The Key Update, August 2018, Volume 15, Number 2

Key Update, August 2018

Volume 15, Number 2

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:


Research Confirms Peer Support’s Effectiveness in Promoting Recovery and Helping People Stay Out of the Hospital

“Training and hiring persons in recovery to provide peer support represents a win-win situation for resource-strapped systems,” according to a recent article in Psychiatric Times, whose authors include a number of distinguished researchers, including some who have lived experience. “Patients receive support from trained peers who instill hope, model self-care, and help navigate the health care system. Peer support providers are gainfully employed in a role that supports their own recovery by allowing them to do personally motivated work. Systems gain a trained, effective workforce that pushes providers beyond the basic outcomes of decreased homelessness, incarceration, and hospitalization to include other outcomes that also matter to patients and their loved ones, i.e., those associated with reclaiming a meaningful life.” To read the article, click here. In a related story, “New data, published in The Lancet, highlights the importance of peer support in reducing the risk of readmission to an acute crisis unit.” For “Peer Support Reduces Chances of Psychiatric Readmission,” which includes a link to the full text of the Lancet article at the end, click here. For a related New York Times story, “Sometimes Patients Simply Need Other Patients,” click here.

“The Effectiveness of a Peer-Staffed Crisis Respite Program as an Alternative to Hospitalization”

In a story related to those above, Psychiatric Services reported on a study that “assessed whether peer-staffed crisis respite centers implemented in New York City in 2013 as an alternative to hospitalization reduced emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and Medicaid expenditures for individuals enrolled in Medicaid.” Conclusions: “Peer-staffed crisis respite services resulted in lowered rates of Medicaid-funded hospitalizations and health expenditures for participants compared with a comparison group. The findings suggest that peer-staffed crisis respites can achieve system-level impacts.” For the abstract, click here.

Free Webinar on “Mental Health Peer Specialists and People Who Are Justice Involved” on August 28

On the last Tuesday of almost every month at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing hosts a free, one-hour webinar. On August 28, “Mental Health Peer Specialists and People Who Are Justice Involved” will provide information about how peer-facilitated groups and peer support can reduce recidivism, how peer specialists can connect with people reentering the community after incarceration, and identify preconceived ideas and judgments of people who are justice-involved that can affect how peer specialists provide peer support. For more information and to register, click here.

Free SAMHSA Webinar on the Future of Mental Health Mobile Apps and Videoconferencing-based Telemental Health: August 29

On August 29 at 1:30 p.m. ET, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will sponsor a 90-minute webinar on “An Evaluation Framework and the Future of Mental Health Mobile Apps and Videoconferencing-based Telemental Health.” Part 1 will drill deep into the current landscape and future of such apps, including (but not limited to) evidence for and against using them. Part 2 will provide an overview of current best practices in telepsychiatry and a summary of current telepsychiatry policy changes and implications, as well as administrative, technical, and legal considerations around telepsychiatry. To register, click here.

AAPD Offers 2017 Disability Rights Storytellers Fellowship: Application Deadline Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. ET

“The Disability Rights Storytellers Fellowship, managed by Rooted in Rights and AAPD, provides the opportunity for an individual with a disability to learn and apply skills in digital media storytelling, and to connect with media professionals to prepare participants for advanced careers in media production, journalism, online advocacy, or digital design. The project combines hands-on training on cutting edge technologies with a strong foundation in developing the individual’s voice and using story-driven videos in advocacy.” Applications are due by September 4, 2018, at 5 p.m. ET. For details, including eligibility requirements, click here.

Thanks, Nev Jones

You Are Invited to Participate in a Survey of People with Lived Experience

Researchers at the University of South Florida invite you to take part in a research study called “Polyphony in Activism: Capturing the Voices of Advocates and Activists with Lived Experience of Mental Difference and/or Mental Health Treatment.” The researchers write: “We are conducting a study that aims to capture the experiences and perspectives of advocates and activists with lived experience of ‘mental difference,’ i.e., characteristics, traits, states, and phenomena that have been categorized as symptoms of mental disorders or developmental disorders, and/or lived experience of behavioral or mental health treatment. The purpose of the study is to better understand how experiences of mental difference and behavioral or mental health treatment impact activist involvement and agendas.” The survey will be open at least through September 2018. For more information and/or to participate, click here.

“Mental Health Declining Among Disadvantaged American Adults,” Study Shows

“American adults of low socioeconomic status report increasing mental distress and worsening well-being, according to a new study by Princeton University and Georgetown University.” The study is “among the first to investigate if the psychological health of Americans has worsened over time, as suggested by the ‘deaths of despair’ narrative, linking rising mortality in midlife to drugs, alcohol and suicide. The results show that distress is not just a midlife phenomenon but a scenario plaguing disadvantaged Americans across the life course. The findings should be taken into account in terms of policy and advocacy efforts, the researchers said.” For the article excerpted above, click here.

Thanks, Café TA Center.

Free Webinar on “Enhancing Skills for Peer Support Providers” on September 18

On September 18 at 1 p.m. ET, Pathways RTC will host a one-hour webinar on “Enhancing Skills for Peer Support Providers: Research on the AMP+ Skills Enhancement Training.” Pathways writes: “Research on peer support in mental health consistently cites a lack of clarity around the role and its skills as a barrier to high-quality implementation. This webinar reports on a study testing the AMP+ skills-enhancement intervention for peer support providers working with youth and young adults. AMP+ provides web-based training and video coaching that is specific to the peer role. Peers reported high satisfaction, improved their skills, and reported reduced work-related anxiety.” For more information and to register, click here.

“A Simple Emergency Room Intervention Can Help Cut Suicide Risk”

A recent study “shows that a simple intervention conducted by staff in emergency departments” with someone who has attempted suicide “can reduce the risk of future [suicide] attempts. The intervention involves creating a safety plan for each patient and following up with phone calls after discharge. ‘It reduced the odds of suicidal behavior by half,’ says Barbara Stanley, a psychologist at Columbia University and the lead author of the study. ‘That's a phenomenal difference.’” The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, “included 1,200 patients at five Veterans Affairs hospitals around the country. The findings offer a way for hospitals and clinics to help reduce the rising numbers of death by suicide across the country.” For the article, click here. For the JAMA article abstract, click here. And for “Sharp Increase in Gun Suicides Signals Growing Public Health Crisis,” click here.

Thanks, Elizabeth Stone and Kevin Fitts

TU Collaborative Publishes Manual on Helping People with Mental Health Conditions Prepare for Disasters

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion and the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse have issued a training manual for certified peer specialists to help them assist the people they work with in preparing for natural or manmade disasters. “Disasters—earthquakes or floods, shootings or riots, or other such natural or man-made events—often have terrible practical and emotional impacts, which can be minimized if people are better prepared: if they have thought ahead about what they can do, what they will need, and how they can respond if they are unlucky enough to face a disaster,” the manual begins. “This document is designed to increase the degree to which individuals with mental health conditions have planned to meet their needs if a disaster should strike. It also suggests that peer specialists can play an important role in helping the people they serve be better prepared.” To download the free manual, click here.

“ ‘Diagnostic Dissent’: Experiences of Individuals who Disagreed With Their Diagnosis”

From “Faith Forgione, a student at Fordham University, NY, recently published part of a larger study that examined the lived experiences of individuals who have received a psychiatric diagnosis that they felt to be inaccurate and invalidating. This project…gives voice to an underreported phenomenon and asks: ‘How do individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorders experience perceived misdiagnosis?’” For more information, click here.

iNAPS to Host Webinar on “Peer Support and Community Inclusion: My Story”

On September 14, 2018, at 12 p.m. ET, the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) will host a presentation by Dr. Mark Salzer, director of the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion and professor of rehabilitation sciences at Temple University. iNAPS writes: “Dr. Mark Salzer will tell his story about how he became interested in peer support and community inclusion more than 30 years ago, and the resistance he, and others, faced in those early years. He will then provide some historical background on research and policies in both areas, including the independent living movement and disability rights orientation. He will then explain why peer support and community inclusion are essential directions for enhancing mental health systems and services. He will end by briefly describing what he will be talking about at the 2018 iNAPS conference in Orlando.” For more information and to register, click here.

“NSF Wants to Know What You Think It Should Fund”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is about to launch a contest called the NSF 2026 Idea Machine. According to a recent article in Science, “On August 31, NSF will begin accepting online entries for the contest. Anyone can submit an idea—from individual scientists to professional societies to a high school science class…The only real restriction is that the idea must be something NSF could support. So no proposals to cure cancer, or send astronauts to Mars.” The winners will be announced next summer. For more information and to enter, click here.

Thanks, Elizabeth Stone

“12 Mental Health Documentaries That Should Be Mandatory Viewing,” Says Women.Com

“From bipolar disorder to anorexia, the following documentaries about mental health open up a necessary dialogue for those who need it most and for most Americans to learn more about struggles family members, co-workers, or partners may face,” according to the website. Among the dozen films are “Running from Crazy,” in which Mariel Hemingway explores her family’s legacy of suicide and seeks out information on suicide prevention, and “The Bridge,” featuring interviews with suicide loss survivors; films featuring singer Demi Lovato and actor Stephen Fry, respectively; explorations of eating disorders, autism, Tourette syndrome, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia; as well as “Happy,” in which “the filmmakers travel the world to find what makes us happy.” Note: The Clearinghouse has not viewed these documentaries; they are offered without its recommendation. For the article, click here.

“Study Identifies Factors Linked to Adverse Events, Errors During Psychiatric Hospitalization”

Older adults and those with a longer length of stay are more likely to experience an adverse event or medical error during psychiatric hospitalization, according to a report in Psychiatric Services. Researchers at the University of Amsterdam and in the U.S. “analyzed a random sample of 4,371 charts from 14 inpatient psychiatric units at acute care general hospitals in urban and rural Pennsylvania. Factors associated with a higher risk of adverse events or medical errors were being 54 years old or older, admitted during the weekend, admitted to a rural hospital, and treated at very-high-volume hospitals (more than 1,280 admissions a year). People over 54, who accounted for 23.9 percent of all adverse events, were more than twice as likely to experience an adverse event compared with people aged 18 to 30 (11.5 percent). For more information, click here.

Need Some Free Technical Assistance? Better Call BRSS TACS!

“BRSS TACS (Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy) offers free training, technical assistance, and learning opportunities on recovery supports and services. Training and technical assistance provided by BRSS TACS aims to transform behavioral health systems. The goal is to provide a diverse array of nonclinical supports, support person-directed treatment, increase access to recovery supports, and expand the peer workforce. Recovery-oriented systems are developed with an understanding that long-term recovery happens in the community. Training and technical assistance is provided in a variety of formats, including consultations, virtual and in-person events and meetings, and online resources.” For the online technical assistance request form, click here.

Thanks, Lauren Spiro

“Take a Walk in the Woods. Doctor’s Orders.”

“ ‘Forest bathing,’ or immersing yourself in nature, is being embraced by doctors and others as a way to combat stress and improve health.” So says a recent article in The New York Times, which notes that some small studies suggest that spending time in nature, specifically in lush forests, might have beneficial physical effects while improving one’s mood. "An analysis of studies from 2010 that focused on exercising in nature found improvements in self-esteem, particularly among younger participants. Overall effects on mood were heightened when there was a stream or other body of water nearby.” However, the article continued, “other studies have shown mixed results.” For the Times story, click here.

“12 Books about Mental Health Everybody Should Read,” The Reading Agency Suggests

The Reading Agency, a U.K.-based nonprofit that promotes reading, recommends a dozen books on mental health issues, Cosmopolitan reports. The books—fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and self-help—include memoirs and advice on coping with depression, anxiety, and addiction, respectively; help for those seeking to practice mindfulness; Sylvia Plath’s classic novel, “The Bell Jar,” Allie Brosh’s hilarious graphic novel, “Hyperbole and a Half,” and others. For more information, click here.

The August 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 August 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 “Behind Bars, Mentally Ill Inmates Are Often Punished for Their Symptoms,” click here. For “Everything You Need to Know About the Prison Strike, One of the Largest in U.S. History,” click here. For “Exclusive First Listen: 70 Million, a New Podcast about Justice Reform: Hear the trailer for this 10-part open-source series that looks at how residents are taking action locally,” click here. For “Why We Need More Journalism Courses Taught in Prison,” click here. For “Colorado Faces Growing Legal Jeopardy Over Dealing with Mentally Ill Inmates,” click here. For “The risk of replicating Rikers: Inmates with mental illness need help, not jail,” click here. For “License to Clip: A movement to let the formerly incarcerated cut hair and drive taxis is gaining ground,” click here. “Nowhere to Go: Homelessness among formerly incarcerated people,” click here. For “50-State Report on Public Safety: Tools and strategies to help states reduce crime, recidivism, and costs,” click here. For “More than 40 DC-Area Inmates Died from Suicide in Custody Since 2014,” click here. For “Police Peer Support Teams: Q&A,” click here. For “Why Silicon Valley is teaming up with San Quentin to train young people to code,” click here. For “When mental illness leads to an arrest, this court steps in,” click here. For “Inmate suicide note from Harris County jail points to systemic gaps in mental health care,” click here. “Houston’s biggest jail wants to shed its reputation as a mental health treatment center,” click here. For “Jails, prisons slowly loosen resistance to addiction meds,” click here. For “Inmates Are Getting Registered To Vote In One Of The Country’s Biggest Jails: A group in Chicago is working to extend the franchise to people detained in jail, many of whom have no idea they can vote,” click here. For “How I Befriended a Prisoner on Suicide Watch,” click here. For “Who Profits from Our Prison System?” click here. For “How Prisons Are Poisoning Their Inmates: Hundreds of U.S. prisons and ICE detention centers are built on toxic sites, and people inside are getting sick,” click here. For “Police encounter many people with mental-health crises. Could psychiatrists help?” click here. For “The Benefit of Having the Same Name as a Police Officer,” click here. For “In New York, a Harm-Reduction Organization Is Leveraging Participatory Defense to Empower Its Clients: Grassroots group VOCAL-NY is teaching people with substance use disorder how to avoid getting ensnared in the criminal justice system,” click here. For “FREE (Freedom House Reentry Education and Employment Corporation): Reentry That Works,” click on For “The Ballot as a Bulwark: The Impact of Felony Disenfranchisement on Recidivism,” click here. For “As we reduce the prison population, we must find ways to bring former prisoners back into our communities,” click here. For “Amid reports of sexual extortion, other horrors, feds subpoena records, tour women’s prison,” click here. For “‘Profound dehydration’: Milwaukee County sheriff’s officers charged in death of inmate denied water for a week,” click here. For “Lawmakers wrestle with prison increases, question policies,” click here. For “LAPD chief proposes a ‘radical solution’: Eliminate old bench warrants for homeless people,” click here. For “Teaching police to holster their emotions,” click here. For “A View of Tomorrow: With virtual reality, juvenile lifers practice for a world they may experience,” click here. For “‘As Long as Solitary Exists, They Will Find a Way to Use It,’” click here. For “NYC Will Stop Gouging Incarcerated New Yorkers for Calling Home,” click here. For “At Georgia’s Arrendale State Prison, women inmates forge a bond by keeping bees,” click here. For “Amazon Rekognition Falsely Matched 28 Members Of Congress With Arrest Mugshots: The false matches were disproportionately people of color, said the ACLU,” click here. For “Senators Take Aim at Bail Industry Backers: Cory Booker and Sherrod Brown, both Democrats, want answers from the insurance industry,” click here. For “Is There a Right Not to Snitch? An inmate tests a new patch of constitutional ground,” click here. For “Caught,” Reviewed: A Podcast That Captures the Voices of Incarcerated Kids,” click here. For “Cyrano Behind Bars: A prison theater program in New York offers hope for inmate rehabilitation,” 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

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.

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.

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. 2, August 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