Key Update, September 2019, Volume 16, Number 3

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

TO CONTACT THE CLEARINGHOUSE: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                                                 

TO CONTACT SUSAN ROGERS: SUSAN.ROGERS.ADVOCACY@GMAIL.COM                                                     

TO CONTACT JOSEPH rogers: jrogers08034@gmail.com

“Proposal to monitor people with MI to predict violence sparks field outcry,” MHW Writes

“Following a recently announced proposal by the Trump administration to create a new research arm within the proposed Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), mental health and disability rights advocacy groups banded together on a preliminary conference call [recently] to weigh concerns and discuss potential steps should this proposal move forward,” according to a September 16, 2019, article in Mental Health Weekly. “‘National mental health and disability groups have joined together and are planning a steady stream of joint action to counter these proposals and to fight against the level of scapegoating that is occurring at this time,’ Harvey Rosenthal, CEO of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), told MHW. ‘Public fears, gun lobbying tactics and the failure of politicians to stand up to the NRA [National Rifle Association]’ are fueling these proposals, he told MHW. ‘A proposal to monitor people with mental health conditions and look for neurological signs of potential violence would be ludicrous, if not outrageous.’” For the Mental Health Weekly article as well as numerous links to other articles debunking the spurious link between mental health conditions and violence, click here.

Peer Support Outpaces Clinical Practice in Fostering Mental Health Recovery, Research Says

“Systematic reviews have confirmed that, while peer support and clinical practice typically perform fairly equally on traditional outcome measures like rehospitalization and relapse, peer support scores better in areas related to the recovery process,” according to a recent Psychiatry Advisor article. “In particular, peer support tends to offer greater levels of self‐efficacy, empowerment, and engagement…‘There is a lot of value in sharing with people who have overcome similar mental health challenges,’ says psychotherapist Hilary Jacobs Hendel,” author of It’s Not Always Depression. “‘Peer support builds confidence and hope for healing.’…”For the article, click here.

2020 Presidential Candidates Talk about Mental Health

Mental Health for US, a nonpartisan coalition “intended to elevate mental health and addiction in policy conversations during the upcoming election season,” has reached out to a number of the 2020 presidential candidates to ask them about their positions on mental health issues, and has posted on its website the answers of those who have responded: Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. As of August 27, 2019, candidates Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Donald Trump, William Weld, and Andrew Yang had not replied. For the positions of the candidates who went on the record about their mental health policy positions, click here.

Courtesy of Jacek Haciak

“Union Alleges Illegal Practices at SAMHSA”

“The National Treasury Employees Union is in the process of filing ‘many grievances,’ including a complaint over the sudden elimination in August of telework accommodations for disabled employees, the union’s national president told POLITICO. The union is also asking for examples of legal and ethical violations after some staff alleged that they were reassigned or suffered other retribution when they raised concerns about labor practices. ‘SAMHSA is at the center of our government’s response to the nation’s opioid crisis,’ said Tony Reardon, the union's national president. ‘SAMHSA employees are concerned that the agency’s poor treatment of its own workforce will impede this vital work as skilled, veteran employees head for the exits.’ A senior SAMHSA official disputed the allegations in an interview with POLITICO, stressing that the agency is appropriately implementing the union contract and focused on ‘an all-hands-on deck approach’ to combating the opioid crisis. ‘We certainly did not take telework away from disabled employees,’ said Deepa Avula, who oversees the agency's HR practices and suggested that the allegations stemmed from miscommunication. SAMHSA has experienced considerable turnover and declining morale during the Trump administration, ranking 413th out of 415 agencies in a government employee engagement survey last year. More than a dozen senior officials have departed or been reassigned since the summer of 2018, including a handful of staffers—like the agency’s new chief medical officer—who only lasted several months in their roles.” For a brief summary, click here.

Free Webinar: “Financial Wellness and Peer Support” on September 24

On September 24, 2019, at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing will present a free 60-minute webinar on “Financial Wellness and Peer Support: Building Hope for a Better Financial Future.” Among the learning objectives are recognizing “concrete strategies peer support providers can use to help build financial hope in five domains: day-to-day financial stability, long-term financial security, autonomy from public benefits, ability to control their financial decisions, economic citizenship and participation”; and following “a six-step economic empowerment process to engage people in culturally meaningful conversations about life dreams and financial goals, build financial hope, develop financial wellness action plans and coach people through a process that helps them to move toward financial goals.” For more information and to register, click here.

U.S. Should Create a National Agenda to Improve Child and Youth Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health, Says Report

“A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine calls for a comprehensive national agenda to improve mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) health in children and youth…The report finds that new research into factors that influence MEB health, effective interventions, and better ways to implement those interventions on a broad scale are forming a foundation for significantly improving healthy MEB development.” The report—Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth: A National Agenda—“calls for federal leadership and coordination between public and private partners at the national, state, and community levels to make MEB health a priority, and for them to take full advantage of research on interventions and implementation.” For the press release, which includes a link to the free report, click here.

Courtesy of Fran Hazam

Free Webinar: “How to Embed Strategic Planning into the Culture of Your Organization”

A free, 90-minute webinar on “How to Embed Strategic Planning into the Culture of Your Organization” will be presented on September 26, 2019, at 2 p.m. ET, as part of a collaborative series by the five federally funded national technical assistance centers. “In this webinar, participants will not only learn the basic tools and techniques of developing a strategic plan for their peer-run organization, but they will also discover how to incorporate their strategic plan into their organization’s culture and day-to-day operations. This webinar will feature the National Empowerment Center's work with the Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance as an example of how we can work toward embedding strategic planning into the culture of an organization. The presenters will offer tips, practices, and exercises that organizational leaders can utilize to ensure that their strategic plan is not just a document to be referenced but a practical vision that unites and guides staff, board members, and stakeholders under shared aspirations.” To register, click here.

60th Annual National Dialogues on Behavioral Health Conference November 3-6 in New Orleans

The National Dialogues on Behavioral Health—formerly known as the Southern Conference on Mental Health—is “the oldest ongoing annual conference on mental health and substance abuse in the United States. The 2019 conference, its 60th, will be held in New Orleans November 3-6. This year the conference will focus on “the disconnect between individuals and families’ need for care, and the need for the interconnectedness across systems that is necessary to provide true integration of care that results in good outcomes for individuals, families and communities.” For more information and to register, click here.

PIER Program May Prevent Psychosis

A program developed in 2001 may help prevent the onset of a psychotic episode, according to a recent New York Times article. The PIER—Portland Identification and Early Referral—program involves multifamily group sessions, and each group has “two professional leaders, some combination of the following: a nurse, a social worker, an occupational therapist, a psychologist and sometimes a young person who has been through the experience and is now well…The intervention is adapted to each individual and focuses on practical issues like how to stay in school, make and keep friends or jobs, how to handle stresses and plan for the future. ‘We also emphasize the value of healthy eating and exercise and spending more time outdoors,’ [Dr. William R. McFarlane, who developed the program,] added. ‘Only when necessary do we use medication, like a mood stabilizer or anti-depressive. This isn’t about drug treatment.’ The PIER program has been replicated at some 18 centers around the U.S., and SAMHSA has authorized funding to establish 21 additional sites. For the article, click here.

New Research Center Will Study Using Compounds Like LSD and Psilocybin for Mental Health Problems

“Johns Hopkins Medicine recently announced the launch of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, to study compounds like LSD and psilocybin for a range of mental health problems, including anorexia, addiction and depression. The center is the first of its kind in the country, established with $17 million in commitments from wealthy private donors and a foundation,” The New York Times reports. Some researchers urge caution, but others believe that the new Center can help provide answers that have previously eluded scientists. “‘This is an exciting initiative that brings new focus to efforts to learn about mind, brain and psychiatric disorders by studying the effects of psychedelic drugs,’ Dr. John Krystal, chair of psychiatry at Yale University, said in an email about the Johns Hopkins center.” For the article, click here.

Depression Can Be Physically Painful, Researchers Find

When Columbia University researchers analyzed nerve cell activity in more than 200 MRI scans and considered brain changes associated with both depression and treatment, they observed a network of nerve activity that is central to processing pain, “but it has never been previously connected to depression,” according to study author David Hellerstein, MD. “The Columbia researchers noted that treatment with antidepressant medications relieved both psychological and physical symptoms, while treatment with the placebo had no effect on pain in study subjects,” according to a recent article in Bustle. For the article, click here.

'FACT' Teams Aim to Keep People with Mental Health Conditions Out of Jail

Around the country, Forensic Assertive Community Treatment—or FACT—teams have been launched to provide an array of support services intended to keep people with serious mental health conditions out of the hospital and out of the criminal justice system. The concept is based on Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams, which were developed in the 1970s. Current evidence indicates that the teams work well for some people, some of the time, according to a recent BBC World Service article. For the article, click here. For an eight-page SAMHSA publication about FACT, click here.

Air Force Launches “Resilience Tactical Pause” to Combat Suicide in Its Ranks

“The Resilience Tactical Pause (RTP) is intended to provide an opportunity for leaders to engage their Airmen in a manner that fosters interpersonal connection,” the Air Force writes. “The RTP is not a ‘down day,’ but deliberate time to promote trust and confidence in leadership, drive awareness, and to highlight the importance of candid feedback about how we can better support our Airmen…This is not a one-and-done effort, but the beginning of an ongoing, sustained effort to combat the challenge. Care should be taken to ensure facilitators and participants of small group discussions do not view this event as training. The RTP will foster discussion, connection, and identification of potential solutions to optimize Airmen performance.” For the RTP Playbook, click here.

Archived Webinar on “Trauma and Brain Science: Why Can’t I Think My Way Out of This?” Will Be Available in October

Approximately one week after it airs on September 24, 2019, a National Training & Technical Assistance Center webinar that has been fully subscribed will be available via YouTube. The webinar “will address how trauma responses, protective during traumatic experience, change our brain function and physiology in ways that are not subject to our voluntary control. It will explain how those changes can result in negative impacts to our functioning, thinking, relationships, and work if they are not addressed. Participants will learn why we can't just decide to make the effects of trauma recede, based on recent brain science. The webinar will address why we need to learn skills that actually address the changes in brain function during trauma to prevent negative effects. Skills for addressing trauma responses during traumatic experiences that are not dangerous and immediately post-trauma exposure will be presented.” For the YouTube link, at which other archived NTTAC webinars are also available, click here. NTTAC is a program of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Courtesy of Jacek Haciak

Optimists May Live Longer, Study Shows

“Researchers found that people who scored higher on an optimism assessment were more likely to live past the age of 85,” according to a recent article in Scientific American. “Those with higher optimism levels at the start of the study were more likely to have advanced degrees and be physically active, and less likely to have health conditions like diabetes or depression. However, when researchers accounted for these variables, they still found that optimism was associated with people living significantly longer.” The article noted that the study participants were “mostly white people of higher socioeconomic status. It is difficult to determine how generalizable these findings are.” To read more, click here.

“DC Comics’ ‘Heroes in Crisis’ Explores the Mental Health of Superheroes”

“…comics are actually a lot like the real world: Their heroes suffer a physical and psychic toll as a result of cyclical violence…That friction is the main theme of DC Comics’ Heroes in Crisis, the latest endeavor from writer Tom King and artist Clay Mann. An early example of this friction appears in the premiere issue, in which King cleverly turns the struggle of Blue Jay—a Justice League rotational player beginning to lose grasp on his shrinking power—into a genuine testimony on the ways depression breeds stasis: ‘I go to sleep,’ said the hero. ‘And wake up small … I’ll be drowning in my own bed.’” For the article, click here.

A Digest of Articles about Alternatives to Traditional Mental Health Treatment

For “Anxiety and depression: why doctors are prescribing gardening rather than drugs,” click here. For “Healing Depression with Integrative Medicine: Dr. Kim Celmer,” click here. For “Nature and Mental Health: An Ecosystem Service Perspective,” click here. For “Surprising Alternative Treatments for Mental Disorders,” click here. For “Feeling depressed? Mahjong might be the answer,” click here. For “Why more depression treatments should include exercise,” click here.

The September 2019 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated (and the Key Update continues after this Digest)

Here is the September wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles and other language are not politically correct but are reproduced as written.) For “Documentary to Showcase Education in Prison,” click here. For “When Solitary Confinement Is A Death Sentence: Mariam Abdullah died by suicide after the teen spent much of the final two years of her life in solitary confinement,” click here. For “‘I’m Gonna Die in Here’: 19-Year-Old ‘Mentally Ill’ Woman in Jail for Spitting,” click here. For “How Southern California jails are changing the way they treat the mentally ill,” click here. For “In Prison, and Fighting to Vote,” click here. For “KOLD INVESTIGATES: Battle over conditions inside Arizona prisons heating up,” click here. For “The graying of America’s prisons: ‘When is enough enough?’ Inmates over 55 are among the fastest growing population. They burden prisons and taxpayers, but pose the lowest threat to society,” click here. For “Unlocking Prison Problems: Four questions on the future of incarceration,” click here. For “After prison, more punishment” They did their time. But as the formerly incarcerated reenter the workforce, will their past be held against them?” click here. For “Federal prison suicides were quietly rising before Jeffrey Epstein's death in a New York detention center,” click here. For “Mourning a Stranger’s Suicide in Prison: ‘Together we prayed and talked about who this girl might have been—and who she might have become,’” click here. For “Misdemeanor and Felony-Friendly Jobs: 70 Million Jobs will connect you with great companies that offer second chance jobs for people with criminal records. No cost to you,” click here. For “She Begged Them to Take Away His Police Handgun. He Died Anyway: New York is facing a record number of police suicides, but has lagged in mental health initiatives for troubled officers,” click here. For “How Would You Spend a Life Sentence? For one inmate, a new federal law gave hope where there had been none,” click here. For “Art vs. Mass Incarceration,” click here. For “What Gate Money Cab (And Cannot) Buy: Most states give money to people leaving prison. But some formerly incarcerated people say it’s often not enough to meet their basic needs,” click here. For “A Fair Fight: …indigent defense systems across the country have been chronically under-resourced for decades,” click here. For “An illusion of justice: The baffling conviction and death sentence of Toforest Johnson reveal a broken system,” click here. For “The Criminal Justice Debate Has Changed Drastically. Here’s Why. Democratic candidates are pushing ideas that were considered radical just a few years ago. But the American public has changed its views, too,” click here. For “‘Treatment Facilities’ Aren’t What You Think They Are: Convicted of no crime, more people are being forced behind bars to undergo involuntary addiction treatment,” click here.

FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF THE KEY UPDATE BUT STILL FRESH!

If You Have Experienced Psychosis, “Psychosis Beyond the Box” Wants to Hear From You.

“Psychosis Beyond the Box” seeks to gather anonymous descriptions of “aspects of psychosis that are often neglected, such as felt presences, visual or quasi-visual experiences, and alterations of space, time or distance,” as well as strategies to help with any distressing or challenging aspects of the experiences. The narratives will be compiled and shared in early psychosis programs and other service settings across the U.S. A major aim of the project—which is not a research project—is “to validate the diverse range of things people with psychosis experience, and help people, especially young adults experiencing psychosis for the first time, feel less alone and isolated (in these experiences).” For more information about the project, based at the University of South Florida, or to share your story, click here. Questions? Write to Nev Jones (genevra@usf.edu) or ShannonPagdon@gmail.com.

“Experiences with Hospitalization” Survey Seeks Participants

“The purpose of this survey is to help us understand people's lived experience with voluntary and involuntary treatment because of suicidal thoughts. It was created by people with lived experience…We are planning to use this information to facilitate discussions with suicidologists and the suicide prevention community about the impact of the use of these interventions, particularly within marginalized populations. We feel the voice of people with lived experience with these interventions has not had adequate opportunity to be heard, and hope that by completing this survey anonymously, people who have been most impacted can find a safe way to share their experiences. Please note that this is not a research project.” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin Seek Participants for Depression Study

Trinity College Dublin researchers write: “We are a team of psychologists at Trinity College Dublin who are trying to better understand depression. We are interested in using language to predict the occurrence of depression early. Our hope is that in doing so we can one day be able to help doctors provide treatments earlier and maybe even prevent depression altogether. In order to participate, you must be at least 18 years old, have had a Twitter account for at least one year, [and] have at least 500 Tweets. Interested in participating? Learn more by clicking. If not, thanks for taking the time to read about our research.” For the “continue” link to more information, click here.

Mental Health First Aid Australia Seeks Research Participants to Update MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Australia is inviting people from Australia, UK, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA who have expertise in the field of psychosis to participate in research whose goal is to update the Mental Health First Aid guidelines for psychosis, which were last updated in 2008. Invited participants include people with lived experience of psychosis, people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with psychosis, and professionals with research, education, or clinical experience related to psychosis. For more information, click here.

International Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal Seeks Respondents

“Have you taken antipsychotic medication (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon, Stelazine, and others), for any condition or diagnosis, with or without other medications? And did you ever stop taking antipsychotics, or try to stop taking them? Are you 18 years or older? If yes, you can take this survey about antipsychotic withdrawal and attempts to withdraw, including if you stopped taking them completely or if you tried to come off and still take them. The survey aims to improve mental health services by better understanding medication withdrawal. Lead researcher is Will Hall, a therapist and Ph.D. student who has himself taken antipsychotics. Service users/survivors/consumers from around the world also gave input. The study is sponsored by Maastricht University in the Netherlands; co-sponsors include the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Questions? Please contact will.hall@maastrichtuniversity.nl.”  For more information or to take the survey, click on www.antipsychoticwithdrawalsurvey.com

What Is a Peer Support Specialist? Your Opinion Is Wanted

“On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the U.S. Department of Labor,” iNAPS writes. “We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition...The proposed title, Peer Support Specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles, such as Recovery Coach, Peer Bridger, Peer Navigator, etc.” To complete the survey, click here.

New Virtual Group Is Launched to Advance Peer Research Capacity, Leadership, and Involvement

Nev Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Cutler, a doctoral candidate, have launched a new listserv dedicated to building research capacity, leadership, and involvement among peers, survivors, and service users.  Dr. Jones, assistant professor, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, was part of the team that developed “User/Survivor Leadership & Capacity Building in Research: White Paper on Promoting Engagement Practices in Peer Evaluation/Research (PEPPER),” published by the Lived Experience Research Network. For the white paper, click here. Anyone interested in joining the virtual group can email Nev at nev.inbox@gmail.com.

Do You Supervise Peer Support Workers? Then Researchers Have Some Questions for You

Researchers in the University of South Florida’s Department of Psychiatry and at Magellan Health are investigating the backgrounds, training, and experiences of individuals who currently supervise at least one peer support worker in a behavioral health setting or agency. “To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first comprehensive research study of the landscape of peer support supervision practices in the United States,” writes Dr. Nev Jones, the primary investigator of the study (Protocol Number 00040223). Participants must be at least 18 years old and work in the United States or U.S. territories. An online survey lasting approximately 10 minutes will ask about respondents’ backgrounds, training and preparation for supervision, perspectives and practices, and views on barriers and facilitators to high-quality supervision. There is no monetary compensation. Questions? Contact Dr. Nev Jones (genevra@health.usf.edu) or the co-primary investigator, Dana Foglesong (dfoglesong@magellanhealth.com). To access the survey, click here.

What Happens to People after Discharge from First Episode Psychosis/Early Intervention Programs? New Study Seeks Answers—and Participants

A study led by Dr. Nev Jones at the University of South Florida seeks current and former clients as well as family members of clients previously enrolled in early intervention in psychosis (EIP)/coordinated specialty care (CSC) services. The study aims to better understand what happens after discharge from EIP/CSC programs, including in the areas of school or work and access to/use of other mental health services. Eligible participants must be at least 18 years old and must be “current clients within one month of discharge from an EIP/CSC program, former clients discharged at least six months (at the time of the scheduled interview), and the family members of former clients.” In exchange for a phone interview of approximately 1.5 hours, each participant in the study (Protocol Number 00035193) will receive a $75 money order. Questions? Contact Dr. Jones at 813.415.5532 or by email at genevra@health.usf.edu.

Disclaimer: The Clearinghouse does not necessarily endorse the opinions and opportunities included in the Key Update.

About The Key Update

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 16, No. 3, September 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at selfhelpclearinghouse@gmail.com. Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH

 

Key Update, August 2019, Volume 16, Number 2

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

TO CONTACT THE CLEARINGHOUSE: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                                                 

TO CONTACT SUSAN ROGERS: SUSAN.ROGERS.ADVOCACY@GMAIL.COM                                                     

TO CONTACT JOSEPH ROGERS: JROGERS08034@GMAIL.COM

“Study Casts Doubt on Evidence for ‘Gold Standard’ Psychological Treatments”

A paper published recently in a special edition of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology “questions much of the statistical evidence underpinning therapies designated as ‘Empirically Supported Treatments,’ or ESTs,” NeuroscienceNews.com reports. “For years, ESTs have represented a ‘gold standard’ in research-supported psychotherapies for conditions like depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, substance abuse, generalized anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. But recent concerns about the replicability of research findings in clinical psychology prompted the re-examination of their evidence. The new study, led by researchers at the University of Kansas and University of Victoria, concluded that while underlying evidence for a small number of empirically supported treatments is strong, ‘power and replicability estimates were concerningly low across almost all ESTs, and individually, some ESTs scored poorly across multiple metrics.’” For more information, click here.

Courtesy of Fran Hazam

NCD Finds an “Alarming Pattern” of Institutionalization of People with Disabilities after Natural Disasters

The National Council on Disability (NCD) recently reported on “an alarming pattern of institutionalization of people with disabilities during and after natural disasters,” the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) writes. In violation of federal laws and because of a lack of equal access to emergency and disaster-related programs and services, “many people with disabilities are institutionalized against their will in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, psychiatric institutions, and other long-term care facilities during and after natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires,” the NRDC writes. This human rights violation has a potential impact on a huge number of individuals: According to NCD figures, 12 million of the 47 million people affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria were people with disabilities. “Once institutionalized, it can be difficult for people with disabilities to return to independent life in their communities,” the NRDC writes. “In some instances, survivors can’t even be located by their loved ones.” For the NRDC article, which includes a link to the NCD report, click here.

Nearly 50 Percent of People Wouldn’t Tell Their Doctor If They Were Suicidal or Depressed, Study Finds

Nearly half of all people withhold critical information about their mental health—or about sexual assault or domestic violence—from their doctors, a new study has found. And “over 70 percent of those surveyed said the reason they wouldn't disclose information about sexual assault, domestic violence, suicidal thoughts or depression was because they were embarrassed or feared being judged or lectured.” For more information, click here.

Free Webinar: “Avoiding Compassion Fatigue and Burnout for Mental Health Peer Specialists”

On August 27 at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing will present a free 60-minute webinar on “Avoiding Compassion Fatigue and Burnout for Mental Health Peer Specialists.” “This presentation will explore tools, role plays, and discussions that will help mental health peer specialists build up their wellness and resilience and avoid compassion fatigue and burnout. Additionally, this presentation will include lessons learned about burnout and compassion fatigue for peer support specialists during the initial implementation of Medicaid billable peer support services in Arizona.” For more information and to register, click here.

Free Webinar: “Serious Mental Illness/Substance Use Disorders & Tailoring FEP Programs to Serve Women”

On August 27 at 1:30 p.m. ET, the National Council for Behavioral Health will present a free, 90-minute, SAMHSA-sponsored webinar called “Serious Mental Illness/Substance Use Disorders and Tailoring FEP Programs to Serve Women.” “This webinar will explore how mental health and substance use treatment providers currently care for women with co-occurring first episode psychosis (FEP), serious mental illness, and substance use disorder; and what questions remain…Also of note is the high prevalence of ACEs [Adverse Childhood Experiences] in women and the ways to address this in care…The speakers will identify specific knowledge gaps and potential areas for improvement from a research and clinical standpoint.” For more information and to register, click here.

“State Selfies: Help Develop a Picture of Peer Services in Your State”

Doors to Wellbeing writes: “For our new project, WE NEED YOUR HELP in collecting information on the peer services, organizations, programs, projects, groups, and networks in your state. Please answer as many questions as you can; it’s okay if you do not know all the answers. Please fill out a separate survey for each organization or program you want to tell us about.” For the survey, click here.

