Key Update, June 2019, Volume 15, Number 12

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


TO CONTACT THE CLEARINGHOUSE: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                                                 

TO CONTACT SUSAN ROGERS: SUSAN.ROGERS.ADVOCACY@GMAIL.COM                                                     


It’s Not Too Late to Register for Alternatives 2019!

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) will host Alternatives 2019—“Standing Together, Celebrating Our Gifts, Raising Our Voices”—at The Catholic University in Washington, DC, July 7-11! The Alternatives Conference, now in its fourth decade, “is renowned for offering the latest and best information in the peer recovery movement, and a chance for peers to network with and learn from one another,” the NCMHR writes. “Now the People’s Alternatives once again, this conference is funded entirely through registration fees and donations.” Alternatives 2019 will include a two-day Public Policy and Education Academy, including advocacy training and a “Hill Day,” when peer advocates will meet, by appointment, with the staff of their U.S. senators and congressional representatives. To watch a short video about a past Alternatives conference, click here. For information about the keynote speakers, click here. For the workshop schedule, click here. For additional information, visit To register (for one day or the entire conference), click here.

Twitter Chat on “Challenging the Destructive Impact of Prejudice, Discrimination, Sanism, and Ableism” on July 15 at 2 p.m. ET

Join Nev Jones, Inside Our Minds (IOM), and the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse for a one-hour Twitter chat on “Challenging the Destructive Impact of Prejudice, Discrimination, Sanism, and Ableism” on July 15 at 2 p.m. ET. Nev Jones, Ph.D.—who has lived experience of psychosis and is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, and an internationally recognized advocate and expert in the mental health arena—will respond to questions and comments. In an 11,000+-word Pacific Standard article about her, she asks: “What would it look like if we focused on the social obstacles people face, instead of just their symptoms? How would it change things if we put people through school instead of telling them to settle for jobs shelving books? What if we listened to what it feels like to be mad, instead of telling people their experiences are just sound and fury meaning nothing?” For more about Inside Our Minds, click on and follow @insidemindspgh on Twitter. For more about Alyssa Cypher, founder of Inside Our Minds, visit and follow @lyss_cypher on Twitter. For more about Nev Jones, click here and click here and follow @viscidula on Twitter. The Twitter chat hashtag is #IOMchat.

Free Webinar Series on “Peer Workforce and Mental Health System Change”; First Webinar June 25!

Three free one-hour webinars on “Peer Workforce and Mental Health System Change: Promise and Practice” will be offered at 11 a.m. ET on June 25, July 16, and July 30 via The Central East Mental Health Technology Transfer Center. The webinars were developed by Jessica Wolf, PhD, Senior Advisor, Yale Group on Workforce Development. The topics are “Is the Past Prologue? From Insane Asylums to Peer Support Workforce” (June 25), “The Logic of Scientific Revolutions: Peer Support Workforce and Mental Health System Transformation” (July 16), and “Chop Wood and Carry Water: Key Elements in Progressive Peer Workforce Practice” (July 30). To register for the June 25 webinar, click here. Registration for, and access to, the two later webinars will be available on The Central East Mental Health Technology Transfer Center website (click here), which is recording and archiving all three webinars. 

BRSS TACS to Offer a Free Virtual Event on Employment Support Strategies on June 27

A free, interactive, one-hour Recovery LIVE! virtual event—“Employment Support Strategies: Approaches to Assist People in Recovery from a Serious Mental Illness or Substance Use Disorder”—will be hosted by SAMHSA’s Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) on June 27 at 2 p.m. ET. You are invited “to join national experts in a conversation about employment support strategies for people living with serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or both. Presenters include Sean Johnson, Thresholds; Teesha Kirschbaum, Washington State Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery; and Len Statham, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS).” To register, click here.

Courtesy of Judene Shelley

Tune In on June 27 at 3:30 p.m. for a Free Webinar on “Providing Mental Health Care to People Without Shelter”

On June 27, at 3:30 p.m., SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network will present the third webinar in the three-part Spotlight Series, Taking Mental Health Care to the Streets. This 90-minute webinar—“Outside the Box: Providing Mental Health Care to People Without Shelter”—“will focus on the provision of mental health services to people living in encampments,” the sponsors write. “Participants will learn strategies for providing care to individuals with serious mental illness, substance use disorders, or co-occurring disorders who are in unsheltered environments, both to address immediate needs and to provide foundational support for community-based permanent care that can continue through a person’s transition from living in an encampment to permanent housing.” For more information and to register, click here.

Courtesy of Jacek Haciak

NYAPRS Is Seeking Proposals for Its 37th Annual Conference—Deadline: July 1!

The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) is seeking presentations for its 37th annual conference—“Integrate, Innovate, Advocate, Celebrate: Keeping our Eyes on the Prize!”—to be held September 24-26, 2019 at the Villa Roma Resort & Conference Center, Callicoon, NY. “This year,” NYAPRS writes, “we’re especially interested in presentations that focus on new service designs and choices and pathways to wellness and healing that are available across the diversity of New Yorkers with mental health and substance use related needs.” For more about the conference—known for attracting nationally known presenters as well as participants from around the country—and for the criteria for the 75-minute presentations, including multiple potential topics, click here.

Psych Ward Greeting Cards Let People in Psych Wards Know Others Care

“Psych Ward Greeting Cards makes it easy for empathic and compassionate people to let patients in the psych ward know that people, even strangers, care about them and support them,” writes ForLikeMinds, which “created and manages this program to deliver greeting cards from strangers to psychiatric patients at participating hospitals. As insignificant as it may seem, sharing a card can have a wonderful impact when a patient is at their lows—offering help, encouragement, and hope.” For details, click here.

Courtesy of Ann Kasper

Older People Taking Antidepressants Could Triple Their Risk of Developing Dementia

“A new study suggests that people taking antidepressants in middle or old age could have triple the risk of developing dementia,” the Toronto Sun reports. “Researchers found that the rate of dementia was 3.4 times higher among people who took antidepressants after the age of 50.” The study, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, evaluated more than 71,000 participants between 2002 and 2012. None had been diagnosed with dementia before the study. Eleven percent of the antidepressant-takers developed dementia, compared to 2.6% of the people who didn’t take such medications. For the article, click here. A related story, published in 2018, found that “people who used certain types of anticholinergics, such as those used to treat depression, Parkinson's and urinary incontinence, for a year or more had about a 30% increased risk of developing dementia down the road.” For that article, click here. And in 2015 (covered in the Key Update then), researchers also 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. For the Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale, click here.

HSRI Publishes “Making Self-Direction a Reality”

“Self-direction is a fast-growing platform for the delivery of community-based services and supports to people who need long-term care, and many states are choosing to use individual budgeting to make it a reality,” writes the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI). “Basing budget amounts on assessed need can help ensure that people have equal access to services across a service population. To better understand the methods that states use to create individual budgets, the benefits and risks of these approaches, and their level of alignment with principles of self-determination, we examined 260 1915(c) Home and Community-Based Service waivers from across the nation.” For a link to download the free, 12-page publication, click here.

Do You Supervise Peer Support Workers? Then Researchers Have Some Questions for You

Researchers in the University of South Florida’s Department of Psychiatry and at Magellan Health are investigating the backgrounds, training, and experiences of individuals who currently supervise at least one peer support worker in a behavioral health setting or agency. “To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first comprehensive research study of the landscape of peer support supervision practices in the United States,” writes Dr. Nev Jones, the primary investigator of the study (Protocol Number 00040223). Participants must be at least 18 years old and work in the United States or U.S. territories. An online survey lasting approximately 10 minutes will ask about respondents’ backgrounds, training and preparation for supervision, perspectives and practices, and views on barriers and facilitators to high-quality supervision. There is no monetary compensation. Questions? Contact Dr. Nev Jones ( or the co-primary investigator, Dana Foglesong ( To access the survey, click here.

MindFreedom International Creates “Voices for Choices” Videos About Force and Coercion

On the Voices for Choices YouTube channel, MindFreedom International has posted videos where “courageous individuals speak out about their experience with the mental health system’s use of force and coercion. They share about alternative approaches and healing modalities they have explored and their effective approaches to organizing and activism. Depression and anxiety are gaining media acceptance, but for people attempting suicide or experiencing intense emotional distress, resulting in a diagnosis of psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or other DSM labels, the stigma is stronger than ever…It is our goal to break the silence, connect with one another, heal, and organize to drive a nonviolent revolution in the mental health system. This is the journey of the healer and the activist.” For the Voices for Choices videos, click here.

Free Webinar on Disaster Preparedness Training for Community Organizations to Be Held July 9

A free, 90-minute “training webinar to assist community organizations in building long-term capacity to meet the needs of the people they support before, during, and after a disaster” will be sponsored by SAMHSA’s BRSS TACS (Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy) on July 9, at 2 p.m. ET. “Participants will receive organizational disaster preparedness resources and templates and learn how to utilize these resources in their own work. A second session, on July 16, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET, will provide support for using the resources.” To register, click here. (Editor’s Note: In September 2018, the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion published The Roles of Peer Specialists Before Disasters Strike: Helping People with Mental Health Conditions Prepare for Disasters—Trainer’s Guide. The manual was a collaboration between the Temple University Collaborative and the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. To download the free 33-page trainer’s manual, click here.)

What Happens to People After Discharge from First Episode Psychosis/Early Intervention Programs? New Study Seeks Answers—and Participants

A study led by Dr. Nev Jones at the University of South Florida seeks current and former clients as well as family members of clients previously enrolled in early intervention in psychosis (EIP)/coordinated specialty care (CSC) services. The study aims to better understand what happens after discharge from EIP/CSC programs, including in the areas of school or work and access to/use of other mental health services. Eligible participants must be at least 18 years old and must be “current clients within one month of discharge from an EIP/CSC program, former clients discharged at least six months (at the time of the scheduled interview), and the family members of former clients.” In exchange for a phone interview of approximately 1.5 hours, each participant in the study (Protocol Number 00035193) will receive a $75 money order. Questions? Contact Dr. Jones at 813.415.5532 or by email at

The Five Federally Funded National TA Centers Collaborate on a Free Webinar Series

The Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative will host a free 90-minute webinar on July 24th at 2 p.m. ET on “Fundraising and Sustainability: Building Your Organization by Telling the Right Story to the Right Audience.” The presenter will be  Jeremy Countryman of The Cafe TA Center. The webinar is part of a “series to assist leaders of peer-run organizations, emerging leaders, board members, staff, and advocates to gain essential skills to develop, strengthen, and sustain their organizations,” the Café TA Center writes. The next two webinars will be on August 21 and September 26, also at 2 p.m. ET. The Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative is a joint effort of the five federally funded National Consumer/Consumer Supporter Technical Assistance Centers: the CAFÉ TA CenterDoors to Wellbeing, the NAMI STAR Center, the National Empowerment Center, and Peerlink. The centers take turns presenting the webinars. To register, click here. To respond to a brief survey “to learn about the needs and priorities of peer-run organizations,” click here.

“Are We Over-Medicalizing Poverty?” Researchers Say Yes.

“Researchers behind a study called ‘Poverty, Pathology and Pills’ say we are over-medicalizing poverty,” the BBC News reports. “They have been looking at how depression is treated in impoverished communities in the south west of England. [The study] found that the stresses of life on a low income are too often treated as a purely medical problem, and that social problems like unemployment or cuts to services added to mental stress. The report is a product of the Destress project, a collaboration between Exeter and Plymouth Universities.” For an article about the study, click here. For the Destress website, including a link to the final report of the study, click here.

Climate Resistance Handbook Has Lessons to Teach All Grassroots Movements

The Climate Resistance Handbook, created to help climate-crisis activists, has lessons for any grassroots movement organizer. “It starts with breaking social myths about how social movements win,” says the website of, an anti-fossil-fuel organization founded by environmentalist Bill McKibben. The handbook includes “campaign tools and frameworks you can use. It closes with how to grow your group and use creative, impactful actions and tactics…It’s filled with practical wisdom and inspiration to make you more effective, more active, and ready for what’s next.” McKibben writes, “If you’re wondering, ‘How can I help change the world?’ this book will give you some powerful answers.” To download the free 67-page handbook, click here.

Music Can Replace Psych Meds for People Locked Up in Psychiatric Hospitals, Study Finds

“Listening to music appears to reduce the need for medication to treat agitation” in people locked up on an acute inpatient psychiatric unit, according to a new study by SUNY (State University of New York) Upstate Medical University. Not only did music reduce the “need” for antipsychotics, “it also cut the length of hospital stay,” the researchers reported. “We’re trying to reduce the number of anti-agitation medications that patients on an acute inpatient psychiatric unit are exposed to. There are a lot of side effects associated with these medications,” the study’s lead author told Medscape Medical News. Study participants could choose from many musical genres, including classical, hip hop, and top 40 hits. The most common diagnoses among the subjects, who ranged in age from 18 to 82, were substance abuse (61%), depression (50.6%), psychosis (28.5%), and trauma (26.2%). For the article, click here.

The June 2019 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 June 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 “AP Investigation: Many US jails fail to stop inmate suicides,” click here. For “‘Somebody owes me lunch!’: Prison guards bet on an inmate’s suicide. Then, choking sounds came from her unit,” click here. For “‘Books and Brotherhood’: Her club aims to help prisoners start new chapters in their lives,” click here. For “Evaluation of North Carolina’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Program,” click here. For “Work Forced: A century later, unpaid prison labor continues to power Florida,” click here. For “Fields of Blood: My life as a prison laborer,” click here. For “Jury Duty Is the Next Big Step for Felons’ Rights,” click here. For “Special Feature: The Fight for Life in Massachusetts,” click here. For “New Hampshire abolishes death penalty after lawmakers override governor,” click here. For “The Pathological Politics of Criminal Justice,” click here. For “Force Feeding Is Cruel, Painful, and Degrading—and American Prisons Won’t Stop,” click here. For “The latest YouTube craze? Videos that show you what it’s like to live in prison,” click here. For “What Do Abolitionists Really Want?” click here. For “Bridging the Communication Gap for Incarcerated Families,” click here. For “What does ‘reentry’ into society after prison mean? Here’s what people living it have to say,” click here. For “Is ‘Abolish Prisons’ the Next Frontier in Criminal Justice? Closing jails is a radical idea now gaining momentum as a way to replace broken institutions,” click here. For “Pleading Guilty to Get Out of Jail,” click here. For “How jails stay full even as crime falls,” click here. For “Cruel confinement: Judge halts use of solitary cell for mentally ill teen; says 17-year-old suffered ‘irreparable harm,’” click here. For “Liberating criminal justice data: How a Florida law provides a blueprint for the nation,” click here. For “After prison, I changed my life. But these discriminatory laws still punish me,” click here. For “Justice Wears a Different Style at the Cambridge Homeless Court,” click here. For “The ‘Death Penalty’s Dred Scott’ Lives On,” click here. For “We need to fix forensics. But how?” click here.


Free Webinar on “Using Social Media to Build Rapport with Peers” on June 25

On the last Tuesday of almost every month at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing hosts a free, one-hour webinar. On June 25, 2019, the topic will be “Using Social Media to Build Rapport with Peers.” “This webinar will discuss ways in which youth leaders and advocates can use social media to their advance peer mental health work with peers,” Doors to Wellbeing writes. “Social Media helps build rapport, increase engagement, and spread awareness for different campaigns and events. We will also discuss things to keep in mind such as boundaries, cyberbullying and developing social media agreements with your peers.” To register, click here.

If You Have Experienced Psychosis, “Psychosis Beyond the Box” Wants to Hear From You.

“Psychosis Beyond the Box” seeks to gather anonymous descriptions of “aspects of psychosis that are often neglected, such as felt presences, visual or quasi-visual experiences, and alterations of space, time or distance,” as well as strategies to help with any distressing or challenging aspects of the experiences. The narratives will be compiled and shared in early psychosis programs and other service settings across the U.S. A major aim of the project—which is not a research project—is “to validate the diverse range of things people with psychosis experience, and help people, especially young adults experiencing psychosis for the first time, feel less alone and isolated (in these experiences).” For more information about the project, based at the University of South Florida, or to share your story, click here. Questions? Write to Nev Jones ( or

“Experiences with Hospitalization” Survey Seeks Participants

“The purpose of this survey is to help us understand people's lived experience with voluntary and involuntary treatment because of suicidal thoughts. It was created by people with lived experience…We are planning to use this information to facilitate discussions with suicidologists and the suicide prevention community about the impact of the use of these interventions, particularly within marginalized populations. We feel the voice of people with lived experience with these interventions has not had adequate opportunity to be heard, and hope that by completing this survey anonymously, people who have been most impacted can find a safe way to share their experiences. Please note that this is not a research project.” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin Seek Participants for Depression Study

Trinity College Dublin researchers write: “We are a team of psychologists at Trinity College Dublin who are trying to better understand depression. We are interested in using language to predict the occurrence of depression early. Our hope is that in doing so we can one day be able to help doctors provide treatments earlier and maybe even prevent depression altogether. In order to participate, you must be at least 18 years old, have had a Twitter account for at least one year, [and] have at least 500 Tweets. Interested in participating? Learn more by clicking. If not, thanks for taking the time to read about our research.” For the “continue” link to more information, click here.

Mental Health First Aid Australia Seeks Research Participants to Update MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Australia is inviting people from Australia, UK, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA who have expertise in the field of psychosis to participate in research whose goal is to update the Mental Health First Aid guidelines for psychosis, which were last updated in 2008. Invited participants include people with lived experience of psychosis, people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with psychosis, and professionals with research, education, or clinical experience related to psychosis. For more information, 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

What Is a Peer Support Specialist? Your Opinion Is Wanted

“On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the U.S. Department of Labor,” iNAPS writes. “We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition...The proposed title, Peer Support Specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles, such as Recovery Coach, Peer Bridger, Peer Navigator, etc.” To complete the survey, 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

Save the Date! NARMH Conference in Santa Fe, NM, August 26-29, 2019

The 2019 National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH) annual conference will be held in Santa Fe, N.M., August 26-29, 2019. The conference will focus on “Surviving to Thriving, Workforce Issues, Innovations in Service Delivery, Dilemmas in Addressing Trauma, Rural and Frontier Workforce Development Strategies, Embracing the Reality of Behavioral Health in Rural Communities—Struggles, Responses and Successes, Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders and Other Topics.” For more information and/or to register, click here.

Save the Date! NARPA Annual Rights Conference September 18-21 in Hartford, Connecticut

“For more than 30 years, NARPA [National Association for Rights Protection & Advocacy] has provided an educational conference with inspiring keynoters and outstanding workshops. We learn from each other and come together as a community committed to social justice for people with psychiatric labels & developmental disabilities.” For more information, click here.

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. 12, June 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH