Key Update, November 2018, Volume 15, Number 5

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

Please don’t forget to check out the “From Previous Editions of the Key Update but Still Fresh” Department, under the monthly digest of stories about the criminal justice system!



To contact Joseph Rogers: JROGERS08034@GMAIL.COM

SAMHSA’s All-Day ISMICC Meeting Will Be on December 11. Public May Attend by Webcast or Phone

Attn: Mental health advocates: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will hold an all-day meeting of ISMICC [Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee] on December 11, 2018. The public may attend by webcast or phone. There will be an opportunity for public comment (limited to two minutes) by phone at 1 p.m. ET. For details, including how to connect with the meeting, click here.

“What If the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?” Is the Provocative Headline of a Recent New York Times Story

“New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect,” according to a recent article in The New York Times. “You don’t even have to deceive the patients,” the Times writes. “You can hand a patient with irritable bowel syndrome a sugar pill, identify it as such and tell her that sugar pills are known to be effective when used as placebos, and she will get better, especially if you take the time to deliver that message with warmth and close attention. Depression, back pain, chemotherapy-related malaise, migraine, post-traumatic stress disorder: The list of conditions that respond to placebos—as well as they do to drugs, with some patients—is long and growing.” For the article, click here.

New Grant Opportunity: Expanding the Science and Practice of Open Dialogue

“The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care is pleased to announce a new grant opportunity, called Expanding the Science and Practice of Open Dialogue: An international collaborative multicenter research project to evaluate the effectiveness of Open Dialogue in various mental health care contexts around the world. Proposals are due January 2, 2019.” For the article, which includes a link to the Request for Proposal, click here. For questions not answered in the attachments, write

Two New York Times Articles—“When Will We Solve Mental Illness?” and “What’s Life Like after Depression?”—Suggest That Researchers Ask People with Lived Experience for Help

“Millions of individuals who develop a disabling mental [health condition] either recover entirely or learn to manage their distress in ways that give them back a full life,” according to a recent article in The New York Times. “Together, they constitute a deep reservoir of scientific data that until recently has not been tapped.” The author, Benedict Carey, notes that “[d]espite billions of dollars in research funding, and thousands of journal articles, biological psychiatry has given doctors and patients little of practical value, never mind a cause or a cure.” He highlights an ongoing study of people who participate in the Hearing Voices Network, and emphasizes the importance of research that is “guided by individuals who have struggled with mental [health conditions] and come out the other side. (Note: An invitation to participate in this study is included in the “From Previous Editions of the Key Update But Still Fresh” Department, below. The headline is “Do You Hear Voices? OurVoicesRaised Wants Your Story!”) For the Times article, click here. In a related Times story— “What’s Life Like after Depression? Surprisingly, Little Is Known”—Carey writes, “In trying to understand how people with depression might escape their condition, scientists have focused almost entirely on the afflicted (sic), overlooking a potentially informative group: people who once suffered from some form of depression but have more or less recovered.” For that story, click here.

SAMHSA’s FY 2019-FY2023 Strategic Plan Is Available for Free Download

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently published its four-year strategic plan. SAMHSA’s five priority areas are “(1) Combating the Opioid Crisis through the Expansion of Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Support Services. (2) Addressing Serious Mental Illness and Serious Emotional Disturbances. (3) Advancing Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Support Services for Substance Use. (4) Improving Data Collection, Analysis, Dissemination, and Program and Policy Evaluation. [And] (5) Strengthening Health Practitioner Training and Education.” It has identified its five core principles as “supporting the adoption of evidence-based practices; increasing access to the full continuum of services for mental and substance use disorders; engaging in outreach to clinicians, grantees, patients, and the American public; collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data to inform policies, programs, and practices; [and] recognizing that the availability of mental health and substance use disorder services are integral to everyone’s health.” For the 38-page plan, available for free download, click here.

Active Minds’ Emerging Scholars Fellowship Applications Due by December 9, 2018

“The Active Minds Emerging Scholars Fellowship, generously supported by the Scattergood Foundation, provides mentorship and funding to [six] select students…[who] will receive $1,000 [plus $250 in reimbursement for project expenses] to complete projects related to the increase of help-seeking and accessibility of mental health services among…first-generation students, Greek life members, or student athletes. During the six-month fellowship, scholars will complete their projects, build a peer network, connect professionally with a national mentor, and gain experience distributing their content to the public...Apply by December 9, 2018. Preference will be given to early submissions. All [applicants] will be notified by January 11, 2019. Undergraduate or graduate students from any major may apply, and we welcome proposals that focus on research, creative expression, technology, or other modes.” For more information and to apply, click here.

