The Key update, Volume 11, Number 5 - November 2014

SAMHSA to Host Listening Session about the National Technical Assistance Centers

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is holding a 90-minute “Listening Session” on Dec. 4, 2014, at 2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. CT, noon MT, 11 a.m. PT. “SAMHSA is preparing to issue a new Request For Applications (RFA) based on funding availability for the National Consumer and Consumer Supporter Technical Assistance Centers (TACs) and is seeking input and feedback about the best strategies to meet the needs of consumers. The Listening Session will be held via conference call and interested parties can participate by using the following dial-in number: 1-800-857-9830; passcode: 8546198. We look forward to your input!”


Clearinghouse to Sponsor Webinar on Psychiatric Advance Directives

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is sponsoring a 90-minute webinar on Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs) on Dec. 18, 2014, at 2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. CT, noon MT, 11 a.m. PT, 9 a.m. in Hawaii. The webinar, entitled “Psychiatric Advance Directives: Why and How to Use this Vital Recovery Tool,” will feature presentations by Sue Walther, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania, and Adam Nester, public policy manager at the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania. PADs are a legal health care tool that outlines the preferences of an individual with a mental health condition in regard to treatment, and designates a trusted advocate to make decisions on their behalf if they are incapacitated. This webinar will help individuals with a mental health condition, family members, and mental health providers to understand and utilize this important recovery tool. For more information or to register, click here.


Alternatives 2014 Presentation Handouts Are Available Online

A number of the handouts from workshops presented at Alternatives 2014 are available online on the Alternatives 2014 website: click here. The Clearinghouse encourages all workshop presenters to provide a pdf of their presentation handout and we will post it on the website. In addition, to buy CDs of the workshops that were recorded, click here for the order form. Video recordings of the plenary sessions will be available in the near future.


You Are Invited to Comment on the Draft 2015 NIMH Strategic Plan

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is revising its 2008 Strategic Plan to guide the Institute’s research efforts and priorities over the next five years (2015-2020). The draft Plan may be downloaded for free until Dec. 11, 2014 – which is the deadline for comments – at this link. NIMH writes: “We ask that you consider the draft plan in the context of the current scientific landscape, as well as within the context of broader federal, for-profit, and not-for-profit stakeholder perspectives. We are particularly interested in receiving your ideas for scientific advancements, new technical capabilities or tools, or major challenge topics that promise substantial change to mental health research if pursued.” Comments should be submitted electronically – by Dec. 11, 2014 – to Written responses may be mailed to the Science Writing, Press, and Dissemination Branch, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6200, MSC 9663. Bethesda, MD 20892-9663. For more information, click here.


Calling All Peer Staffers Who Want Educational Credentials!

A Facebook group has been established that aims to identify, develop, share and implement ways for behavioral health peer staff members to obtain educational credentials for career development and promotion. The group – Education Pays! Academic Credit and Peer Career Development – will also explore ways for peer training and certification entities, behavioral health providers, educators and peer workers to collaborate toward achieving this goal. To join the group, go to and ask to join by email (lower right corner of banner) or contact the group’s founder, Jessica Wolf, Ph.D., directly at To download the handouts from Jessica’s presentation at Alternatives 2014, click here, here, here and here.


Two Webinars Offered on Best Practices for Effectively Integrating Peer Staff in the Workplace

Two webinars on “Best Practices for Effectively Integrating Peer Staff in the Workplace” are being offered by the New York State Office of Mental Health Office of Consumer Affairs. Part 1 is on Dec. 8, 2014, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET; Part 2 is on Dec. 16, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. NYAPRS E-news writes: “Understanding how to hire, train, and supervise persons with lived mental health experience may be challenging to employers and managers who have never done so before. Anyone who is considering hiring peers into their workplace, or would like to more fully integrate peers into their workplace, should take part in this training. Both presentations will be archived for later viewing.” For details, including how to register, click here.


“Is There a Link Between Mental Health and Gun Violence?”

An article in The New Yorker debunks the myth that there is a strong connection between mental health conditions and violence. The article – “Is There a Link Between Mental Health and Gun Violence?” – reports on a study indicating that mental health conditions were a factor in only four percent of violent incidents, and that this included any kind of violent behavior, “from minor incidents, like shoving, to armed assault.” Yet “more people believe that mass shootings result from a failure of the mental-health system than from easy access to guns.” Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, quoted at length, also made the point that it is very difficult to predict violent behavior; past violence is the single biggest predictor. The article, available at this link, includes links to several studies.


More Power at Work May Cause Depression in Women, Reduce It in Men, Researchers Say

Power at work – the ability to hire, fire, and influence pay – increases symptoms of depression among women, but decreases such symptoms among men, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. This is in spite of the fact that women in positions of power “are advantaged in terms of most characteristics that are strong predictors of positive mental health,” such as more education, higher incomes, and other such factors, lead researcher Tetyana Pudrovska said. The findings indicate that “we need to address gender discrimination, hostility and prejudice against women leaders to reduce the psychological costs and increase the psychological rewards of higher-status jobs for women,” she said. The study, “Gender, Job Authority, and Depression,” appears in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. For more information, click here.


Pathways RTC Offers Webinar on “Engaging Youth and Young Adults Through Social Media” and Tip Sheets to Help Young Adults Find Employment; Mental Health Resources for College Students Are Also Available

Pathways RTC is hosting a one-hour webinar on Dec. 9, 2014, beginning at 1 p.m. ET, on “Engaging Youth and Young Adults Through Social Media.” Pathways writes: “Social media continues to be an important tool for youth and young adults to connect with the world and with each other. Get the latest research and statistics on how youth and young adults are using social media, and how your organization can strategically use social media to engage with youth and young adults. Learn what platforms youth and young adults are using and how you can create a simple social media strategy to more effectively reach this audience.” To register, click here. Pathways has also made available a companion tip sheet to its recently released publication “What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?” The two documents are designed to help young adults navigate vocational rehabilitation services. The tip sheet is available here; “What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?” is available here. In a related story, a list of mental health resources for college students is available here.


SAMHSA Offers “A Mental Health Recovery Self-Help Educational Program” and “Tip 59: Improving Cultural Competence”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is offering, for free download, two useful documents. First is “a recovery educational curriculum that offers self-help concepts, skills, and strategies for adults with mental illness, including those dealing with substance use disorders. Promotes wellness, stability, recovery, and life transformation.” To download the curriculum, click here. Second is “Tip 59: Improving Cultural Competence,” which “assists professional care providers and administrators in understanding the role of culture in the delivery of substance abuse and mental health services. Discusses racial, ethnic, and cultural considerations and the core elements of cultural competence.” For “Tip 59,” click here.



CMS Releases New Data Demonstrating Increased Choice, Competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2015

CMS writes, “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) [has] released new data giving consumers and researchers the tools and information they need to review 2015 health insurance plan information.  Because of new choices and more competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace, consumers will have even more affordable options during Open Enrollment this year.  With 25 percent more issuers participating in the Marketplace in 2015, more than 90 percent of consumers will be able to choose from 3 or more issuers – up from 74 percent in 2014.  Consumers can choose from an average of 40 health plans for 2015 coverage – up from 31 in 2014, based on data at the county level.” Open enrollment began on Nov. 15. “Consumers should shop around; with new options available this year they’re likely to find a better deal.” For more information, click here.


Walking Workstations Improve Physical and Mental Health

Walking workstations – i.e., treadmills hooked up to computers at eye level – can improve both physical and mental health during the workday, according to researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “Even if you don’t exercise or if you are overweight, you’ll experience both short-term physical and psychological benefits,” said researcher Michael Sliter, who wrote the paper about the benefits of walking workstations entirely while using one. One hundred eighty participants were evaluated on boredom, task satisfaction, stress, arousal, and performance while completing work-related computer tasks across four randomly assigned workstations:  seated, standing, cycling or walking. The researchers found walking workstation participants had higher satisfaction and arousal, while experiencing less boredom and stress than the standing and sitting workstation participants. Those using the cycling workstation had reduced satisfaction and performance. For more information, click here.


Next National Networking Teleconference Is Monday, December 15, 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, December 15, 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 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; 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 with the word “Minutes” in the subject line.


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, is searchable by location, type of organization, and targeted clientele, and serves as a free resource for consumers, program administrators and researchers. Apply online at , via fax at 215-636-6312, or by phone at 800-553-4KEY (4539). To receive an application by mail, write to 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. 5, November 2014, For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at 800-553-4539 x3812, 267-507-3812 (direct) or