Mental Health News Radio

Meet the Faces of Mental Health News Radio: Melanie Vann, Counseling and Program Director

We start with our Program Director, resident counselor, and Marketing & Advocacy Director, Melanie Vann. 

A trained behavioral health expert who’s innately intrigued by all that people come to endure during their lifetime, Melanie Vann has been working with Mental Health News Radio and everythingEHR since May 2015. Over the past year and change, her role with the MHNR team has evolved considerably, as she moved quickly from small marketing tasks to a more prominent role in show hosting and management.

Whether she’s on-air co-hosting or behind the scenes vetting guests or writing her next blog post, Melanie draws on her years in private practice as a counselor, life coach, and equine therapist to bring to light the hottest topics of behavioral health today. For more on what makes Melanie tick—and what’s to come regarding her role at MHNR—keep reading.

Therapy Dogs Working with Special Needs Kids in the Classroom

buddyandmylesMost of our listeners and readers know all about Myles the Therapy Dog. He’s been in parades, traveled all over the United States, and logged miles of visits in outpatient and inpatient mental health organizations. He’s also worked at schools in special needs classrooms. We added his younger brother, Buddy, to the program as Myles got older. Buddy does most of the ball catching and delivering while Myles makes rounds to each patient or student so they can pet him and give him treats.

Right from the Horses Mouth: Equine Assisted Therapy with Mental Health Patients Works!


Join us for a discussion about the therapeutic benefits of using horses in Behavioral Health therapy. All of us at Mental Health News Radio are animal lovers with a passion for animal-assisted therapy. Our very own Melanie Vann will be co-hosting a series of radio shows interviewing the passionate human beings that devote their time to this unique therapeutic effort. Our guests, Kristin Fitzgerald and Melanie Vann, discuss the benefits, roots, and models for Equine Assisted Therapy. More information is included in their accompanying blog article.

We’ve never done a show like this one!  

blog-talk-radioListen to the show!  

Welcome Melanie Vann, M.A. Counseling Psychology, Behavioral Health HIPAA Instructor

Please join us in welcoming Melanie Vann to everythingEHR. Melanie is working with our Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers and Public Behavioral Health Centers on HIPAA compliance and training. She works onsite with practices taking a view of all departments from administrative staff to the clinical team to make sure all processes are being followed that are specific to a behavioral health environment. 

Melanie joins us on Mental Health News Radio to discuss her love of animal-assisted therapy. She’s also our Creative Director, handling all of our marketing efforts for everythingEHR and our advocacy radio show. We could not do all that we do without her!



Therapy Dogs and College Students: Helping Students De-Stress Before Exams

Myles and Buddy Visit Western Carolina University Library At Exam Time!

Long Night Against ProcrastinationLast night Myles and his younger brother, Buddy, had so much fun!  The librarians at Western (North) Carolina University invited our CEO, Kristin Walker, to bring her therapy dogs to their event, “Long Night Against Procrastination!”  This idea “began in Germany and is gaining popularity in the US and Canada.  Students … have the opportunity to focus on specific projects in a safe and supportive space improving time management skills, reducing stress and enhancing academic performance.”  The library stayed open until 2 the next morning and even hosted a “survivor’s breakfast” at 1:30 am.

Animal-Assisted Therapy: What’s all the Bark About?


Our therapy dogs, Myles and Buddy, were very busy the month of November. They were asked to take part in a course given by NCTide on the importance of using animals during behavioral health therapy. Led by Jill Queen, the president of NCTide, Kristin Walker, therapy dog handler, and Barbara Love, mental health counselor.  Kristin also presented 2 additional sessions on what is trending next in behavioral health technology.

nctideWe decided to make this course experiential. We had about thirty participants join and had them sit in a large circle. Myles and Buddy sat in the middle of the circle with Barbara Love and Kristin Walker. Thankfully someone remembered to bring a lint roller! All we saw were a sea of black pant legs begging to be covered in hair.  

Animal Assisted Therapy: Sacred Spaces

The best day of every week is Friday. It’s been this way for almost five years. This has nothing to do with Friday being the end of the work week. Myles in landscape-b526d9a94bFirst of all, being self-employed, Friday’s are often not the end of my work week. Friday afternoons are about bringing the sweetest soul I have ever known to visit people in counseling. Myles McHenry Stover is an eight year old Border collie that loves everyone from UPS drivers to feral kittens to neurotic women (me) and is especially sensitive to people in emotional pain. It is hard to describe what he does for people. I feel privileged to have witnessed some of the most private and intense moments while watching him work. Someone can be locked inside their mental trauma and somehow Myles has the key to their particular door for a few moments of relief.  

Mental Health News Radio: An Interview with Jill Queen of Cardinal Innovations and NC Tide

JillQueenJill Queen is the Regional Quality Manager for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions and President of North Carolina Training, Instruction, Development and Education (NC TIDE), one of North Carolina’s premier training organizations for the behavioral healthcare industry.




A Thank You for Myles

mylesandbuddyToday was special for Myles.  He’s been visiting patients for about four years at the same place, every week. Puppy Prozac is what he’s called and the only time he was “off duty” was for a few months this year with a foot injury. He is getting older so we spend more time on the floor rolling around rather than chasing tennis balls up and down hallways.  


He’s big for a Border collie – big boned – a gentle giant. Hips are giving way a bit so jumping up is not welcome, although he does try. I was laughing with some of the patients today about how we used to spend an hour with him waking everyone up. No one could stay in their hospital rooms with Myles barking and running after the ball – especially when we purposely slammed them into doors. I remember being in the elevator and a nurse on the floor beneath the behavioral health unit joined us. She asked if we could ever come downstairs because they can hear us having so much fun. “Fun!” she said. Who would have thought FUN was part of a mental health ward? It is though. Even with the slower pace. Even with the focus on eating treats and getting his hair brushed, it is still fun. People are still smiling when he shows up and the one’s who weren’t are smiling when we leave.  

Myles the Therapy Dog Back at Work


This is a tired dog. Myles had a few months off from therapy dog work. After his first visit back, he headed straight for his bed. Our family has been grieving the passing of my father in February of this year and volunteer work went by the wayside for a short while. We tried getting back to it before we were really ready but that didn’t last long. There is nothing as motivating as the hospital calling and begging you to come for a visit, “The patients miss you both, please come back.” Even those requests had to be ignored. I finally sent an email to the director of the behavioral health unit letting him know what was going on, “I am sorry but my father died and the entire family is devastated. I am in shock. Myles is working overtime at home for all of us. I just don’t have it in me to show up right now.”

This is the great thing about working with counselors.  They get it.  There is no conversation about feelings or life circumstance that you can’t have and discuss. He was, of course, supportive and told me to take all the time I needed. Myles and I are welcome back as soon as we are ready. About three Fridays ago we were finally ready.  


Mental Health News RadioListen to Stitcher