The Key Update, Volume 11, Number 12 - June 2015

There’s Still Time to Register for an Exciting Webinar on Criminal Justice Issues on June 25!

Three prominent experts in criminal justice issues will present a free 90-minute webinar on Thursday, June 25, at 2 p.m. ET. Among the topics to be covered by this webinar – which is sponsored by the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse and the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion – will be the movement for social justice whose goal is to cut the incarceration rate in half by 2030 while reducing crime; how to support individuals with mental health conditions who are incarcerated and how to help them transition successfully into the community; and diversion models to prevent or minimize incarceration, including the Nathaniel Project, the first alternative-to-incarceration program in Manhattan Supreme Court for adults with serious mental health conditions convicted of felony offenses. The presenters are Glenn E. Martin, founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA); Dan Abreu, MS CRC LMHC, a senior project associate at Policy Resource Associates; and Ann-Marie Louisonthe co-founder of the Nathaniel ProjectFor more information and to register, click here.


Stand Up for Human Rights by Signing the Byberry Declaration for Human Rights of Persons with Mental Health Conditions

For half a millennium, individuals with mental health conditions were warehoused in institutions in an unbroken line that stretches from Bedlam (the infamous Bethlem Royal Hospital in London) to Byberry (the name by which the notorious Philadelphia State Hospital was known). June 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the closure of Byberry. To affirm the Byberry Declaration for Human Rights of Persons with Mental Health Conditions with your signature, click here.


Free Manual for Eliminating Barriers for Individuals with Forensic Histories Is Available

The Center for American Progress recently published One Strike and You’re Out: How We Can Eliminate Barriers to Economic Security and Mobility for People with Criminal Records. According to the guide, “One recent study finds that our nation’s poverty rate would have dropped by 20 percent between 1980 and 2004 if not for mass incarceration and the subsequent criminal records that haunt people for years after they have paid their debt to society.” In addition, they write, “people are treated as criminals long after they pose any significant risk of committing further crimes – making it difficult for many to move on with their lives and achieve basic economic security, let alone have a shot at upward mobility.” The guide provides recommendations for increasing opportunities for individuals with criminal records in the areas of employment, housing, public assistance, education and training, and economic security and financial empowerment. The manual is available for free download by clicking here.


Study Seeks Participants Who Have Experienced Hospitalization in Acute Psychiatric Units

Harvard University researchers are seeking a better understanding of important factors that influence staff and service-user satisfaction within acute psychiatric wards. Co-investigator Morgan Shields, a student at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, writes: “If you have experienced being a patient within an acute psychiatric unit, I would appreciate it if you would participate in a series of questionnaires available by clicking here. The questionnaires will take about 20 minutes to complete….Participants will be entered into a raffle to win a $25 gift certificate. All responses will be kept anonymous.” Participants in the Boston area may be contacted for a follow-up interview, but participation in such an interview is not required. The deadline for the study, which is being conducted under the auspices of Massachusetts General Hospital, is September 15, 2015. Questions? Please contact Morgan Shields at


“Career Services Guide” Is Offered to Help Employment Counselors Assist People with Mental Health Issues

The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counseling (CERIC) is offering a free guide intended for career service workers, employment counselors and career practitioners working in non-mental-health-specific employment settings. CERIC writes that the guide “builds on emerging ‘best practices’ in employment support, recovery-oriented practices, and draws on the wisdom of experts in the field of career counselling and the ‘experiential expertise’ of people who access counselling services. Featuring five chapters, the guide, along with supporting videos, will help practitioners to consider beliefs that may limit opportunity, build awareness of recovery-oriented practices, and acquire the skills needed to better serve the one in five … who experience mental health issues.” For more information, click here. To download the free guide, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris


Writers’ Colony Offers Fellowship for a Nonfiction Project on Mental Health Issues

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is offering a fellowship to an emerging or established writer working on a nonfiction project concentrating on mental health issues, focusing particularly on recovery from, and reconstructing aspects of a healthy life while living with, mental health challenges. The Fellowship entitles the recipient to a two-week stay at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. Each resident has a private suite with writing space, private bath, bedroom and wireless Internet. The residency provides uninterrupted writing time, with dinner prepared and served five nights a week, and breakfast and lunch supplies available. Residents also share the camaraderie of other professional writers and artists when they want it. Fellowship applications, which must be accompanied by two references and a non-refundable $35 application fee, must be postmarked by July 31, 2015. Click here to apply online. The recipient will be announced in early September. Residencies must be completed by July 31, 2016. For more information, please contact Jill Slane at (479) 244-6054.


Hearing Is Held on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646)

On June 16, 2015, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on HR 2646, the 2015 version of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy, who introduced an earlier version in 2013 (HR 3717). Among those who testified were Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Mental Health America president Paul Gionfriddo,  and New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services executive director Harvey Rosenthal. The archived hearing, along with links to everyone’s written testimony, is available online. The bill, available here, would have a major impact on individuals with mental health conditions, and it is important to keep abreast of developments. Among those who have commented (including outside of the hearing) are the Bazelon Center (click here), former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (click here) and the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (click here). 

Thanks, Jeremy Countryman


ProPublica Invites You to Steal Their Stories. No, Really! 

ProPublica, an award-winning source of “Journalism in the Public Interest,” writes that, “Unless otherwise noted, you can republish our articles and graphics for free.” It’s true that there are a few hoops to jump through and a few restrictions. For example, they write, “You have to credit us — ideally in the byline. We prefer ‘Author Name, ProPublica.’” Also, “if you’re republishing online, you have to link to us and to include all of the links from our story, as well as our PixelPing tag.” And “you cannot republish our photographs or illustrations without specific permission (ask our Communications Director Nicole Collins Bronzan if you’d like to).” But it’s still a very generous offer! The rules are available here.


“A Good Hire” Helps Individuals with Felony Convictions Seeking Employment

A Good Hire: Resources for Finding Undiscovered Talent – a project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and the National Employment Law Project – writes: “This is part of a public education campaign to raise awareness among hiring decision-makers about the untapped talent that is overlooked when employers screen out people with past records of arrests or convictions. A Good Hire provides information about ‘fair chance’ hiring practices that will help employers reach this untapped pool of talent. A Good Hire is one part of a larger effort to engage the employer community as a means of affecting the overarching economic environment in which people with records are struggling to succeed.” For more information, please contact A Good Hire at


New Publication on Trauma-Informed Care for Youth and Young Adults Is Available

Pathways Research and Training Center at Portland State University in Oregon has published Trauma-Informed Care, a 40-page magazine with a variety of articles focusing on “Youth, Young Adults and Mental Health.” “It is estimated that nearly half of all youth in the United States have been exposed to at least one adverse childhood experience, and that the occurrence of multiple trauma exposures is common within specific populations,” the Introduction notes. Among the articles are “The Impact of Toxic Stress on the Developing Person: Becoming a Trauma-Informed Service Provider,” “Through a Darker Lens: The Trauma of Racism in Communities of Color,” “Trauma Informed Method of Engagement (TIME) for Youth Advocacy,” and “SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach in Youth Settings.” The publication is available for free download by clicking here.


National Survey Provides Comprehensive Look at Employment of Individuals with Disabilities

On June 3, 2015, the Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) unveiled the results of the Kessler Foundation 2015 National Employment and Disability Survey on Capitol Hill. The survey, which was conducted by UNH, identifies strategies that Americans with disabilities use to search for work and navigate barriers, accommodations that are helpful to obtain and maintain employment, and factors that contribute to unemployment. According to the Kessler Foundation website, this is “the first national survey to examine the workplace experiences of people with disabilities and identify successful strategies that people with disabilities have used to find and maintain employment….The survey revealed that more than 68 percent of people with disabilities are striving to work….Importantly, Americans with disabilities are also overcoming barriers to employment, such as not enough education or training, employers assuming that they cannot do the job, lack of transportation, and family discouragement.” For more information, click here. The executive summary is available here; the full report is available here. More than 3,000 individuals with disabilities nationwide were surveyed between October 2014 and April 2015, according to an article in The New York Times, available here.


Facebook Group Established to Honor Late Leaders of the C/S/X Movement for Social Justice

A public Facebook group has been created to commemorate leaders of the c/s/x movement for social justice who have died. The group, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, was created by Jennifer Constantine, executive director of South Dakota United for Hope and Recovery, South Dakota’s statewide peer-run organization. She writes, “This is meant to be a place to honor the memory of those who have passed, and to share the wisdom we gained through connection with them.” The group, which is open to everyone, is available at this link.


AP Stylebook Adopts New Guidelines for Writing about Suicide

The Associated Press stylebook, which many consider the journalist’s bible, has issued new rules for covering suicide. The new guidelines ban the phrase “committed suicide” in favor of using “killed himself, took her own life or died by suicide.” The guidelines note that “generally, AP does not cover suicides or suicide attempts, unless the person involved is a well-known figure or the circumstances are particular unusual or publicly disruptive. Suicide stories, when written, should not go into detail on methods used….” The guidelines have garnered some criticism: One blogger wrote that “the policy of not covering suicides codifies an ongoing and puzzling refusal by news media to deal with suicide as a health and education issue in the belief that to mention a suicide, the second-leading cause of death of Minnesota young people, is to encourage more suicides.” However, the revisions have been embraced by the American Copy Editors Society, whose president noted, “These changes to the Stylebook are a good reminder that editors of all kinds need to keep sensitivity at the top of the editing checklist.”


Next National Technical Assistance and Networking Teleconference Will Be Held on July 20

On Monday, July 20, 2015 – at 1 p.m. ET, noon CT, 11 a.m. MT, 10 a.m. PT, 7 a.m. in Hawaii – the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse will host its monthly one-hour national technical assistance and networking teleconference. The call-in number is 866-906-0123; the pass code is 5037195#. If you plan to participate, it would be helpful if you would email Susan Rogers at; this will make it easier to provide the participants with teleconference minutes. Thanks! If you would like a copy of any of the available minutes, please write to with the word “Minutes” in the subject line. (The calls are held on the third Monday of the month except when that is a holiday, such as in January and February, in which case they are held on the fourth Monday.) Join us on July 20 at 1 p.m. ET! Again, the call-in number is 866-906-0123. The passcode is 5037195.


Consumer-Driven Services Directory

The Clearinghouse welcomes all programs in which consumers play a significant role in leadership and operation to apply for inclusion in its Directory of Consumer-Driven Services. The directory, accessible at, is searchable by location, type of organization, and targeted clientele, and serves as a free resource for consumers, program administrators and researchers. Apply online at, via fax at 215-636-6312, or by phone at 800-553-4KEY (4539). To receive an application by mail, write to or NMHCSH Clearinghouse, 1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19107.


About The Key Update

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 11, No. 12, June 2015, For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at or 800-553-4539 x3812, 267-507-3812 (direct). Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH