The Key Update, Volume 12, Number 6 - December 2015

Key Update, December 2015

Volume 12, Number 6

Many Research Institutions That Conduct Human Studies Don’t Report Their Results

Many distinguished medical research institutions routinely violate a federal law requiring public reporting of study results, according to a recent article – Law Ignored, Patients at Risk – in Stat News. As a result, people and their doctors can’t figure out if a treatment is safe and can’t accurately weigh the risk/benefit ratio. Among the worst offenders? Four of the top 10 institutions that get federal funding for medical research: Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of California, San Diego. “All disclosed research results late or not at all at least 95 percent of the time since reporting became mandatory in 2008,” Stat revealed. Meanwhile, the federal government “could have collected a whopping $25 billion [in fines] from drug companies alone in the past seven years. But it has not levied a single fine.” The federal law was passed due to concerns that the pharmaceutical industry was covering up negative results to make treatments look better. One example is Paxil’s manufacturer, sued for hiding data that the drug led to suicidal thoughts in teens. “GlaxoSmithKline was misstating the downside risks,” said Eliot Spitzer, who filed the 2004 suit when he was NY attorney general. For the Stat article, click here. (In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline pled guilty and agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve its criminal and civil liability.)

Thanks, @ProPublica

Deadline Extended on Forensic Peer Initiatives Survey!

 We – The College for Behavioral Health Leadership Peer Leaders Interest Group, The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion, and the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse – have extended the deadline for the survey of forensic peer initiatives to Jan. 8, 2016! We want to hear from you if you work for a peer-run organization that has programs and/or services assisting people with behavioral health conditions and criminal justice histories. Using a survey format for input, we are planning a publication to share this information to learn from one another and to be a source of technical assistance. We have received 90 responses so far, but want to be sure you are included! The survey is a bit lengthy in order to capture all of the important information. If you want to see the questions before you start, they can be found if you click here. If you're ready to start, select this link to begin. Feel free to share this survey with your network for others to participate. Questions? Contact Susan Rogers at or 267-507-3812 Thanks for your help!

SAMHSA Offers Recovery to Practice Winter Webinar Series on Crisis and Recovery

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Recovery to Practice (RTP) workforce development initiative is hosting a four-part webinar series “about how to integrate recovery-oriented approaches into response and support services for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. The series will present approaches that illustrate the importance of a recovery orientation in these crucial periods.” Each one-hour webinar begins at 1 p.m. ET. The topics are Creating Environments of Hope and Wellness: Recovery in Hospital Settings (Jan. 12); Supporting Recovery in Acute Care and Emergency Settings (Jan. 19); Recovery-oriented Community-focused Responses to Behavioral Health Crises (Jan. 26); and Hospital Diversion and Alternatives in Crisis Response (Feb. 2). For more information about the entire series and to register for any or all of the webinars, click here.

NAMI Publishes “State Mental Health Legislation 2015”; Congress Funds Key Criminal Justice Programs

There is good news and bad news in the state and federal mental health arenas in regard to legislation. In a recent report on State Mental Health Legislation: Trends, Themes and Effective Practices, published by NAMI this month, the bad news includes the fact that more than half the states reduced mental health funding. The good news is that some states passed helpful legislation. Among these bills is AZ HB 2488, which creates a housing trust fund for rental assistance to Arizonans with serious mental health conditions; MN SFS 1458, which supplements federal dollars to support evidence-based First Episode Psychosis programs, which help young Minnesotans work toward recovery and get on with their lives; and UT HB 348, which requires the Utah departments of corrections and mental health to collaborate on providing mental health treatment to individuals in jails and prisons, developing alternatives to incarceration and implementing graduated sanctions and incentives. To download the 74-page report, click here. At the same time, Congress recently approved a $1.15 trillion Omnibus Appropriations bill that would fund three key programs championed by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center: the Second Chance Act (SCA), the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA), and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. For more information, click here.

Alternatives 2016 Conference Planning Committee Application Is Available

The Peerlink National Technical Assistance Center, which will be planning and hosting Alternatives 2016, is inviting applications for the Alternatives 2016 Conference Planning Committee. “We have implemented an application process in the hopes of drawing a diverse group of applicants representing many communities, cultures, age groups and experience,” Peerlink NTAC writes. “Applications are due by Friday, January 8th 2016. Please email completed applications to:” A link to the application, in Word, is posted on the home page; the application can be downloaded, completed electronically, and emailed to, who is also available if you have questions.

iNAPS Issues Call for Proposals for 2016 National Peer Supporter Conference in Philadelphia

The InterNational Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) is seeking presentation proposals for its 10th annual national conference, to be held August 26-27, 2016, in Philadelphia at the Sheraton Society Hill, a short walk to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The deadline for proposals is Feb. 15, 2016. For information about the conference, including the call for proposals, click here. The conference is “also seeking peer-created art and photography related to the conference theme of Collaboration for Unity. Submit ideas only for contributions (no original artwork please) in an email with Conference Art in the subject line to:”

Hearing Voices App Is Released

The Hearing Voices Project team at the University of Chester in England has launched a Mobile App called Hearing Voices: A guide to understanding, helping and empowering individuals,” writes Mad in America. “The app is designed to simulate the experience of hearing voices and was designed ‘by pooling the expertise of a wide range of healthcare professionals, learners and voice hearers.’ As users engage in this experience, [they] are guided by reflective prompts and interactive exercises. The app also includes podcasts featuring the stories of people who hear voices.” It can be downloaded for free from the Apple app store and Google Play.” For a free promotional video, click here.

Two New Studies Offer Hope to Individuals Who Experience Depression

Two studies provide hope to individuals with depression: a model that could lead to more precise treatment, and research indicating that light may work on nonseasonal depression. In the first study, scientists at Michigan State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say their research may lead to “a method for personalizing treatment to each unique patient,” said lead investigator Andrea K. Wittenborn of MSU. Most previous research into depression focused on only one or two factors causing it, and not on how the many biological, psychological, social and environmental factors unfold over time, the researchers said. “We know depression varies widely across people,” Wittenborn said, “and we think that has something to do with why treatment [which tends to be by trial and error] is not always effective.” For more information, click here. A different study, at the University of British Columbia, found that, used alone, light therapy – often employed to treat seasonal affective disorder (in which depression descends upon someone during late fall and winter and then lifts as the days grow longer) – “was significantly better than placebo, and light therapy with medication was the most effective treatment of all,” The New York Times reported. The research is the first placebo-controlled trial that shows that light therapy is an effective treatment for depression that is not brought on by seasonal affective disorder, according to a University of British Columbia press release, available here.

Thanks, Mad in America and Café TA Center, for information about the MSU/MIT study.

John Oliver’s Year in Criminal Justice and Mental Health

A prominent – and entertaining – ally of individuals with mental health conditions and of those with criminal justice involvement is John Oliver, who hosts a show on HBO. The Marshall Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization covering America’s criminal justice system, has put together “John Oliver’s Year in Criminal Justice (available here): “A roundup of clips and one-liners from one of the most vocal critics of our prison system,” covering elected judges, bail, mandatory minimums, municipal violations, public defenders, prisoner reentry, and a bonus segment with the cast of Sesame Street. Oliver also did a great piece on how the mental health system “works or, more often than not, how it doesn’t” – available here.

Medstopper Offers a “Deprescribing Resource for Healthcare Professionals and Their Patients.”

Medstopper is a “tool to help clinicians and patients make decisions about reducing or stopping medications. By entering the list of medications a patient is receiving, sequences the drugs from ‘more likely to stop’ to ‘less likely to stop,’ based on three key criteria: the potential of the drug to improve symptoms, its potential to reduce the risk of future illness and its likelihood of causing harm. Suggestions for how to taper the medication are also provided.” In his recent tweet of the Medstopper website, Allen Frances – chair of the DSM-IV Task Force, professor emeritus and former chair of the Duke University Department of Psychiatry, and author of Saving Normal and Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis – wrote, “Stopping multiple meds is harder than starting them. Requires caution & patience, but results often worth the effort.” The website contains multiple disclaimers, available here. In a related note, the Icarus Project website offers, for free, The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal. To download, click here.

AAPD to Host Webinar on Workplace Bullying and Harassment

According to the 2014 Workplace Bullying Institute’s U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, 27% of employees have current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work and 72% are aware of workplace bullying. The American Association of People with Disabilities will host a one-hour webinar on Workplace Bullying and Harassment on Jan. 13, 2016, at 1 p.m. ET. The session “will explore the definitional and legal differences between bullying and harassment, provide an overview of the impact of bullying in the workplace, describe the recourse available to abused workers with disabilities, and offer suggestions for how employers can foster safer, more accepting workplaces.” To register, click here.

Webinar on Social Determinants of Mental Health to Be Hosted by College for Behavioral Health Leadership

On Jan. 14, 2016, at 1 p.m. ET, Ruth Shim, MD, MPH, associate professor, Hofstra North Shore/LIJ School of Medicine, will present “The Social Determinants of Mental Health.” According to the College for Behavioral Health Leadership, “This session is focused on … those factors stemming from where we grow, live, work, learn, and age that impact our overall mental health and well-being, and those factors that contribute to mental illnesses.” The social determinants of mental health are “largely neglected with regard to their role in causing and worsening mental illnesses,” the College continues. “These underlying causes of mental illnesses are modifiable precursors to behavioral risk factors and are largely responsible for social injustice and mental health inequities.” Dr. Shim 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.

Webinar on Parenting with a Mental Health Condition to Be Hosted by the TU Collaborative

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities will be holding a webinar on Jan. 21, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss Parenting with a Mental Illness. The TU Collaborative writes: “We will discuss strategies parents can use, findings from our Parenting Internet Education study, and discuss our new Parenting Online Education resource, which will allow parents from all over to get information for children under the age of 18. This topic is important for many individuals and something that needs to be discussed given the high rate of child welfare involvement that many parents face, as well as other barriers like discrimination. For registration information, click here.

“Gun Deaths in Your District: What Have Your Elected Representatives Done?”

Find out how many people near you died from gun violence in 2015, where your Congressional representatives stand on guns – and how much money they’ve received from the gun lobby. Click on “Locate Me” on the map available here, and you can find out! For example, in Missouri’s First District, there have been 230 gun deaths this year; there have been 451 gun deaths in Missouri over all. The district is represented by Rep. William Lacy Clay, who has received nothing from the gun lobby and scores an F rating from the NRA. Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill has also received no money from the gun lobby, and also has an NRA F rating. But Missouri’s other senator, Roy Blunt, has received $3,300 from the gun lobby and scores an A from the NRA. He has consistently voted in favor of “gun rights” and against regulation, the exact opposite of Sen. McCaskill. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a 14-page report on gun violence in Wilmington, Delaware, despite the Congressional restriction that effectively bans such inquiries. The report was not initiated by the CDC; it was requested by the City of Wilmington, The Trace reported. For more information and to download the 14-page report, click here.

Newsletters of National Organizations Offer a Lot of Great Information!

Many organizations publish free monthly newsletters that are of great interest to mental health/disability rights advocates. Three recent newsletters are those of the Café TA Center, the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion, and the American Association of People with Disabilities. The latest issue of the Café TA Center’s newsletter, Focus, offers A First-Hand Perspective on Campus Mental Health and Leaves of Absence. To download the newsletter, click here. The December 2015 issue of the TU Collaborative’s newsletter, Recovering Liberty, focuses on parenting with a mental health condition, and also includes a variety of other announcements and resources. For the newsletter, click here. And the most recent edition of the American Association of People with Disabilities newsletter, Disability Download, publicizes resources such as the National Center on Disability and Journalism Style Guide and upcoming events, as well as opportunities such as the 2016 AAPD Summer Internships, with applications due Jan. 15, 2016, at 5 p.m. ET. For the AAPD newsletter, click here.

“A New Tool Drills Down on Hidden Incarceration Rates”

The Vera Institute of Justice has created a data tool that includes the jail population and jail incarceration rate for every U.S. county that uses a local jail, for what the Marshall Project calls “the essential metric that provides an empirical yardstick for the prison-reform movement.” The Vera Institute writes: “The data revealed that, since 1970, the number of people held in jail has increased from 157,000 to 690,000 in 2014 – a more than four-fold increase nationwide, with growth rates highest in the smallest counties. This data also reveals wide variation in incarceration rates and racial disparities among jurisdictions of similar size and thus underlines an essential point: The number of people in jail is largely the result of choices made by policymakers and others in the justice system. The Incarceration Trends tool provides any jurisdiction with the appetite for change the opportunity to better understand its history of jail use and measure its progress toward decarceration.” The Marshall Project writes: “A stunning fact jumps off the page. The Vera report finds that 130 small counties – those with fewer than 250,000 county residents – have jail incarceration rates that exceed 1,000 per 100,000. Because we formerly had no metric to rank jails by incarceration rate, many of these counties escaped the particular scrutiny that would come with the distinction of incarcerating such a high percentage of their residents.” For the Marshall Project article, Who Is Putting the Most People in Jail? Not New York, Chicago, or LA., click here. For information about In Our Own Backyard: Confronting Growth and Disparities in American Jails, published by the Vera Institute of Justice in December 2015, and to download the report, click here.

“Mental Health Reform Will Not Reduce US Gun Violence, Experts Say”

The title of a new article in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association” says it all! The full article is available on the JAMA website for free download. Read it here.

Thanks, Matt Canuteson.

“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. 6, December 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