Key Update, January 2018, Volume 14, Number 7

Key Update, January 2018
Volume 14, Number 7


Federal Government Publishes Report of ISMICC Committee Recommendations

The Way Forward: Federal Action for a System That Works for All People Living With SMI and SED and Their Families and Caregivers, which comes out of the work of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC), “describes key advances in research and strategies to improve services to [individuals with serious mental health conditions and individuals with serious emotional disturbances] based on presentations given by the members at the first ISMICC meeting.” To download the free 120-page report, click here. For more information about ISMICC, including a link to view the December 14, 2017, press conference, click here. To read a Medpage Today analysis of the ISMICC report, click here.


Alternatives 2018 Call for Presentations and Registration Information Are Now Available!

Applications for workshop presentations at Alternatives 2018 are now being accepted—and you can register for the conference too! The Alternatives conference has a more than 30-year history as a national gathering of mental health consumers/survivors to share resources for recovery, innovative peer-run programs, and strategies for advocacy. “The Alternatives conferences have been a beacon of hope for thousands of people living with mental health challenges, motivating and empowering them to live their best lives,” said a representative of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR). The NCMHR is organizing this year’s conference, which will be held July 29-August 3 at The Catholic University in Washington, DC; the conference theme is “On Our Own: Transforming the Future Together.” For the Call for Presentations brochure and an online submission link, registration information, and other important details, click here. The deadline for submitting proposals is March 16, 2018. To get involved in planning the conference, fill out the Alternatives Planning Interest Form, available here. Questions? Write Follow @AltCon_2018 on Twitter; the hashtag is #Alternatives2018. For the Alternatives 2018 Facebook page, click here.


Three Websites Offer Expertise in Disparate Spheres

Three websites offer guidance in fact-finding, recovery from substance use issues, and countering the prejudice and discrimination associated with mental health conditions, respectively. The first,, calls itself a portal that “contextualizes noteworthy facts, stats, and quotes for politically engaged citizens.” For instance, currently on its home page are the following facts (among others), with backup: “A quarter of Americans get their drinking water from untested or contaminated systems”; “In 2017, at least 99 bills to restrict voting access were introduced in 31 states”; and “Just eight men possess as much wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity.” A second site, Start Your Recovery, offers what it describes as “Reliable substance abuse information and support,” including links to a number of people telling their recovery stories. The site does not purport to be comprehensive: It’s Substance Abuse 101, but the stories make it worthwhile. A third site, “Mind Your Language,” from the UK, is “A guide to language about mental health and psychological wellbeing in the media and creative arts.” Written by Peter Kinderman and Anne Cooke—both distinguished clinical psychologists, professors, and authors—it is a good basic guide to person-first language. (Dr. Cooke edited the British Psychological Society’s 180-page manual “Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia: Why people sometimes hear voices, believe things that others find strange, or appear out of touch with reality, and what can help,” available for free download here.


“Parents with Disabilities Face an Uphill Battle to Keep Their Children”; TU Offers Resources to Help

“Nearly one in 10 children in the United States are at risk of being removed from their home by a child welfare agency simply because their parent has a disability,” according to an article in Pacific Standard. “While parents with disabilities make up only 6.2 percent of all parents in the United States, a recent study found that 19 percent of children in foster care have a parent with a disability,” the article notes. “Bias toward parents with disabilities transcends all disability types—physical, sensory, intellectual, and psychiatric.” However, the article continues, parents who have intellectual or psychiatric disabilities experience more child custody challenges than parents with other disabilities. For the Pacific Standard story, click here. For resources from the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion about parenting with a mental health condition, click here.


“Ask Me Anything” Employment Series Continues on January 24

The National Resource Center on Employment at Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation is hosting a free, interactive Q&A webinar on January 24, 2018, at 2 p.m. ET. During the one-hour session, an employment expert will answer questions related to funding and policies supporting employment in mental health systems of care. Potential questions might include barriers and supports to employment in mental health systems, the respective roles of vocational rehabilitation and mental health systems in developing and funding employment for people with mental health conditions, or anything else on the topic. The expert, Joe Marrone, is a senior program manager for public policy at the Institute for Community Inclusion/UMASS Boston. For more information and to register, click here.


Volunteers Needed for C/S/X-Initiated Study of Helping-related Stress in Peer Supporters

“We hear a lot about stress in the peer workforce, but there hasn’t been much research about it,” writes researcher Stephania Hayes. “You can help change that!” She is “interested in hearing from peer support providers whether they experience stress at work or not—all responses benefit the research. Results have implications for training and service environments, as well as future research on stress experiences of mental health professionals. Everyone who completes the survey may opt to be included in a prize drawing.” The study was designed by a certified peer support specialist with input from peers and allies. It involves an online questionnaire, which takes about 30 minutes to complete. Recruitment will end once 800 responses are collected, or May 1 (whichever comes first).  For more information, click here. Questions? Contact


Two Online Forums Provide Safe Spaces for Mental Health Support

Two online forums, one for youth and the other for adults, provide support for people with mental health challenges. “We have a simple mission: to provide a safe space in IRC for mental health support and information as well as just general chat,” writes the IRC Village. “We welcome those who have any form of mental illness and those who care for people who do. We are not professionals and can only offer information based on our personal experiences...” To learn more or to get started, click here. At the same time, Voice Collective, “a UK-based project supporting children and young people who see, hear or sense things others don’t, has launched the first-ever online forum dedicated to supporting young people…aged 25 and under who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual sensory experiences or beliefs, as well as their parents, carers and supporters…regardless of geographical location.” For information about Voice Collective, click here.


“If You Are a Supervisor of Peer Workers, We Want to Hear from You!”

Researchers are seeking peer support supervisors for a 16-question survey whose results will be used to create guidance on supervising peer workers. The survey—which will close on February 28, 2018—takes, on average, seven minutes to complete. If you supervise peer supporters in a behavioral health setting and would like to participate, click here. Questions? Contact Dana Foglesong at


Sci-Fi Magazine Welcomes Submissions from Writers with Disabilities

The deadline is February 15, 2018, for submissions “from writers who identify themselves as disabled” to Uncanny: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy. “What kinds of disabilities? All of them.” Fiction should be between 750 and 6,000 words, and is paid at $.08 a word. “We do not require stories to explore issues relating to disability,” the fiction editor writes, “but we do encourage them.” For nonfiction, “We are looking for essays which explore the relationship between disability and SFF…” Length for nonfiction: between 1,000 and 2,500 words; payment: $50 an essay. For both, writers must submit their stories (or, in the case of nonfiction, either their essay or pitch) via Uncanny’s “Moksha” submission system, not via email. For details and a link to the submission system, click here.


Survey on “Uncovering Potential Talent: Non-apparent Disabilities” Seeks Respondents

The Working Mother Research Institute writes: “The survey is being conducted…to understand how people with non-apparent disabilities (including autism, ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder], PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] and other cognitive and mental disabilities) feel about their experience in the workplace (or, if they are not employed, their experience in looking for employment). The results of the survey will be used to improve employers’ ability to recruit and retain members of this critical talent pool. Your participation is completely voluntary and your responses will be confidential. Results will be reported in aggregate only. The survey is intended for participants who have a disability, rather than for a relative or caregiver of a person with a disability. The survey could take up to 30 minutes to complete. You will have the ability to save your results and finish the survey at a later date if you are unable to complete it in one sitting. To participate, please click here. If you experience technical problems with the survey software, please email us at Thank you in advance for your participation.”


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

Here is the January roundup of stories about the criminal justice system: The Collateral Consequences Resource Center has published a new report that shows that states across the country are continuing to expand opportunities to avoid or mitigate the adverse effects of a criminal record. For more information and a link to the report, click here. The Beyond the Bars conference, organized by the Center for Justice at Columbia University, has issued a Request for Proposals for the third day of its 2018 conference, March 1-4. The deadline to apply is January 26. For more information, click here. For “The Decline of Mass Incarceration Is Good for Everyone,” click here. For “California Examines Prison Guards’ High Suicide Rate,” click here. For “For Survivors of Prison Rape, Saying ‘Me Too’ Isn’t an Option,” click here. For “Goodbye Bail: Alaska Switches to New System of Criminal Justice,” click here. And for “The New Reformer DAs: As cities grow more progressive, a new breed of prosecutors are winning office and upending the era of lock-’em-up justice…” click here.


Two Publications Offer Help for Students with Disabilities

Two publications from the Community for Accredited Online Schools offer, respectively, information to help students with disabilities obtain scholarships and financial aid, and to help them succeed in trade school. “There are…special financial aid and scholarship opportunities for students with disabilities,” according to “Scholarships & Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities.” “The purpose of this guide is to focus on these financial aid opportunities and discuss how to take advantage of them.” For the guide, click here. “Thriving in Trade School with a Disability” notes that “[s]ome students find vocational programs to be a viable post-secondary option as they lead to meaningful, independent work in a skilled trade. The following guide highlights the benefits of vocational education, potential careers, and laws that protect both students and employees with disabilities. Employers can also find simple steps for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.” For the guide, click here.


Recovery to Practice to Host Two Webinars (as Part of a Four-Part Series)

The two remaining webinars in the four-part Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) Webinar Series will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET on February 7 (“Team-based CT-R for Building Empowerment and Resilience”), and February 21 (“Implementation of CT-R Across a System, Lessons of Success.” The first session was held on January 3, the second on January 17. “While this is a four-part series, you may attend one or all of the sessions. Registration will be necessary for each session,” the organizers write. For more information and to register, click here.


New Reports Cover “State of Mental Health Care in 2018” and Americans’ Use of Drugs and Behavioral Health Services

Two recently released surveys shed light on “the state of mental health care” in the U.S., and Americans’ use of drug and behavioral health services, respectively. Mental Health America (MHA) recently released its annual collection of national “mental health facts, stats, and data.” And a SAMHSA-funded survey covers “The National Survey on Drug Use and Health [NSDUH],” which “has taken on new significance during the current opioid epidemic sweeping the United States,” according to a recent newsletter published by Development Services Group, Inc. “The annual survey of households tracks the use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs among Americans 12 years and older, providing researchers and policymakers with extensive national data on drug use and mental health,” DSG writes. For the MHA report, click here. For the newsletter, which summarizes the 2016 survey results and includes links to more information, click here.


New Guide Promotes Supportive Academic Environments for Faculty with Mental Health Conditions

Promoting Supportive Academic Environments for Faculty with Mental Illnesses: Resource Guide and Suggestions for Practice, published by the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion, “focuses on ways to make college and university campuses more accessible for faculty with mental disabilities. It provides concrete suggestions for creating a ‘culture of access’ by offering effective strategies for promoting inclusive language, managing accommodations, and revising policies around recruitment, hiring, and leaves of absence.” For more information and to download the free manual, click here.


Want to Be a Guest on Not Broken Radio?

Not Broken Radio, “an international radio show and podcast that was initiated to have open and honest discussion about mental health and disabilities,” is inviting people to apply to be guests on the show. “Not Broken Radio has already helped thousands in overcoming mental health barriers, disabilities, anxiety and stress, difficulties in business, entrepreneurship, relationships, life and health with its fluent discussion about mental health without worrying about the stigma, walking on eggshells, or political correctness.” To apply to be a guest, click here, click here.


Doors to Wellbeing’s Monthly Webinar Series Continues

On the last Tuesday of almost every month at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing hosts a free webinar. The December 2017 edition of the Key Update highlighted the January 30, 2018, webinar, on “Self-Care for the Peer Specialist.” The learning objectives for “Building Community Support Groups for Improved Mental Health,” on February 27, are “to outline steps to create a community support group for mental health and wellness, to identify key leadership roles in the community to support efforts to create support groups, and to explore the benefits of healthy relationships created through support groups.” For more information and to register, click here.


Four Upcoming Webinars Cover a Range of Behavioral Health Topics

Four SAMHSA-sponsored webinars in January and February 2018 will cover a range of topics of interest to the behavioral health community. On January 26 at 2 p.m. ET, the National Council for Behavioral Health will present Peer Support: A Critical Component in Supported Housing. For more information and to register, click here. On February 6 at 2:30 p.m. ET, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) will present Successfully Employing Peer Specialists: A Framework and Tools. For more information and to register, click here. On February 26 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law will present Criminal Justice, the Americans with Disabilities Act and People with Mental Illnesses. For more information and to register, click here. And on February 27 at 2 p.m. ET, the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery will present Self-Direction through Personalized Budgeting. For more information and to register, click here.

Thanks, Judene Shelley


“Would You Like to Contribute to an Alternative Understanding of ‘Psychosis’?”

The HUMANE—Hope/Understanding/Meaning/Acceptance/Noos (human spirit)/Empowerment— Clinic in Australia “is preparing to provide an alternative to the challenging and often unfounded perceptions of what is called psychosis in our society: Voices, visions and other realities: Psychosis 365. The intention: to share compassionate and humane ideas, views and thoughts on how we understand common human realities, often referred to as psychosis…We are asking people to record a one-minute video with their understanding of voices, visions, and other realities: Be part of the change.” For the project’s website, click here. For guidance on the content and other information required in order to participate in Psychosis 365, click here. Questions? Write to .

Thanks, Oryx Cohen


BU Program Helps Students with Mental Health Conditions Thrive; TU Collaborative Continues Recruiting for Supported Education Research Study

Programs at two universities (Boston University and the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion) are working to help students with mental health challenges. “For the past three years, Boston University has offered one of the few programs in the nation dedicated to teaching students who have had to leave college the coping skills that will give them a shot at getting back into school or work while managing severe anxiety, depression, and other serious mental health conditions,” according to a recent STAT article. “The semester-long program takes its name from the Latin word niteo: to thrive.” A recent New York Times article reports: “Niteo is a one-semester program that offers resilience, wellness and academic skills classes, as well as coaching to students from all over the county on leave for mental health reasons. It costs $8,500 per semester, and some scholarships are available.” For the STAT article, click here. For the New York Times article—most of which is a first-person “as told to” piece by a Niteo student—click here. For a BU story about the program, click here. At the same time, the Temple University (TU) Collaborative is continuing to recruit for its online study about students with mental health issues. For the TU Collaborative survey, click here.


SAMHSA’s Evidence-Based Program—NREPP—Is Terminated

SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP), launched in 1997, has been terminated by order of the federal government, a STAT article reports. STAT describes NREPP as follows: “Its website lists 453 programs in behavioral health—aimed at everything from addiction and parenting to HIV prevention, teen depression, and suicide-hotline training—that have been shown, by rigorous outcomes measures, to be effective and not quackery.” For the STAT article, click here. But a statement from Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, assistant secretary for mental health and substance

use, presents a different picture. She writes: “We at SAMHSA should not be encouraging providers to use NREPP to obtain EBPs, given the flawed nature of this system. From my limited review…I see EBPs that are entirely irrelevant to some disorders, ‘evidence’ based on review of as few as a single publication that might be quite old and, too often, evidence review from someone’s dissertation.” For her statement, click here.

Thanks, Janet Paleo.


ICYMI: From the December 2017 Edition of the Key Update (Still Relevant)

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


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. 7, January 2018, 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