Key Update, August 2019, Volume 16, 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: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                                                 

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


“Study Casts Doubt on Evidence for ‘Gold Standard’ Psychological Treatments”

A paper published recently in a special edition of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology “questions much of the statistical evidence underpinning therapies designated as ‘Empirically Supported Treatments,’ or ESTs,” reports. “For years, ESTs have represented a ‘gold standard’ in research-supported psychotherapies for conditions like depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, substance abuse, generalized anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. But recent concerns about the replicability of research findings in clinical psychology prompted the re-examination of their evidence. The new study, led by researchers at the University of Kansas and University of Victoria, concluded that while underlying evidence for a small number of empirically supported treatments is strong, ‘power and replicability estimates were concerningly low across almost all ESTs, and individually, some ESTs scored poorly across multiple metrics.’” For more information, click here.

Courtesy of Fran Hazam

NCD Finds an “Alarming Pattern” of Institutionalization of People with Disabilities after Natural Disasters

The National Council on Disability (NCD) recently reported on “an alarming pattern of institutionalization of people with disabilities during and after natural disasters,” the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) writes. In violation of federal laws and because of a lack of equal access to emergency and disaster-related programs and services, “many people with disabilities are institutionalized against their will in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, psychiatric institutions, and other long-term care facilities during and after natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires,” the NRDC writes. This human rights violation has a potential impact on a huge number of individuals: According to NCD figures, 12 million of the 47 million people affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria were people with disabilities. “Once institutionalized, it can be difficult for people with disabilities to return to independent life in their communities,” the NRDC writes. “In some instances, survivors can’t even be located by their loved ones.” For the NRDC article, which includes a link to the NCD report, click here.

Nearly 50 Percent of People Wouldn’t Tell Their Doctor If They Were Suicidal or Depressed, Study Finds

Nearly half of all people withhold critical information about their mental health—or about sexual assault or domestic violence—from their doctors, a new study has found. And “over 70 percent of those surveyed said the reason they wouldn't disclose information about sexual assault, domestic violence, suicidal thoughts or depression was because they were embarrassed or feared being judged or lectured.” For more information, click here.

Free Webinar: “Avoiding Compassion Fatigue and Burnout for Mental Health Peer Specialists”

On August 27 at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing will present a free 60-minute webinar on “Avoiding Compassion Fatigue and Burnout for Mental Health Peer Specialists.” “This presentation will explore tools, role plays, and discussions that will help mental health peer specialists build up their wellness and resilience and avoid compassion fatigue and burnout. Additionally, this presentation will include lessons learned about burnout and compassion fatigue for peer support specialists during the initial implementation of Medicaid billable peer support services in Arizona.” For more information and to register, click here.

Free Webinar: “Serious Mental Illness/Substance Use Disorders & Tailoring FEP Programs to Serve Women”

On August 27 at 1:30 p.m. ET, the National Council for Behavioral Health will present a free, 90-minute, SAMHSA-sponsored webinar called “Serious Mental Illness/Substance Use Disorders and Tailoring FEP Programs to Serve Women.” “This webinar will explore how mental health and substance use treatment providers currently care for women with co-occurring first episode psychosis (FEP), serious mental illness, and substance use disorder; and what questions remain…Also of note is the high prevalence of ACEs [Adverse Childhood Experiences] in women and the ways to address this in care…The speakers will identify specific knowledge gaps and potential areas for improvement from a research and clinical standpoint.” For more information and to register, click here.

“State Selfies: Help Develop a Picture of Peer Services in Your State”

Doors to Wellbeing writes: “For our new project, WE NEED YOUR HELP in collecting information on the peer services, organizations, programs, projects, groups, and networks in your state. Please answer as many questions as you can; it’s okay if you do not know all the answers. Please fill out a separate survey for each organization or program you want to tell us about.” For the survey, click here.

Comprehensive Psychiatry Highlights Articles on Suicide Research and Treatment

Comprehensive Psychiatry is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal covering psychiatry and mental health, and aimed at sharing “cutting-edge knowledge” in order to improve psychiatric care and advance the understanding of mental health conditions. The journal has compiled a number of recent articles on suicide research and treatment as part of its ongoing call for papers. To read the articles, click here.

Free Webinar: “Focus on the Family—Using Person- and Family-Centered Care for Mental Health”

On August 28 at 3 p.m. ET, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) is hosting a free, 90-minute, SAMHSA-sponsored webinar called “Focus on the Family Using Person- and Family-Centered Care for Mental Health. “This method involves a collaborative and strengths-based approach that relies on understanding the preferences and abilities of the individual seeking treatment and their support systems in order to tailor a personal plan for success,” NASMHPD writes. “Presenters will share tips for engaging individuals and their family members in the treatment planning process, stories of success,” and more. To register, click here.

MindFreedom International Has Published 13 “Voices for Choices ” Videos

“Psychiatric drugs are controversial. Some people take the drugs and find a benefit, some people take the drugs and are harmed, and some people avoid them altogether.” So begins the text that accompanies “Alternatives to Psychiatric Drugs,” part of MindFreedom International’s Voices for Choices video series. In the video, a number of people with lived experience, as well as award-winning journalist Robert Whitaker, discuss the subject from a variety of standpoints. For the 17:29-minute video, click here. Another Voices for Choices video—“Alternatives to Psychiatric Hospitals”—is also available: “In an effort to reduce the harmful experiences occurring in psychiatric hospitals, compassionate alternatives are being created around the world.” For that video, click here.

Courtesy of Amy Smith and Paula J. Caplan, respectively

Free Story-Telling Project Manual Published by the Temple University Collaborative

A free, 44-page Beyond the Diagnosis Story Telling Project Manual has been developed as part of a story-sharing initiative by the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities. “The manual’s mission is to encourage the sharing of real stories of community participation, beyond the diagnosis,” The TU Collaborative writes. “Inside this manual, we include suggestions for organizing events that allow people to share their stories. You will also find information and activities that will help storytellers develop narratives based on their experiences.” To download the free manual, click here.

“Does the Moon Affect Bipolar Disorder?” Some Say Yes.

Lunar tidal cycles can affect people with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, according to a recent NPR podcast. Psychiatrist Tom Wehr—who, with a colleague, was the first to describe seasonal affective disorder and to suggest light therapy as a treatment—co-authored a study in 1996 showing that lack of sleep was the main predictor of switching from depression to mania, and that sleep was not just a symptom but a cause. He later began to wonder if people’s mood cycles were caused by something external. “And, you know, there’s always been a popular belief that the moon is somehow affecting human behavior,” Wehr said. After studying the spring-neap tidal cycle, he realized that, for many of his patients, mania seemed to correspond with the bimonthly spring tides, and depression with the bimonthly neap tides. For the podcast and the article, click here.

Mental Health Is Declining Among “Disadvantaged Adults,” Study Finds

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 results show that distress is not just a midlife phenomenon but a scenario plaguing disadvantaged Americans across the life course, according to a Princeton University press release. The findings should be taken into account in terms of policy and advocacy efforts, the researchers said. “Our results paint a picture of substantial social stratification in the psychological health of American adults, one that has been widening as declines in mental health have occurred unevenly across the socioeconomic spectrum,” said co-lead author Noreen Goldman of Princeton. “The findings are consistent with drug overdose death rates and underscore the dire need for improved access to, and affordability of, mental health services for low-income and less-educated American adults of all ages.” For the press release, click here.

“Trieste’s mental health revolution: 'It’s the best place to get sick'”

“Sara has struggled with her mental health since she was a child. She lives in Trieste, where ideas from a mental health 'revolution' in the 1970s are helping her recover today.” For a short (under five minutes) film about “Trieste’s mental health revolution,” click here.

Free Webinar on Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy Approaches on August 29

A free 90-minute webinar, “Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) Approaches in Treating People with Serious Mental Illness,” presented by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), will take place on August 29 at 2 p.m. ET. “Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) is a theoretically driven, evidence-based approach that operationalizes recovery, resiliency, and empowerment for individuals who experience serious mental health challenges. [Dr. Aaron] Beck’s cognitive model guides the development of a positive and personal life-space…and provides insight into often complex challenges that get in the way of living a life of one’s choosing…” To register, click here.

British Study Asks, “What Would You Do If You Were Me, Doctor?”

The goal of a study published in 2010 in the British Journal of Psychiatry was to find out whether psychiatrists would reveal their personal preferences when someone they were treating asked, “What would you do if you were me?” The study, involving 515 psychiatrists, used a “depression scenario” and a “schizophrenia scenario.” The researchers found that “[p]sychiatrists choosing treatment for themselves predominantly selected other treatments (mostly watchful waiting and oral antipsychotics respectively) than what psychiatrists recommended to patients when asked in the ‘regular recommendation role’ (i.e., antidepressant and depot[—a slow-release, slow-acting form of one’s medication—]respectively). The researchers concluded that “[t]he question ‘What would you do if you were me, doctor?’ does not motivate psychiatrists to leave their professional recommendation role and to take a more personal perspective…” For an article about the study, click here.

Free Webinar on Balancing the Behavioral Health Needs of People in the Criminal Justice System

On September 4 at 2 p.m. ET, the National Reentry Resource Center will offer a free, 90-minute webinar explaining how two jurisdictions—the State of Oklahoma and Douglas County, Nebraska—promoted recovery, successful diversion from the criminal justice system to treatment, or reentry to the community among their participants. “Jurisdictions across the country face challenges to developing case plans that balance criminogenic and behavioral health needs. In response, The Council of State Governments Justice Center developed the web-based Collaborative Comprehensive Case Plans tool, which builds upon Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision, a systems-planning framework for prioritizing supervision and treatment services.” To register, click here.

“What’s the Most Memorable Thing a Therapist Ever Told You?”

Readers respond to the question “What’s the most memorable thing a therapist ever told you?” with some wise, some foolish, and some in-between answers. (Therapists! They’re just like us!) For the story, click here. For a related video, “Sh*t Therapists Say,” click here.

Mad in America Offers a Webinar Series on “System Changes for a Green Mental Health Movement”

For $150, Mad in America is offering a series of 10 monthly webinars—beginning on September 17, 2019—on “System Changes for a Green Mental Health Movement.” “The goal of each webinar will be to describe changes needed and the real world experiences of the presenters in implementing the changes,” Mad in America writes. “The goal of the series will be to show how changes can move toward a ‘Green Movement’ in mental health systems…A Green Movement respects and supports the choices and interests of people who encounter mental health challenges in order to sustain healthy environments of living and working.” For more information or to enroll for $150, click here.

A Digest of Articles about Alternatives to Traditional Mental Health Treatment

For “The Quick Therapy That Actually Works: Just a few hours of therapy-like interventions can reduce some people’s anxiety,” click here. For “The Culture Cure: How Prescription Art Is Lifting People Out of Depression: From singing together to being read to in a library, an arts participation scheme is transforming lives in Denmark,” click here. For “Heavy metal music may have a bad reputation, but it has numerous mental health benefits for fans,” click here. For “Move Over, Therapy Dogs. Hello, Therapy Cows. The best therapists for silly human problems don’t say a word,” click here. For “A New Way to Measure the Mental Health Benefits of Nature in Cities,” click here. For “How Being a Plant Lady Improves Your Mental Health,” click here.

The August 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 August 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 “Shock Corridor: The first inside report from an ICE mental health facility,” click here. For “How bigotry created a black mental health crisis. Racism has led to misdiagnosis, incarceration instead of treatment,” click here. For “Police fear ‘suicide by cop’ cases. So they’ve stopped responding to some calls,” click here. For “Why Jails Have More Suicides Than Prisons: A new report and a growing phenomenon,” click here. For “Ohio Governor Wants to Detain Fewer Mentally Ill People Before Trial,” click here. For “New law makes it easier for Illinoisans in criminal justice system to get jobs in health care industry, click here. For “Beyond One-Liners: A Guide to the Democratic Debate on Criminal Justice,” click here. For “Between 2007 and 2017, 34 States Reduced Crime and Incarceration in Tandem. Some still argue that increasing imprisonment is necessary to reduce crime. Data show otherwise,” click here. For “Inside the Battle to Close Rikers: Can New York City build its way out of mass incarceration?” click here. For “Each night, Philly jails release scores of inmates without returning their IDs, cash or phones,” click here. For “Slavery gave America a fear of black people and a taste for violent punishment. Both still define our criminal-justice system,” click here. For “For Years, the Federal Death Penalty Has Been a Thing of the Past. That’s Where It Should Stay. Attorney General Barr’s justification for resuming capital punishment is everything Justice Brennan feared,” click here. For “The Redemption of Teen Killers: Why ‘Miller’s Children’ Deserved Their Second Chance,” click here. For “Georgia’s prisons face troubling rise in suicides. What are officials doing about it?” click here. For “Thirty-Two Short Stories About Death in Prison,” click here. For “The Criminal Justice System Is Bad for Your Health, Warns New York City’s Health Department. ‘Even brief contact with the police or indirect exposure is associated with lasting harm,’ said New York City’s health commissioner,” click here. For “Southern California jails are trying to improve health care. But inmates are dying,” click here. For “County votes to cancel $1.7B contract to replace Men’s Central Jail,” click here. For “From Prison to Work: Former inmates learn to be entrepreneurs at Georgetown University,” click here. For “Prison Labor: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” click here. For “An old prison wall in Philly connects inmates to the outside through animated films,” click here. For “What Juvenile Justice Needs: Care, Not Cages: We rely too much on incarceration. The pillars of the system should be healing, restoration and renewal,” click here.


Call for Submissions: ISEPP Annual Awards
“Each year ISEPP [International Society for Ethical Psychiatry & Psychology] recognizes three people who have made significant contributions to the critical psychology/psychiatry movement. These awards will be presented at our conference in Baltimore, October 11-13, 2019. Please send submissions to Deadline is September 1st. You can nominate a candidate in each category.” For details, click here.

2019 Annual NYAPRS Conference, Sept. 24-26, Announces Keynotes and Schedule

The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) recently announced the keynotes and topics of its 37th annual conference, which will be held in Callicoon, NY, September 24-26. Among the keynote presentations is a panel featuring Lindsey Sizemore of the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network; Sarah Felman of the Mental Health Empowerment Project, in New York; and Vesper Moore of the Central Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. In addition, Luis Lopez, of the Center for Practice Innovations in New York, will make a presentation on “Healing Trauma.” The theme of this year’s conference, which annually attracts presenters and attendees from around the U.S., is “Integrate, Innovate, Advocate, Celebrate: Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize! To register, click here.

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

The next free 90-minute webinar hosted by the Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative will be on September 26, 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.

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

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.

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.

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

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 16, No. 2, August 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH