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National Council for Mental Wellbeing Welcomes Dr. Douglas Knutson to MHFA Research Advisory Group

National Council for Mental Wellbeing Welcomes Dr. Douglas Knutson to MHFA Research Advisory Group

Douglas Knutson Headshot

With a strong commitment to providing evidence-based programs, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a beacon of hope for individuals seeking to support those in their communities who may be experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. In 2021, took a significant step toward enriching its research efforts by forming the MHFA Research Advisory Group, which brings together esteemed mental health researchers to inform research and evaluation of MHFA programs, ensuring that courses are evidence based, current, responsive and focused on mental health equity.

Ten advisors joined the advisory group this year, including Douglas Knutson, PhD, LHSP, ABPP. In this blog, we share his reflections on his new role.

Dedicated to Hope

Dr. Knutson is an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University in the School of Community Health Sciences, Counseling and Counseling Psychology. He is a licensed health service psychologist in Oklahoma and board certified in counseling psychology. His journey to becoming an MHFA research advisor exemplifies his dedication to providing hope to those in need. Throughout his career, he has been a champion for LGBTQ+ health, and he has a strong scholarly record in trans and nonbinary affirming care.

“I have dedicated my career to reducing distress and giving hope to the hurting people in our world. Joining the MHFA Research Advisory Group gave me the opportunity to partner with an incredible team of dedicated, accomplished scholars with the same passion, values and goals. I mean, who would pass that up? If I am being honest, I find myself sitting in the advisory group meetings pinching myself to make sure I am not dreaming and wondering how I got into such an elite group of researchers and advocates. To be included in this group is quite an honor.”

A Proud Moment

“I called my mom when I joined the advisory group to boast about it. (I love making her proud.) She works at a large government agency that supports people with disabilities and she said, ‘I know people who deliver MHFA!’ I got even more excited that I would have the opportunity to help shape the life-saving curricula that my mom’s coworkers and others deliver every day.”

Cultural Responsiveness and Inclusivity

One of Dr. Knutson’s core objectives as a research advisor is to ensure that MHFA is culturally responsive and affirming for all communities. As a dedicated researcher and advocate for LGBTQ+ health, Dr. Knutson brings invaluable insights into how MHFA can serve diverse cultures.

“I’m looking forward to discussing ways to make MHFA more culturally responsive and affirming for a wide range of people and communities. My hope is to contribute my perspective and insights as a gay Oklahoma researcher with a strong scholarly record in trans and nonbinary affirming care to the work of further expanding and strengthening MHFA and its power to save lives across the diverse and rich cultures that make our world beautiful.”

Dr. Douglas Knutson’s addition to the MHFA Research Advisory Group is another step forward in MHFA’s mission to improve mental health equity, inclusivity and evidence-based programs. The group continues to unite a diverse group of scholars with a shared passion for healing and hope. With Dr. Knutson’s dedication and unique insights, MHFA is better equipped than ever to make a meaningful impact in communities across the United States.

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