The Key Update, Volume 12, Number 1 - July 2015

Two Recent Webinars Hosted by the Clearinghouse Are Available Online!

Two recent Clearinghouse webinars – on early intervention in psychosis services and on criminal justice issues, respectively – are now available online! In “Peer Leadership in Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) Services: From Program Development to Outcome Evaluation,” the presenters discussed both the real-world challenges of robust peer involvement and the potential for such involvement to transform – rather than merely augment – services across the domains of planning, service delivery, policy, and evaluation. The topics covered in “How Do We Create a Truly Just Criminal Justice System for Everyone, Including Individuals with Mental Health Conditions?” include 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. “Peer Leadership in Early Intervention in Psychosis Services” is available here; “How Do We Create a Truly Just Criminal Justice System for Everyone…” is available here.

Join the March for Dignity and Change in Mental Health on August 24, 2015, in DC!
Destination Dignity is organizing a march for the dignity and human rights of individuals with mental health conditions. Among its demands are to safeguard the human rights of individuals with mental health conditions, to promote their valued place in the community, and to ensure that they receive the right kind of help when and where they need it and want it. “The Destination Dignity March will bring together people from around the nation and the world, with individuals affected by mental health conditions in the lead, to create energy and solidarity for a more supportive nation,” the organizers say. It will begin with a kick-off rally at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 400 New Jersey Avenue NW, at 11 a.m., followed by a march on the National Mall, gathering at noon at 3rd Street and Madison Drive NW. For more information:, @MHDignityMarch, #MHDignityMarch, Questions?

GAINS Center to Host Two Webinars on Successful Use of Peer Support in State Prisons
SAMHSA’s GAINS Center and the Association of State Correctional Administrators are hosting a two-part webinar series focusing on peer support in state correctional facilities: “Attendees will learn about the innovative use of peers and successful collaborations between correctional facilities and peer-operated programs in providing a wide array of reentry services. The first webinar will highlight three exemplary programs and the second will focus on how to develop, implement, fund, sustain and expand these programs in state correctional facilities.” Part I will be held on August 20, 2015; Part 2 will take place on Sept. 11, 2015. Both 90-minute webinars will begin at 3 p.m. ET. For more information and to register, click here.

Summer Recovery to Practice (RTP) Webinar Series Begins Today!
SAMHSA is offering a series of 12 webinars, from July 27 through September 3, which will make Recovery To Practice – a SAMHSA initiative that “supports the expansion and integration of recovery-oriented care delivered by mental health providers” – accessible to all behavioral and general health practitioners working in multidisciplinary and integrated practice settings. All events will be held from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET, and all will be recorded for future access. For the dates and topics and/or to register, click here.
A Webinar on “Improving Health through Trauma-Informed Care” Will Take Place Tomorrow!
On July 28, 2015, at 2 p.m. ET, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is sponsoring a webinar, targeted at treatment providers, on “Improving Health Through Trauma-Informed Care.” “How can you embed trauma-informed approaches into the practice of your integrated primary care clinic?” SAMHSA writes. “Join this webinar to walk through what a trauma-informed clinic looks like and simple steps you can take to ensure your services and clinic environment are trauma-informed.” Among the presenters are Leah Harris, trauma-informed care specialist and coordinator of consumer affairs for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, and Mary Blake, public health advisor at  SAMHSA. To register and for more information, including SAMHSA’s primer on trauma-informed care, click here.

NEC to Sponsor Webinar on Evaluation of Peer Programs on August 5
A 90-minute webinar presented by the National Empowerment Center on “We Are the Evidence: Evaluation of Peer Programs” will take place on August 5, 2015, at 2 p.m. ET.  The presenters are Jean Campbell, PhD, who helped establish Consumer-Operated Service Programs (COSPs) as evidence-based practices; Laysha Ostrow, PhD, of Live and Learn; and Bevin Croft, MPP, of Human Services Research Institute (HSRI). The webinar will stress the importance of good evaluation of peer programs, offer helpful tips, and use peer respites as a case study.  Click here to register.
Videos Help Behavioral Health Providers to Successfully Integrate Peer Support Staff
Two videos and corresponding tip sheets for behavioral health providers have recently been produced by the Lewin Group in partnership with the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office (MMCO), which is part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). These products describe success stories of peer support staff, and advise organizations on how they can best use peer support staff to improve their care delivery. For the videos, click here and here. If you have any questions, please contact, 703-269-5762.

“Our Stories, Our Lives” Seeks Stories about What Helps and What Hurts Recovery

Recovery Now! – composed of people in recovery, advocates, family members of individuals with mental health conditions, and concerned community members – is looking for stories about what helped people recover and what set them back in their recovery journey. “Far too often, people with mental health and substance use conditions are portrayed in negative ways in the media, which contributes to stereotypes and discrimination. The ‘Our Stories, Our Lives’ project seeks to gather and share stories of triumph and struggle from everyday people living with mental health and substance use conditions, to help shift the public perception towards recovery and hope.” To contribute your story, click here.

Three Surveys Are Recruiting Participants, Including Students, Other Youth, and Professionals

Three surveys (two in the U.S. and one in the U.K.) are recruiting participants. First, the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities is seeking to learn more about how to support students with mental health issues to help them succeed in school. “Students who enroll in the study may have a chance to work with someone who will help them to set goals related to their education, relationships, mental health and campus life, and receive encouragement and support to achieve their goals,” the researchers say. For more information, click here, contact or go directly to the survey byclicking here. The second survey, by the Copeland Center, involves seeking the opinions of youth between the ages of 14 and 30 for a proposed youth documentary “to be used nationally for the advancement and expansion of wellness strategies.” For the survey, which will be open until August 31, 2015, click here. For more information, write Letty Elenes at The third opportunity involves a study that is recruiting “people working or studying in the field of mental health or mental health research.” This study, entitled “Professionals’ Understanding of Mental Health Problems,” is examining how such individuals “understand mental health problems (for example, depression and anxiety).” For more information, click here.

How to Stop the Overuse of Jails for Individuals with Mental Health Conditions
A new white paper from Policy Research Associates “examines factors contributing to the incarceration of people with serious mental illness and approaches to reform. Redesigning financial incentives for institutions, integrating state and local requirements and opportunities, and creating a skilled and adequately sized workforce in local justice systems are identified as priority areas. The report also points to the importance of coordination among health care, community, and justice organizations to establish practices and protocols” to help individuals with mental health conditions. For more information and to download a free copy of the report – “When Political Will Is Not Enough: Jails, Communities, and Persons with Mental Health Disorders” – click here.
“Medicaid at 50: Its Impact in Your State”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has analyzed state-by-state data on how Medicaid improves access to health care for millions of families and individuals, and has provided a map so that everyone can learn more about what Medicaid is doing in their state. For example, in California, which has the largest population of any state, 28 percent of individuals with disabilities received access to critical care through Medicaid that helped them live independently. In Wyoming, the state with the smallest population, the corresponding figure is 18 percent. CBPP, a nonpartisan research and policy institute founded in 1981, pursue[s] federal and state policies designed both to reduce poverty and inequality and to restore fiscal responsibility in equitable and effective ways. To find out the impact of Medicaid in your state, click here.
Thanks, Leah Harris (@LeahIda)

Higher Education Can Transform the Lives of Individuals with Criminal Justice Histories
“Higher Education and Reentry: The Gifts They Bring,” a study by researchers at CUNY Graduate Center, “considers a number of important questions: What does it take for people with criminal justice histories to successfully transform the trajectory of their lives? What are the obstacles they face? What affirmative steps can we take to make our public and private colleges and universities more welcoming to this growing population of students?” For the press release and complete document, click here. According to a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2006, “At midyear 2005…56% of State prisoners, 45% of Federal prisoners, and 64% of jail inmates” had a mental health problem. For the BJS report, click here.

Thanks, @RiversideHouse

Registration Is Open for Alternatives 2015!

The planning is in high gear for Alternatives 2015, the 29th annual national conference organized by and for individuals with lived experience of a mental health condition! To view an inspirational video about the goals and themes of the conference, click here. To register, click here. (The organizers, Peerlink National Technical Assistance Center, write that scholarships from SAMHSA are never guaranteed and haven't been announced yet for 2015. “We encourage everyone to utilize local partnerships, fundraising and other strategies for conference attendance. Updates regarding the availability of any scholarships with pertinent information will be posted here, and announced on Facebook and [the] Peerlink website.  We will also be posting helpful information and tools to help you in your fundraising efforts very soon!”) 

Report Calls for Strengthening Psychosocial Interventions for Behavioral Health Conditions

On July 15, the National Academy of Medicine released a plan to ensure that evidence-based psychosocial interventions are routinely used in clinical practice and made a part of clinical training for mental health professionals. “Psychosocial interventions are a huge component of how mental and substance use disorders are treated,” said an author of the report. “Yet they have been largely left out of health care reform. This report [“Psychosocial Interventions for Mental and Substance Use Disorders”] describes how to incorporate these interventions into the mainstream, outlining how treatment decisions can be made at both a clinical and policy level, to increase the likelihood that people will receive evidence-based care.” To download a copy of the “Report in Brief,” click here. For more information, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris (@LeahIda)
SAMHSA Offers Recovery Month Toolkit
National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. Each year, Recovery Month creates a toolkit to help individuals and organizations increase awareness of the power of recovery. The kit provides tips and resources for planning Recovery Month events and distributing information in communities across the nation. For the complete 2015 Recovery Month Toolkit in English, click here. For the Spanish-language version, click here.

NCD Progress Report Celebrates 25 Years of ADA, Envisions Next 25
In recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Council on Disability has dedicated the 2015 edition of its annual progress report – “National Disability Policy: A Progress Report” – “to exploring how the ADA and other federal legislation has been put into practice by five specific state and local agencies….The report focuses on employment, education, health care, transportation, and housing, and demonstrates the impact of federal legislation and the critical role that disability advocates and state and local officials have played who translate the spirit and letter of the ADA and other federal legislation into practice. It also lays out NCD’s vision for the next 25 years of the ADA with specific policy recommendations.” To download the free report, click here.

Thanks, Howard Trachtman

The Semicolon Project Offers Hope to Those with Behavioral Health Conditions
“Thousands of people across the globe are getting semicolons tattooed on their bodies in a bid to raise awareness about mental health,” according to a UK publication. “The simple punctuation mark – used to divide sentence clauses – has been adopted by the non-profit group ‘Semicolon Project’ ( to help raise awareness over depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide. The organization hopes that persuading people to have semicolon tattoos – permanent or temporary – will help break down the stigma associated with mental illness.” To read more, click here.

Next National Technical Assistance and Networking Teleconference Will Be Held on August 17
On Monday, August 17, 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 would like to suggest an agenda item, please write to Susan Rogers at with the word “Agenda” 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 August 17 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 12, No. 1, July 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