Recovery Summit 2022 – Limelight Interview

recovery summit

Nice to virtually meet you! Karen Zultak and Debra Johnson of St Clair County Community Mental Health


It is National Recovery Month, and what better time to interview representatives from St. Claire County Community Mental Health (SCCCMH). They are an organization that exemplifies the best in community mental health support and partnership. We sat down with Executive Director, Debra Johnson, and Karen Zultak, CCBHC Project Director, to talk about their 3rd Annual Recovery Summit. The Summit contains 19 sessions throughout the month of September. Registration is ongoing (with plenty still to see) and can be accessed by clicking the link below:


SCCCMH Recovery Summit 2022

Limelight Interview

1. What can you tell us about the Recovery Summit 2022?

Debra Johnson: This is our 3rd Annual Recovery Summit. We were all set to have the first summit in-person and of course COVID hit and we had to change to a virtual platform. It actually turned out better for us – we have had 450 to 500 attendees each year, which we probably would not have had if it had been in person. We live in a small community and the virtual platform gave us a bigger audience. There are a lot of doctors attending. We give out free CMEs and CEUs for Social Worker and MCBAP plans. So, even though we could go to an in-person format we have decided to keep things as is. There is also the option to attend on Facebook Live.

Karen Zultak: We are a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) since 2019. That changed the way we are funded and opened us up to be able to serve a wider variety of people. All the way from mild to moderate, to people that have serious mental illness. Now we are able to supply substance use disorder treatment to anyone, and they do not have to have a co-occurring mental health diagnosis. The Recovery Summit reflects the broad base of our reach.


2. What type of programs are featured?

Debra Johnson: Presentations and round table discussions with local, state and national speakers from medical community, public health, law enforcement, and the recovery community. This year we have at least six presentations focused on youth. Like talking to your teenager about substance use. The event will bring together physicians, healthcare workers, human service professionals, law enforcement officers, school personnel, local government, first responders, the recovery community and others.

Karen Zultak: We are talking about what we doing in our community to address treatment needs, prevention, harm reduction initiatives, partnerships between law enforcement and our mobile crisis unit. We are focusing on the positive aspects of what we are doing in our community. There are sessions on recovery stories, motivational presentations, and doctors from U of M talking about pain management.


3. Your format for the Summit is unique – just one presentation per day?

Karen Zultak: Yes, there is a presentation each weekday for the month. We have found that the lesser time commitment and the ability to pick and choose the sessions that are relevant to attendees works well for busy schedules.

Debra Johnson: It works especially well with doctors. If they are willing to sit in on one or two presentations we are happy. It means we are providing more behavioral health education to physicians in our community.


4. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Debra Johnson: Just how important we think this Recovery Summit is. Recovery is for everyone – it benefits everyone. When someone is in recovery they are more able to live, work, learn, and fully participate in their community. That makes all of us a stronger, better community with stronger family systems. We are just really happy to do this. Another thing we are always trying to address is the stigma that is associated with treatment. Whether it is for substance use disorder or behavioral health issues. I was hoping that sometime before I retired the stigma would lessen. But we still know it’s the number one reason people do not access treatment. We know that people do not choose to have an addiction. They do not choose to have a mental health disorder, and so we need to get rid of that stigma!

Words to live by. Thanks Debra and Karen!


Click the link below to register (or go to Facebook Live). Sanford Behavioral Health’s Lori Kehoe, MA, Program Director, Sanford Comprehensive Treatment for Eating Disorders will present “The Link Between Eating Disorders and Substance Use” Tuesday, September 27th, 2022 at noon.



Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit