The Key Update, Volume 12, Number 7 - January 2016

Key Update, January 2016

Volume 12, Number 7

FDA Seeks Comments on Whether ECT Device Should Be Reclassified from Class III to Class II

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is once again seeking comments on whether it should reclassify the device used to administer electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a controversial procedure that even proponents admit can cause “adverse cognitive effects [that] can persist for an extended period, and that they characterize routine treatment with ECT in community settings.” The device is currently in Class III; the proposal is to reclassify it to Class II. For information about the three classes, click here. For testimony by Daniel B. Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., in 2011, the last time the FDA threatened to reclassify the equipment, click here. For information about Doctors of Deception: What They Don’t Want You to Know about Shock Treatment, which the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine called “brilliant analysis,” click here. For additional information, click here. The comment period is open until March 28, 2016. To comment, click here.

Apply by February 1 for the Behavioral Health and Justice Leadership Academy

Applications are due by February 1, 2016, for Policy Research Associates (PRA) Behavioral Health and Justice Leadership Academy. “The goal,” PRA writes, “is to improve public health and public safety outcomes for people with mental and substance use disorders in the justice system by supporting leaders to implement effective strategies in their cities and counties. Twenty-five individuals will be selected to participate in the initiative, which will feature a two-day meeting in May 2016.” For more information or to apply, please download the solicitation for applications.

SAMHSA Hosts Webinar on Hospital Diversion and Alternatives in Crisis Response

On February 2, 2016, at 1 p.m. ET, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will host a free one-hour Recovery to Practice webinar on Hospital Diversion and Alternatives in Crisis Response. The presenters are two staff members of RI International, Inc., a Phoenix-based agency, who “will present their ‘next generation crisis response services,’ which include an array of approaches for managing mental health crisis in non-hospital settings. The programs include the ‘Living Room,’ in which peers, nurses and doctors work side by side with individuals in crisis, and Recovery Response Centers that offer more intensive support and services.” For more information and to register, click here.

BRSS TACS First Friday in February Will Be on Peer-Run Respites

On February 5, 2016, at 12 p.m. ET, BRSS TACS (Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy) will host a free teleconference on Peer-Run Respites. “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.” Join BRSS TACS on February 5 to hear about peer-run respites and submit your questions to Steve Miccio, executive director of PEOPLe, Inc. To register, click here. (See the item below for more information about peer-run crisis respites.)

Live & Learn Launches Peer Respite Resource Website

In January 2016, Live & Learn launched, “a website dedicated to information and resources regarding peer respites in the U.S.” As part of the initiative, recruitment is open for the 2015 Peer Respites Essential Features Survey (click here for the survey). For more information about peer-run crisis respites, see the National Empowerment Center’s website on Crisis Alternatives (click here) and the Clearinghouse’s publication entitled Focus on Peer-Run Crisis Respite Services (click here).

NASMHPD to Host Webinar on Maximizing Medicaid Coverage for Peer Support Services

The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) will host a free 90-minute webinar on February 11, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. ET., on Maximizing Medicaid Coverage for Peer Support Services. The webinar will draw on lessons learned from the state of Georgia. NASMHPD writes: “The state of Georgia has been very successful in securing diverse Medicaid coverage for peer support services in different settings, including mental health, addiction recovery, whole‐health and parent/ youth peer support activity. The presenter will highlight strategies for: working with state Medicaid officials; certification; creating job descriptions; addressing code of ethics issues; exploring varied roles and responsibilities in behavioral health and general health settings; and other details to help facilitate the process of securing Medicaid coverage for diverse peer support services. Time will be provided for the speaker to respond to audience questions.” To register, click here.

Thanks, iNAPS Update #2, January 2016

Three More Opportunities to Contribute to Peer Support Research

The University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Detroit Mercy are sponsoring online surveys about peer supporters’ career development and their work experience, respectively. The University of Illinois at Chicago Career Development Survey “asks about peer specialists’ career development; interest in and opportunities for advancement; current work climate; and perceptions of discrimination and stigma.” For more information, visit For the survey, click here. Questions or comments? Cherise Rosen, Ph.D. (  or Nev Jones, Ph.D. ( ) or Jessica Wolf, Ph.D. ( Next, the University of Detroit Mercy survey, Work Experiences of Peer Support Specialists, “is specifically designed to better understand peer support specialists’ experiences of supervision.” To participate, click here. For questions, email Dr. Kristen Abraham ( In addition, Doors to Wellbeing National Technical Assistance Center has launched a survey entitled What Type of Peer Specialist Toolkit Do You Want to See? Doors to Wellbeing writes: “We want to provide you with the tools you need to complete the projects you value. We are doing this survey so you can tell us what those projects are so we can get you the information you need to help you achieve your program’s dreams.” To participate, click here.

NARPA Issues Request for Proposals for 2016 Annual Rights Conference

The National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) is seeking workshop proposals for its 2016 conference, to be held August 25-28 at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. Robert Whitaker, award-winning author of Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic, will keynote the conference, whose theme is Rights Under Siege: Fighting Back. Proposals should address “strategies, ideas, programs, and emerging practices that support and promote NARPA’s mission and commitment to individual rights, liberty, freedom and dignity.” To submit a proposal, click here.

ODEP Website Offers Resources to Help People “Stay at Work/Return to Work”

The federal Office of Disability Employment Policy has made available a number of online Stay At Work/Return To Work (SAW/RTW) strategies to address the high unemployment rate of Americans with disabilities. ODEP writes: “Successful RTW strategies, if sufficiently promoted, can result in higher incomes for recovering workers, lower benefits costs for the American taxpayer, and lower personnel costs for employers.” The website is available here. For more information, see A Practical Guide for People with Mental Health Conditions Who Want to Work, by the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion, available here.

TU Collaborative Launches New Web Page on Parenting with a Mental Health Condition and a Guide to Self-Directed Care Programming

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion recently launched a new “Parenting Tool.” The Collaborative writes: “This website will allow parents with children ages birth-to-18 to get information and strategies for improving their parenting, and, in addition, will provide you with a great deal of information about parenting with a psychiatric disability through its age-specific educational curriculum.” For the website, which includes a video introduction, click here. In addition, the Collaborative is offering A Guide to Creating Self-Directed Care Programming, available here. The manual provides “a detailed review of a novel and successful self-directed care program that is currently being offered in Pennsylvania.”

National Survey of Compensation Among Peer Support Specialists Is Available

The College for Behavioral Health Leadership recently published a report on its 2015 National Survey on Compensation Among Peer Support Specialists. “The findings of this study illustrate that there is diversity among the current national structure for the wages of peer specialists,” according to the Executive Summary. “This includes significant differences in average compensation rates between those who work all different hours ($15.42) and only full-time ($16.36).” The report addresses a number of other disparities, including among types of employers, geographically, and male vs. female (with men receiving on average more than $2 more per hour than women). For the report on the study, click here.


iNAPS Newsletter Offers a Wealth of Information; Deadline for Conference Proposals Approaches

The January 2016 newsletter of the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) is out! It includes an array of information, including the call for papers for its 10th annual national conference, to be held August 26-27, 2016, in Philadelphia. 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” The newsletter is available here.

SAMHSA’s 2015 Barometer Tracks Behavioral Health in the U.S.

On January 26, 2016, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published its annual National Behavioral Health Barometer. Among topics covered are “the prevalence rates of youth and adult substance use, serious mental [health conditions], suicidal thoughts, and people seeking treatment for these disorders,” SAMHSA writes. “The Barometer shows this data at the national level, and for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Barometer also includes analyses using several demographic categories such as gender, age, income level, health insurance status and race/ethnicity.” To view and download copies of the national or any state Behavioral Health Barometer, click here.

SAMHSA Offers Free Mobile Resources and a Podcast Series to Support Behavioral Health

SAMHSA is offering free mobile apps that address “some of the toughest mental health and substance use challenges, including suicide prevention, bullying prevention, behavioral health following a disaster, and underage drinking prevention.” To download the free resources, click here. At the same time, SAMHSA’s new podcast series, Resiliency in Disaster Behavioral Health, covers What Is Community Resilience? Behavioral Health Reactions and Ways to Enhance Resilience, Pre-Disaster Organizational Resilience, and Resiliency among First Responders. For more information, click here.

Active Minds Healthy Campus Award Seeks Applications

Active Minds writes: “The Active Minds Healthy Campus Award – the only national recognition of its kind – celebrates leadership, innovation, collaboration, and excellence in campus health. Winners have their successes shared broadly, through a concerted national media relations campaign, to inspire change across the nation. The award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that are prioritizing health and making great progress toward creating a campus that promotes the health and well-being of its students.” Applications are due February 16 by 5 p.m ET. For more information or to apply, click here.

Presidential Candidates Urged to Reveal Mental Health Policy Positions

Mental health advocate AJ French has issued a challenge to the presidential candidates to answer eight questions about their positions on mental health policy. “Campaigns have not yet addressed issues that are important to persons with psychiatric disabilities,” said French, “and this is an opportunity to engage voters regarding mental health policy.” Among groups that support this initiative are the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery and Next Steps NFP, a peer-run advocacy organization in Illinois. “People who are affected by decisions should have a voice in those decisions,” said Next Steps head organizer Fred Friedman. “They also need information so they can intelligently speak on those issues. The eight questions are AJ’s attempt to gain that information.” For more information and a link to French’s website with the eight questions, click here. For additional information, click here.

Twitter Campaign Seeks to Fight Prejudice Associated with Mental Health Conditions

Composer, author, and mental health advocate Rachel Griffin recently launched a Twitter campaign whose goal is to combat the prejudice attached to mental health conditions. The campaign, #imnotashamed, quickly gained traction, attracting attention from the media, including the Washington Post (click here). Among the multitude of tweets are “If you’ve made it this far, you’re a survivor. That’s definitely a reason to celebrate. #imnotashamed”; “I suffered in silence for so long before asking for help. Don’t wait. You are worth it. #imnotashamed”; and “#imnotashamed because without all my experiences, both good and bad, I would not be me.” Griffin’s associated Twitter account, @teamnotashamed, has amassed nearly 1,800 followers. Meanwhile, Griffin is writing the book, music and lyrics for a musical set on a psych ward – We Have Apples – and she has a YouTube channel where you can see more of her music. She has also created two videos, Sh*t People Say to People with Mental Illness, and Sh*t Therapists Say, in which she acts out multiple parts. To participate in the anti-prejudice campaign, use the hashtag #imnotashamed.

 “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. 7, January 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