals struggling with opioids, their family and loved ones. If anybody would like to learn more, please visit our website www.mhanc.org to register for the Walk and donate. Thank you!”
What advice would you give your 10-year-old self? “I think I would say if you decided that you don’t like the way things are looking, then change the way you are looking at things. Your present situation isn’t your final destination.” What is one thing you can share with us that most people don’t know? “I must have my socks match my shirt. Lol no seriously, I’m always afraid when I’m in a place of change, and that change has always been the start of growth.”