New Program Helps Children Who Have Been Exposed to Trauma

“Can people be saved from a terrible childhood? UK researchers have found early intervention can help prevent negative experiences in infancy turning into long-term health risks.” So begins a recent story in the Guardian that describes a parenting program in New York “designed for carers of young children who have faced early adversity such as domestic abuse, homelessness or the loss of a parent to incarceration.” The program, called Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC), “pairs parents with a coach trained in the needs of infants and toddlers who have experienced trauma.” For the Guardian article, click here. For more about ABC, click here.

Free Webinar on “Using Your Recovery Story to Connect and Inspire” on November 27

On the last Tuesday of almost every month at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing hosts a free, one-hour webinar. On November 27, the topic will be “Using Your Recovery Story to Connect and Inspire.” “One of the greatest assets of mental health peer specialists is the ability to share our recovery stories as a way to connect with people and inspire those who may be struggling,” Doors to Wellbeing writes. “However, sometimes it is hard for us to reconcile the negative experiences of our past with the positive role model we are today. Using the ‘Hero's Journey’ as a framework to reflect on your recovery story can help you connect with your moments of heroism in your past and use them to help and inspire others. This webinar will help mental health peer specialists explore the ‘Hero's Journey’ and how to tell their story in a way that presents a healing and hopeful message.” For more information and to register, click here.

UK Researcher, Together with World Dignity Project, Seeks Your Input on “Patient Experience”

If you “have ever consulted a medical professional about a mental health or psychological issue,” you are invited to participate in “a study about the patient (sic) experience relating to mental health.” The researcher, Claire Brooks, writes: “The results of this study will be used to open up important discussions with Mental Health Professionals about how to create dignity in patient experience, relating to mental health. The study asks you to tell me about two patient experiences relating to mental health. You can tell your story in writing online or by posting a 2-3 minute video from your mobile phone. We will also ask for your own opinions on how the patient experience can ensure dignity...” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Global Mental Health Peer Network Newsletter, via Elizabeth R. Stone

Free Webinar on “Supporting People in Recovery to Access and Engage in Education” on November 29

BRSS TACS writes: “Join a free, interactive Recovery LIVE! virtual event on Thursday, November 29, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. SAMHSA’s Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) invites you to be part of this conversation about assistance with identifying and pursuing educational goals that treatment and support providers, including peer-run and recovery community organizations, can provide to individuals in recovery from serious mental [health conditions] or [a] substance use disorder. The presenters are Kristen Harper, Center for Social Innovation; Anna Trevino, Texas Tech University Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities; and Jeremy Countryman, CAFÉ TA Center. Bring your questions! To register, click here.

Free “Toolkit for E-Mental Health Implementation” to Help Mental Health Professionals

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has made available a free toolkit to “support the establishment of e-mental health programs…The goal of the toolkit is to provide an introductory resource for practitioners who may not yet have any formal e-health training; evidence-informed samples and templates for e-mental health planning and implementation; a useful resource for front-line practitioners, managers and senior mental health leaders with a project implementation / quality / risk focus; a support to e-mental health champions and leaders who provide training and guidance to other health practitioners; a map of current internationally recognized e-mental health practices and trends; [and] a starting point for promoting knowledge sharing, lessons learned, successes and challenges.” For the free 114-page toolkit, click here.

Copeland Center to Host Free Webinar on Creating Workplace Wellness

On November 29, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET, the Copeland Center will host a one-hour wellness on creating workplace wellness. The webinar will be based on the OWL Project (Organizational Wellness Landscape), created by Crestwood Behavioral Health, Inc. The Copeland Center writes that Crestwood “recognizes staff must practice wellness in order to share it with the people it serves. This webinar will help you rethink how you want your workplace to look…learn how one organization is bringing wellness to all staff and is creating a healthier and more productive organization.” To register, click here.

“Peer Review: The Worst Way to Judge Research, Except for All the Others,” says The New York Times

There are flaws in the peer review system, including the fact that reviewers may be “overworked and underprepared,” the presence of bias, a lack of consistency, and the possibility that “[p]eer review may be inhibiting innovation,” according to a recent New York Times article. “How then to improve the existing system?” The suggestions include providing better incentives for reviewers to attract better reviewers; eliminating biases by moving toward “fully blinded reviews”—although there are loopholes in this solution; allowing researchers to post manuscripts online “for public judgment before formal peer review”—already a common practice in some sciences; and “a change in attitude.” For the article, click here.

