Key Update: March 2011
Volume 7, Number 9


News and Alerts

Alternatives 2011 to Feature Youth Plenary Panel

The Alternatives 2011 Advisory Committee is planning a “Voices of Youth” plenary panel at the national conference, to be held at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 26-30, 2011. “As many of the leaders of the consumer/survivor movement get older, it is especially important to foster the growing cadre of young activists, who can keep the momentum going in the ongoing struggle for social justice,” said Joseph Rogers, executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is organizing and hosting this year’s Alternatives conference, whose theme is “Coming Home: Creating Our Own Communities of Wellness and Recovery.” More information, including details about SAMHSA scholarships and the Call for Papers, will be provided as it becomes available on the new Alternatives 2011 Web site: http://www.alternatives2011.org. Questions? Please e-mail the Clearinghouse at info@mhselfhelp.org. Also see http://www.mhselfhelp.org/resources/view.php?resource_id=697 for suggestions about alternative ways to obtain funding to attend the conference, since scholarships are limited.

Source: http://www.mhselfhelp.org/

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Webinar on Employment-Related Peer Mentoring to Be Held on April 12

A webinar on using peer mentors to provide employment-related supports to consumers will be held on April 12, 2011, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. The presentation – organized by PeerLink Technical Assistance Center, a consumer-run national technical assistance center funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – will be based on the Employment Peer Mentor project, which was piloted by a small group of consumer-run organizations in Oregon and is now being expanded. For the web-based part of the conference, log onto www.readytalk.com and enter the passcode 8200138. To hear the audio, call 1-866-305-2467 and enter 518298. To view the flyer, go to WEBINAR 4.12.11 FLYER.pdf

Source: http://www.peerlink.us/Home

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Boston University Disability Research Products Available

Boston University’s Disability Research Right to Know (DRRK) website (http://drrk.bu.edu) is a resource for consumers, researchers, providers, policy makers and others. Through research syntheses, information products and community forums, DRRK fosters the everyday use of disability research. There is information on Understanding Mental Health Research, Peer Services, Supported Education and Supported Housing. Please visit the website and offer feedback on whether the information is useful to you. (If you click on “Information Products,” you will see the following message: “Information Products are currently restricted to members that have existing association with partner organizations. To access or request access simply click the appropriate partner.” To gain access, click on the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse link.)

Source: http://drrk.bu.edu

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SAMHSA Now Accepting Nominations for 2011 Voice Awards

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting nominations for its 2011 Voice Awards. Voice Awards honor peer or consumer leaders who distinguish themselves in educating the public about behavioral health issues. This year, SAMHSA is especially considering peer leaders who have advocated for trauma survivors and for trauma-informed care. Nominees are sought who have promoted the social inclusion of individuals with histories of trauma, have personally demonstrated the possibility of recovery, and have made a positive impact in their school, workplace or community. Voice Award nominations are also being accepted for an eligible TV or film production that was released after April 15, 2010. All nominations are due by April 22, 2011. The awards ceremony will take place on August 24, 2011, at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Calif. To nominate an eligible consumer/peer leader or an eligible TV or film production, go to the Voice Awards website at www.voiceawards.samhsa.gov.

Source: http://www.samhsa.gov

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Coalition for Homeless Veterans Conference to be Held in June

The 2011 National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) Annual Conference and Membership Meeting will be held June 6-8, 2011, at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C. The 2011 conference will mark the second year of the Obama administration’s Five-Year Plan to End Homelessness among Veterans. The conference will offer updates from federal agencies, training on topics across the spectrum of homeless veteran services and issues, and networking with service providers from across the country. Conference fees are the same as last year: three-day registration fees for the 2011 NCHV Annual Conference are $395 for members and $475 for non-members. Visit http://www.nchv.org/annualconference.cfm for details.

Source: http://nchv.org

Courtesy of Mental Health America

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Filmmaker Daniel Mackler’s Short Documentaries on Recovering from Mental Illnesses Are Available

Trailers for Daniel Mackler’s three films on alternative methods for recovering from psychosis can be viewed for free at the website Beyond Meds http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/finnishopendialogue/. Click on the green hypertext word “here” in the first paragraph to preview the films, “Take These Broken Wings,” “Open Dialogue,” and “Healing Homes.” Also at this web address, Mackler comments on making the film “Open Dialogue” about the alternative treatment offered to individuals with psychosis in western Lapland, often without medications. The films can also be purchased from this website.

Source: http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/finnishopendialogue/

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International Panel Promotes Health Care Partnerships

Fifty-eight health care professionals and researchers from 18 countries who met in December 2010 at the Salzburg Global Seminar have agreed that clients and health care professionals should be “co-producers of health.” According to their statement in the British Medical Journal, clinicians must “recognise (sic) that they have an ethical imperative to share important decisions with patients; stimulate a two-way flow of information and encourage patients to ask questions, explain their circumstances, and express their personal preferences; provide accurate information about options and the uncertainties, benefits, and harms of treatment in line with best practice for risk communication; tailor information to individual patient needs and allow them sufficient time to consider their options; and acknowledge that most decisions do not have to be taken immediately, and give patients and their families the resources and help to reach decisions.”

Source: http://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHealthPolicy/GeneralProfessionalIssues/25527

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Antipsychotic Medications May Contribute to Reduction in Brain Volume

The medications frequently used to treat individuals with schizophrenia seem to be associated with a reduction in volume of brain tissue, according to a study published in the February issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Experts have assumed that reduction in brain volume of people with schizophrenia is a result of the illness itself. Yet the main conclusion of this study is that “more antipsychotic treatment is associated with smaller volumes” of brain tissue, according to lead author Beng-Choon Ho, M.D., of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. The drugs used to treat individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia are also increasingly used to treat individuals with depression and bipolar disorder as well as children and older adults. The researchers suggest “the importance of careful risk-benefit review of dosage and duration of treatment as well as their off-label use.” To view the free abstract, go to http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/68/2/128


Source: http://www.healthcanal.com/mental-health-behavior/14403-Antipsychotic-drugs-may-contribute-brain-tissue-loss-schizophrenia.html?print

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Majority of Americans Do Not Know of Improvements in Mental Health Coverage

Although the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act went into effect in January 2011, only 10 percent of Americans have heard of the law, and 45 percent don’t know whether their insurance plans cover behavioral health care costs, according to a December 2010 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association. With the new law, insurance companies cannot charge higher co-pays and deductibles for mental health coverage than they do for physical health services, and they cannot limit the number of visits to a mental health professional when no such limits are imposed on physical health care. To read the full report, visit http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/parity-law.pdf

Sources: http://www.jointogether.org/blog/posts/2011/vast-majority-of-americans.html
http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/01/law-mental-health.aspx

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Two-thirds of States Cut Mental Health Funding; Public and Private Spending on Behavioral Health Care Declines

Nearly two-thirds of states have cut how much they spend on mental health care out of their general funds (not including Medicaid funds) in the last two years, according to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which reviewed budgets from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The deepest cuts were made in Alaska (35 percent), South Carolina and Arizona (23 percent), Washington, D.C. (19 percent), Nevada (17 percent), Kansas and California (16 percent), Illinois and Mississippi (15 percent), and Hawaii (12 percent). To view the report, go to www.nami.org/budgetcuts. In related news, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a study indicating that between 1986 and 2005, spending on behavioral health shrank as a percentage of overall health care expenditures. The report also noted that, while public funding accounts for less than half of general health spending, it accounts for 79 percent of spending on substance abuse treatment and 58 percent of spending on mental health care. The SAMHSA report is available for free download at http://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA10-4612

Sources: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/16/us-budgets-mental-health-idUSTRE72F57I20110316
http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1102024442.aspx
http://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/0329/ways-to-get-cheap-mental-health-care.aspx

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Suicide Rate of Women Soldiers Triples When They Are Sent to War

A study whose goal, in part, is to discover social patterns that protect against suicide has found that female soldiers who are sent to war die by suicide at three times the rate of their peers who are not deployed in war zones. According to a five-year study by the National Institute of Mental Health, the rate of suicide for female soldiers not at war is five per 100,000, while for those in war zones the rate is 15 per 100,000. Researchers are attempting to discover whether the increased rate of suicide is because women soldiers feel isolated in a male-dominated setting, if they feel increased anxiety about leaving loved ones behind, or if other factors are at play. Rates of suicide for female soldiers are still less than for male soldiers at war, according to the study. However, the rate of suicide does not increase for married soldiers, male or female, who are sent to war.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2011-03-18-1Asuicides18_ST_N.htm

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FDA Updates Warnings about Taking Antipsychotic Drugs during Pregnancy

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated that labels for both first-generation antipsychotic medications (such as Thorazine) and second-generation antipsychotics (such as Abilify and Seroquel) must now contain new cautions about using them during pregnancy. Labels for all antipsychotic medications will now have warnings about possible side effects and withdrawal symptoms that may affect newborn babies of mothers taking these drugs during the third trimester of pregnancy. Side effects or withdrawal symptoms of varying degrees of severity observed in some infants include agitation, tremor, somnolence, respiratory distress and feeding disorder. To view the order, go to http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm243903

Source: http://www.fda.gov

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Do You Operate, or Know of, a Warm Line?

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is assembling a list of warm lines around the country. If you operate or know of a warm line, please share this information with us by e-mailing info@mhselfhelp.org or calling 800-553-4539.

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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 at 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, 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

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About The Key Update

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse Volume 7 No.9, March 2011, http://www.mhselfhelp.org

To subscribe send a message to: subscribe thekey. To unsubscribe send a message to: unsubscribe thekey. For content, reproduction or publication information, contact Susan Rogers at 215-751-1800 x288 or srogers@mhasp.org.