Interview with 2018 National Conference Keynote Speaker David Covington on Crisis Now, Zero Suicide and the peer workforce

Jul 31, 2018, 10:55 AM

Running time 41.55

At the 2018 National Suicide Prevention Conference held in Adelaide SA we were delighted to welcome David Covington as one of our international speakers. David kindly talked with us following his Plenary Presentations and Workshops at the conference so that those of you who couldn't be there in person could hear some of his key points and learnings.

More on Mr Covington below.

David Covington, LPC, MBA serves as CEO and President of RI International, is a partner in Behavioral Health Link, co-founder of CrisisTech 360 and leads the international initiatives “Crisis Now,” “Zero Suicide” and “Peer 2.0.” He is a two-time national winner of the Council of State Governments Innovations Award, in 2008 with the Georgia Crisis & Access Line and again in 2012 with Magellan Health. For five consecutive years, he competed as a national finalist in innovations competitions, including Harvard’s Innovations in American Government in 2009, and was featured in Business Week magazine (Innovate Timeline).

He is an acclaimed global speaker and blogger having visited 35 countries (Where in the World Is?), with top-ranked TED-style Talks and conference keynotes. Previously he served as Vice-President at Magellan Health responsible for the executive and clinical operations of the $750 million per year contract with Arizona Medicaid. Mr. Covington is a member of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) established in 2017 in accordance with the 21st Century Cures Act to report to Congress on advances in behavioural health.

Mr. Covington is the President-Elect of the American Association of Suicidology and has served on its Board of Directors since 2014. He has served on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Executive Committee since it was created in 2010, co-chairing task forces on clinical care and crisis services (Research Publications). In 2016, he became the Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline SAMHSA Steering Committee after serving as Vice-Chair from its creation in 2005. He also served on the National Council for Behavioral Health Board of Directors from 2011 to 2014.

Mr. Covington’s management history also includes CEO of Behavioral Health Link and Director of Public Sector Quality Management at APS Healthcare. He is a licensed professional counsellor and has an MBA from Kennesaw State and a Master’s of Science from the University of Memphis. His personal achievements include the 2008 Boston marathon and 2013 Fear Factor.


It is so important to talk openly and safely about suicide but, if listening to this triggers difficult emotions in you, please talk about how you’re feeling with a trusted family member, friend or people at one of our partner organisations. Call Lifeline on 131114, MensLine 1300 78 99 78, Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 or Kids Helpline 1800 551800 FREE. Click here for a comprehensive list of these and other support services.