Therapists can refer clients to psychiatry on UpLift. Psychiatric providers are available to answer questions about medication, changing treatment plans, side effects, and more.


Through a collaborative approach, harm reduction works within the realities of our world and addresses those truths, rather than deny them.


Through a collaborative approach, harm reduction works within the realities of our world and addresses those truths, rather than deny them.


Through a collaborative approach, harm reduction works within the realities of our world and addresses those truths, rather than deny them.


Through a collaborative approach, harm reduction works within the realities of our world and addresses those truths, rather than deny them.

Headshot of Kevin Conley, PMHNP
Provider Spotlight

Get to Know Kevin Conley, PMHNP

Kevin Conley, PMHNP is a psychiatric nurse practitioner on UpLift. He discusses treating the mind by helping people to care for their bodies and to realize thei

Get to Know Kevin Conley, PMHNP
Eliana Reyes, Content Strategist


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UpLift’s “Get to Know” series features our providers—so other providers can get to know them, learn from each other, and connect. 

This month’s featured provider is Kevin Conley, PMHNP.

What are you passionate about when it comes to psychiatry?

My passion lies in helping people feel better, so that they can maximize the value of their lives. I don’t mean monetarily: It’s about helping them maximize their happiness, their health, their wellbeing, their relationships—all these domains of life that are incredibly important to all of us. That's where my satisfaction comes from.

Connecting with people, helping people, that's what motivates me in my career, and that's what brings me joy in this job. When I can have a patient come to me and say, “Hey, you really helped me and my life's better because of the work we did together,” that's the most satisfaction I've ever had from a career.

What type of clients or areas do you specialize in working with?

I specialize in depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, and PTSD—I also treat many different conditions. But what I truly enjoy is supporting people with depression and anxiety. 

If a client is willing to put in the work and the commitment, you can help them alleviate the feelings of depression. For someone who has anxiety that’s disabling, you can help them work through anxiety. 

How do you believe change happens for a client? 

First, they have to be motivated for change. But I also often see people who have to be introduced to the idea that they can improve. People feel hopeless. The concept of living a higher quality of life isn't necessarily there. 

When you can get that idea to take hold a little bit and actually get them to the point where they're thinking, “You know what? Maybe I can actually be happy instead of being depressed like I’ve felt the last few years.” That can provide an impetus for change.

For the vast majority of us, we've had points in our lives where we've been happy. I introduce them to the idea that things can be better by taking people back there. 

If people can point to an event that causes a lot of their mental health struggles, if you get to the period before that, oftentimes, they were happier. Then you talk about that: Tell me about life before this. Were you doing well in school? Was your relationship with your family strong? Were you doing things that you enjoyed? 

Bring that history of happiness to the forefront, instead of it being this thing that seems so distant in the past. That can stimulate the thought of, “If things were good before, why can't I make them good again?” 

Most of us don't realize that we truly have the capability to fix what's wrong in our lives. That's a challenging thought. When you can get people to realize they have ability, people start changing pretty quick. 

One of the big questions I ask patients who respond with hopelessness or say they can’t do something is to ask them in a supportive way to think about something in their life that they wanted to do but couldn’t do. Not something that they failed at or that they didn’t put enough effort into—something they actually wanted to do with an external factor that you couldn't overcome. When most people think about that question, usually they’ll come back and tell me, “When I think about it, there wasn't anything I couldn't do.” All of a sudden everything that did seem hard isn't.

Regrets are only natural. But what you remember with that is that you didn't have the same amount of knowledge that you do now. A simple analogy would be that, if you learned to multiply in second grade, you wouldn’t be mad at first grade you for not knowing how to multiply. You weren’t introduced to the concept. 

Just about everybody drastically underestimates their potential for every facet of their life.

What inspired you to get into psychiatry?

It kind of just evolved that way. I didn’t pick it but I feel like, somehow, someway, I was led down this path. And the more I explored it, the more I realized it was the perfect fit for me.

When I first got into health care, I didn't have this burning desire to get into psychiatry. I actually wanted to do emergency medicine, and that's what I was working in. As a byproduct of that, I was forced to work with patients that were having mental health crises, because I was good at talking to them when they were really upset. The more I did it, the more I started falling in love with it. 

