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The Business of Mental Health

Join Dave Ballenberger, M.S.W. and Kristin Sunanta Walker for a series like no other in the world of podcasting about mental health. Guests include CEO’s of mental health organizations, technology companies that support mental health, innovators in the field of business and tech in one of the most under-funded sectors of healthcare. We go behind the scenes of the business of mental healthcare.

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David E. Ballenberger, M.S.W., has forty years’ experience gained in various social work capacities from direct care and counseling to administration, with emphasis on behavioral treatment program development. Mr. Ballenberger has held a variety of senior leadership positions throughout his career serving adults, families, and children through residential, outpatient, and community support programs at organizations including Rose Hill Center, Camp Oakland Youth Programs, Rubicon Odyssey, and Boysville of Michigan.

During his successful career, he provided direct care of delinquent, neglected, and abused adolescents; operated an adolescent substance abuse program; directed outdoor education, independent living, group homes, family counseling, aftercare, and school social work programs. This includes designing programs in independent living preparation; supervising independent living, day treatment, short-term residential care, and aftercare; developing the first group home program in the State of Indiana; managing transition from public agency to private non-profit status; and designing early intervention programs.

A noted expert in developing and implementing programs, he has used and developed technology for staff training, program management, and streamlined evidence-based practice and accreditation compliance processes. Mr. Ballenberger also serves on the Board of Directors of Mental Illness Research Association (MIRA) and the Mental Health Association of Michigan. Additionally, he is an active member of other organizations including NAMI, the Michigan Federation of Private Child and Family Agencies, the Michigan Alliance of Children’s Agencies, and the Michigan League of Human Services.

Mr. Ballenberger served as President of an advanced technology company utilizing artificial intelligence throughout their products such as electronic healthcare records software for behavioral health.  He oversaw all operations including product design, implementation, marketing and sales.  This includes promoting the newest suite of web-based products intended for private practices, residential service providers, and hospitals.

Kristin Sunanta Walker is the founder and CEO of Mental Health News Radio Network. She has spent over thirty years as an advocate and volunteer in the mental health field. Kristin is also the CEO of a technology consulting firm, everythingEHR, that supports mental health. Her network of podcasters from all over the globe have also moved into the digital media realm. Hosting a series about how mental healthcare is run from a business perspective has been a passion of hers for over a decade. She often speaks at national venues about electronic healthcare record technology and how better systems allow practitioners to better support their patients. Better patient care for mental health treatment with the use of advanced, thoughtful, and easy to use technology reflects on the entire industry of mental health. Her mission with everythingEHR was to blow the lid off the EHR vendors in mental health that used fear tactics in their marketing strategies, unscrupulous sales practices, and faulty technology on the profession she believes in passionately. One of her most shared quotes during a talk at National Council for Behavioral Health was, “We are talking about some of the most private and stigmatized information: your mental health records. If you wouldn’t want your families mental health information in a system, don’t put your patients into that system either.”

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