Key Update, July 2018, Volume 15, Number 1

Key Update, July 2018

Volume 15, Number 1

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

To contact the Clearinghouse:                                                 

To contact Susan Rogers:                                                     

To contact Joseph Rogers:


There’s Still Time to Register for Alternatives 2018!

Don’t miss the exciting keynote speakers (click here) at Alternatives 2018, July 29-August 3 at The Catholic University in Washington, DC! This year’s conference will be the first to organize a Hill Day—on July 31, with advocacy training on July 30! In addition, there will be more than 70 exciting workshops; for the complete list, click here! To nominate peer leaders who have contributed to the movement for social justice (deadline July 10), click here. Don’t miss the chance to attend! 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.

Psychiatric Times Publishes Call to Action to Deal with Social Determinants of Mental Health

On June 29, 2018, three psychiatrists issued a call to action. “There is a long history of professionals telling people in poverty what they need, without carefully listening to the creative ideas and strengths present in poor communities,” they wrote in “Addressing Poverty and Mental Illness,” published in Psychiatric Times. “…[T]he voices of those directly impacted need to be at the front and center. For psychiatrists, this can mean listening closely in clinical encounters, asking for community input and partnership for any new local programs, and ensuring that all advocacy efforts involve the leadership of people with lived experience, with clinicians as allies,” the three noted, and concluded: “To break the complex links between economic inequality, poverty, and poor mental health, providers need to take a multi-level, prevention-oriented approach that addresses upstream causes…” For the article, click here.

Common Drugs May Contribute to Depression, Researchers Say; Other Medications May Increase Risk of Dementia

“Over one-third of Americans take at least one prescription drug that lists depression as a potential side effect, a new study reports, and users of such drugs have higher rates of depression than those who don’t take such drugs.” A New York Times article about the study continues: “About 200 prescription drugs can cause depression, and the list includes common medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) used to treat acid reflux, beta-blockers used to treat high blood pressure, birth control pills and emergency contraceptives, anticonvulsants like gabapentin, corticosteroids like prednisone and even prescription-strength ibuprofen. Some of these drugs are also sold over-the-counter in pharmacies.” For the New York Times article, click here. And, in 2015 (covered in the Key Update then), researchers reported that common anticholinergic drugs—such as Benadryl, tricyclic antidepressants, and other medications—were linked to an increased risk of dementia. For that article, click here.

SAMHSA Sponsors Three July Webinars in Its Program To Achieve Wellness (PAW)

SAMHSA will host three free webinars in July. The first, “Learning to Use Social Media to Create and Measure Behavior Change in Public Media Campaigns,” will take place on July 11 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET. (Register here.) It will be followed by “Making the Shift: From Patient Activation to Community Activation,” on July 12 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET. (Register here.) And, on July 24, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET, “Fostering Community Wellness: Addressing Toxic Stress and Adverse Community Events” will round out the trio. (Register here.)

“How Would We Know if We Really Reformed the Mental Health System?” & Multnomah County, OR, Evaluates Its Mental Health System

A 25-question scorecard to evaluate a community’s mental health system was created by Robert Nikkel, MSW, Oregon’s commissioner for mental health and addictions from 2003 to 2008. It begins: “Here are 25 indicators that, if fully implemented, would represent a comprehensive system reform.” The scale is “(0) Haven’t even thought of it; (1) It is in planning documents and scheduled for implementation; (2) It has started in operation; (3) It has been implemented so that 50% or more are gaining access to or benefitting from it; (4) It is fully implemented...” The first indicator is “1. No one is ever told they have a ‘chronic mental illness.’ Everyone is told they can expect to recover, i.e., get a life back that will be reasonably happy and productive.” For the scorecard, click here. Meanwhile, Multnomah County, Oregon, recently released a report on its mental health services. For the free 132-page report (courtesy of Kevin Fitts), click here.

TU Collaborative Publishes Free Social Media Toolkits

The Temple University on Community Inclusion has published two free social media toolkits. Building an Online Presence “examines how agencies can use websites, newsletters, and various social media platforms to: (1) connect individuals to mainstream community resources; (2) highlight instances of community participation; and (3) stay active in producing community inclusion related content on their online media.” Using Social Media to Enhance Community Participation “examines ways in which individuals with mental [health conditions] can use social media networks to enhance community participation. Social media features and functions are examined, as well as specific networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, MeetUp, and Yelp. Also reviewed are considerations and risks when using social media.” For the free toolkits, click here.

NARPA Annual Rights Conference to Be Held in Baltimore September 26-29!

The 2018 National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) has an exciting lineup of speakers for its Annual Rights Conference, to be held September 26-29, 2018, at the Holiday Inn Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland. Keynoters at the conference—whose theme is Rights Still Under Siege!— include Robert Dinerstein, JD, a law professor at the American University Washington College of Law, who will give updates on recent cases affecting disability rights/mental health law; Peter Stastny, MD, “a critical psychiatrist, academic, researcher and filmmaker, peer innovator, and longtime ally of the Mad Movement”; Susan Stefan, JD, “legal scholar and professor, author, and internationally recognized disability law expert,” and more! For more information, click here. Questions? Write or call 256.650.6311. Continuing Legal Education certificates and Social Work CEUs will be available.

“Including People with Disabilities in Your Political Campaign: A Guide for Campaign Staff”

The National Council on Independent Living has created a guide—Including People with Disabilities in Your Political Campaign: A Guide for Campaign Staff—“to help campaign staff understand why and how to include people with disabilities in their staff and volunteer positions. The knowledge in this guide comes from many interviews with persons with disabilities, including political candidates with disabilities, who have had to work around barriers in the campaign process by engineering creative and engaging ideas.” NCIL adds, “The ingenuity of people with disabilities is a resource that should not be underestimated, something you”—legislators and aides—"will learn for yourself if you include them in your campaign.” For the free 23-page guide, click here.

“John Oliver’s Guardianship Segment Picks Apart the Disturbing System So Many Senior Citizens Face”

In a recent segment on Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver demonstrated how the guardianship system “can strip people of their rights and resources…As Oliver explained, guardians have a significant amount of control over the affairs of their wards and, thus, have access to a myriad of very personal entities, like bank accounts and health records. Moreover, being placed in a guardianship often means that senior citizens are stripped of many of their rights. As Judge Steve King of Tarrant County, Texas, explained in a clip played on Oliver's show, ‘Guardianship is a massive intrusion into a person’s life…They lose more rights than someone who goes to prison.’” To watch the segment, click here.

AJPM Publishes Open-Access Issue on Behavioral Health Workforce, Including Articles on Peer Providers

The June 2018 edition of the open-access American Journal of Preventive Medicine is devoted to “The Behavioral Health Workforce: Planning, Practice, and Preparation.” Articles include “The Future of the Behavioral Health Workforce: Optimism and Opportunity,” “Peer Workers in the Behavioral and Integrated Health Workforce: Opportunities and Future Directions,” “Emerging Roles for Peer Providers in Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders,” and more. For the June 2018 edition and to download the free articles, click here.

Thanks, Laysha Ostrow

Free Webinar on “Avoidable Costs & Risks Associated with Siloed Healthcare”

On July 18 at 1 p.m. ET, the Institute for the Advancement of Behavioral Healthcare will sponsor a free webinar on “The Avoidable Costs & Risks Associated with Siloed Healthcare.” The Institute writes: “Not only does the over-utilization of emergency department services for behavioral health or addiction treatment mean higher costs for consumer care, it creates risk of 30-day readmission penalties and further pressures already strained high-value resources…Fortunately, health systems and behavioral health organizations can partner to provide value-based services that address these impacts. This integration enables providers to harness the power of networks and direct consumers to the most effective and cost-effective care.” For more information and/or to register, click here.

Free SAMHSA Webinar on "Unique Housing Needs of People with Criminal Justice Histories"

“Individuals returning to the community from jail or prison must overcome significant barriers in obtaining and maintaining housing in the community,” NYAPRS writes. “The final webinar of the People with Lived Experience Spotlight Series…will discuss strategies for stable housing. The webinar features peers with a history of involvement in the criminal justice system identifying what strategies and supports were most helpful to them in their efforts to obtain permanent and affordable housing.” The webinar is scheduled for July 25 from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. ET. For more information and/or to register, click here.

National Dialogues on Behavioral Health to Be Held in New Orleans Oct. 28-31

The National Dialogues on Behavioral Health—“the oldest ongoing annual conference on mental health and substance abuse in the United States,” its organizers say—will take place in New Orleans October 28-31, 2018. Its theme: Reinventing the Behavioral Health Workforce: Implementing Innovative Solutions. “The purpose of the conference is to bring experts, administrators, providers, consumers, family members and advocates together to discuss the cutting edge in the topic of interest with a focus on implementation and ‘how to do it.’ A distinctive feature is the opportunity for extended dialogue and interaction among the participants.” For more information and/or to register, click here.

Mental Health Self-Direction Modestly Boosts Employment and Housing Outcomes, Researchers Say

“What effect does self-direction have on functional outcomes like housing and employment?” A study, conducted by HSRI, Boston College, and other local universities, “looked into outcomes of housing independence and employment between individuals who participated in self-direction and those who did not. Compared with nonparticipants, self-directing participants were more likely to improve, or maintain at high levels, engagement in paid work and independent housing. The study, published online in Psychiatric Services (available in brief here), is part of a Demonstration and Evaluation of Self-Direction in Mental Health study that explores mental health self-direction in six states...” For an HSRI research brief about the study, click here. For the short article from which the above was excerpted, click here.

SAMHSA Publishes Free Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit

The SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit—2018 “equips health care providers, communities, and local governments with material to develop practices and policies to help prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths. It addresses issues for health care providers, first responders, treatment providers, and those recovering from opioid overdose.” To download the free toolkit and other information about opioid abuse, click here.

WARM Network Offers Support Groups for People Hoping to Taper, and Recover from the Effects of, Drugs

“The Withdrawal and Recovery Meeting (WARM) network of groups are confidential support groups for people interested in tapering and recovering from the effects of prescribed medications. While we recognize that drugs have their place, our focus here is on the awareness of risks, on reducing dosages, and on utilizing various alternatives. Many of us have taken medications as prescribed only to experience problems as a result. Some of us are still on medication, while others are tapering, or have finished tapering…The only requirement for participation is a desire to learn about the effects of prescribed medications and how to safely manage withdrawal.” For more, go to

Thanks, Jacek Haciak

“Criminalizing Homelessness Violates Basic Human Rights”

“In December [2017], Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty, toured the United States to observe and report on poverty in the world’s richest country,” a recent article in The Nation begins. “Alston released his report last week, and his assessment was unsparing. He said the ‘immense wealth’ in this country ‘stands in shocking contrast with the conditions in which vast numbers of its citizens live.’ In the United States, he writes, about 40 million people live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty, and 5.3 million in ‘absolute poverty.’ He described conditions, including high infant-mortality rates, exposure to raw sewage, lack of basic medical care and sanitation, and malnutrition. He said that deliberate policy decisions by local, state, and federal governments are part of the cause.” For the article, click here.

“Peer Specialists’ Techniques for Suicide Prevention, Crisis, and Transformation” Is Doors to Wellbeing’s July Webinar

On the last Tuesday of almost every month at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing hosts a free, one-hour webinar. In “Peer Specialists’ Techniques for Suicide Prevention, Crisis, and Transformation,” on July 31, the learning objectives are to “understand the connections of crisis, suicidality, personal growth and recovery; describe the expanding role of mental health peer support and lived experience in suicide prevention nationally; and identify the key concepts related to suicide prevention practices.” To register, click here.

Coffee and Psychosis, A Mental Health Podcast, May Not Be Everyone’s Cup of Tea

“This [British] podcast is an exploration of where the human mind can go. The fathomless rabbit hole. ‘Coffee and Psychosis’ is a collection of human stories around the subject of madness. What society neatly calls ‘mental health.’ Should you lend your feet, the path is lit with curiosity for what lies behind the doors labelled: Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Bipolar, depression, anxiety—and so forth. This is an attempt to unearth a deeper humanity behind the sometimes saccharine view of ‘unwell-being.’ The story behind the script. The death of metaphor. This has nothing to do with coffee.” It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but noted British psychologist Anne Cooke, editor of Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia, called it “Brilliant.” To listen, click here.

Thanks, @AnneCooke14

“How Do We Design Workplaces That Support Mental Health and Well-Being?”

“Physical design has been shown to affect our mental health and happiness,” according to a June 24 article in Forbes. A review of existing research and literature in design of workplaces to support mental health and well-being…showed that there is still a huge gap in literature that explicitly measures and analyses workplace design...Research in Environmental Psychology has long argued that physical environments play a key role in promoting mental and physical health.” For the Forbes article, click here.

“8 of the Best TED Talks for Understanding and Discussing Mental Illness”

“From psychologists who treat mental illness to those struggling with it themselves, speakers have been appearing on stages across the country to inform others of the realities of psychological disorders and to encourage those grappling with them to hold onto hope,” writes Michelle Dreyer of Southern New Hampshire University. Dreyer has compiled what she believes are “8 of the Best TED Talks for Understanding and Discussing Mental Illness.” To find out if you agree, click here.

“Drexel Student Combats Suicide by Pairing People with Online ‘Buddies’”

Responding to the need she saw to help people who were contemplating suicide, Gabby Frost established “Buddy Project, a peer support system that provides companions to people seeking to make friends. The idea was to pair people with an online ‘buddy’ who shared similar interests, with the broader goal of preventing suicide and self-harm…Five years later, the nonprofit Buddy Project has paired more than 219,000 people and raised more than $40,000 to support mental health facilities across the United States.” For more, click here.

Is Someone You Care About Very Depressed? Here Are Some Ways to Help, as Well as Additional Articles About Suicide

“What do you do when a friend is depressed for such a long time that you’ve started to feel that that nothing you can do will make a difference, and your empathy reserves are tapped out?” The New York Times writes. “There are no easy answers. But here are some tips from experts: Don’t underestimate the power of showing up…Don’t try to cheer him up or offer advice…It’s O.K. to ask if she is having suicidal thoughts…Take any mention of death seriously…Make getting to that first appointment as easy as possible…Take care of yourself and set boundaries…Remember, people do recover from depression.” For “What to Do When a Loved One Is Severely Depressed,” which includes more about each of these suggestions, click here. And for “How to Talk About Suicide Without Adding to Mental Health Stigma,” click here. Other articles about suicide include “How Cognitive Therapy May Help Suicidal People,” click here; “This teen, who attempted suicide seven times, builds apps that saved her life and others,” click here; “Suicide Rates Are Rising. What Should We Do About it?” click here; “Five Takeaways on America’s Increasing Suicide Rate”—including that “[s]tates with the lowest suicide rates have stricter gun laws”—click here; “Kate Spade’s suicide: Another example of how the media fails people with mental health issues,” click here; “Why Predicting Suicide Is a Difficult and Complex Challenge,” click here.

The Latest Edition of the Prisoner Support Directory Is Available for Free Download

The Prison Activist Resource Center (PARC) writes: “PARC corresponds with and mails this resource packet to [people incarcerated in the criminal justice system], their friends and family members. We are often the first point of contact for people to connect with prisoners’ rights organizations, community organizations, prison literature and arts projects, family and visiting resources, health care and legal resources, parole and pre-release resources, and the prison abolition movement. If you are an organization that will use this directory to support [people who are incarcerated] who contact you, please send us a 65 cent stamp with your request and we will send you an original copy.” Or to download a free copy of PARC’s latest 24-page directory, published in June 2018, click here.

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

Here is the July 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 “Empowering People with Criminal Records to Change Policy: A Legal Advocate’s Guide to Storytelling,” click here. For “Reimagining Prison,” click here. For the 113-page “The Prison Industrial Complex: Mapping Private Prisons,” click here. For the 44-page “The New Dynamics of Mass Incarceration,” click here. For “For journalists covering prisons, the First Amendment is little help,” click here. For “Prison Abolitionists Rally for Human and Environmental Health at Pittsburgh Polluters’ Offices,” click here. For “The solution to stopping stop-and-frisk problems in Philly: Abolish it,” click here. For “CAP’s Neera Tanden, Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA), and Co-Founder of the Players Coalition Malcolm Jenkins on Enactment of Pennsylvania’s Bipartisan Clean Slate Legislation,” click here. For “Everywhere and Nowhere: Compassionate Release in the States,” click here. For “The Silencing of Prison Legal News,” click here. For “The Human Toll of Jail,” click here. For “A Dumping Ground for the Poor, the Criminal, and the Mad,” click here. For “Another Hurdle for Former Inmates: Their Teeth,” click here. For “What life is like for the U.S.’s increasingly aging prison population,” click here. For “Vermont becomes first state to Include 18- and 19-year-olds in youth court: Research indicates new law will improve public safety,” click here. For “The Danger of Automating Criminal Justice: Advocates in Philadelphia say a new tool to assist judges in sentencing could perpetuate bias,” click here. For “Peace Officers: How One American city chose to tackle crime, combat racism, and reckon with the legacy of police brutality,” click here. For “Training the Brain to Stay out of Jail: How one ambitious program aims to reduce crime by changing how repeat offenders think,” click here. For “Not Guilty—But Not Free,” click here. For “Prisoners Endure a Nightmare ‘Gulag’ in Lower Manhattan, Hidden in Plain Sight,” click here. For “The Long Way Home: Each step in the transition from prison to community is an opportunity for either social integration or isolation,” click here. For “David and Goliath: A Small City Police Department Takes Aim at a Monster Epidemic,” click here. For “Supreme Irrelevance: The Court’s Abdication in Criminal Procedure Jurisprudence,” 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.

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.

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.

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. 1, July 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