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The Key Update, Volume 11, Number 9 - March 2015

#NoModernAsylums: Numerous Rebuttals to Controversial JAMA and NY Times Articles Calling for Return to Asylums

Following the publication of two controversial pieces – in JAMA and The New York Times, respectively – calling for a return to psychiatric asylums, articles and letters flooded the Internet. The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has devoted a webpage to many of the letters, including a number that were submitted to but not published in the Times. Clearinghouse executive director Joseph Rogers debated Dr. Dominic Sisti, lead author of the JAMA piece, on WHYY’s “Voices in the Family” – to listen to the archived show, click here – and a Mad in America blog reported on the show. (Subsequently, Sisti and Rogers were among the co-authors on aPhiladelphia Inquirer piece seeking common ground.) At the same time, the Twittersphere lit up with posts to #NoModernAsylums. The National Council’s president and CEO, Linda Rosenberg, weighed in: “The [JAMA] piece is dismissive of programs like Fountain House and of psychiatric survivors – the very places and people that taught us recovery is possible and should be expected.”


British Guide to “Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia” Is Available for Free Download

The British Psychological Society has published a guide entitled “Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia.” Its subtitle is “Why people sometimes hear voices, believe things that others find strange, or appear out of touch with reality, and what can help.” The authors write, “We hope that this report will contribute to a fundamental change that is already underway in how we as a society think about and offer help for ‘psychosis’ and ‘schizophrenia.’ ” With subheads such as “Everyone’s experiences are different,” “Many ‘normal’ people have unusual experiences,” and “Are mental health diagnoses meaningful? Do they refer to real ‘things’?,” this guide is enlightening. To download it for free, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris


Newsletter Focuses on How to Help Individuals with Mental Health Issues Who Have Been Incarcerated Rejoin Society

RECOVER-e Works, an electronic newsletter of the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies’ Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery, devoted its February 2015 edition to the intersection of forensic and mental health issues.” The issue includes “the case for integrating formerly incarcerated peers (people with a psychiatric diagnosis) into society, what providers can do to facilitate that process, and a few resources to help them.” The resources include how individuals who have been incarcerated can protect themselves from employment discrimination, how to gather evidence of rehabilitation, and more. To download a free copy, click here.


3 FAQs from People with Disabilities About Their Taxes

A blog on the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work website answers three questions of importance to individuals with disabilities: Are my disability benefits taxable?Do I need to report an Earned Income Tax Credit payment to Social Security?, and Do I need to report income tax refunds to Social Security? For the answers, click here.

Thanks, Transitions RTC


March 31 Is the Deadline for Two Important Opportunities

The deadline to apply to present a workshop at the NARPA (National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy) conference – to be held August 20-23, 2015, at the Embassy Suites Washington, DC, Convention Center – has been extended to March 31. For more information, click here. And Mental Health America 2015 awards nominations, including for the Clifford W. Beers Award, are also due by March 31. All award recipients will be honored during events held at Mental Health America’s 2015 Annual Conference, June 3-5, 2015, in Alexandria, Virginia, at the Hilton Mark Center. For more information, click here.


SAMHSA Extends Deadline for Voice Awards Nominations to April 10

SAMHSA’s Voice Awards program “honors consumer/peer leaders and television and film professionals who educate the public about behavioral health. Through their work and personal stories of resilience, both groups of leaders demonstrate that people with mental and/or substance use disorders can and do recover and lead meaningful lives.” To nominate a consumer/peer leader click here. To nominate a television or film productionclick here.


May 16 Is International Day of Protest Against ECT

On Saturday, May 16, 2015, there will be demonstrations protesting shock treatment (ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy) in nearly two dozen cities around the world (so far), most of which are in states around the U.S., plus four more in Canada, Scotland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Although some believe the benefits of ECT outweigh the risks, the risks of ECT – permanent amnesia and permanent deficits in cognitive abilities –have been confirmed by researchers such as Dr. Harold Sackeim, a well-known proponent of ECT, whose 2007 study in Neuropsychopharmacology concludes: "[T]his study provides the first evidence in a large, prospective sample that adverse cognitive effects can persist for an extended period, and that they characterize routine treatment with ECT in community settings.” In addition, reviews of and information about “Doctors of Deception: What They Don’t Want You to Know about Shock Treatment” are available here. For more information about the May 16 event, click here and here and here. If you are interested in organizing such an event, contact may16shockdemo@gmail.com or sources at one of the links above.


Two Free Webinars on Advocacy Will Be Hosted by BoardSource in Early April

BoardSource, which describes itself as “the only national organization focused exclusively on nonprofit governance,” writes: “… BoardSource and the Alliance for Justice invite you to join us for a series of free webinars on advocacy. In webinar #1, we’ll discuss what advocacy is – it’s much more than lobbying – and how it can help public charities accomplish their goals.” “Making the Case” Why Advocacy by Nonprofits Is So Important,” will take place on April 2, 2015 at 2 p.m. ET. Then, on April 9 at 2 p.m. ET, BoardSource will present “You CAN Advocate: Overview of the Legal Rules.” “Contrary to popular myth, 501(c)(3) public charities can lobby,” BoardSource writes. “In this webinar … we’ll provide an overview of what counts as lobbying…and how much you can legally do.” To register for one of these BoardSource webinars and to get information about their other webinars as well as other resources, Google BoardSource.


“Recovery Is Breaking Through,” Says New Café TA Center Publication

“While the concept of recovery has more and more become a permanent fixture in the mental health world, it has yet to gain similar traction among the general public. However, the process of introducing the larger population to mental health recovery is happening now, with different groups working on multiple fronts to move recovery into the mainstream,” according to the latest edition of the Café TA Center’s free publication, “Focus.” “The consequences of these efforts have the potential to determine the shape of the mental health system for years to come.” To download the free publication, click here.   


Free Webinar on Motivational Interviewing for Peer Support Providers

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery is hosting a free webinar on “Motivational Interviewing for Peer Support Providers” on April 9, 2015, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET. Motivational interviewing is “designed to strengthen an individual’s motivation for and movement toward a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.” To register for the webinar, click here.


“Say It Out Loud” Campaign Addresses Depression in Teens

NAMI has launched a campaign to “get teens talking about mental health.” More than half of teens who have a mental health condition are not getting the help they need, according to NAMI’s Say It Out Loud web page. Citing prejudice as a major barrier to teens getting needed help, NAMI writes, “Raising awareness by sharing information and starting conversations about mental health is key in reducing these [negative] perceptions and increasing the likelihood that teens will seek mental health care when they need it.” NAMI’s “Say It Out Loud” web page offers links to a toolkit to help adults talk to faith-based or community youth groups about mental health issues. For links to the toolkit and other information, click here.


Second Annual Mental Health & Dignity Day to Take Place May 3, 2015

The second annual national Mental Health & Dignity Day is being planned for the first Sunday in May, May 3, 2015, in part as a way to commemorate Mental Health Month. On their Facebook page, the organizers write, “Help us to set the agenda for 2015 by providing input on what issues you think are most important as it relates to mental health, dignity, human rights, that can be addressed at our events. Are you interested in seeing an event happen in your community? Would you like to recognize National Mental Health & Dignity [Day] as a part of your existing activities in May? Get in touch with us; we would love to ‘hear’ from you!” The Facebook page is available here.


Are You a Journalist or Do You Know One Who Might Be Interested? Applications for Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowships Are Due by April 17

“As part of an international effort to reduce stigma and discrimination, The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism provide stipends to journalists ... to increase accurate reporting on mental health issues and decrease incorrect, stereotypical information; help journalists produce high-quality work that reflects an understanding of mental health issues through exposure to well-established resources in the field; and develop a cadre of better-informed print and electronic journalists who will more accurately report information through newspapers, magazines, radio, television, film, and online and social media, influencing their peers to do the same.” Applications should be submitted no later than April 17, 2015. To apply, click here.


Strange But True: “Psychoanalysis” Comics from the 1950s

“Psychoanalysis,” which only lasted for four issues, was published by Entertaining Comics in 1955. It was approved by the Comics Code Authority, “but newsstands were reluctant to display it,” according to a blog in the UK. “The comic featured three patients, Freddy Carter, Ellen Lyman and Mark Stone, who were undergoing psychoanalysis. The analyst was the central character. He was never named, simply listed as The Psychiatrist. Ellen Lyman did not appear in the fourth and final issue, having been cured in the third issue,” the blog reports. To view the comics for free online, click here.

Thanks, Keris Myrick


Special National TA and Networking Teleconference on April 20 Will Feature a Presentation on Career Development for CPS

The next monthly national technical assistance and networking teleconference of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse will be on Monday, April 20, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET, noon CT, 11 a.m. MT, 10 a.m. PT, 7 a.m. in Hawaii. The call-in number is 866-906-0123; the pass code is 5037195#. It will feature a presentation on career development for certified peer specialists followed by a discussion. Thousands of trained and certified behavioral health peer workers are now employed across the country in most states with Medicaid reimbursement.  Efforts are also underway to develop national peer worker standards. As this new peer workforce grows, it’s essential to identify and create peer career development and promotion opportunities so that certified peer workers earn salaries consistent with their skills and are able to move ahead in their careers. Accomplishing this will require numerous strategies, including enabling certified peer workers to obtain academic credit and educational credentials. During our April 20th call, Jessica Wolf, founder of the Facebook Group “Education Pays! Peer Career Development,” will facilitate a discussion on individual and systemic peer career development strategies. We hope you will join us!

The presenter, Jessica Wolf, Ph.D., is principal of Decision Solutions, a behavioral health workforce consulting practice emphasizing peer education, training, and employment. She is also an assistant clinical professor in the Yale University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. Her extensive administrative and educational experience includes 16 years as coordinator of the Housatonic Community College MERGE Mental Health Certificate Program. She has personal and family experience of mental health conditions.

If you plan to participate, 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.org with 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. 9, March 2015, http://www.mhselfhelp.org. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at srogers@mhasp.org or 800-553-4539 x3812, 267-507-3812 (direct).