“Treatment Denied: The Mental Health Crisis in Federal Prisons”

“In 2014, amid mounting criticism and legal pressure, the Federal Bureau of Prisons imposed a new policy promising better care and oversight” for people with mental health issues who were incarcerated in the prisons, the Marshall Project writes. “But data…shows that instead of expanding treatment, the bureau has lowered the number of [people] designated for higher care levels by more than 35 percent. Increasingly, prison staff are determining that [people who are incarcerated]—some with long histories of psychiatric problems—don’t require any routine care at all. As of February [2018], the Bureau of Prisons classified just 3 percent of [people who were incarcerated] as having a mental illness serious enough to require regular treatment. By comparison, more than 30 percent of those incarcerated in California state prisons receive care for a ‘serious mental disorder’…” For the article, click here. To read more articles about the criminal justice system, in which many people with mental health conditions are incarcerated, see the monthly digest, below.

“Jury Finds in Favor of [People with Mental Health Conditions] Who Were Bused Out of Nevada Psychiatric Hospital”

A Las Vegas jury recently awarded $250,000 to each member of a class-action suit comprising people who had been discharged from Rawson-Neal, a Nevada psychiatric hospital, with a bus ticket, “sometimes to places where they had never been and had no ties,” and sometimes with tragic results, the Sacramento Bee reported. The Bee had begun reporting on this “Greyhound therapy” in 2013, and “discovered that Rawson-Neal bused roughly 1,500 patients out of Nevada between 2008 and 2013, a third of them to California.” The damages total nearly $9 million, according to a report in Mental Health Weekly. “In the wake of the Bee’s reports, Rawson-Neal lost its accreditation and its treatment protocols have been the focus of ongoing reviews by state and federal agencies,” according to a Nov. 1, 2018 Bee article, available here.

Thanks, Bryce Hewlett

Court in Australia Upholds Appeal by People Prescribed ECT against Their Will

A court in Victoria, Australia, has strengthened protections for people fighting forced electroconvulsive treatment (ECT), “ruling that treatment orders cannot undermine a person’s human rights,” the Guardian reported. However, “the appeal decision did not mean an end to compulsory ECT, but people subject to involuntary treatment orders would now have greater control over their care,” according to the Legal Aid acting program manager, who said that about 700 people experienced compulsory ECT in Victoria annually. The judge who wrote the 110-page decision, available here, said, “A person does not lack the capacity to give informed consent simply by making a decision that others consider to be unwise according to their individual values and situation. To impose upon persons having mental illness a higher threshold of capacity, and to afford them less respect for personal autonomy and individual dignity, than people not having that illness, would be discriminatory.” For the Guardian article, click here.

New Podcast: “Mental Health Comics”

“This month’s episode features a recording of the Mental Health Comics Panel from MICE (Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo) 2018, moderated by A. David Lewis of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS University).” For more information and to listen, click here.

The November 2018 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated (and the Key Update continues after this Digest)

Here is the November wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles and other language are not politically correct but are reproduced as written.) For “There is nothing inevitable about America’s over-use of prisons,” click here. For “Announcing the Solitary Confinement Resource Center: A Comprehensive, Searchable Collection of Resources on Solitary Confinement in the United States,” click here. For “Why police shouldn’t transport people seeking mental health treatment,” click here. For “Reentry Matters: Second Chance Act 10th Anniversary Edition,” click here. For “Getting Back on Course: Educational exclusion and attainment among formerly incarcerated people,” click here. “How does unaffordable money bail affect families,” click here. For “In Prison, Discipline Comes Down Hardest on Women,” click here. For “Promising Practices: This Section Contains Information about Strategies Being Implemented in Prisons and Jails Around the Country to Reduce Their Use of Restrictive Housing,” click here. For “The Courts See a Crime. These Lawyers See a Whole Life. Pairing old-school defense with attention to real-life problems gets people out of jail,” click here. For “’I Can Be Free Again’: How Music Brings Healing at Sing Sing,” click here. For “Shining a Light on Life Behind Bars: In letters compiled by the American Prison Writing Archive, inmates share accounts of suicide, friendship, and solitary confinement,” click here. For “Retraining Workers for New Jobs and New Lives after Prison and Addiction,” click here. For “Third prison psychiatrist comes forward with allegations over inmate care,” click here. For “MacArthur Foundation Awards Millions to Cut Jail Populations,” click here. For “Postcards from Hell: Inmate’s manuscript describes horrors of Florida prison system,” click here. For “Freaky Friday, Prison-Style: At a Kentucky prison, inmates and staff switch places during a ‘re-entry to society’ role-playing game,” click here. For “The Drama of Pregnant Women in Prison—and the Woman on a Mission to Fix It,” click here. For “What We Learned from German Prisons,” click here. For “I deliberately sent myself to prison in Iceland—they didn’t even lock the cell doors there,” click here. For “The Newest Jim Crow: Recent criminal justice reforms contain the seeds of a frightening system of ‘e-carceration,’” click here. For “Neuroscientists Make a Case against Solitary Confinement: Prolonged social isolation can do severe, long-lasting damage to the brain,” click here. For “John Pace and His Friends Expected to Die in Prison. Then the men, who’d been sentenced to life as juveniles, were freed,” click here. For “For Death Row survivors, the fight against capital punishment starts in Philly,” click here.


Survey of “Secondary Traumatic Stress in Peer Advocates” Seeks Respondents

“Fielding Graduate University is conducting research on secondary traumatic stress (STS) in peer advocates,” writes researcher Ellie Peskosky, M.S. “We hope to add to the literature to allow for better support for…peer advocates to reduce STS. If you are a peer advocate and are 18 years or older, you may participate in the online study. Participation is voluntary and there is an opportunity to enter into a raffle at the completion of the study for the chance to win one of five $100 gift cards.” Questions? Please contact or her supervisor, Dr. Kristine Jacquin, at To participate or to learn more, click here.

International Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal Seeks Respondents

“Have you taken antipsychotic medication (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon, Stelazine, and others), for any condition or diagnosis, with or without other medications? And did you ever stop taking antipsychotics, or try to stop taking them? Are you 18 years or older? If yes, you can take this survey about antipsychotic withdrawal and attempts to withdraw, including if you stopped taking them completely or if you tried to come off and still take them. The survey aims to improve mental health services by better understanding medication withdrawal. Lead researcher is Will Hall, a therapist and Ph.D. student who has himself taken antipsychotics. Service users/survivors/consumers from around the world also gave input. The study is sponsored by Maastricht University in the Netherlands; co-sponsors include the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Questions? Please contact”  For more information or to take the survey, click on

Do You Hear Voices? OurVoicesRaised Wants Your Story!, “a collective of people who have found support through the Hearing Voices Movement,” is conducting “a research project investigating Hearing Voices Groups in the United States. We’re interested in gaining a better understanding of how Hearing Voices groups work and what essential elements of hearing voices groups make them effective for people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual or extreme experiences…This project is committed to sharing its findings with the community that has generated them (and beyond), and to create opportunities for the hearing voices community to expand its work in new ways.” Gail Hornstein, a psychology professor at Mount Holyoke and author of Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness, is principal investigator. For more information and/or to participate, click here.

New Virtual Group Is Launched to Advance Peer Research Capacity, Leadership, and Involvement

Nev Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Cutler, a doctoral candidate, have launched a new listserv dedicated to building research capacity, leadership, and involvement among peers, survivors, and service users.  Dr. Jones, assistant professor, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, was part of the team that developed “User/Survivor Leadership & Capacity Building in Research: White Paper on Promoting Engagement Practices in Peer Evaluation/Research (PEPPER),” published by the Lived Experience Research Network. For the white paper, click here. Anyone interested in joining the virtual group can email Nev at

First International Trauma Summit to Be Hosted by the World Federation for Mental Health

The World Federation for Mental Health is hosting the First International Trauma Summit in Houston November 28-30, 2018. “Natural disasters and violence facing the world today are occurring at a pace which far surpasses the resources and people mobilized to deal with the health and mental health effects of the trauma,” the WFMH writes. “It is time that there be a global conversation to develop policies and best practices for governments and Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs) to minimize the cost in health and productivity...We will start the conversation and come up with a Call to Action to begin the process of healing for our world. As global citizens, we will unite to begin developing guidelines and build awareness of the cost we are all paying by ignoring the role governments and other global entities can play in minimizing trauma and its effects.” For more information or to register, click here.

Thanks, Janet Paleo

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

About The Key Update

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 15, No. 5, November 2018. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at (and please note that this is a new email address). Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH