The Key Update, Volume 14, Number 6 - December 2017

Key Update, December 2017
Volume 14, Number 6


Save the Date! Alternatives 2018 Is Planned for July 29-August 3 in Washington, DC!

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) is proud to host Alternatives 2018, which will be held July 29 through August 3, 2018, at Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC. “Catholic University was chosen as the location because it is in our nation’s capital, is economical, and is known to have a commitment to justice and the common good,” said conference chair Anthony Fox. The conference theme is “On Our Own, Transforming the Future Together”—as both an homage to the seminal work by the late movement leader Judi Chamberlin and in recognition of the fact that this will be a “people’s Alternatives,” funded entirely through registration fees and donations. “We will be ‘on our own’ again, connecting to the roots of our movement,” Fox said. “We will be free and empowered to express our unique voices, to learn from each other in the spirit of self-help, mutual support, and the principles of recovery in action, with the goal of living full and independent lives in the community.” College dorm rooms (with single beds and private bathrooms) will be available for an affordable price, and three buffet-style meals a day will be in the college dining hall. All meeting rooms are ADA-accessible; some accessible dorm rooms can be reserved. There is a Metro stop on campus; parking is also available. There are several hotels a few Metro stops away. More information will be available soon at! Questions? Write


New Issue of Journal of Humanistic Psychology Covers Alternatives to Psychiatric Diagnosis

The “current issue of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology is entirely given over to alternatives to psychiatric diagnosis. Paywall, sadly, but an open access version of our paper (on the furor surrounding the DSM-5) is available here,” writes Anne Cooke, editor of the British Psychological Society’s manual Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia. To quote from the abstract, “The idea and practice of ‘diagnosis’ in psychiatry has always been controversial. Controversy came to a head in the period preceding and immediately after publication of the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5. There was widespread international discussion and debate…This article documents that process and outlines the issues that provoked, and continue to provoke, most controversy, from the (admittedly personal) perspective of those involved. It ends with suggestions of alternatives to diagnosis, which avoid some of these problems and outlines how these are being taken forward.” For the free article, click here. To download Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia for free, click here. In a related story, the deadline is December 22, 2017, to comment on proposed changes to the DSM-5. The changes seem a little like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, but they were approved by the DSM Steering Committee and are being posted for a 30-day public comment period. To read the five proposals and comment on any or all of them, click here.


BRSS TACS Sponsors “Gender-Responsive Approaches to Supporting Behavioral Health Recovery”

SAMHSA’s BRSS TACS invites you to “a conversation with experts about gender-responsive approaches to supporting behavioral health recovery. Research suggests that the experience, prevalence, and trajectory of mental and substance use disorders differ between gender groups, as does the effectiveness of different forms of treatment. This event will include discussions of practical approaches to providing gender-responsive recovery supports such as frameworks and vocabulary for understanding the different dimensions of gender and how to engage different gender groups.” To register for this free, 60-minute interactive virtual event, to be held December 28, 2017, at 2 p.m. ET, click here.


New Research Briefs Highlight Results of Surveys of Self-employed Individuals with Psychiatric Diagnoses

The NIDILRR-funded project on Self-Employment Starts with You has published a series of research briefs highlighting the results of surveys of self-employed individuals with mental health conditions. “Characteristics of Businesses and Business Owners” describes the survey participants, their experiences with barriers to and supports for self-employment, and the types of businesses they run. “Being and Becoming Self-Employed” provides insight into the experience and challenges of self-employment, and strategies for overcoming the challenges and reclaiming employment. The third brief, “Planning for the Future: Growth-Oriented Entrepreneurship,” presents findings related to growing a business and planning for the future. More research and resources for entrepreneurship are available from


CHTI to Host Free Webinar on “Engaging Elected Officials in Your Work”

On January 17, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. ET, the Community Health Training Institute (CHTI) is offering a free 90-minute webinar on “Engaging Elected Official in Your Work: Tips, Tools, and Talking Points.” “Engaging a variety of people who can champion your work in places you may not be able to reach is an important strategy for implementing PSE (policy, systems, and environmental) change,” they write. “This webinar will explore why it is important to engage elected officials in the community work you do, and different strategies for how to engage them. The presenter will provide a brief overview of the structure of local governments, and strategies for preparing talking points that members of your coalition can use in phone calls, emails, or visits to elected officials.” For more information and to register, click here.


Temple University Offers Resources on Storytelling for Individuals with Mental Health Conditions

In July 2017, the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion hosted a storytelling event, attended by 250 activists, academics, professionals, and researchers. “The storytelling session invited nine people with lived experiences to share their stories of life in their communities,” the TU Collaborative writes. “Storytellers discussed family, friendships, volunteer work, and travels. The event was filled with laughter and excitement, which we invite you to share by watching videos captured at the session…We have developed materials which offer suggested ways to gather the stories of people, not patients. We hope this will inspire you to encourage consumers to share their stories using the StoryCorps app, hosting a storytelling event, and/or running storytelling workshops.” For links to an array of storytelling resources, click here.


Doors to Wellbeing to Host Free Webinar on “Self-Care for the Peer Specialist”

On January 30, 2018, at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing will host a free webinar on “Self-Care for the Peer Specialist.” “Workshop participants will learn to define mental health and wellness for themselves, understand how their mental health and wellness affects their work as a peer specialist, and develop personal tools for improving and maintaining mental health and wellness.” For more information and to register, click here.


ResilienceCon2018 Issues Call for Conference Submissions

ResilienceCon 2018, organized by Life Paths Appalachian Research Center, is inviting presentation submissions. The goals of the conference, to be held April 29-May 1, 2018, in Nashville, include “shifting research, prevention, and intervention on violence and other adversities to a focus on strengths and resilience; and ‘disrupting’ the usual conference format to create a more interactive, forward-looking, think-tank approach.” The deadline for conference submissions is February 9, 2018. For more information and to submit a proposal, click here.

Thanks, Elizabeth R. Stone


Full Disclosure: When Mental Health Professionals Reveal Their Mental Illness at Work

“Results from a survey conducted by Temple University Collaborative associates suggest that mental health staff who have mental health issues and work as therapists, counselors, case managers, etc. (i.e., non-peer-specialist roles) report positive and supportive responses from their colleagues following disclosure,” the TU Collaborative writes. “However, many also acknowledged their own fears of and/or experiences with workplace discrimination and a ‘social distancing’ of colleagues following disclosure or after requests for workplace accommodations. Take a look at this publication to review the survey results and see what policy, program, and practice initiatives you can implement to build even more welcoming work environments within our mental health community for all.” To download the free eight-page publication, Full Disclosure: When Mental Health Professionals Reveal Their Mental Illness at Work, click here.


Defective Magazine Seeks Submissions

Defective Magazine, which calls itself “an irreverent rocknroll approach to mental health awareness, peer support, arts, music, articles, resources, blah, blah, blah,” is inviting submissions. The e-zine has “no popups and no spam. No cookies and no tracking. No ads and no metrics. No Java and no Flash.” “Why use the offensive term ‘Defective’? Because we have a sense of humor and don’t take it all so seriously. Because we're a bit irreverent.  Because when people use these types of playfully self-deprecating terms, we identify and think (and sometimes blurt out) ‘Me too…’” The website is Any questions? Write

Thanks, Laura Van Tosh


Bail Bloc Lets You Provide Bail for People Caught in the Bronx Criminal Justice System

“Can a Social Justice App Be Art?” is about Bail Bloc, “a cryptocurrency scheme against bail.” According to the Bail Bloc website, “When you download the app, a small part of your computer's unused processing power is redirected toward mining a popular cryptocurrency called Monero, which is secure, private, and untraceable. At the end of every month, we exchange the Monero for US dollars and donate the earnings to the Bronx Freedom Fund.” For a New Yorker article about Bail Bloc, click here. For an article about the app in The Nation, click here. For the Bail Bloc website, click here.


An Array of Articles and Resources about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated

The criminal justice system—and, in some of the pieces, the connection between the criminal justice and mental health systems—was the focus of the following articles and resources. Most are recent; two are from 2015: “Improving Outcomes for People with Serious Mental Illness and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders in Contact with the Criminal Justice System” (click here); “It’s Time to End Mass Incarceration” (click here); “Why We Should Stop Calling People Who Commit Crimes ‘Criminals’” (click here); “Criminalization of Poverty” from Harvard Law School (click here); “Let’s Make 2018 the Year to Step Up for Persons with Disabilities” (click here); “Our Prison Population Is Getting Older and Older” (click here); “Reaching Inside the Jails to Break the Cycle of Homeless Arrests” (click here); “Mental Health Advisory Board Report: A Blueprint for Change” (Los Angeles, 2015) (click here); “Paroling the Mind: A College Program Opens New Doors…” (click here); “Our Criminal Justice System Perpetuates Poverty” (2015) (click here); “Screening and Assessment of Co-occurring Disorders in the Justice System” (click here); and “Demographic Differences in Sentencing: An Update to the 2012 Booker Report” (click here).

Contributors to the above include @JudgeWren and @WaqarVick; thanks!


“Selected Papers of William L. White”: A Rich Resource for People Interested in Substance Use Issues

“This site contains the full text of more than 300 articles, eight monographs, 30+ recovery tools, nine book chapters, three books, and links to an additional 17 books written by William White and co-authors over the past four decades, as well as more than 100 interviews with addiction treatment and recovery leaders. The purpose of this site is to create a single location where such material may be located by those interested in the history of addiction treatment and recovery in the United States. Those papers selected for inclusion contain all of the articles and monographs authored by William White on the new recovery advocacy movement, recovery management and recovery-oriented systems of care.” For the website, click on

Thanks, @BrookeM_Feldman


New and Revised Webpages on Trauma, Suicide Prevention, and Intimate Partner Violence Are Launched

The SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions has launched new and revised webpages on trauma, suicide prevention, and intimate partner violence. “Each page is full of updated content and many of the best nationwide resources on these topics, tailored to behavioral health and primary care organizations. For the Trauma page, click here. For the Suicide Prevention page, click here. For the Intimate Partner Violence page, click here. Questions? Email the Center for Integrated Health Solutions at .

Thanks, Judene Shelley


“The Challenge of Higher Education” Provides a Firsthand Perspective

The Café TA Center has published a new Focus, entitled “The Challenge of Higher Education for Mental Health Consumers—A First Hand Perspective.” The Café TA Center writes, “In this issue of Focus, Paul Thornton, a consumer from Alabama, shares his own experience trying to find dedicated education funding for people with mental health conditions, discusses some of the potential sources of support, and proposes his own initiative to develop funding that specifically provides for the higher education of mental health consumers.” For the publication, click here.


View the Winning Films of Changing Minds’ 2017 Young Filmmakers Competition!

Changing Minds, which organizes the New York City Mental Health Film Festival, “got more than 300 submissions from filmmakers throughout the U.S. and beyond” for its 2017 Young Filmmakers Competition. “After much careful deliberation, we settled on one winning film, and five other films that more than deserve Honorary Mentions. We’re delighted to showcase all six of these films here!” For more information and to view the films, click here.

Thanks, Elizabeth Leonard


Newsletters Offer Information on Mental Health and Criminal Justice Issues, Respectively

Two recent Mad In America newsletters and a newsletter of the National Reentry Resource Center include many resources and opportunities. For the December 3, 2017, edition of the Mad In America (MIA) newsletter, click here. For the December 10, 2017, edition, click here. For a recent newsletter of the National Reentry Resource Center of the Council of State Governments Justice Center, click here. Highlights “7 TV Shows That Actually Get Mental Illness Right” writes: “Not only do those who deal with mental illness have to face a society that villainizes them and prevents them from receiving adequate health care, they also have to deal with visual media that mock them or degrade them. But these seven shows are encouraging to those who may struggle with their own mental health issues, making sure that their characters are portrayed accurately and without perpetuating the stigma.” For the TV shows, click here.


Disclaimer: The Clearinghouse does not necessarily endorse the opinions and opportunities included in the Key Update.


National Technical Assistance and Networking Teleconferences Are on Hiatus for Now

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is no longer operating under a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Although we are keeping our doors open—including publishing our monthly e-newsletter, the Key Update—we are suspending our monthly national technical assistance and networking calls for the time being. We will keep you posted.


About The Key Update

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 14, No. 6, December 2017, If you find it of interest, you can check the following link at the end of every month, where each new issue is posted: For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at – please note that this is a new email address – or 800.553.4539 x3812, 267.507.3812 (direct). Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH