The Key Update, Volume 12, Number 12 - June 2016

Key Update, June 2016

Volume 12, Number 12

Tell Your Congressional Representatives: Vote No on HR 2646!

Important! On June 15, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act” (H.R. 2646) was unanimously voted out of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, 53-0. The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) writes: “The House leadership has indicated that they will take up H.R. 2646 in July. This is the time for every advocate to recruit other advocates and to call their representatives in Congress…. Tell them to oppose H.R. 2646 because it will do more harm than good.” Joseph Rogers, executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, adds: “This is a great opportunity to educate your legislators. Let them know about your local organizing efforts, that you are part of a movement for social change, and that H.R. 2646 significantly fails to reflect social justice.” To read the NCMHR’s Call to Action, go to To read an action alert by Intentional Peer Support, click here. To read the version of H.R. 2646 that was passed by the Energy & Commerce Committee, click here.

Boston Globe Article May Inflame Public’s Fears of Individuals with Mental Health Conditions

Please consider writing a letter to the Boston Globe in response to its June 23rd article that ran under the heading “The Desperate and the Dead: Families in Fear” followed by “Closing psychiatric hospitals seemed humane, but the state failed to build a system to replace them. Families are living with the tragic consequences.” The article sensationalizes the extremely rare tragedies involving individuals with mental illnesses and seems designed to exacerbate the discrimination and prejudice associated with mental health conditions. For the article, click here. For the guidelines to submit a letter to the Boston Globe, click here. The sooner you respond, the better your chances of publication.

Report Published on Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System, and President Obama Announces Plans to Help Justice-Involved Individuals

A new report from the Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities (AVID) Prison Project of Disability Rights Washington (DRW), a protection and advocacy (P&A) agency, aims to highlight the difficulties that individuals with disabilities face as they seek to access programs and services in state prison systems. “By no means exhaustive, this report provides an overview of the protections afforded to [justice-involved individuals] with disabilities under the ADA as well as examples in which P&As have advocated effectively on behalf of [such individuals]. This advocacy is multi-modal, ranging from routine monitoring, to informal and individual advocacy, to systemic litigation.” For more information and to download the report—which was a collaboration involving a number of other state P&As along with the National Disability Rights Network—click here. Also, on June 24, President Obama announced “new actions to reduce recidivism and promote reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals.” For more information, click here. In addition to read an amazing Mother Jones report, “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard,” click here.

Thanks, Fran Hazam

Free Webinar on “Peers in the Workforce: Invasion, Innovation, or Integration?”

On June 28 at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing will host a free webinar on “Peers in the Workforce: Invasion, Innovation, or Integration?” “Over the past decade, there has been significant growth in peer services in the behavioral health workforce. Has this growth been perceived as an invasion or innovation to the recovery workforce? This session will illustrate varying perspectives, including certification through education and training, workforce development, organizational readiness and structure, and accreditation, and volunteerism…Join this session to gain new perspectives on how to grow and enhance the recovery workforce.” To register, click here.

Two Free 90-Minute Webinars on June 30 Will Cover Justice-Involved Individuals

On June 30 at 2 p.m. ET, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Reentry Resource Center and Coalition for Juvenile Justice will host two different webinars on justice-involved individuals. SAMHSA is offering “Recovery after Incarceration: Peer Supports as a Critical Re-Entry Service.” “This webinar will review emerging evidence about the value of peer specialists and recovery coaches in supporting individuals transitioning from incarceration. It will highlight effective approaches to help individuals develop and advance towards their recovery and wellness goals, access services, navigate systems, and achieve successful community integration.” For more information and to register, click here. “Addressing the Housing Needs of Youth and Young Adults in Contact with the Justice System” will cover “current data and trends on youth and young adult homelessness, how homelessness intersects with the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, and lessons learned and promising strategies to connect youth and young adults in contact with the justice system to safe, stable, and affordable housing.” For more information and to register, click here.

Psychiatric Medication Discontinuation/Reduction Study Seeks Survey Participants by July 1

Have you come off, or tried to come off, psychiatric medications in the past five years? A research study on the experience of stopping psychiatric medications, conducted by Live & Learn, is seeking participants. The deadline for participation is July 1. “[The] study aims to understand the process of coming off psychiatric medications in order to better support those who choose to do so,” the researchers write. They are hoping for broad participation from a variety of individuals. “We need to make sure there is racial and ethnic diversity of respondents so the research results can reflect the experiences of all our communities,” said project director Laysha Ostrow, Ph.D. Like the rest of the project team, Ostrow has lived experience with psychiatric treatment and coming off psychiatric medications. Questions? Please contact Ostrow at, or call her at 213.373.3850. For more information or to respond to the survey, click here. For an article about the survey, click here

July 5 Is the Deadline to Comment on an Ill-Conceived SSA Rule

The Social Security Administration has set July 5, 2016, as the deadline to comment on a proposed a change in its regulations that would result in entering into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System anyone who needs financial help from a representative payee. As a result, these individuals would be prohibited from gun ownership, despite the fact that people with mental health conditions are much more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators, and that “only 3%-5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness.” For more information or to comment, click here.

Thanks, Matt Canuteson

Researchers Publish “Corruption of Clinical Trials Reports: A Proposal”

“There is a disconnection between the FDA’s drug approval process and the reports we see in medical journals,” according to a June 22 Health Care Renewal blog. “Pharmaceutical corporations exploit this gap through adulterated, self-serving analyses, and the FDA sits on its hands. I suggest we need a new mechanism to fix the problem—by independent analyses of clinical trials data. When they analyze and publish their clinical trials in medical journals, pharmaceutical corporations have free rein to shape the analyses…. [T]he FDA does not challenge the reports that flood our medical journals, both before and after FDA approval. It is no secret that these publications are routinely biased for marketing effect, but the FDA averts its gaze….Now, a detailed example of deliberate corporate bias has finally been documented, through materials released in litigation….This example concerned a clinical trial of an antidepressant drug in children and adolescents.” To read more, click here.

Thanks, @AllenFrancesMD

SAMHSA Recruits Applicants for Its Program to Achieve Wellness Grants

SAMHSA is inviting applications from programs that have demonstrated exceptional achievements in integrating effective wellness practices into services for people in recovery from behavioral health disorders. Three programs will be selected and highlighted as models that other communities can adopt and implement. “The goal…is to identify and showcase innovative programs and practices that put the concept of wellness into action. Recognized programs will be those that create meaningful improvements in the lives of people in recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders and effectively work to address the increased rates of chronic illness and premature death experienced by this population.” Among eligible applicants are “national organizations, community-based organizations (including providers, peers, and peer providers), communities, states, and tribes in the United States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories.” Applications are due by July 6, 2016. For more information, click here.

Newsletter on Practicing Recovery: The Importance of Family in Diverse Communities Is Available

The latest edition of a newsletter published by SAMHSA’s Recovery to Practice Initiative offers articles on “Practicing Recovery: The Importance of Family in Diverse Communities.” It includes articles entitled “Honoring Diverse Families,” by Chacku Mathai, director of the STAR Center;  “Combining Evidence-based Practice with Cultural, Spiritual, and Traditional Interventions,” by D. Joel Beckstead, PhD, APBB, clinical director, Desert Visions Youth Wellness Center; and “Family Support Is Key to Whole Health in African American Families,” by Deidra Dain, guest writer. To download the free newsletter, click here.

iNAPS Conference Adds a Third Day

The International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) has added a third day! The conference, whose theme is “Collaborating for Unity,” will be held in Philadelphia at the Sheraton Society Hill from August 26-28, 2016. It will be preceded by pre-conference events from August 22 through August 25. For more information, click here. For the latest edition of the iNAPS newsletter, click here.

SAMHSA Publishes “Know Your Rights: Parity for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits”

A brand-new brochure entitled “Know Your Rights: Parity for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits,” published in June 2016, gives an overview of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, lists some of the common limits placed on mental health and substance use disorder benefits and services, and includes resources for additional information on parity. To download SAMHSA’s free fact sheet, click here.


Webinar on Supporting Recovery with the Cultural Formulation Interview to Be Sponsored by NYAPRS

On July 6 at 2:30 p.m. ET, the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) will sponsor a 90-minute webinar called “Using the Cultural Formulation Interview to Support Recovery Outcomes.” NYAPRS writes: “Don’t miss this very timely presentation by experts Dr. Roberto Lewis-Fernandez and Oscar Jiménez-Solomon MPH of the Center for Excellence in Cultural Competence at NYS Psychiatric Institute, who will inform us about the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI), a new research-based tool that helps practitioners and people in recovery to have conversations about cultural identities, preferences, care expectations. This webinar is hosted by Luis O. Lopez of the Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia University.” For more information or to register, click here.

Exposé on Johnson & Johnson to Become a Movie

A Huffington Post article detailing Johnson & Johnson’s scandalous marketing techniques for one of its medications—the antipsychotic Risperdal—will become a movie called, like the article, “America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker.” The article, by muckraking journalist Steven Brill, outlined how, “[o]ver the course of 20 years, Johnson & Johnson created a powerful drug, promoted it illegally to children and the elderly, covered up the side effects and made billions of dollars.” According to the article about the new movie in The Hollywood Reporter, “The drug company was investigated and agreed to pay more than $2 billion in penalties and settlements but made a reported $30 billion in sales of the drug worldwide.” For Steven Brill’s article, click here. For the article about the movie, click here.

Thanks, @KevinFitts

Webinar on “Reframing Recovery” Is on July 21

Peerlink National Technical Assistance Center will host a free, one-hour webinar on “Reframing Recovery” on July 21, 2016, at 2 p.m. ET.  “Reframing recovery challenges perceptions and ideals around mental health recovery, including how we, as a community, define it. Too often, our ability to recover is questioned, challenged, and defined by others. With visuals, frank discussion, narratives, and thought-provoking statements, participants are challenged to reframe how they see recovery from mental health challenges.” The presenters will be Robyn Priest and Donita Diamata of Peerlink. To register, click here.


New Yorker Shares Archived Stories about Mental Health Conditions and Treatment

The New Yorker writes: “This week, we bring you some of the best New Yorker writing about the complexities of psychoanalysis. In ‘Man Goes to See a Doctor,’ Adam Gopnik shares what he learned during his years of Freudian analysis; in ‘The Impossible Profession,’ Janet Malcolm profiles a psychoanalyst, seeing the process from his point of view. In other stories, Evan Osnos chronicles the rise of psychoanalysis in China; Andrew Solomon recalls his personal struggle with depression; Joan Acocella reads Adam Phillips, Britain’s foremost psychoanalytic writer; and Louis Menand explores the perplexing and enlightening intellectual history of psychiatry.” For links to these stories, click here.

Brave New Fellows Program Offers 1-Year Paid Fellowship for Social Justice Activists Who Can Relocate to California

The Brave New Fellows Program “is a one-year paid fellowship for activists from communities of color and/or economically marginalized communities. The fellowship offers on-the-job training and work experience in creating and distributing films for social justice activism. Each fellow receives $772 a week for the duration of the fellowship, medical and dental insurance, and holidays/hiatus pay.” Fellows work full time (M-F, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) in the Culver City, California, office of Brave New Films. Completed applications are due by 6 p.m. PT on August 5. For more information or to apply, click here.

Thanks, Elizabeth Saenger

NYAPRS 34th Annual Conference to Be Held September 14-16

The 2016 annual conference of the New York Association for Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) will be held September 14-16, 2016, at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa in Kerhonkson, N.Y. The theme is “Advancing Whole Health & Healthy Communities: The Pathway to Population Health.” To register and for more information, click here. (The deadline to apply for a scholarship (for New Yorkers only!) is August 1. For the application, click here.

SAMHSA/NIDILRR Offer Free Online TA on Employment from the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Thanks to funding support from SAMHSA and NIDILRR, the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University is offering free online technical assistance to organizations that want to build capacity to address organizational and individual barriers around employment. This is an opportunity for providers to work with national subject matter experts from across the country. For more information, click here or contact Rick Forbess, project director, at

Thanks, NYAPRS E-News

Save the Date! March for Dignity & Change in Mental Health in Washington, DC, October 10!

Join the march against the dehumanization of, and discrimination and prejudice against, people living with mental health conditions on October 10 in Washington, DC. To learn more, see


Researchers Discover Evidence of Racial, Class Discrimination among Psychotherapists

“Psychotherapists discriminate against prospective patients who are black or working class, a new study shows. Among middle-class people who contacted a therapist to schedule an appointment, the study found that 28 percent of whites and 17 percent of blacks received appointment offers. Appointment offer rates for both black and white working-class therapy seekers were 8 percent.” To read more, click here.


Thanks, Howard Trachtman

National Technical Assistance and Networking Teleconferences Are on Hiatus for Now

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is no longer operating under a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Although we are keeping our doors open – including publishing our monthly e-newsletter, the Key Update – we are suspending our monthly national technical assistance and networking calls for the time being. We will keep you posted!

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 Susan Rogers, 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. 12, June 2016, To subscribe, please send a message to: subscribe thekey. To unsubscribe, please send a message to: unsubscribe thekey. 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