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The Key Update, Volume 11, Number 6 - December 2014

SAMHSA Issues RFA for Statewide Consumer Network Grants 

“The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2015 Statewide Consumer Network grants. The purpose of this program is to improve mental health service delivery to people with serious mental illnesses. In so doing, it seeks to enhance statewide mental health consumer-run and -controlled organizations to promote service system capacity and infrastructure development that is consumer-driven, recovery-focused and resiliency-oriented. Toward that end, the program goals are to enhance consumer participation, voice and empowerment statewide and to promote activities related to: partnership development; peer support; training and skills development; trauma-informed peer support; integrated care and wellness; and/or health reform as part of the recovery process for consumers.” Applications are due by Feb. 2, 2015. For more information and to download the RFA, click here.


The Center for Social Innovation Offers Subcontracts for Health Reform Education Efforts

The Center for Social Innovation is providing up to eight subcontracts for $40,000 each to Peer-run Organizations/Recovery Community Organizations (PRO/RCOs) in states, territories and tribal jurisdictions. The Center, which operates the Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS), is offering these subcontracts “to carry out health reform education efforts specific to PRO/RCOs and individuals with addiction and mental health needs.” The period of performance is six months, beginning when the subcontract agreement is signed. “Capabilities statements” must be received by 5 p.m. ET on January 23, 2015. To access the Request for Capabilities Statements, click here. For more information, click here.


National Institute on Drug Abuse Seeks Input on 2015-2020 Strategic Plan

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is revitalizing its Strategic Plan to provide a framework for the research it will support over the next five years, and is inviting “input from researchers in academia and industry, health care professionals, patient advocates and advocacy organizations, scientific or professional organizations, federal agencies, and other interested members of the public.” For the current (2010) strategic plan, click here. For the Request for Information with the draft 2015-2020 strategic plan, click hereYour responses must be received by January 30, 2015, and should be emailed toNIDAOSPCPlanning@mail.nih.gov.


“Ask Me Anything”: A Free Webinar on Employment Will Provide Some Answers

Dr. Kim T. Mueser, a clinical psychologist whose expertise includes employment issues, will answer questions related to “how mental health issues interfere with getting a job, doing your best, or achieving your work goals” in a free, interactive webinar on January 21, 2015, at 2 p.m. ET. For more information and to register,click here. To subscribe to the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation “ecast,” which was the source of this information, and to view the ecast archive, click here. 


ABLE Act Is Signed into Law

On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act, which is a financial game changer for individuals with disabilities (as long as the onset of their disability occurred before age 26). The new law will let people who have disabilities open tax-free savings accounts where they can save up to $100,000 while still being eligible for Social Security and other government benefits, and they can hold on to their Medicaid coverage no matter how much money is in an ABLE account. Up to $14,000 annually can be deposited. Now, the states have to create regulations so that financial institutions can offer the accounts. For more information and “frequently asked questions,” click here.


Café TA Center Offers Information about Higher Education for Students with Mental Health Needs

“The Café TA Center takes a look at a pair of efforts to help both students who are transitioning to college for the first time, as well as those seeking to return to school after a health-related absence. While each of these approaches takes a different tack, both hold promise for helping students with mental health needs to succeed in higher education and enjoy the same benefits as their typical peers.” For the Café TA Center’s “New Models for Transition to Higher Education for Students with Mental Health Needs,” click here.


Researchers Find More Evidence That Guns, Not Mental Health Conditions, Cause Violence

An extensive new study by two Vanderbilt University researchers challenges the general public’s assumptions about gun violence and mental health conditions. “Fewer than 5 percent of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness,” they write. The study debunks the myths connecting mental illness and gun violence that arise in the aftermath of mass shootings. The researchers also note that individuals with mental health conditions are far more likely than the average person to be the victims of violent crime, rather than the perpetrators. For more information, click here. For the study, click here.


SAMHSA Issues Its Leading Change Accomplishments Report

On December 18, 2014, SAMHSA released its “Leading Change Accomplishments Report,” which highlights some key accomplishments SAMHSA has achieved through its Strategic Initiatives. “Through these initiatives,” SAMHSA writes, “SAMHSA has helped local behavioral health care providers take advantage of new opportunities under the Affordable Care Act and worked with states to ensure that SAMHSA block grants complement expanded Medicaid and private insurance coverage. In addition, SAMHSA launched new enrollment efforts to assist people with mental health and substance use disorders [to] get health coverage.” To download the free report, click here.


SPRC Announces Launch of New Video Series on Suicide Prevention

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) has launched a new video series, “SPARK: Suicide Prevention, Innovation, and Action.” According to the SPRC, “SPARK Talks are Short, Provocative, Action-oriented,Realistic, and Knowledgeable videos of leaders in the suicide prevention movement. Each of these innovators describes a new development or direction in the field that can have an impact on suicide and issues a call to action. SPRC invites you to spark conversation by sharing your own comments – along with the videos – via social media, newsletters, and websites, or by showing them as part of a presentation. You could spark innovation by using the videos and the associated resources to inform your own implementation. And you could spark action by submitting your success story via a form on the SPARK Talks website.” To access the videos and for more information, click here.


Condensed Version of “Sick,” Performed by Elizabeth Kenny, Is Available Online

A 15-minute version of “Sick,” a one-woman show performed by award-winning actor and playwright Elizabeth Kenny, is now available online at this link. To quote from her website, “Elizabeth was a healthy 32-year-old woman who went to the doctor for a common ailment. A year and a half later, she was being escorted by hospital orderlies to a coffee shop along with the rest of the level 5 patients from the psych ward. Her gripping – and often hilarious – story unfolds into a visceral, penetrating look at one patient’s collision with the medical industrial complex. It investigates how the intricate threads woven between healthcare providers, pharmaceutical makers, insurance companies, and medical educators unknowingly conspire to undermine patient care. This is the story of everyone trying hard to get it right…but getting it wrong anyway.”


Letter Outlines Home Care Rule Obligations of Public Entities under the ADA and Olmstead

On December 15, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a “Dear Colleague” letter describing public entities’ obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision as they are implementing the Department of Labor’s new home care rule. “This new Olmstead guidance gives consumers and advocates an important tool to prevent harm to people with disabilities and seniors as states are developing policies to implement the home care rule,” said Alison Barkoff, director of advocacy for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. “They should advocate for state policies that fund worker overtime and have the least impact on consumers and their workers. If their state is considering any policies that limit, cap, or restrict worker hours, advocates should ensure that the state is putting in place a process for people who could be placed at serious risk of institutionalization to be exempted from these policies.” For more information and to read the letter, click here.


Gravedigger at a Psychiatric Institution Will Finally Be Memorialized

Lawrence Mocha dug more than 1,500 graves for others who, like him, were inpatients at a state hospital in upstate New York, and he was buried there in a numbered grave when he died in 1968. But Mocha will soon receive a plaque bearing his name, The New York Times reports. This comes from the efforts of the Willard Cemetery Memorial Project, which has worked to restore the names of those who had been buried in anonymity at the state hospital. Many mental health advocates around the U.S. are engaged in the same initiative – arguing that it helps to reduce prejudice and discrimination – and have had some success. But the Office of Mental Health in New York has countered that, without the consent of family members, it would violate confidentiality to use individuals’ names on tombstones. Mocha’s family now having given their consent, the state will proceed with the memorial, potentially in a multidenominational ceremony to honor all those buried there.


Next National TA and Networking Teleconference Is Monday, January 26, at 1 p.m. ET

The next monthly national technical assistance and networking teleconference of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse will be on Monday, January 26, at 1 p.m. ET, noon CT, 11 a.m. MT, 10 a.m. PT, 8 a.m. in Hawaii. The call-in number is 866-906-0123; the pass code is 5037195#.The purpose of the calls is for peer movement activists from around the U.S. to get together, share information, and “network.” Join us! If you have a topic or topics you would like to see discussed on this call, please write to Susan Rogers srogers@mhasp.org with the word “Agenda” in the subject line. In addition, if you plan to participate, even if you don’t want to suggest an agenda item it would be helpful if you would email Susan Rogers at srogers@mhasp.org; this will make it easier to provide the participants with teleconference minutes. Thanks! If you would like a copy of any of the available minutes, please write to srogers@mhasp.orgwith the word “Minutes” in the subject line. (The calls are held on the third Monday of the month except when that is a holiday, such as in January and February, in which case they are held on the fourth Monday.)


Consumer-Driven Services Directory

The Clearinghouse welcomes all programs in which consumers play a significant role in leadership and operation to apply for inclusion in its Directory of Consumer-Driven Services. The directory, accessible athttp://www.cdsdirectory.org, is searchable by location, type of organization, and targeted clientele, and serves as a free resource for consumers, program administrators and researchers. Apply online athttp://www.cdsdirectory.org/database/cds.php , via fax at 215-636-6312, or by phone at 800-553-4KEY (4539). To receive an application by mail, write to info@cdsdirectory.org or NMHCSH Clearinghouse, 1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19107.


About The Key Update

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 11, No. 6, December 2014, http://www.mhselfhelp.org.  For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at 800-553-4539 x3812, 267-507-3812 (direct) orsrogers@mhasp.org.