The Key Update, Volume 12, Number 5 -- November 2015

Key Update, November 2015

Volume 12, Number 5

Senators and Representatives Are More Inclined to Use Social Media These Days, Study Finds

A report by the Congressional Management Foundation has found that a good way to reach legislators is through social media. The findings were based on two online surveys (with 116 responses) between July and August 2014: one of House and Senate communications directors and the other of House and Senate legislative directors and legislative assistants. The surveys found that federal legislators use social media more than they used to, that staff believe social media have improved relationships between constituents and Congress, that “Thirty or fewer similar comments on a social media post are enough to get an office’s attention, but they need to be posted quickly or they may not be seen,” and that “Social media posts by constituents can influence undecided Senators and Representatives, but staff generally do not feel social media posts provide enough information to identify constituents.” For more information and links to the press release and the report, click here. For Twitter tips, click here and here.

NYAPRS to Sponsor a Two-Day Webinar on How to Get Approved to Receive Benefits

A free two-day webinar on benefits eligibility and approval will take place on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, 2015, beginning at 9 a.m. ET. Each of the webinars is eight hours long. “Too many individuals with behavioral health conditions often have to wait for years to hear about their eligibility for benefits,” writes the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, which is hosting the two-day training. “This is unacceptable, and need not be the case. John Allen [Special Assistant to the Commissioner, the New York State Office of Mental Health] is delivering a presentation via a free two-day webinar that will teach folks how to get approved within 90 days. IMPORTANT! YOU WILL NEED TO REGISTER FOR BOTH DAYS!” For a detailed description of the webinar and to register for Day One (event number: 649 020 225; event password: nysomh123), click here. To register for Day Two (event number: 648 628 561; event password: nysomh123), click here.

Webinar on How Peer Providers Can Support Community Inclusion to Be Held December 3

The Temple University Collaborative on Community inclusion and the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery will sponsor a 90-minute webinar on “Supporting Community Participation: An Introduction to Community Inclusion for Peer Providers,” on Dec. 3, 2015, at 2 p.m. ET. “This introductory yet highly informational webinar will provide peer providers and their allies a foundational understanding of the relationship between community participation and recovery and well-being. It will also explore the key role that peers can play in supporting increased community participation. Additionally, the webinar will introduce attendees to the opportunity to participate in an intensive, two-day in-person training and a unique opportunity to pursue a new certification as a Community Inclusion Peer Facilitator.” To register, click here.


BRSS TACS First Friday Will Be on “Understanding the Work of the Peer”

On Dec. 4, 2015, at 12 p.m. ET, BRSS TACS (Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy) will host a free teleconference on “Understanding the Work of the Peer: Competencies and Challenges.” The presenters are Chacku Mathai, director of the NAMI STAR Center, and Cheryl Gagne, senior associate at the Center for Social Innovation. To register, click here.

Webinar to Be Held Dec. 9 on “Helping People to Connect to the Religious Congregations and Spiritual Groups of Their Choice: The Role of Peer Specialists”

On Dec. 9, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET, the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion will sponsor a one-hour webinar “to discuss the role that peer specialists can play in helping the people with whom they work connect to the religious congregations of their choice.

Last month, the Temple University Collaborative re-issued ‘Helping People Connect to the Religious Congregations of Their Choice:  The Role of Peer Specialists,’ which recognizes the important role that faith and fellowship play in the lives of many peers and recommends specific strategies for peer specialists to pursue to make those connections a reality. The TU Collaborative now invites peers and peer specialists into a national conversation on the topic.” For more information and to register, click here.

ACMHA Hosts Three-Session Diversity Webinar Series; Next Webinars Are in December and January

The second and third webinars in ACMHA’s Diversity Webinar Series will take place in December and January, respectively. On Dec. 10, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET, Francis Lu, MD, Kim Professor in Cultural Psychiatry, emeritus, UC Davis, will present “Cultural Issues in the DSM-5: The Outline for Cultural Formulation (OCF) and the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI).” Dr. Kim will review the rationale for these two clinical tools to incorporate cultural issues in diagnosis and treatment, a roadmap to where cultural issues appear in DSM-5, and an overview of the OCF and CFI. To register, click here. Then, on Jan. 14, 2016, at 1 p.m., Ruth Shim, MD, MPH, associate professor, Hofstra North Shore – LIJ School of Medicine, will present “The Social Determinants of Mental Health.” She will provide an overview of important concepts and present evidence that supports the existence of these determinants. She will also discuss research, policy, and practice-based solutions. To register, click here. Also available are the slide deck (click here) and recording (click here) of the first webinar in this series, “Using My Cultural Voice: Health Activation from a Cultural Perspective.”

SAMHSA says, “You Can Play a Role in Helping Children Recover from Trauma.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers its own materials as well as information from “the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and other organizations designed to help you recognize and respond to child traumatic stress.” There are materials targeted to parents and caregivers, military families, educators and school personnel, professionals in health and other systems, technical assistance materials, and materials for the media. All the information is available if you click here.

Publish Your Story on “First Person,” Vox’s New Section Devoted to Narrative Essays

“We’ve decided to devote a section of to thoughtful, in-depth, provocative personal narratives that explain the most important topics in modern life,” writes. “We’re calling this section First Person. If you have a great story to tell that helps explain an important issue, send us a pitch at We’re looking for a wide range of perspectives from writers of every age, gender, race, sexual orientation, and political leaning. Write a paragraph or two describing a) what you’d like to write about; b) what personal experience you have that qualifies you to write about this topic; c) the basic points you want to make in your piece. We’ll also take a look at completed drafts if you prefer to pitch that way….Send your pitch or draft to” And, if they accept your piece, they pay! “If your pitch gets accepted, we’ll discuss specifics.” For more information, click here.

Justice Center Publishes "Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses at the Pretrial Stage"

 The Justice Center of the Council of State Governments has published a report that introduces essential elements for responding to people with mental health conditions at the pretrial stage, including decisions about pretrial release and diversion. "The period between a person's arrest and his or her case being adjudicated presents a significant opportunity to safely minimize future criminal justice involvement and make needed connections to behavioral health care," according to the CSG website. "Many communities have found ways to make effective connections to treatment for some individuals as part of pretrial release or diversion programs, but policymakers and practitioners continue to struggle to identify and implement research-based policies and practices at this stage of the criminal justice system." For more information as well as the full report and the executive summary, click here

Webinar on “Understanding Trans Resiliency” Is on December 10

“Understanding Trans Resiliency: Sharing Hope and Experiences That Touch Upon Community, Whole Health, and Wellness,” a webinar sponsored by the Campbell Center in partnership with the National Empowerment Center, will take place on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. ET. To register for the two-hour webinar, also called “Healing from Trauma by Centering Health and Wellness in Social Justice Movements,”click here. The organizers write, “Transgender movement includes the social justice movement led by and for trans and other gender non-conforming people.” The presenter will be Iden D. Campbell McCollum, CPRP, CPS, founder and Executive Director of The Campbell Center. The moderator will be Jennifer Maria Padron, Med, CPS, PHDc.

Five Things Your Congregation Can Do to Support Criminal Justice Reform

“The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) works to end mass incarceration, improve conditions for people who are in prison, stop prison privatization, and promote a reconciliation and healing approach to criminal justice issues. AFSC Friends Relations, in an effort to create a more substantial level of engagement between Friends and AFSC, is piloting a program called Quaker Social Change Ministry to support and facilitate Spirit-led, social justice work in Quaker meetings/churches.” The ideas and resource links available here are also relevant to other advocates.

Webinar on “Reframing Recovery” to Be Held on December 16

A one-hour webinar sponsored by the Peerlink National Technical Assistance Center (Peerlink NTAC) on “Reframing Recovery” will be held on Dec. 16, 2015, at 2 p.m. ET. The webinar, presented by Donita Diamata and Robyn Priest of the Peerlink NTAC, “challenges perceptions and ideals around mental health recovery, including how we, as a community, define it,” Peerlink writes. “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. ‘Reframing Recovery’ has been offered in several formats to a variety of audiences, including peers, peer support workers, mental health providers, and allies, all with generally high praise…. In this first-ever webinar format, we will discuss the concept of recovery in detail through story-sharing and interactive questions.” To register, click here.

Work on H.R. 2646 Is Delayed But Advocacy Is Still Essential

Although a recent article in The Hill (“GOP’s response to mass shootings delayed”) indicates that nothing more will be done on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act until early next year, advocacy is still needed. Write to your Congressional representatives (for information about this, click here) to urge that they oppose the bill. For more information, seeWashington’s Horrible Mental Health Legislation,” “Saving Congressman Murphy from Fraudulent Information,” “Mental Health Bill Caters to Big Pharma and Would Expand Coercive Treatments,” and “Misconceived Mental Health Legislation.” 

 “Healing Voices” Documentary to Have Global Premiere on April 29, 2016

“Healing Voices,” a “new feature-length documentary which explores the experiences commonly labeled as ‘psychosis’ through the real-life stories of individuals working to overcome extreme mental states and integrate these experiences into their lives in meaningful ways,” will have its global premiere on April 29, 2016. “The film follows three subjects – Oryx, Jen, Dan – over a period of nearly five years and features interviews with notable personalities, including Robert Whitaker, Dr. Bruce Levine, Will Hall, Marius Romme, and others.” For more information and to see the trailer: The film makers are planning a “One Night, One Voice” global event to mark the VOD (Video-On-Demand) release of the movie. Click here for information about screening packages. For additional information about licensing or tax-deductible donations, click here or contact

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. 5, November 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