I have a helping nature. My ability to connect with people in a meaningful way has always been really strong. Even as a child, I was empathetic. The more I spoke with people in crisis—because that's really what I was doing—the more I recognized my ability to talk to people and actually communicate with them. Psychiatry was a perfect fit for me in that regard. 

Are there any resources you tend to share with people? 

I point people to exercise and a healthy diet in just about every session. That’s a universal recommendation I make across the board for pretty much everybody. 

I also recommend deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation as two other resources or things that I focus on heavily. I recommend deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation to all my anxious clients. I usually teach deep breathing during the second session then go over progressive muscle relaxation in the third session. For the people who actually do it, it’s really helpful and they improve. 

An example of how I suggest exercise for each individual is: let’s say I have a client who’s sedentary and doesn't do much physically. No exercise, maybe they get 500 steps a day. I've obviously got to tailor my recommendations around that. I can't tell that person to run three miles a day. They won’t make it through half a mile. 

When people tell me that they don’t exercise, the first thing I’ll tell them is to start walking. It’s free. You don’t need to go out and join a gym. If you have shoes, you can walk anywhere in the world. Just start walking everyday. If someone pushes back that they can’t walk for 30 minutes, I say to walk for 10 minutes, three times a day after meals, then build up from there.

Once it gets easier and enjoyable, we can start looking at how to make it harder. That could be increasing the pace or amount of time walking. Maybe it’s adding in something else like weightlifting. 

For diet, let’s say I have somebody who just eats fast food and hasn’t eaten vegetables in a while. I’ll say, “I understand you’re in this cycle in your diet but let’s look at making a small, incremental change. Tomorrow, instead of going to a fast food restaurant, why don’t you go to the store and buy a bag of grapes?” 

Incremental steps are important because when you introduce a concept to somebody then overwhelm them with that concept, chances are they’re not even going to start. Subtle, small changes are easier to implement, and it's easier to make it habitual, so that they grow.

What is your favorite way to practice self-care that you’d recommend to other providers? 

Two things. Sleep and weightlifting. 

Prioritizing and learning to perfect sleep is one of the biggest things. That's the area that we're most comfortable neglecting. But literally, perfecting sleep has been one of the biggest things to improve my life. 

Weightlifting—which is only a shade behind good sleep—I can say without a doubt that those two things not only improved my life but made me more motivated to improve my life. 

People hear the words weightlifting and they automatically think of some musclehead gym. No, you could go into any nursing home in America right now with a five pound set of dumbbells and start working with anyone there. If they have the cognitive ability to pick up the weight and move it, you can work with them. 

The stronger you get, the better your life becomes and the easier life gets in every way. The easier it is to move around, the more energy you'll have. Carrying in the groceries, picking up your kids, moving things around the house just gets easier. 

The harder you work on weightlifting, the more iron you move, the more confident you'll get. I started weightlifting when I was 19. I wasn't in a very good place. It became the first thing that I truly committed to. The stronger I got,  the more confident I got. When I got more confident, I became more self-assured. When I became more self-assured, it became easier for me to tune out influences that weren't good for me. 

What’s the last book you read or what book did you read recently that you would recommend to anyone?

One of the most influential books I've read is Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. That was really big and taught me a lot about communication, how to interact with people. Yeah, that's probably the one. 

What would you tell a therapist about working with UpLift psychiatry?

I’m all for it. I’m a big believer in it. We don’t get to see patients as often as therapists do, so working together is important because therapists can provide skills that can have effects that last longer than medication. Because they tend to know patients on a much deeper level, I value any information they share that can help me get to know a patient better, like symptoms and any treatment or medication history. Our psychiatry notes are also on UpLift for them to review and use as part of treatment. 

Why did you choose to use UpLift?

People are very patient-centered and outcome-oriented. The goal is to actually help people. The value, the commitment to actually improving lives feels real here. 

It’s a very supportive culture, like working with management is a good and easy experience. When I have concerns about anything, I know I can come to management and they don’t just passively address issues. I’ve had any kind of support I’ve ever needed. 

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About the author
Eliana Reyes, Content Strategist

Eliana Reyes is a content strategist and writer at UpLift.

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