Key Update, June 2018, Volume 14, Number 12

Key Update, June 2018

Volume 14, Number 12

NOTE TO SUBSCRIBERS: The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is moving to the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion! To keep receiving the monthly Key Update, please write to with the subject line SUBSCRIBE.


Alternatives 2018 to Host Pre-conference Advocacy Training Followed by First Hill Day! For Inspiration and Information, There’s a Free Webinar on June 13!

“This year, we have an opportunity to make our voices heard in our nation’s capital—at the first Alternatives conference Hill Day, on July 31!” says the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR), which is organizing and hosting Alternatives 2018. The 2018 “people’s Alternatives”—July 29-August 3 at The Catholic University in Washington, DC—offers an exceptional opportunity for legislative advocacy in the national arena. And to inspire and inform you, NCMHR is hosting a free webinar June 13 at 2:30 p.m. ET! To register for the webinar, click here. To help prepare participants, NCMHR is hosting a pre-conference advocacy training on Monday, July 30. “On Monday, we will agree on several primary objectives of our movement for social justice, and we will provide coaching (including role plays) and logistical support on how to convince legislators and their staff,” the organizers write. “On Tuesday, we will put it all into practice!” In addition, there will be more than 70 exciting workshops on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday! For the complete list of workshops, click here. Don’t miss the chance to attend! Award nominations are due June 30: To nominate someone, click here. For registration information and other important details, click here. Questions? Write Follow @AltCon_2018 on Twitter; the hashtag is #Alternatives2018. For the Alternatives 2018 Facebook page, click here.

Promoting Biological Nature of Mental Health Conditions Inflames Prejudice, Some Experts Say

If you call mental health conditions “illnesses,” does it combat prejudice—or promote it? In a June 2nd piece in the Baltimore Sun, Patrick D. Hahn of Loyola University, Maryland, takes the latter view. He writes: “Teaching people that mental illness is an illness like any other makes attitudes toward it worse, Professor [John] Read, of the University of East London, told me. [Dr. Read said,] ‘These approaches are not evidence-based. They are ideologically based. It’s not an accident that a lot of them are funded by drug companies.’” For “Prejudice and Schizophrenia: A Review of the ‘Mental Illness Is an Illness Like Any Other’ Approach,” by J. Read et al., click here. For the Baltimore Sun article, click here.

NYAPRS Is Seeking Proposals for Its 36th Annual Conference: Deadline, June 20

NYAPRS is seeking proposals for its 36th Annual Conference: Dignity, Recovery and Social Justice for All! The NYAPRS Annual Conference—to be held September 12-14, 2018, at Honor’s Haven Resort, Ellenville, NY—“is widely regarded as one of the nation’s finest training opportunities and a unique celebration of advances in personal and professional strategies and public policies that advance the recovery, rehabilitation, rights and full community inclusion of people with psychiatric disabilities and/or diagnoses,” the organizers write. For conference information and the call for papers (deadline: June 20), click here.

“Living Well with the Trauma of Chronic Illness” Is Doors to Wellbeing’s June Webinar

On the last Tuesday of almost every month at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing hosts a free, one-hour webinar. In “Living Well with the Trauma of Chronic Illness,” on June 26, “learn about how people with chronic illnesses use wellness planning to overcome the issues and challenges associated with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and other life-threatening illnesses. In addition, learn how mental health peer specialists are best able to support people with chronic illness and the associated trauma.” For more information and to register, click here.

iNAPS Is Seeking Proposals for Presentations at Its 12th Annual Conference

The International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) is seeking proposals for its 12th annual international peer support conference. The theme of the conference—to be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels in Orlando, Florida, December 3-5, 2018—is Reinforcing our Roots: Designing Our Future. “We will be looking ideally for proposals on advanced-level approaches to peer support and innovative programming,” the organizers write. “We are always seeking diverse experiences and fresh ideas. ‘Repeat’ workshops on the same or similar topics given by the same individual(s) from previous years are not likely to be selected. If you have presented before, we welcome your offering of something new.” All proposals must relate to the National Practice Guidelines, available here. The deadline for submissions is August 10. For details and the call for proposals, 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

National Forum on the Human Right to Housing on June 27 in Washington, DC

The National Forum on the Human Right to Housing, organized by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, will take place at Sidley Austin LLP, 1501 K Street NW, Washington, DC, on June 27, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The organizers write, “It is imperative to have those with lived experience leading the fight to end homelessness and poverty. If you are unable to purchase a ticket due to your income level, please register for a complimentary ticket here.” For the agenda or to register, click here. For “Tent City USA: The Growth of America’s Homeless Encampments and How Communities Are Responding,” a 124-page report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, click here.

TU Collaborative Publishes Free Leisure Education Toolkit for Parents with Mental Health Conditions

“This toolkit is an evidence-based guide that will help parents better understand the importance of family leisure and develop strategies to participate in meaningful family leisure,” the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion writes. “This user-friendly guide provides worksheets and activities that parents can use with their children to make the most out of family leisure. For individuals who want to receive additional support, each section also provides an opportunity to summarize goals and issues that can be shared with a mental health professional. Download now to learn more about: (1) the benefits of family leisure; (2) core and balance family leisure; (3) strategies to assess family leisure interest; (4) barriers to and facilitators of family leisure; (5) planning and making time for family leisure; and (6) using leisure to talk with your kids about mental illnesses.” To download the free 111-page toolkit, click here.

“Self-Employment for People with Psychiatric Disabilities: Advantages and Strategies”

The latest Live & Learn newsletter highlights an article on self-employment for people with psychiatric disabilities: “…Advantages of self-employment for people with psychiatric disabilities, who may have disrupted educational and employment histories, include opportunities for self-care, additional earning, and career choice…This commentary elucidates the positive aspects of self-employment in the context of employment challenges experienced by individuals with psychiatric disabilities and provides recommendations based on larger trends in entrepreneurship.” For the article, click here. For the Live & Learn newsletter, click here.

“U.S. Mental Health Industry Should Embrace Choices Beyond Medication,” Says Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health

“The current public mental health system has evolved to a place that it’s very heavily weighted with a medical model. We miss the story behind what happened to the person and how they got there,” says Yana Jacobs, LMFT, of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health in a recent three-minute video. Urging informed consent, she says, “We’re never against somebody wanting to take medication. It’s really more the educational piece that often is missing.” Jacobs also stresses the importance of input from people with lived experience. Calling them “our experts,” she says, “If we don’t include them and build programs with their leadership and their voice at the table, we’re going to go off in the wrong direction.” For the video, click here.

Don’t Ask “What Happened to You?” Instead, Ask “What’s Right with You?”

“A healing-centered approach to addressing trauma requires a different question that moves beyond ‘what happened to you’ to ‘what’s right with you’ and views those exposed to trauma as agents in the creation of their own well-being rather than victims of traumatic events.” This is the provocative thesis of an article by Shawn Ginwright, Ph.D., in “The Future of Healing: Shifting from Trauma Informed Care to Healing Centered Engagement.” For the article, click here.

Thanks, Karen Escovitz

“Mad Studies: An Introduction to Philosophical, Social, and Cultural Perspectives on Madness

In this series of eight online webinars, hosted by Mad In America (for a registration fee of $100) “participants will be exposed to a variety of perspectives within the mad studies field, including Mad Pride, which embraces and celebrates the traits and states categorized as madness, as well as neurodiversity, which views mental and neurological differences as forms of human diversity, rather than disorders that need to be cured. Participants will learn how they can incorporate the ideas of mad studies into their practice as mental health providers.” For more information or to register, click here.

5th World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry to Explore Unjust Mental Health Disparities

The Fifth World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry will be held at Columbia University in New York City October 10-13, 2018. The theme is Achieving Global Mental Health Equity: Making Cultural Psychiatry Count. “At a time of increasing awareness about the unjust mental health disparities in developing and developed countries, researchers, practitioners, and advocates will come together to exchange experiences on how best to implement culture-focused interventions and policies to overcome health and healthcare disparities and promote global mental health equity in access, engagement, and quality of care for diverse populations.” For more about the Congress or to register, click here.

“Right to Emotional Support Animals in No-Pet Housing” from the Bazelon Center

“Emotional support animals provide therapeutic nurturing and support and have proven extremely effective at ameliorating the symptoms of psychiatric disabilities, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder,” according to a fact sheet by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. The fact sheet includes tips about reasonable accommodations for people with emotional support animals, relevant laws, and other useful information. For the fact sheet, click here.

“Americans with Serious Mental Illnesses Die 15 to 30 Years Earlier than Those Without”

“Americans with depression, bipolar disorder or other serious mental illnesses die 15 to 30 years younger than those without mental illness—a disparity larger than for race, ethnicity, geography or socioeconomic status,” according to a May 30, 2018, New York Times column, citing a study published in 2006. (Editor’s note: This information has been widely reported.) “It’s a gap, unlike many others, that has been growing, but it receives considerably less academic study or public attention. The extraordinary life expectancy gains of the past half-century have left these patients behind, with the result that Americans with serious mental illness live shorter lives than those in many of the world’s poorest countries.” For the New York Times column, click here. At the same time, suicide rates continue to surge. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Suicide rates increased significantly across most states during 1999–2016. Various circumstances contributed to suicides among persons with and without known mental health conditions.” For the CDC report, “Trends in State Suicide Rates—United States, 1999–2016 and Circumstances Contributing to Suicide—27 States, 2015,” click here.

“A Cartoonist’s Playful and Pragmatic Mental Health Guide”
“When cartoonist Ellen Forney published Marbles, her 2012 graphic memoir on bipolar disorder, readers reached out in droves thanking her for the insights her story provided into mental illness. In response, Forney started working on Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice from My Bipolar Life…which explains what happens when a person starts to recover, or at least stabilize, from mental illness.” For a review and a preview, click here.

The June 2018 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated

Here is the June wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles do not use politically correct language but are reproduced as written.) For “The ‘Insane’ Way Our Prison System Handles the Mentally Ill,” click here. For “For Mental Health Month, a New Initiative Focused on Serving Safely: In their role as first responders, police officers interact frequently with people with mental illnesses and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities,” click here. For “U.S. County Jails Step Up Mental Health Screening to Keep Inmates from Coming Back,” click here. For “‘Human Frailty’ is a Byproduct of Mass Incarceration,” click here. For “Special Report: In Louisiana Jail, Deaths Mount as Mental Health Pleas Unheeded,” click here. For “This Place Is Crazy: Our mental-health-care system is broken. Ten of every eleven psychiatric patients housed by the government are incarcerated. Here’s what this crisis looks like from the inside—a series of lost lives and a few rare victories—as reported by a prisoner-journalist,” click here. For “Is the ‘First Step Act’ Real Reform? Congress and criminal justice, a score card,” click here. For “When inmates die: Georgia’s jails fail mentally ill: Dozens of jail deaths tied to mental illness, and many are preventable,” click here. For “Illinois DOC Keeps People with Disabilities in Prison Beyond Release Dates,” click here. For “The Prisoners Who Care for the Dying and Get Another Chance at Life,” click here. For “America’s Shadow Criminal Justice System: How the ‘supervised release’ program pulls tens of thousands of former inmates back into prison without a fair trial,” click here. For “Meet Our Prisoners: A study lingers on the lives of those we incarcerate,” click here. For “US State of Connecticut sees success implementing Germany-style prison reform,” click here. For “The $580 Co-pay: In prison, seeing the doctor can cost up to a month’s salary,” click here. For “Despite His Mental Illness, Devon Davis Spent 1,001 Days in Solitary at Central Prison,” click here. For “Rethinking Restrictive Housing: Lessons from Five U.S. Jail and Prison Systems,” click here. For “After prisoners debate parole before Illinois lawmakers, state halts class,” click here. For “Strategies to Engage Employers in Conversations about Hiring Applicants with Criminal Records,” click here. For “Connecticut Will Be the FIRST State to Officially House Trans Inmates by Gender Identity,” click here. For “Larry Krasner: Time to Rethink Probation and Parole,” click here. For “Columbia Justice Lab: Probation and Parole,” click here. For “Impacted Advocates Use Their Experience to Raise Awareness Around Female Incarceration,” click here. For “People in Prison 2017, a collection of year-end 2017 prison population data,” click here. For “Report Calls Out ‘Nickel-and-Diming’ at Prison Commissaries,” click here. For “They’re Out of Prison. Can They Stay Out of the Hospital?” click here. For “How the Push to Close Rikers Went from No Jails to New Jails,” click here. For “Help Crime Victims by Committing to Restorative Justice,” click here. For “Black defendants receive longer prison terms from Republican-appointed judges, study finds,” click here. For “Transforming Juvenile Justice Systems to Improve Public Safety and Youth Outcomes,” a 36-page page white paper published in May 2018 by the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and the Council of State Governments Justice Center, click here. For “States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2018,” click here. For “We Are Witnesses” a video project by the Marshall Project, click here. For the “Safety and Justice Challenge” by the MacArthur Foundation, click here. For the May 2018 edition of the National Reentry Resource Center Reentry and Employment Roundup, click here.


Applications for SAMHSA's Recognition of Excellence in Wellness Are Now Due on June 22

SAMHSA’s Recognition of Excellence in Wellness “recognizes organizations and communities for their exemplary wellness efforts that improve the health and wellness of those living with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. If your organization works to improve the health of individuals with mental and/or substance use disorders, [SAMHSA] encourage[s] you to apply for the 2018 Recognition of Excellence in Wellness! To learn more…stream our past honoree announcement webinars!” For the 2017 webinar, click here. For the 2016 webinar, click here. For more information and to apply, click here.

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

The ISPS-US 17th Annual Meeting Will Take Place in Philadelphia!

The U.S. Chapter of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS_US) is holding its 17th annual meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia November 9-11, 2018! The conference theme is “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Wholeness in Extreme States.” For conference information, click here.

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

 About The Key Update

NOTE TO SUBSCRIBERS: The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is moving to the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion! To keep receiving the monthly Key Update, please write to with the subject line SUBSCRIBE.

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 14, No. 12, June 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