The Southwestern School for Behavioral Health Studies (SWS) was founded in 1968 under the umbrella of the Southwestern School of Alcohol Studies. In 1974, the SWS was incorporated as a non-profit entity to engage in activities that provide education, training, research, and technical assistance in the field of behavioral health (including, but not limited to addiction treatment). From 1986 to 2000, the SWS was financially supported by Carondelet Health Network in Tucson. In 2001, EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center took over as the major sponsor; and continues the SWS’ legacy.
The main purpose of the SWS is to effectively meet the educational needs of professionals and organizations committed to serving individuals experiencing behavioral health issues. An Advisory Board, comprised of representatives from state agencies and the provider community, guides the planning and implementation of the SWS.
The major activity of the SWS is a five-day conference held annually in Tucson, Arizona. This conference features nationally known speakers and local presenters addressing a wide range of topics relevant to behavioral health, child welfare and addiction, to name a few. To date, thousands of professionals have participated in the training opportunities provided by the SWS; and have earned continuing education hours in their respective disciplines. Some of these disciplines include: counseling, social work, addiction, education, criminal justice, psychology and nursing. The SWS is committed to the continued education and excellence of these professionals.