The Key Update, Volume 12, Number 4 – October 2015

Key Update, October 2015

Volume 12, Number 4


Certificates of Relief Offer a Break to Job Seekers with Prison Records


In 14 states and the District of Columbia, job seekers who have been convicted of no more than two nonviolent crimes can be granted a Certificate of Rehabilitation. These certificates tell prospective employers not to judge people based on their forensic history. Also called Certificates of Relief, Recovery, Achievement or Employability, the documents remove obstacles to a range of licenses, including real estate, barbering, cosmetology and mortician’s licenses. The certificates also insulate prospective employers from liability suits claiming negligent hiring, according to a report by the Marshall Project. The states that offer these certificates are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Vermont, along with the District of Columbia; requirements and impact may vary. Critics claim that nothing short of expungement is useful, but supporters say that the certificates are a good compromise since expungement may be a longshot. Some states also offer Certificates of Good Conduct, which would render an individual with a criminal justice background eligible for a range of municipal jobs, including in the public schools, the transit system, and the parks. For more information, click here.


New Guide to “Peer Involvement and Leadership in Early Intervention in Psychosis Services”


“Peer Involvement and Leadership in Early Intervention in Psychosis Services: From Planning to Peer Support and Evaluation,” by Nev Jones, Ph.D., provides information and best practices for peer support and leadership in early intervention in psychosis (EIP) services. The guide includes examples of exemplary or innovative services, projects and individuals (see “spotlights”), and a comprehensive appendix of resources. It covers “a broad range of domains in which peers might assume leadership or advisory roles. These include program development and planning, direct service delivery (including peer support), public outreach and engagement, clinician education, and quality improvement and evaluation,” its introduction notes. The free manual, sponsored by SAMHSA, is available here. In addition, click here for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors’ Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) virtual resource center


Free Webinar on Best Practices in Responding to Federal Funding Opportunities


A free 90-minute webinar on “Getting to Know the Federal Government and Funding Opportunities” will take place on November 5, 2015, beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. The webinar, featuring a federal funders panel, “will reveal best practices in responding to federal funding announcements. Opportunities for federal funding will be identified.” The webinar is sponsored by the Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To register, click here. 


SAMHSA’s GAINS Center Seeks Communities to Develop Trauma-Informed Training Capacity


SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation is soliciting applications from communities interested in providing trauma-informed training. The GAINS Center is offering a series of Train-The-Trainer (TTT) events to train people to deliver its How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses training program. The target audiences are primarily community-based criminal justice system professionals, including law enforcement, community corrections (probation, parole, and pre-trial services), court personnel, as well as human service providers that serve justice-involved populations. To find out more, click here. The GAINS Center will offer the free Train-The-Trainer (TTT) events to selected communities between February 2016 and August 2016. If a TTT event is of interest to your community, please submit your completed application form to the GAINS Center no later than December 10, 2015. To download the solicitation for the How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses TTT Event, click here. 


TU Collaborative Newsletter Includes Self-Directed Care Resources;

Temple Is Recruiting for a Research Study on Supported Education


The October 2015 newsletter from the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion includes information on creating self-directed care programming, including a manual that provides a detailed review of a self-directed care program currently offered in Pennsylvania, a step-by-step guide to initiating and implementing self-directed care in local community settings, and an archived webinar on “Making Self-Directed Care a Reality.” The newsletter, which includes links to these resources, is available here. The TU Collaborative is also researching 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. All study communication will take place electronically (e.g., telephone, email, text message, Skype).” For more information, click here or contact research staff at 215-204-3257 or, or click here for the screener.


“Increasing Employment of People in Recovery” Is the Subject of Next BRSS TACS “First Friday”


On November 6, 2015, from noon to 1 p.m. ET, BRSS TACS (Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy) will sponsor a free teleconference on “Increasing Employment of People in Recovery.” Len Statham, employment specialist at the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, will speak. First Fridays with BRSS TACS is “a free monthly opportunity to meet with nationally recognized leaders to discuss recovery-related topics in an open and informal setting.” For more information, click here. To connect, click here.


CMS Issues Bulletin to Help States Design Benefits to Guide Early Treatment Intervention


On October 16, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an informational bulletin to assist states in designing a benefit package to guide early treatment intervention options that will meet the needs of youth and young adults experiencing first-episode psychosis. The bulletin reflects a joint effort by SAMHSA, the National Institute of Mental Health, and CMS’s Center for Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Services (CMCS). For the bulletin, click here.


NARPA Solicits Workshop Proposals for 2016 Annual Rights Conference


The National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) has issued a call for presentations for its 2016 conference, to be held at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix, Arizona, from August 25-28 (Thursday evening through Sunday noon). NARPA writes: “For more than 30 years, NARPA 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 and developmental disabilities.” Social Work CEUs and Continuing Legal Education units are planned. The deadline to submit a proposal is March 1, 2016. Selected presenters will be notified via e-mail by April 1, 2016. Check for conference updates. For the call for papers, click here.


TU Collaborative Seeks Participants for “Welcoming Environments” Survey


The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion is recruiting mental health professionals (ranging from psychiatrists to dance/art/music therapists to case managers to peer support specialists and others) to participate in a survey about “workplace experiences of mental health professionals with mental health issues/concerns AND experiences of mental health professionals who may be working alongside people with mental health issues.” You cannot participate if you work in a setting that solely treats individuals with substance abuse problems or are a graduate student, a practicum student of an intern.) The survey will ask about diagnoses, medication, hospitalizations, relationships with co-workers and supervisors, and experiences of disclosure or concealment of mental health issues in the workplace. If you are interested in participating and you are a person with a mental health problem/concern, click here. If you are interested in participating and you do not have a mental health problem/concern, click here.


PRJ Seeks Papers for Special Issue on Psychiatric Disability Policy Research


The Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal (PRJ) is soliciting papers for a special issue on behavioral health disability policy research. PRJ writes: “High-quality research is sought on the effects of federal, state, and local government disability and related policies on access to, quality, cost, and utilization of psychiatric rehabilitation services; behavioral health; quality of life; and well-being. Rigorous research with significant implications for future policy development to better support people with behavioral health challenges is also welcomed….” Papers should be submitted through the Manuscript Submission Portal, under the Instructions to Authors. For more information, click here. The deadline is February 1, 2016.


BU CPR Seeks Participants for Vocational Recovery Competencies Survey


The Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation writes that it is “conducting a study which aims to identify the competencies needed by vocational providers (for example, employment specialists, vocational counselors, among others) to help people with psychiatric disabilities to get and keep jobs. We are seeking feedback from individuals with the lived experience of a psychiatric condition who have worked with a vocational provider. We invite you to participate in the survey.” To participate, click here.


Transition Age Youth Are Sought for PTSD Study; Other Volunteers Are Welcome Too


A master’s student in psychology at the University of Bristol, UK, is conducting research that she hopes will aid in the recovery of individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Her research, which has been approved by the University of Bristol Ethics Committee, will examine trauma survivors’ perceptions and experiences of online and offline support. The goal of the study is to improve the support given to individuals following a traumatic event. Interviews will be conducted through the use of Google Hangouts (an instant messaging software). Volunteers, whose traumatic experience must have been more than a year ago, may participate in individual interviews and/or a private online focus group. “I am seeking participants between the ages of 18 and 25 in particular,” Emily Godwin writes. “However, volunteers who are over 25 are also welcome….All data will be analyzed anonymously, and will be treated with strict confidentiality where possible. Respondents have the right to withdraw from the study at any point.” Interested? Contact Emily at before January 2016 to volunteer and/or to receive additional information. For concerns or complaints about the research project, contact Godwin’s supervisor: For more information, click here. Solicits First-Person Stories Told Through Comics


Are you a comics artist?, a website that publishes an eclectic array of news stories and features, is looking for “first-person stories told through comics.” Email


LinkedIn Group on “Employing People with Psychiatric Disabilities” Seeks Members


Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation has organized a LinkedIn group on employing people with psychiatric disabilities. The Center writes: “If you are a person in recovery, employer, or supporter of people with psychiatric disabilities, we invite you to join the Center’s new LinkedIn group. For more information, or to join, please visit our LinkedIn page.”


In “Devoiced,” Human Rights Activists Share Their Experiences in the Mental Health System


“Devoiced: Human Rights Now” is a moving and powerful video in which human rights activists with lived experience of a mental health condition tell their stories. Created by Lauren Tenney, who presented the video as part of her Ph.D. dissertation defense, “Devoiced” is a series of “snapshots.” Among those interviewed are artist Amy Smith of Colorado, who recalls, “…They started enumerating all the things I could not do. And I believed them, because they were doctors.” David Oaks, founder of MindFreedom International, says, “I just felt like I’d taken an elevator ride all the way to the sub-basement.” “‘It’s too stressful; you should really stop having any goals, or desires, or dreams. You need to accept that your brain is broken and that you are limited in what you can do,’” recalled another activist about the system’s messages. “You can’t find work because you can’t keep your eyes open long enough because you’re so overmedicated,” said another. During this important 18-minute video, those interviewed cover topics including poverty, electroconvulsive treatment, seclusion and restraints, and how they maintained a sense of hope. The video is available here.


SAMHSA Disaster App Provides Easy Access to Disaster-Related Behavioral Health Resources


“In a disaster, it's essential that behavioral health responders have the resources they need – when and where they need them,” SAMHSA writes. “The SAMHSA Disaster App makes it easy to provide quality support to survivors. Users can navigate pre-deployment preparation, on-the-ground assistance, post-deployment resources, and more – at the touch of a button from the home screen. Users also can share resources, like tips for helping survivors cope, and find local behavioral health services. And self-care support for responders is available at all stages of deployment.” For more information, click here.


“People of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project” Seeks Contributors


“This photo project stems from the lack of media representation of POC (people of color) and mental illness,” writes Dior Vargas, who created the project. “There are tons of articles that list people with depression and other mental illnesses but you rarely see someone who looks like you. We need to change the way this is represented….This is a reality for so many people in our community. If you’re interested in being part of this project, please submit a photo of yourself holding a sign saying, ‘I’m [your name] and I have a mental illness (or the exact type).’ Whatever you feel comfortable doing.” The photo should be from the shoulders or waist up, saved as a JPEG with your first and last name, and sent to For the website, click here. For more about Dior Vargas, click here.


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. However, the five SAMHSA-funded national consumer and consumer supporter technical assistance centers may begin hosting such teleconferences. 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. 4, October 2015, 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