Comprehensive Psychiatry Highlights Articles on Suicide Research and Treatment

Comprehensive Psychiatry is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal covering psychiatry and mental health, and aimed at sharing “cutting-edge knowledge” in order to improve psychiatric care and advance the understanding of mental health conditions. The journal has compiled a number of recent articles on suicide research and treatment as part of its ongoing call for papers. To read the articles, click here.

Free Webinar: “Focus on the Family—Using Person- and Family-Centered Care for Mental Health”

On August 28 at 3 p.m. ET, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) is hosting a free, 90-minute, SAMHSA-sponsored webinar called “Focus on the Family Using Person- and Family-Centered Care for Mental Health. “This method involves a collaborative and strengths-based approach that relies on understanding the preferences and abilities of the individual seeking treatment and their support systems in order to tailor a personal plan for success,” NASMHPD writes. “Presenters will share tips for engaging individuals and their family members in the treatment planning process, stories of success,” and more. To register, click here.

MindFreedom International Has Published 13 “Voices for Choices ” Videos

“Psychiatric drugs are controversial. Some people take the drugs and find a benefit, some people take the drugs and are harmed, and some people avoid them altogether.” So begins the text that accompanies “Alternatives to Psychiatric Drugs,” part of MindFreedom International’s Voices for Choices video series. In the video, a number of people with lived experience, as well as award-winning journalist Robert Whitaker, discuss the subject from a variety of standpoints. For the 17:29-minute video, click here. Another Voices for Choices video—“Alternatives to Psychiatric Hospitals”—is also available: “In an effort to reduce the harmful experiences occurring in psychiatric hospitals, compassionate alternatives are being created around the world.” For that video, click here.

Courtesy of Amy Smith and Paula J. Caplan, respectively

Free Story-Telling Project Manual Published by the Temple University Collaborative

A free, 44-page Beyond the Diagnosis Story Telling Project Manual has been developed as part of a story-sharing initiative by the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities. “The manual’s mission is to encourage the sharing of real stories of community participation, beyond the diagnosis,” The TU Collaborative writes. “Inside this manual, we include suggestions for organizing events that allow people to share their stories. You will also find information and activities that will help storytellers develop narratives based on their experiences.” To download the free manual, click here.

“Does the Moon Affect Bipolar Disorder?” Some Say Yes.

Lunar tidal cycles can affect people with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, according to a recent NPR podcast. Psychiatrist Tom Wehr—who, with a colleague, was the first to describe seasonal affective disorder and to suggest light therapy as a treatment—co-authored a study in 1996 showing that lack of sleep was the main predictor of switching from depression to mania, and that sleep was not just a symptom but a cause. He later began to wonder if people’s mood cycles were caused by something external. “And, you know, there’s always been a popular belief that the moon is somehow affecting human behavior,” Wehr said. After studying the spring-neap tidal cycle, he realized that, for many of his patients, mania seemed to correspond with the bimonthly spring tides, and depression with the bimonthly neap tides. For the podcast and the article, click here.

Mental Health Is Declining Among “Disadvantaged Adults,” Study Finds

American adults of low socioeconomic status report increasing mental distress and worsening well-being, according to a new study by Princeton University and Georgetown University. The results show that distress is not just a midlife phenomenon but a scenario plaguing disadvantaged Americans across the life course, according to a Princeton University press release. The findings should be taken into account in terms of policy and advocacy efforts, the researchers said. “Our results paint a picture of substantial social stratification in the psychological health of American adults, one that has been widening as declines in mental health have occurred unevenly across the socioeconomic spectrum,” said co-lead author Noreen Goldman of Princeton. “The findings are consistent with drug overdose death rates and underscore the dire need for improved access to, and affordability of, mental health services for low-income and less-educated American adults of all ages.” For the press release, click here.

“Trieste’s mental health revolution: 'It’s the best place to get sick'”

“Sara has struggled with her mental health since she was a child. She lives in Trieste, where ideas from a mental health 'revolution' in the 1970s are helping her recover today.” For a short (under five minutes) film about “Trieste’s mental health revolution,” click here.

Free Webinar on Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy Approaches on August 29

A free 90-minute webinar, “Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) Approaches in Treating People with Serious Mental Illness,” presented by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), will take place on August 29 at 2 p.m. ET. “Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) is a theoretically driven, evidence-based approach that operationalizes recovery, resiliency, and empowerment for individuals who experience serious mental health challenges. [Dr. Aaron] Beck’s cognitive model guides the development of a positive and personal life-space…and provides insight into often complex challenges that get in the way of living a life of one’s choosing…” To register, click here.

British Study Asks, “What Would You Do If You Were Me, Doctor?”

The goal of a study published in 2010 in the British Journal of Psychiatry was to find out whether psychiatrists would reveal their personal preferences when someone they were treating asked, “What would you do if you were me?” The study, involving 515 psychiatrists, used a “depression scenario” and a “schizophrenia scenario.” The researchers found that “[p]sychiatrists choosing treatment for themselves predominantly selected other treatments (mostly watchful waiting and oral antipsychotics respectively) than what psychiatrists recommended to patients when asked in the ‘regular recommendation role’ (i.e., antidepressant and depot[—a slow-release, slow-acting form of one’s medication—]respectively). The researchers concluded that “[t]he question ‘What would you do if you were me, doctor?’ does not motivate psychiatrists to leave their professional recommendation role and to take a more personal perspective…” For an article about the study, click here.

Free Webinar on Balancing the Behavioral Health Needs of People in the Criminal Justice System

On September 4 at 2 p.m. ET, the National Reentry Resource Center will offer a free, 90-minute webinar explaining how two jurisdictions—the State of Oklahoma and Douglas County, Nebraska—promoted recovery, successful diversion from the criminal justice system to treatment, or reentry to the community among their participants. “Jurisdictions across the country face challenges to developing case plans that balance criminogenic and behavioral health needs. In response, The Council of State Governments Justice Center developed the web-based Collaborative Comprehensive Case Plans tool, which builds upon Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision, a systems-planning framework for prioritizing supervision and treatment services.” To register, click here.

“What’s the Most Memorable Thing a Therapist Ever Told You?”

Readers respond to the question “What’s the most memorable thing a therapist ever told you?” with some wise, some foolish, and some in-between answers. (Therapists! They’re just like us!) For the story, click here. For a related video, “Sh*t Therapists Say,” click here.

Mad in America Offers a Webinar Series on “System Changes for a Green Mental Health Movement”

For $150, Mad in America is offering a series of 10 monthly webinars—beginning on September 17, 2019—on “System Changes for a Green Mental Health Movement.” “The goal of each webinar will be to describe changes needed and the real world experiences of the presenters in implementing the changes,” Mad in America writes. “The goal of the series will be to show how changes can move toward a ‘Green Movement’ in mental health systems…A Green Movement respects and supports the choices and interests of people who encounter mental health challenges in order to sustain healthy environments of living and working.” For more information or to enroll for $150, click here.

A Digest of Articles about Alternatives to Traditional Mental Health Treatment

For “The Quick Therapy That Actually Works: Just a few hours of therapy-like interventions can reduce some people’s anxiety,” click here. For “The Culture Cure: How Prescription Art Is Lifting People Out of Depression: From singing together to being read to in a library, an arts participation scheme is transforming lives in Denmark,” click here. For “Heavy metal music may have a bad reputation, but it has numerous mental health benefits for fans,” click here. For “Move Over, Therapy Dogs. Hello, Therapy Cows. The best therapists for silly human problems don’t say a word,” click here. For “A New Way to Measure the Mental Health Benefits of Nature in Cities,” click here. For “How Being a Plant Lady Improves Your Mental Health,” click here.

The August 2019 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated (and the Key Update continues after this Digest)

Here is the August wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles and other language are not politically correct but are reproduced as written.) For “Shock Corridor: The first inside report from an ICE mental health facility,” click here. For “How bigotry created a black mental health crisis. Racism has led to misdiagnosis, incarceration instead of treatment,” click here. For “Police fear ‘suicide by cop’ cases. So they’ve stopped responding to some calls,” click here. For “Why Jails Have More Suicides Than Prisons: A new report and a growing phenomenon,” click here. For “Ohio Governor Wants to Detain Fewer Mentally Ill People Before Trial,” click here. For “New law makes it easier for Illinoisans in criminal justice system to get jobs in health care industry, click here. For “Beyond One-Liners: A Guide to the Democratic Debate on Criminal Justice,” click here. For “Between 2007 and 2017, 34 States Reduced Crime and Incarceration in Tandem. Some still argue that increasing imprisonment is necessary to reduce crime. Data show otherwise,” click here. For “Inside the Battle to Close Rikers: Can New York City build its way out of mass incarceration?” click here. For “Each night, Philly jails release scores of inmates without returning their IDs, cash or phones,” click here. For “Slavery gave America a fear of black people and a taste for violent punishment. Both still define our criminal-justice system,” click here. For “For Years, the Federal Death Penalty Has Been a Thing of the Past. That’s Where It Should Stay. Attorney General Barr’s justification for resuming capital punishment is everything Justice Brennan feared,” click here. For “The Redemption of Teen Killers: Why ‘Miller’s Children’ Deserved Their Second Chance,” click here. For “Georgia’s prisons face troubling rise in suicides. What are officials doing about it?” click here. For “Thirty-Two Short Stories About Death in Prison,” click here. For “The Criminal Justice System Is Bad for Your Health, Warns New York City’s Health Department. ‘Even brief contact with the police or indirect exposure is associated with lasting harm,’ said New York City’s health commissioner,” click here. For “Southern California jails are trying to improve health care. But inmates are dying,” click here. For “County votes to cancel $1.7B contract to replace Men’s Central Jail,” click here. For “From Prison to Work: Former inmates learn to be entrepreneurs at Georgetown University,” click here. For “Prison Labor: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” click here. For “An old prison wall in Philly connects inmates to the outside through animated films,” click here. For “What Juvenile Justice Needs: Care, Not Cages: We rely too much on incarceration. The pillars of the system should be healing, restoration and renewal,” click here.

FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF THE KEY UPDATE BUT STILL FRESH!

Call for Submissions: ISEPP Annual Awards
“Each year ISEPP [International Society for Ethical Psychiatry & Psychology] recognizes three people who have made significant contributions to the critical psychology/psychiatry movement. These awards will be presented at our conference in Baltimore, October 11-13, 2019. Please send submissions to exec@psychintegrity.org. Deadline is September 1st. You can nominate a candidate in each category.” For details, click here.

2019 Annual NYAPRS Conference, Sept. 24-26, Announces Keynotes and Schedule

The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) recently announced the keynotes and topics of its 37th annual conference, which will be held in Callicoon, NY, September 24-26. Among the keynote presentations is a panel featuring Lindsey Sizemore of the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network; Sarah Felman of the Mental Health Empowerment Project, in New York; and Vesper Moore of the Central Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. In addition, Luis Lopez, of the Center for Practice Innovations in New York, will make a presentation on “Healing Trauma.” The theme of this year’s conference, which annually attracts presenters and attendees from around the U.S., is “Integrate, Innovate, Advocate, Celebrate: Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize! To register, click here.

The Five Federally Funded National TA Centers Collaborate on a Free Webinar Series

The next free 90-minute webinar hosted by the Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative will be on September 26, at 2 p.m. ET. The Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative is a joint effort of the five federally funded National Consumer/Consumer Supporter Technical Assistance Centers: the CAFÉ TA CenterDoors to Wellbeing, the NAMI STAR Center, the National Empowerment Center, and Peerlink. The centers take turns presenting the webinars. To register, click here. To respond to a brief survey “to learn about the needs and priorities of peer-run organizations,” click here.

If You Have Experienced Psychosis, “Psychosis Beyond the Box” Wants to Hear From You.

“Psychosis Beyond the Box” seeks to gather anonymous descriptions of “aspects of psychosis that are often neglected, such as felt presences, visual or quasi-visual experiences, and alterations of space, time or distance,” as well as strategies to help with any distressing or challenging aspects of the experiences. The narratives will be compiled and shared in early psychosis programs and other service settings across the U.S. A major aim of the project—which is not a research project—is “to validate the diverse range of things people with psychosis experience, and help people, especially young adults experiencing psychosis for the first time, feel less alone and isolated (in these experiences).” For more information about the project, based at the University of South Florida, or to share your story, click here. Questions? Write to Nev Jones (genevra@usf.edu) or ShannonPagdon@gmail.com.

“Experiences with Hospitalization” Survey Seeks Participants

“The purpose of this survey is to help us understand people's lived experience with voluntary and involuntary treatment because of suicidal thoughts. It was created by people with lived experience…We are planning to use this information to facilitate discussions with suicidologists and the suicide prevention community about the impact of the use of these interventions, particularly within marginalized populations. We feel the voice of people with lived experience with these interventions has not had adequate opportunity to be heard, and hope that by completing this survey anonymously, people who have been most impacted can find a safe way to share their experiences. Please note that this is not a research project.” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin Seek Participants for Depression Study

Trinity College Dublin researchers write: “We are a team of psychologists at Trinity College Dublin who are trying to better understand depression. We are interested in using language to predict the occurrence of depression early. Our hope is that in doing so we can one day be able to help doctors provide treatments earlier and maybe even prevent depression altogether. In order to participate, you must be at least 18 years old, have had a Twitter account for at least one year, [and] have at least 500 Tweets. Interested in participating? Learn more by clicking. If not, thanks for taking the time to read about our research.” For the “continue” link to more information, click here.

Mental Health First Aid Australia Seeks Research Participants to Update MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Australia is inviting people from Australia, UK, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA who have expertise in the field of psychosis to participate in research whose goal is to update the Mental Health First Aid guidelines for psychosis, which were last updated in 2008. Invited participants include people with lived experience of psychosis, people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with psychosis, and professionals with research, education, or clinical experience related to psychosis. For more information, click here.

International Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal Seeks Respondents

“Have you taken antipsychotic medication (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon, Stelazine, and others), for any condition or diagnosis, with or without other medications? And did you ever stop taking antipsychotics, or try to stop taking them? Are you 18 years or older? If yes, you can take this survey about antipsychotic withdrawal and attempts to withdraw, including if you stopped taking them completely or if you tried to come off and still take them. The survey aims to improve mental health services by better understanding medication withdrawal. Lead researcher is Will Hall, a therapist and Ph.D. student who has himself taken antipsychotics. Service users/survivors/consumers from around the world also gave input. The study is sponsored by Maastricht University in the Netherlands; co-sponsors include the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Questions? Please contact will.hall@maastrichtuniversity.nl.”  For more information or to take the survey, click on www.antipsychoticwithdrawalsurvey.com

What Is a Peer Support Specialist? Your Opinion Is Wanted

“On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the U.S. Department of Labor,” iNAPS writes. “We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition...The proposed title, Peer Support Specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles, such as Recovery Coach, Peer Bridger, Peer Navigator, etc.” To complete the survey, click here.

New Virtual Group Is Launched to Advance Peer Research Capacity, Leadership, and Involvement

Nev Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Cutler, a doctoral candidate, have launched a new listserv dedicated to building research capacity, leadership, and involvement among peers, survivors, and service users.  Dr. Jones, assistant professor, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, was part of the team that developed “User/Survivor Leadership & Capacity Building in Research: White Paper on Promoting Engagement Practices in Peer Evaluation/Research (PEPPER),” published by the Lived Experience Research Network. For the white paper, click here. Anyone interested in joining the virtual group can email Nev at nev.inbox@gmail.com.

Do You Supervise Peer Support Workers? Then Researchers Have Some Questions for You

Researchers in the University of South Florida’s Department of Psychiatry and at Magellan Health are investigating the backgrounds, training, and experiences of individuals who currently supervise at least one peer support worker in a behavioral health setting or agency. “To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first comprehensive research study of the landscape of peer support supervision practices in the United States,” writes Dr. Nev Jones, the primary investigator of the study (Protocol Number 00040223). Participants must be at least 18 years old and work in the United States or U.S. territories. An online survey lasting approximately 10 minutes will ask about respondents’ backgrounds, training and preparation for supervision, perspectives and practices, and views on barriers and facilitators to high-quality supervision. There is no monetary compensation. Questions? Contact Dr. Nev Jones (genevra@health.usf.edu) or the co-primary investigator, Dana Foglesong (dfoglesong@magellanhealth.com). To access the survey, click here.

NARPA Annual Rights Conference September 18-21 in Hartford, Connecticut

“For more than 30 years, NARPA [National Association for Rights Protection & Advocacy] 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 & developmental disabilities.” For more information, click here.

What Happens to People after Discharge from First Episode Psychosis/Early Intervention Programs? New Study Seeks Answers—and Participants

A study led by Dr. Nev Jones at the University of South Florida seeks current and former clients as well as family members of clients previously enrolled in early intervention in psychosis (EIP)/coordinated specialty care (CSC) services. The study aims to better understand what happens after discharge from EIP/CSC programs, including in the areas of school or work and access to/use of other mental health services. Eligible participants must be at least 18 years old and must be “current clients within one month of discharge from an EIP/CSC program, former clients discharged at least six months (at the time of the scheduled interview), and the family members of former clients.” In exchange for a phone interview of approximately 1.5 hours, each participant in the study (Protocol Number 00035193) will receive a $75 money order. Questions? Contact Dr. Jones at 813.415.5532 or by email at genevra@health.usf.edu.

Disclaimer: The Clearinghouse does not necessarily endorse the opinions and opportunities included in the Key Update.

About The Key Update

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 16, No. 2, August 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at selfhelpclearinghouse@gmail.com. Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH

 

Key Update, July 2019, Volume 16, Number 1

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

TO CONTACT THE CLEARINGHOUSE: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                                                TO CONTACT SUSAN ROGERS: SUSAN.ROGERS.ADVOCACY@GMAIL.COM                                                      TO CONTACT JOSEPH ROGERS: JROGERS08034@GMAIL.COM

Study Finds Psychiatric Diagnosis to Be “Scientifically Meaningless”

“A new study, published in Psychiatry Research, has concluded that psychiatric diagnoses are scientifically worthless as tools to identify discrete mental health disorders,” Neuroscience News reports. “The main findings of the research were: Psychiatric diagnoses all use different decision-making rules; there is a huge amount of overlap in symptoms between diagnoses; almost all diagnoses mask the role of trauma and adverse events; [and] diagnoses tell us little about the individual patient and what treatment they need.”…‘Although diagnostic labels create the illusion of an explanation, they are scientifically meaningless and can create stigma and prejudice,’” lead researcher Dr. Kate Allsopp, University of Liverpool, said. “‘I hope these findings will encourage mental health professionals to think beyond diagnoses and consider other explanations of mental distress, such as trauma and other adverse life experiences.’” For the article, click here. The study was covered in a variety of other publications, including Science Alert (click here).

Free Webinar Series Continues on July 30 with “…Key Elements in Progressive Peer Workforce Practice”

The third in a series of free one-hour webinars on “Peer Workforce and Mental Health System Change: Promise and Practice” will be offered at 11 a.m. ET on July 30 via The Central East Mental Health Technology Transfer Center. The webinars were developed by Jessica Wolf, PhD, Senior Advisor, Yale Group on Workforce Development. The third and final topic is “Chop Wood and Carry Water: Key Elements in Progressive Peer Workforce Practice.” To register for the July 30 webinar, click here to register on the website of The Central East Mental Health Technology Transfer Center, which is recording and archiving all three webinars. 

Social Determinants Are the Best Way to Address Mental Health, Says UN’s Top Health Envoy

“Austerity, inequality and job insecurity are bad for mental health, and governments should counteract them if they want to face up to the rising prevalence of mental illness,” as The Guardian paraphrases a statement by the UN’s top health envoy in connection with his recently issued report to the UN. “Dr. Dainius Pūras said measures to address inequality and discrimination would be far more effective in combatting mental illness than the emphasis over the past 30 years on medication and therapy. ‘This would be the best “vaccine” against mental illness and would be much better than the excessive use of psychotropic medication, which is happening,’ said Pūras.” For the Guardian article, click here. For the UN report, click here.

Free Webinar on “Discharge and Step-Down in Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) for Persons with a First Episode of Psychosis (Part I)” on August 1

“As Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) services for persons with First Episode Psychosis have expanded and matured, awareness of the challenges surrounding discharge planning and interest in step-down programming have grown substantially.” Thus begins the description of a free, 90-minute, SAMHSA-sponsored webinar on “Discharge and Step-Down in Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) for Persons with a First Episode of Psychosis,” on August 1, 2019, at 2 p.m. ET. The expert presenters—Nev Jones, Ashok Malla, Irene Hurford, and Jill Dunstan—will address these issues from a variety of standpoints. For details and to register, click here.

“Virtual Summit on Homelessness, Serious Mental Illness, and Substance Use Disorders” on August 7-8

On August 7-8, 2019, from 10:30 a.m. ET to 5:30 p.m. ET, SAMHSA will host a “Virtual Summit on Homelessness, Serious Mental Illness, and Substance Use Disorders.” SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network invites you to join “The Way Home, a 2-day online conversation about the most effective approaches to ending homelessness for individuals with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders. This virtual summit will feature more than two dozen national experts, providers, and policy makers who are making real progress toward ending homelessness across the nation…No travel required...Join us for the whole summit or drop in to only those sessions that most appeal to you.” For more information and to register—SAMHSA says that space is limited—click here.

Courtesy of Jacek Haciak

CMS to Host a Free Webinar on Demonstrating the Impact of Supportive Housing

CMS’s Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program is hosting a free, 90-minute national learning webinar on August 7, 2019, at 2 p.m. ET, on “Demonstrating the Impact of Supportive Housing.” “During this webinar,” CMS writes, “a framework and measures to demonstrate the impact of supportive housing will be presented. The webinar includes a discussion on the benefits of undertaking this type of work, as well as specific measures used across the country to assess the impact that providing supportive housing can have on health care utilization costs, homelessness, criminal justice, and other systems…” For more information and to register, click here.

Courtesy of Jacek Haciak

Mad In America Publishes “Twenty Years After Kendra’s Law: The Case Against AOT”

In a recent 11,000+-word Mad In America article—Part 1 of 2—award-winning journalist Robert Whitaker and freelance mental health care reporter Michael Simonson meticulously examine the rationale behind Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT)—also known as involuntary outpatient commitment—and debunk the myths that support its use. The article highlights the story of Andrew Rich, a young man who died by suicide after being subjected to a seemingly unending AOT order. The order had been supported by his mother, Elizabeth, a longtime civil and criminal defense attorney. “Looking back on it,” [she] said, in an interview with MIA, “I made so many mistakes in how much faith I had in the mental health system to help my son.” For the article and a link to Part 2, click here.

American Journal of Public Health Devotes Its June 2019 Issue to Mental Health

The June 2019 edition of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) is all about mental health. The open-access issue includes a variety of editorials and articles grouped under the headings AJPH Perspectives, AJPH Policy, and AJPH Research, and further divided into such topics as a Call to Action, Depression, Technology, Genetics, Gun Violence, Psychosis, Substance Use, and others. For the issue, click here.

Courtesy of Nev Jones

2018 Peer Respite Essential Features Survey Reports Are Now Available!

Live & Learn, Inc., “a social enterprise specializing in partnerships between community members/service users and behavioral health researchers in public and academic settings,” recently issued reports from its 2018 Peer Respite Essential Features (PREF) Survey, examining aspects of peer respite operations, funding, staffing, and guest experience. “This year, the survey results were broken down into two separate reports: Program Operations, e.g., budgets and staff training; and Guest Stays, such as policies about housing status.” For highlights from the survey, click here. For the reports, click here.

“Storytelling Beyond the Psychiatric Gaze” Is Explored in a New Paper, in a Special Edition of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies

A paper recently published in the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies—“Storytelling Beyond the Psychiatric Gaze: Resisting Resilience and Recovery Narratives”—“explores the politics of resilience and recovery narratives by bringing critical ethnography and auto-ethnographic methods to bear on [the author’s] experiences with storytelling distress in different contexts. Inviting people with lived experience to share their stories is now common practice in education, mental health, and broader community venues. Yet…it is difficult to hear such stories beyond the psychiatric gaze...” For the abstract and a link to the paper, which is available for free download, click here. For the entire special edition of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies” (Vol. 8, No. 4, 2019), which includes 18 original works that “expose, resist, and rupture unexamined relations to difference and adversity,” click here.

Courtesy of Nev Jones

Call for Submissions: ISEPP Annual Awards
“Each year ISEPP [International Society for Ethical Psychiatry & Psychology] recognizes three people who have made significant contributions to the critical psychology/psychiatry movement. These awards will be presented at our conference in Baltimore, October 11-13, 2019. Please send submissions to exec@psychintegrity.org. Deadline is September 1st. You can nominate a candidate in each category.” For details, click here.

“Friendship Benches” Help New Yorkers in Need of Peer Support

“On the streets of New York, the city supports a program, first used in Zimbabwe, of having peers offer an ear to people who are suffering but are not in a position to seek professional therapy.” So begins a New York Times article about “Friendship Benches,” a project of ThriveNYC, founded by Chirlane McCray, New York City’s First Lady. The program involves peer supporters who sit on the benches and talk to people about their problems. “Their most important credential is something you can’t teach—they’ve been there,” the Times notes.  “A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that Friendship Bench treatment effectively cured depression. It’s one of many studies showing that even lay people with little education can quickly learn to treat depression and anxiety.” For the New York Times article, click here. For a related story, “For Mental Health Support, NC Hospital Hires Those Who Live with It,” click here.

“Mental Health for US” Is Launched in Time for 2020 Presidential Election Season

Eight national mental health and addiction organizations have launched Mental Health for US, a nonpartisan initiative which, according to the press release, is “intended to elevate mental health and addiction in policy conversations during the upcoming election season.” The eight founding coalition leaders are the Kennedy Forum, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Jed Foundation, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Council for Behavioral Health, Mental Health America, One Mind, and the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation. Additional coalition members include 18 behavioral health organizations, among which are at least one peer-run organization, Active Minds. The three main focus areas of Mental Health for US are prevention, access and intervention, and recovery. For the press release, click here. (Editor’s note: This effort is reminiscent of a project initiated by Illinois-based mental health advocate AJ French in 2016, which was reported in the January 2016 edition of the Key Update. “I was listening to the news when one of the Presidential candidates said something that really disappointed me,” French wrote, adding, “…it caused me to wonder about the mental health policy positions of our next President and prompted me to write each candidate the following questions.” For the questions, click here.)

Courtesy of Amy Smith

Latest TU Collaborative Newsletter Highlights Its Bike Sharing Pilot Project

The new edition of the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion says: “Get on a bike and get to riding!” The newsletter includes feedback from participants in the bike share pilot project, along with a manual about the project, and more! For the newsletter, click here.

“Guidelines for the Successful Transition of People with Behavioral Health Disorders from Jail and Prison”

Policy Research Associates (PRA) has recently released a newly revised publication offering “10 guidelines to promote the necessary partnerships between behavioral health and criminal justice professionals to ensure an individual’s successful transition from jail or prison to the community.” Recommendations include universal screening, individualized treatment plans, continuity of care, and data sharing across agencies. To download the free 38-page “Guidelines for the Successful Transition of People with Behavioral Health Disorders from Jail and Prison,” click here. (For the monthly digest of articles about the criminal justice system, in which many individuals with mental health conditions are incarcerated, see below.)

Part 3 of SAMHSA’s GAINS Center’s “Advancing Early Diversion Summer Series” to Be Held August 19

“Many early diversion programs experience challenges around engaging individuals in services following the warm hand-off to mental health professionals,” SAMHSA’s GAINS Center writes. “Early diversion programs have employed follow-up engagement strategies led by a variety of professionals, including law enforcement officers, emergency medical services, mental health professionals, and peer support specialists. This webinar will examine follow-up strategies implemented in several jurisdictions to improve treatment engagement.” To register for the free one-hour webinar, August 19 at 1 p.m. ET, click here. The webinar will be immediately followed by a one-hour discussion with the presenters. To register for the discussion group, click here.

2019 Annual NYAPRS Conference, Sept. 24-26, Announces Keynotes and Schedule

The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) recently announced the keynotes and topics of its 37th annual conference, which will be held in Callicoon, NY, September 24-26. Among the keynote presentations is a panel featuring Lindsey Sizemore of the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network; Sarah Felman of the Mental Health Empowerment Project, in New York; and Vesper Moore of the Central Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. In addition, Luis Lopez, of the Center for Practice Innovations in New York, will make a presentation on “Healing Trauma.” The theme of this year’s conference, which annually attracts presenters and attendees from around the U.S., is “Integrate, Innovate, Advocate, Celebrate: Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize! To register, click here.

Four Free “Tips for Providers” Fact Sheets Are Available from PRA

Policy Research Associates (PRA) Well-Being recently published four new Tips for Providers fact sheets. PRA writes: “The fact sheets highlight how providers can support individuals with mental health conditions to enhance their well-being in each of the eight dimensions of wellness. The newly released fact sheets focus on four dimensions of wellness: intellectual, occupational, physical, and social…” These new, free resources—each including numerous links to other resources—are now available for download. For “Intellectual Wellness,” click here. For “Occupational Wellness,” click here. For “Physical Wellness,” click here. For “Social Wellness,” click here.

A Marshall Project Article Makes a Case for Psychiatric Hospital Beds; but Sometimes “Not Guilty” Is a Life Sentence

Under the headline of a recent Marshall Project article—“Mentally Ill and Languishing in Jail”—was a provocative subhead: “A Pennsylvania case illustrates a national problem: People with psychiatric illnesses often remain incarcerated while they wait for a hospital bed.” The “nut graf”—editorial slang for a paragraph that tells readers why the story matters—reads: “But Pennsylvania is one of many states that [have] far too few hospital beds for the mentally ill defendants who need them, leaving people…to languish in jail while they wait for a spot…a nationwide problem that experts say may be linked to the downsizing of psychiatric hospitals and inadequate mental-health resources.” The article highlighted the painful story of a 34-year-old woman who had been studying for the Law School Admission Test before ending up cycling between jail and a state hospital, despite her mother’s determined efforts to help her. But a 2017 New York Times Magazine article—“When ‘Not Guilty’ Is a Life Sentence”—asks, “What happens after a defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity? Often the answer is involuntary confinement in a state psychiatric hospital—with no end in sight.” For the Marshall Project article, click here. For the New York Times article, click here. For “I am insane,” by Reid Bertino, who is locked up in Western State Hospital in Washington for what he fears may be the rest of his life, click here. (For the monthly digest of articles about the criminal justice system, in which many individuals with mental health conditions are incarcerated, see below.)

The Rwandan Prescription for Depression: Sun, Drum, Dance, Community

“We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave,” said a Rwandan talking to a western writer, Andrew Solomon, about his experience with western mental health and depression. “They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better; there was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again; there was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy; there was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again. Instead, they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave.” To read this statement online, click here.

The July 2019 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated (and the Key Update continues after this Digest)

Here is the July wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles and other language are not politically correct but are reproduced as written.) For “A judge is accused of dismissing mental illness. These lawyers want him off their cases,” click here. For “Changes to Help Those Lost in the System Because of Mental Illness,” click here. For “Judge to Fulton: Fix repulsive jail conditions for mentally ill women,” click here. For “Atlanta nonprofit to spearhead criminal justice push,” click here. For “Taking Stock of Pell Grants Behind Bars,” click here. For “A Second Chance After 27 Years in Prison: How Criminal Justice Helped an Ex-Inmate Graduate,” click here. For “Rikers Island Dilemma: Stop Taking Addiction Meds, or Stay Behind Bars,” click here. For “Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner Argues PA Death Penalty Is Unconstitutional,” click here. For “Prison does almost nothing to stop violent crime—study,” click here. For “States Passed Record 94 ‘Restoration’ Laws So Far This Year,” click here. For “Jail Deaths and the Elected Sheriff,” click here. For “The Badge: Spotlight on Sheriffs—Part 2: The Opioid Crisis,” click here. For “Humanities classes can rewrite life script of incarcerated Georgians,” click here. For “ ‘You don’t know what you did for me’: Released from prison by Obama, now on the Dean’s List,” click here. For “Does Reform Matter? The Hopelessness of a Life Sentence,” click here. For “Bryan Stevenson on His ‘Not Entirely Rational’ Quest for Justice,” click here. For “Digital Jail: How Electronic Monitoring Drives Defendants into Debt,” click here. For “Inmates Freed as Justice Department Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law,” click here. For “Would You Let the Man Who Killed Your Sister Out of Prison? In Ohio, a project called ‘Beyond Guilt’ aims to press prosecutors, judges and victims of crime to more quickly embrace the possibility of early release for prisoners who admit their culpability but whose prison careers are marked by redemption and rehabilitation,” click here. For “The stink, the mice, the yelling. My time in solitary was the ‘most savage moment of my life,’ Rutgers grad recalls,” click here. For “ ‘Confirmation Bias’ Called a Key Reason for Wrongful Convictions,” click here.

FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF THE KEY UPDATE BUT STILL FRESH!

The Five Federally Funded National TA Centers Collaborate on a Free Webinar Series

The next two webinars hosted by the Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative will be on August 21 and September 26, at 2 p.m. ET. The Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative is a joint effort of the five federally funded National Consumer/Consumer Supporter Technical Assistance Centers: the CAFÉ TA CenterDoors to Wellbeing, the NAMI STAR Center, the National Empowerment Center, and Peerlink. The centers take turns presenting the webinars. To register, click here. To respond to a brief survey “to learn about the needs and priorities of peer-run organizations,” click here.

If You Have Experienced Psychosis, “Psychosis Beyond the Box” Wants to Hear From You.

“Psychosis Beyond the Box” seeks to gather anonymous descriptions of “aspects of psychosis that are often neglected, such as felt presences, visual or quasi-visual experiences, and alterations of space, time or distance,” as well as strategies to help with any distressing or challenging aspects of the experiences. The narratives will be compiled and shared in early psychosis programs and other service settings across the U.S. A major aim of the project—which is not a research project—is “to validate the diverse range of things people with psychosis experience, and help people, especially young adults experiencing psychosis for the first time, feel less alone and isolated (in these experiences).” For more information about the project, based at the University of South Florida, or to share your story, click here. Questions? Write to Nev Jones (genevra@usf.edu) or ShannonPagdon@gmail.com.

“Experiences with Hospitalization” Survey Seeks Participants

“The purpose of this survey is to help us understand people's lived experience with voluntary and involuntary treatment because of suicidal thoughts. It was created by people with lived experience…We are planning to use this information to facilitate discussions with suicidologists and the suicide prevention community about the impact of the use of these interventions, particularly within marginalized populations. We feel the voice of people with lived experience with these interventions has not had adequate opportunity to be heard, and hope that by completing this survey anonymously, people who have been most impacted can find a safe way to share their experiences. Please note that this is not a research project.” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin Seek Participants for Depression Study

Trinity College Dublin researchers write: “We are a team of psychologists at Trinity College Dublin who are trying to better understand depression. We are interested in using language to predict the occurrence of depression early. Our hope is that in doing so we can one day be able to help doctors provide treatments earlier and maybe even prevent depression altogether. In order to participate, you must be at least 18 years old, have had a Twitter account for at least one year, [and] have at least 500 Tweets. Interested in participating? Learn more by clicking. If not, thanks for taking the time to read about our research.” For the “continue” link to more information, click here.

Mental Health First Aid Australia Seeks Research Participants to Update MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Australia is inviting people from Australia, UK, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA who have expertise in the field of psychosis to participate in research whose goal is to update the Mental Health First Aid guidelines for psychosis, which were last updated in 2008. Invited participants include people with lived experience of psychosis, people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with psychosis, and professionals with research, education, or clinical experience related to psychosis. For more information, click here.

International Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal Seeks Respondents

“Have you taken antipsychotic medication (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon, Stelazine, and others), for any condition or diagnosis, with or without other medications? And did you ever stop taking antipsychotics, or try to stop taking them? Are you 18 years or older? If yes, you can take this survey about antipsychotic withdrawal and attempts to withdraw, including if you stopped taking them completely or if you tried to come off and still take them. The survey aims to improve mental health services by better understanding medication withdrawal. Lead researcher is Will Hall, a therapist and Ph.D. student who has himself taken antipsychotics. Service users/survivors/consumers from around the world also gave input. The study is sponsored by Maastricht University in the Netherlands; co-sponsors include the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Questions? Please contact will.hall@maastrichtuniversity.nl.”  For more information or to take the survey, click on www.antipsychoticwithdrawalsurvey.com

What Is a Peer Support Specialist? Your Opinion Is Wanted

“On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the U.S. Department of Labor,” iNAPS writes. “We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition...The proposed title, Peer Support Specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles, such as Recovery Coach, Peer Bridger, Peer Navigator, etc.” To complete the survey, click here.

New Virtual Group Is Launched to Advance Peer Research Capacity, Leadership, and Involvement

Nev Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Cutler, a doctoral candidate, have launched a new listserv dedicated to building research capacity, leadership, and involvement among peers, survivors, and service users.  Dr. Jones, assistant professor, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, was part of the team that developed “User/Survivor Leadership & Capacity Building in Research: White Paper on Promoting Engagement Practices in Peer Evaluation/Research (PEPPER),” published by the Lived Experience Research Network. For the white paper, click here. Anyone interested in joining the virtual group can email Nev at nev.inbox@gmail.com.

Do You Supervise Peer Support Workers? Then Researchers Have Some Questions for You

Researchers in the University of South Florida’s Department of Psychiatry and at Magellan Health are investigating the backgrounds, training, and experiences of individuals who currently supervise at least one peer support worker in a behavioral health setting or agency. “To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first comprehensive research study of the landscape of peer support supervision practices in the United States,” writes Dr. Nev Jones, the primary investigator of the study (Protocol Number 00040223). Participants must be at least 18 years old and work in the United States or U.S. territories. An online survey lasting approximately 10 minutes will ask about respondents’ backgrounds, training and preparation for supervision, perspectives and practices, and views on barriers and facilitators to high-quality supervision. There is no monetary compensation. Questions? Contact Dr. Nev Jones (genevra@health.usf.edu) or the co-primary investigator, Dana Foglesong (dfoglesong@magellanhealth.com). To access the survey, click here.

Save the Date! NARMH Conference in Santa Fe, NM, August 26-29, 2019

The 2019 National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH) annual conference will be held in Santa Fe, N.M., August 26-29, 2019. The conference will focus on “Surviving to Thriving, Workforce Issues, Innovations in Service Delivery, Dilemmas in Addressing Trauma, Rural and Frontier Workforce Development Strategies, Embracing the Reality of Behavioral Health in Rural Communities—Struggles, Responses and Successes, Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders and Other Topics.” For more information and/or to register, click here.

Save the Date! NARPA Annual Rights Conference September 18-21 in Hartford, Connecticut

“For more than 30 years, NARPA [National Association for Rights Protection & Advocacy] 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 & developmental disabilities.” For more information, click here.

What Happens to People after Discharge from First Episode Psychosis/Early Intervention Programs? New Study Seeks Answers—and Participants

A study led by Dr. Nev Jones at the University of South Florida seeks current and former clients as well as family members of clients previously enrolled in early intervention in psychosis (EIP)/coordinated specialty care (CSC) services. The study aims to better understand what happens after discharge from EIP/CSC programs, including in the areas of school or work and access to/use of other mental health services. Eligible participants must be at least 18 years old and must be “current clients within one month of discharge from an EIP/CSC program, former clients discharged at least six months (at the time of the scheduled interview), and the family members of former clients.” In exchange for a phone interview of approximately 1.5 hours, each participant in the study (Protocol Number 00035193) will receive a $75 money order. Questions? Contact Dr. Jones at 813.415.5532 or by email at genevra@health.usf.edu.

Disclaimer: The Clearinghouse does not necessarily endorse the opinions and opportunities included in the Key Update.

About The Key Update

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 16, No. 1, July 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at selfhelpclearinghouse@gmail.com. Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH

 

Key Update, June 2019, Volume 15, Number 12

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

 

TO CONTACT THE CLEARINGHOUSE: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                                                 

TO CONTACT SUSAN ROGERS: SUSAN.ROGERS.ADVOCACY@GMAIL.COM                                                     

TO CONTACT JOSEPH ROGERS: JROGERS08034@gmail.com

It’s Not Too Late to Register for Alternatives 2019!

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) will host Alternatives 2019—“Standing Together, Celebrating Our Gifts, Raising Our Voices”—at The Catholic University in Washington, DC, July 7-11! The Alternatives Conference, now in its fourth decade, “is renowned for offering the latest and best information in the peer recovery movement, and a chance for peers to network with and learn from one another,” the NCMHR writes. “Now the People’s Alternatives once again, this conference is funded entirely through registration fees and donations.” Alternatives 2019 will include a two-day Public Policy and Education Academy, including advocacy training and a “Hill Day,” when peer advocates will meet, by appointment, with the staff of their U.S. senators and congressional representatives. To watch a short video about a past Alternatives conference, click here. For information about the keynote speakers, click here. For the workshop schedule, click here. For additional information, visit www.alternatives-conference.org. To register (for one day or the entire conference), click here.

Twitter Chat on “Challenging the Destructive Impact of Prejudice, Discrimination, Sanism, and Ableism” on July 15 at 2 p.m. ET

Join Nev Jones, Inside Our Minds (IOM), and the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse for a one-hour Twitter chat on “Challenging the Destructive Impact of Prejudice, Discrimination, Sanism, and Ableism” on July 15 at 2 p.m. ET. Nev Jones, Ph.D.—who has lived experience of psychosis and is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, and an internationally recognized advocate and expert in the mental health arena—will respond to questions and comments. In an 11,000+-word Pacific Standard article about her, she asks: “What would it look like if we focused on the social obstacles people face, instead of just their symptoms? How would it change things if we put people through school instead of telling them to settle for jobs shelving books? What if we listened to what it feels like to be mad, instead of telling people their experiences are just sound and fury meaning nothing?” For more about Inside Our Minds, click on www.insideourminds.org and follow @insidemindspgh on Twitter. For more about Alyssa Cypher, founder of Inside Our Minds, visit www.alyssaecypher.com and follow @lyss_cypher on Twitter. For more about Nev Jones, click here and click here and follow @viscidula on Twitter. The Twitter chat hashtag is #IOMchat.

Free Webinar Series on “Peer Workforce and Mental Health System Change”; First Webinar June 25!

Three free one-hour webinars on “Peer Workforce and Mental Health System Change: Promise and Practice” will be offered at 11 a.m. ET on June 25, July 16, and July 30 via The Central East Mental Health Technology Transfer Center. The webinars were developed by Jessica Wolf, PhD, Senior Advisor, Yale Group on Workforce Development. The topics are “Is the Past Prologue? From Insane Asylums to Peer Support Workforce” (June 25), “The Logic of Scientific Revolutions: Peer Support Workforce and Mental Health System Transformation” (July 16), and “Chop Wood and Carry Water: Key Elements in Progressive Peer Workforce Practice” (July 30). To register for the June 25 webinar, click here. Registration for, and access to, the two later webinars will be available on The Central East Mental Health Technology Transfer Center website (click here), which is recording and archiving all three webinars. 

BRSS TACS to Offer a Free Virtual Event on Employment Support Strategies on June 27

A free, interactive, one-hour Recovery LIVE! virtual event—“Employment Support Strategies: Approaches to Assist People in Recovery from a Serious Mental Illness or Substance Use Disorder”—will be hosted by SAMHSA’s Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) on June 27 at 2 p.m. ET. You are invited “to join national experts in a conversation about employment support strategies for people living with serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or both. Presenters include Sean Johnson, Thresholds; Teesha Kirschbaum, Washington State Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery; and Len Statham, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS).” To register, click here.

Courtesy of Judene Shelley

Tune In on June 27 at 3:30 p.m. for a Free Webinar on “Providing Mental Health Care to People Without Shelter”

On June 27, at 3:30 p.m., SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network will present the third webinar in the three-part Spotlight Series, Taking Mental Health Care to the Streets. This 90-minute webinar—“Outside the Box: Providing Mental Health Care to People Without Shelter”—“will focus on the provision of mental health services to people living in encampments,” the sponsors write. “Participants will learn strategies for providing care to individuals with serious mental illness, substance use disorders, or co-occurring disorders who are in unsheltered environments, both to address immediate needs and to provide foundational support for community-based permanent care that can continue through a person’s transition from living in an encampment to permanent housing.” For more information and to register, click here.

Courtesy of Jacek Haciak

NYAPRS Is Seeking Proposals for Its 37th Annual Conference—Deadline: July 1!

The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) is seeking presentations for its 37th annual conference—“Integrate, Innovate, Advocate, Celebrate: Keeping our Eyes on the Prize!”—to be held September 24-26, 2019 at the Villa Roma Resort & Conference Center, Callicoon, NY. “This year,” NYAPRS writes, “we’re especially interested in presentations that focus on new service designs and choices and pathways to wellness and healing that are available across the diversity of New Yorkers with mental health and substance use related needs.” For more about the conference—known for attracting nationally known presenters as well as participants from around the country—and for the criteria for the 75-minute presentations, including multiple potential topics, click here.

Psych Ward Greeting Cards Let People in Psych Wards Know Others Care

“Psych Ward Greeting Cards makes it easy for empathic and compassionate people to let patients in the psych ward know that people, even strangers, care about them and support them,” writes ForLikeMinds, which “created and manages this program to deliver greeting cards from strangers to psychiatric patients at participating hospitals. As insignificant as it may seem, sharing a card can have a wonderful impact when a patient is at their lows—offering help, encouragement, and hope.” For details, click here.

Courtesy of Ann Kasper

Older People Taking Antidepressants Could Triple Their Risk of Developing Dementia

“A new study suggests that people taking antidepressants in middle or old age could have triple the risk of developing dementia,” the Toronto Sun reports. “Researchers found that the rate of dementia was 3.4 times higher among people who took antidepressants after the age of 50.” The study, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, evaluated more than 71,000 participants between 2002 and 2012. None had been diagnosed with dementia before the study. Eleven percent of the antidepressant-takers developed dementia, compared to 2.6% of the people who didn’t take such medications. For the article, click here. A related story, published in 2018, found that “people who used certain types of anticholinergics, such as those used to treat depression, Parkinson's and urinary incontinence, for a year or more had about a 30% increased risk of developing dementia down the road.” For that article, click here. And in 2015 (covered in the Key Update then), researchers also reported that common anticholinergic drugs—such as Benadryl, tricyclic antidepressants, and other medications—were linked to an increased risk of dementia. For that article, click here. For the Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale, click here.

HSRI Publishes “Making Self-Direction a Reality”

“Self-direction is a fast-growing platform for the delivery of community-based services and supports to people who need long-term care, and many states are choosing to use individual budgeting to make it a reality,” writes the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI). “Basing budget amounts on assessed need can help ensure that people have equal access to services across a service population. To better understand the methods that states use to create individual budgets, the benefits and risks of these approaches, and their level of alignment with principles of self-determination, we examined 260 1915(c) Home and Community-Based Service waivers from across the nation.” For a link to download the free, 12-page publication, click here.

Do You Supervise Peer Support Workers? Then Researchers Have Some Questions for You

Researchers in the University of South Florida’s Department of Psychiatry and at Magellan Health are investigating the backgrounds, training, and experiences of individuals who currently supervise at least one peer support worker in a behavioral health setting or agency. “To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first comprehensive research study of the landscape of peer support supervision practices in the United States,” writes Dr. Nev Jones, the primary investigator of the study (Protocol Number 00040223). Participants must be at least 18 years old and work in the United States or U.S. territories. An online survey lasting approximately 10 minutes will ask about respondents’ backgrounds, training and preparation for supervision, perspectives and practices, and views on barriers and facilitators to high-quality supervision. There is no monetary compensation. Questions? Contact Dr. Nev Jones (genevra@health.usf.edu) or the co-primary investigator, Dana Foglesong (dfoglesong@magellanhealth.com). To access the survey, click here.

MindFreedom International Creates “Voices for Choices” Videos About Force and Coercion

On the Voices for Choices YouTube channel, MindFreedom International has posted videos where “courageous individuals speak out about their experience with the mental health system’s use of force and coercion. They share about alternative approaches and healing modalities they have explored and their effective approaches to organizing and activism. Depression and anxiety are gaining media acceptance, but for people attempting suicide or experiencing intense emotional distress, resulting in a diagnosis of psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or other DSM labels, the stigma is stronger than ever…It is our goal to break the silence, connect with one another, heal, and organize to drive a nonviolent revolution in the mental health system. This is the journey of the healer and the activist.” For the Voices for Choices videos, click here.

Free Webinar on Disaster Preparedness Training for Community Organizations to Be Held July 9

A free, 90-minute “training webinar to assist community organizations in building long-term capacity to meet the needs of the people they support before, during, and after a disaster” will be sponsored by SAMHSA’s BRSS TACS (Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy) on July 9, at 2 p.m. ET. “Participants will receive organizational disaster preparedness resources and templates and learn how to utilize these resources in their own work. A second session, on July 16, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET, will provide support for using the resources.” To register, click here. (Editor’s Note: In September 2018, the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion published The Roles of Peer Specialists Before Disasters Strike: Helping People with Mental Health Conditions Prepare for Disasters—Trainer’s Guide. The manual was a collaboration between the Temple University Collaborative and the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. To download the free 33-page trainer’s manual, click here.)

What Happens to People After Discharge from First Episode Psychosis/Early Intervention Programs? New Study Seeks Answers—and Participants

A study led by Dr. Nev Jones at the University of South Florida seeks current and former clients as well as family members of clients previously enrolled in early intervention in psychosis (EIP)/coordinated specialty care (CSC) services. The study aims to better understand what happens after discharge from EIP/CSC programs, including in the areas of school or work and access to/use of other mental health services. Eligible participants must be at least 18 years old and must be “current clients within one month of discharge from an EIP/CSC program, former clients discharged at least six months (at the time of the scheduled interview), and the family members of former clients.” In exchange for a phone interview of approximately 1.5 hours, each participant in the study (Protocol Number 00035193) will receive a $75 money order. Questions? Contact Dr. Jones at 813.415.5532 or by email at genevra@health.usf.edu.

The Five Federally Funded National TA Centers Collaborate on a Free Webinar Series

The Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative will host a free 90-minute webinar on July 24th at 2 p.m. ET on “Fundraising and Sustainability: Building Your Organization by Telling the Right Story to the Right Audience.” The presenter will be  Jeremy Countryman of The Cafe TA Center. The webinar is part of a “series to assist leaders of peer-run organizations, emerging leaders, board members, staff, and advocates to gain essential skills to develop, strengthen, and sustain their organizations,” the Café TA Center writes. The next two webinars will be on August 21 and September 26, also at 2 p.m. ET. The Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative is a joint effort of the five federally funded National Consumer/Consumer Supporter Technical Assistance Centers: the CAFÉ TA CenterDoors to Wellbeing, the NAMI STAR Center, the National Empowerment Center, and Peerlink. The centers take turns presenting the webinars. To register, click here. To respond to a brief survey “to learn about the needs and priorities of peer-run organizations,” click here.

“Are We Over-Medicalizing Poverty?” Researchers Say Yes.

“Researchers behind a study called ‘Poverty, Pathology and Pills’ say we are over-medicalizing poverty,” the BBC News reports. “They have been looking at how depression is treated in impoverished communities in the south west of England. [The study] found that the stresses of life on a low income are too often treated as a purely medical problem, and that social problems like unemployment or cuts to services added to mental stress. The report is a product of the Destress project, a collaboration between Exeter and Plymouth Universities.” For an article about the study, click here. For the Destress website, including a link to the final report of the study, click here.

Climate Resistance Handbook Has Lessons to Teach All Grassroots Movements

The Climate Resistance Handbook, created to help climate-crisis activists, has lessons for any grassroots movement organizer. “It starts with breaking social myths about how social movements win,” says the website of 350.org, an anti-fossil-fuel organization founded by environmentalist Bill McKibben. The handbook includes “campaign tools and frameworks you can use. It closes with how to grow your group and use creative, impactful actions and tactics…It’s filled with practical wisdom and inspiration to make you more effective, more active, and ready for what’s next.” McKibben writes, “If you’re wondering, ‘How can I help change the world?’ this book will give you some powerful answers.” To download the free 67-page handbook, click here.

Music Can Replace Psych Meds for People Locked Up in Psychiatric Hospitals, Study Finds

“Listening to music appears to reduce the need for medication to treat agitation” in people locked up on an acute inpatient psychiatric unit, according to a new study by SUNY (State University of New York) Upstate Medical University. Not only did music reduce the “need” for antipsychotics, “it also cut the length of hospital stay,” the researchers reported. “We’re trying to reduce the number of anti-agitation medications that patients on an acute inpatient psychiatric unit are exposed to. There are a lot of side effects associated with these medications,” the study’s lead author told Medscape Medical News. Study participants could choose from many musical genres, including classical, hip hop, and top 40 hits. The most common diagnoses among the subjects, who ranged in age from 18 to 82, were substance abuse (61%), depression (50.6%), psychosis (28.5%), and trauma (26.2%). For the article, click here.

The June 2019 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated (and the Key Update continues after this Digest)

Here is the June wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles and other language are not politically correct but are reproduced as written.) For “AP Investigation: Many US jails fail to stop inmate suicides,” click here. For “‘Somebody owes me lunch!’: Prison guards bet on an inmate’s suicide. Then, choking sounds came from her unit,” click here. For “‘Books and Brotherhood’: Her club aims to help prisoners start new chapters in their lives,” click here. For “Evaluation of North Carolina’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Program,” click here. For “Work Forced: A century later, unpaid prison labor continues to power Florida,” click here. For “Fields of Blood: My life as a prison laborer,” click here. For “Jury Duty Is the Next Big Step for Felons’ Rights,” click here. For “Special Feature: The Fight for Life in Massachusetts,” click here. For “New Hampshire abolishes death penalty after lawmakers override governor,” click here. For “The Pathological Politics of Criminal Justice,” click here. For “Force Feeding Is Cruel, Painful, and Degrading—and American Prisons Won’t Stop,” click here. For “The latest YouTube craze? Videos that show you what it’s like to live in prison,” click here. For “What Do Abolitionists Really Want?” click here. For “Bridging the Communication Gap for Incarcerated Families,” click here. For “What does ‘reentry’ into society after prison mean? Here’s what people living it have to say,” click here. For “Is ‘Abolish Prisons’ the Next Frontier in Criminal Justice? Closing jails is a radical idea now gaining momentum as a way to replace broken institutions,” click here. For “Pleading Guilty to Get Out of Jail,” click here. For “How jails stay full even as crime falls,” click here. For “Cruel confinement: Judge halts use of solitary cell for mentally ill teen; says 17-year-old suffered ‘irreparable harm,’” click here. For “Liberating criminal justice data: How a Florida law provides a blueprint for the nation,” click here. For “After prison, I changed my life. But these discriminatory laws still punish me,” click here. For “Justice Wears a Different Style at the Cambridge Homeless Court,” click here. For “The ‘Death Penalty’s Dred Scott’ Lives On,” click here. For “We need to fix forensics. But how?” click here.

FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF THE KEY UPDATE BUT STILL FRESH!

Free Webinar on “Using Social Media to Build Rapport with Peers” on June 25

On the last Tuesday of almost every month at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing hosts a free, one-hour webinar. On June 25, 2019, the topic will be “Using Social Media to Build Rapport with Peers.” “This webinar will discuss ways in which youth leaders and advocates can use social media to their advance peer mental health work with peers,” Doors to Wellbeing writes. “Social Media helps build rapport, increase engagement, and spread awareness for different campaigns and events. We will also discuss things to keep in mind such as boundaries, cyberbullying and developing social media agreements with your peers.” To register, click here.

If You Have Experienced Psychosis, “Psychosis Beyond the Box” Wants to Hear From You.

“Psychosis Beyond the Box” seeks to gather anonymous descriptions of “aspects of psychosis that are often neglected, such as felt presences, visual or quasi-visual experiences, and alterations of space, time or distance,” as well as strategies to help with any distressing or challenging aspects of the experiences. The narratives will be compiled and shared in early psychosis programs and other service settings across the U.S. A major aim of the project—which is not a research project—is “to validate the diverse range of things people with psychosis experience, and help people, especially young adults experiencing psychosis for the first time, feel less alone and isolated (in these experiences).” For more information about the project, based at the University of South Florida, or to share your story, click here. Questions? Write to Nev Jones (genevra@usf.edu) or ShannonPagdon@gmail.com.

“Experiences with Hospitalization” Survey Seeks Participants

“The purpose of this survey is to help us understand people's lived experience with voluntary and involuntary treatment because of suicidal thoughts. It was created by people with lived experience…We are planning to use this information to facilitate discussions with suicidologists and the suicide prevention community about the impact of the use of these interventions, particularly within marginalized populations. We feel the voice of people with lived experience with these interventions has not had adequate opportunity to be heard, and hope that by completing this survey anonymously, people who have been most impacted can find a safe way to share their experiences. Please note that this is not a research project.” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin Seek Participants for Depression Study

Trinity College Dublin researchers write: “We are a team of psychologists at Trinity College Dublin who are trying to better understand depression. We are interested in using language to predict the occurrence of depression early. Our hope is that in doing so we can one day be able to help doctors provide treatments earlier and maybe even prevent depression altogether. In order to participate, you must be at least 18 years old, have had a Twitter account for at least one year, [and] have at least 500 Tweets. Interested in participating? Learn more by clicking. If not, thanks for taking the time to read about our research.” For the “continue” link to more information, click here.

Mental Health First Aid Australia Seeks Research Participants to Update MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Australia is inviting people from Australia, UK, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA who have expertise in the field of psychosis to participate in research whose goal is to update the Mental Health First Aid guidelines for psychosis, which were last updated in 2008. Invited participants include people with lived experience of psychosis, people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with psychosis, and professionals with research, education, or clinical experience related to psychosis. For more information, click here.

International Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal Seeks Respondents

“Have you taken antipsychotic medication (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon, Stelazine, and others), for any condition or diagnosis, with or without other medications? And did you ever stop taking antipsychotics, or try to stop taking them? Are you 18 years or older? If yes, you can take this survey about antipsychotic withdrawal and attempts to withdraw, including if you stopped taking them completely or if you tried to come off and still take them. The survey aims to improve mental health services by better understanding medication withdrawal. Lead researcher is Will Hall, a therapist and Ph.D. student who has himself taken antipsychotics. Service users/survivors/consumers from around the world also gave input. The study is sponsored by Maastricht University in the Netherlands; co-sponsors include the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Questions? Please contact will.hall@maastrichtuniversity.nl.”  For more information or to take the survey, click on www.antipsychoticwithdrawalsurvey.com

What Is a Peer Support Specialist? Your Opinion Is Wanted

“On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the U.S. Department of Labor,” iNAPS writes. “We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition...The proposed title, Peer Support Specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles, such as Recovery Coach, Peer Bridger, Peer Navigator, etc.” To complete the survey, click here.

New Virtual Group Is Launched to Advance Peer Research Capacity, Leadership, and Involvement

Nev Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Cutler, a doctoral candidate, have launched a new listserv dedicated to building research capacity, leadership, and involvement among peers, survivors, and service users.  Dr. Jones, assistant professor, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, was part of the team that developed “User/Survivor Leadership & Capacity Building in Research: White Paper on Promoting Engagement Practices in Peer Evaluation/Research (PEPPER),” published by the Lived Experience Research Network. For the white paper, click here. Anyone interested in joining the virtual group can email Nev at nev.inbox@gmail.com.

Save the Date! NARMH Conference in Santa Fe, NM, August 26-29, 2019

The 2019 National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH) annual conference will be held in Santa Fe, N.M., August 26-29, 2019. The conference will focus on “Surviving to Thriving, Workforce Issues, Innovations in Service Delivery, Dilemmas in Addressing Trauma, Rural and Frontier Workforce Development Strategies, Embracing the Reality of Behavioral Health in Rural Communities—Struggles, Responses and Successes, Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders and Other Topics.” For more information and/or to register, click here.

Save the Date! NARPA Annual Rights Conference September 18-21 in Hartford, Connecticut

“For more than 30 years, NARPA [National Association for Rights Protection & Advocacy] 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 & developmental disabilities.” For more information, click here.

Disclaimer: The Clearinghouse does not necessarily endorse the opinions and opportunities included in the Key Update.

About The Key Update

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 15, No. 12, June 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at selfhelpclearinghouse@gmail.com. Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH

 

Key Update, May 2019, Volume 15, Number 11

 The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

TO CONTACT THE CLEARINGHOUSE: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                                                 

TO CONTACT SUSAN ROGERS: SUSAN.ROGERS.ADVOCACY@GMAIL.COM                                                     

TO CONTACT JOSEPH ROGERS: JROGERS08034@GMAIL.COM

Vote to Help Choose Hill Day Priorities for Alternatives 2019!

Whether you can attend the Second Public Policy & Education Academy at Alternatives 2019 or not, the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery needs your input to determine the legislative priorities of our movement for social justice—both to effectively advocate on Hill Day, July 9, 2019, and for national and state-level advocacy during the year ahead. The Academy—July 8-9, before Alternatives 2019, which will continue through July 11 at The Catholic University, in Washington, DC—provides an important opportunity for people with lived experience to unite and learn about how to be included in the political process, share resources to support their local activism, strengthen our collective voice, and express our concerns to Congress. And more good news: The deadline has been extended to May 31 both for Early Bird registration and to honor a peer leader in your community! The conference theme is “Standing Together, Celebrating Our Gifts, Raising Our Voices.” For more information, click here. To rank your top legislative priorities, click here.

HHS Seeks Members for Interdepartmental Substance Use Disorders Coordinating Committee

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is seeking nominations for a new committee “to identify areas for improved coordination related to substance use disorder (SUD) research, services, supports, and prevention activities across all relevant federal agencies…[T]he committee will be composed of both federal and nonfederal members.” For the press release, click here. For more information and to learn how to nominate someone to serve on the committee, click here. Applications for the limited spots are due by 11:59 p.m. [ET] on June 14, 2019.

Courtesy of Kevin Fitts

ACLU Website Offers Tips on How to Stand Up for Your Rights

“Everyone has basic rights under the U.S. Constitution and civil rights laws,” the ACLU says. “Learn more here about what your rights are, how to exercise them, and what to do when hour rights are violated.” The many topics covered include Disability Rights: “People with disabilities face discrimination, segregation, and exclusion. But federal disability rights laws provide protection.” Other topics include Prisoners’ Rights, Protesters’ Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Stopped by Police, and more. For details, click on www.aclu.org/know-your-rights.

Free Webinar on “Using Social Media to Build Rapport with Peers” on June 25

On the last Tuesday of almost every month at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing hosts a free, one-hour webinar. On June 25, 2019, the topic will be “Using Social Media to Build Rapport with Peers.” “This webinar will discuss ways in which youth leaders and advocates can use social media to their advance peer mental health work with peers,” Doors to Wellbeing writes. “Social Media helps build rapport, increase engagement, and spread awareness for different campaigns and events. We will also discuss things to keep in mind such as boundaries, cyberbullying and developing social media agreements with your peers.” To register, click here.

“Mental Health Apps Are Sharing Data Without Proper Disclosure”

“A study of 36 mental health apps (not named in the public release) has revealed that 29 of them were sharing data for advertising or analytics to Facebook or Google, but many of them weren't disclosing that to users,” reports Engadget. “Only six out of 12 Facebook-linked apps told users what was happening, while 12 out of 28 Google-linked apps did the same. Out of the entire bunch, just 25 apps had policies detailing how they used data in any form, while 16 described secondary uses. A handful of these apps (which revolved around issues like depression and quitting smoking) shared particularly sensitive data like health diaries and voluntary substance use reports…” You should “verify that an app has a privacy policy, and check to see where your data is going before you use the app in earnest. Study co-author John Torous also suggested sticking to apps from more trustworthy sources, like health care providers and the government.” For the Engadget article, click here. For the study, published in JAMA Open Network, click here

And for the Risk-Takers Among Us…(Please See the Item Above Before Reading This One)

As “8 Consumer-Friendly Digital Tools to Support Behavioral Health,” published in MobiHealthNews, notes, “From virtual therapy to mindfulness and meditation aids, there’s little shortage of digital tools catching investors’ eyes and breaking into the crowded behavioral health market. Although a number of these services are positioning their business to focus on payers and employers, many others are taking their products directly to consumers via monthly subscriptions, one-time retail purchases or outright free downloads…MobiHealthNews has compiled a selection of eight such consumer-friendly behavioral health tools that have recently been making headlines with new launches, funding or major product updates.” For the article, click here.

Courtesy of Kevin Fitts

Free Curriculum on “Building Financial Wellness” Is Available

“Building Financial Wellness,” a six-part curriculum available for free download, helps people to develop money management skills that can promote their overall recovery, well-being, and health,” writes the Center on Integrated Health Care & Self-Directed Recovery, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “It guides participants in recognizing what triggers spending, how using credit leads to debt, and ways to cope with challenging feelings about money. Participants also learn to set attainable financial goals. Learning occurs in a context of acceptance and encouragement aimed at increasing participants’ sense of control over their personal finances.” A free instructor guide and participant workbook are included. For details, including how and why to teach the course, click here.

Courtesy of Jacek Haciak

Can Songs Show What It’s Like to Hear Voices? Producers of a  New Album Try.

“The British Columbia Schizophrenia Society has launched a campaign entitled ‘Songs of Schizophrenia,’ allowing people to experience a glimpse of what living with schizophrenia is really like,” according to a recent Daily Hive article, which includes a strong trigger warning: “The song in this story is an immersive experience designed to emulate some possible symptoms of schizophrenia. Some may find the content disturbing. Listener discretion is advised.” Another article, in The Message, reports: “Seemingly normal songs are broken up by messages from an incongruous voice, simulating the ‘auditory hallucinations’ experienced by those living with schizophrenia.” The voices’ messages range from relatively benign to extremely disturbing. For the Daily Hive article, which includes a link to a song, click here. For The Message story about the album, click here. The entire album is available on YouTube, Apple Music, and Spotify, the Daily Hive says.

Volunteers Sought for Advisory Group to Help with Research on Community Participation Efforts in CSC Programs for Transition-Aged Youth with Early Psychosis

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion seeks 20 volunteers for “a national advisory group to aid us in using a stakeholder-driven approach to identify and validate criteria that can be used to evaluate coordinated specialty care (CSC) programs in terms of their community participation-orientation.” Volunteers must be a transition aged-youth (aged 18-30) with early psychosis who has been/is involved with a CSC program, a family member of such an individual, and/or a “CSC thought leader.” Participants will be involved in the study for nine months over a 20-month period and can earn up to $600. If you qualify and are interested, contact research staff at 215-204-1699 or at tucollab@temple.edu. For details, click here.

Another Way Inc. in Vermont Seeks Executive Director

Another Way, a community center in Montpelier, Vermont, is seeking an executive director. “Another Way grew out of the psychiatric survivor movement to counter oppressive systems of control, and we continue to advocate for freedom and self-determination of care. Another Way promotes equal rights, participation, and protection of the needs and interests of the peer mental health community; [and] provides advocacy, outreach, information, referrals, crisis intervention, access to housing resources, peer support, supported employment, and educational opportunities, holistic health opportunities and classes. The Executive Director has administrative responsibility for the operation of the program with an annual budget of $430,000 and management of three full-time and 17 part-time staff. Candidates with lived experience of involvement with the mental health system and/or peer community are strongly encouraged to apply. Ability to integrate conflicting perspectives, foster collaboration, and inspire participation across diverse viewpoints and stakeholder interests is a must. Responsibilities include oversight of daily operations, management of personnel, oversight of major improvements to physical plant, management of multiple grants and contracts, and maintaining strong involvement with coalitions. Financial management and budgeting experience is crucial, as is familiarity with peer values and organizations. The salary is $55K - $65K plus full benefits.” To apply, send a cover letter and resume to ED.Search@AnotherWayvt.org with the subject line “ED Search” by June 15, 2019.

Half of People Diagnosed with Schizophrenia Did Not Have Schizophrenia, a Small Study Finds; and African-Americans with Severe Depression Are More Likely to Be Misdiagnosed with Schizophrenia

In a small study, “Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report that about half the people referred to the [Johns Hopkins Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic] with a schizophrenia diagnosis didn’t actually have schizophrenia… People who reported hearing voices or having anxiety were the ones more likely to be misdiagnosed.” In a report in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, the researchers say that the findings “suggest that second opinions at a specialized schizophrenia clinic after initial diagnosis are wise efforts to reduce the risk of misdiagnosis, and ensure prompt and appropriate patient treatment.” In a related story, a recent Rutgers study has confirmed previous studies, going back decades, saying that African-Americans with severe depression are more likely to be misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia. “Inaccurate diagnosis can have serious consequences,” including sub-par treatment, putting people at risk for getting worse—including as a result of the serious side effects of medication prescribed for schizophrenia—or for suicide, the study’s lead author said. The researchers recommend requiring screening for major depression when assessing black people for schizophrenia. For the article about the Johns Hopkins study, click here. For the article about the Rutgers study, click here.

“As Suicides Rise, Insurers Find Ways to Deny Mental Health Coverage,” Bloomberg Businessweek Reports

“Failures of the mental health system contributed to trends that have lowered U.S. life expectancy over the past three years,” according to a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek. “From 2008, when Congress passed the parity act, to 2016, the rate at which Americans died by suicide increased 16 percent. The rate of fatal overdoses jumped 66 percent in the same period. ‘The health insurers are not following the federal law requiring parity in the reimbursement for mental health and addiction,’ President Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis wrote in November 2017. ‘They must be held responsible.’” The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act “requires insurers to provide comparable coverage for mental health and medical treatments,” Bloomberg Businessweek notes. “Even so, insurers are denying claims, limiting coverage, and finding other ways to avoid complying with the law.” For the article, click here. For the report from the president’s commission on the opioid crisis, click here.

Watch Psychiatrists at 2019 APA Annual Meeting React to Psychiatric Survivors’ Videos; And Watch Survivors’ Videos

A coalition of mental health social justice organizations—comprising MindFreedom International, the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, the Network Against Psychiatric Assault, the Opal Project, and MindFreedom Ireland—invited psychiatric survivors to create short videos describing their negative experiences with psychiatry, and shared them with psychiatrists at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in San Francisco. Some of the psychiatrists watched the videos, which detailed people’s experiences with involuntary treatment, coercion, psychiatric abuse, courts, forced drugging, ECT, insulin coma, involuntary outpatient commitment, and more. Click here to view both psychiatrists’ reactions and survivors’ videos.

Courtesy of Amy Smith

“Are Strangers’ Mental Health ‘Recovery Narratives’ Helpful?” The Short Answer Is Yes.

“Researchers at the University of Nottingham in U.K. have reviewed dozens of articles analyzing the helpfulness of other people's ‘recovery narratives’ and found that they can help people overcome their own mental health problems,” Medical News Today reports. The research, part of the Narrative Experiences Online study, “screened hundreds of books and articles from 2000–2018 and identified 45 studies that focused on the therapeutic impact of 629 recovery narratives… The researchers wondered whether recovery stories might help “people who find it difficult to access other forms of mental health treatment, such as people living in rural locations or experiencing social anxiety.” The short answer is yes, “‘as long as possible negative impacts are managed carefully.’ That said, the researchers note that not all recovery narratives will be 100 percent helpful, and some may even do more harm than good. For example, stories that include detailed personal accounts of self-harm— especially those that are related to eating disorders—may trigger further trauma in people dealing with similar problems.” For the article, click here.

Report on How “Medication Overload” Is Harming Older Americans Is Available for Free Download

“The United States is in the grips of an unseen epidemic of harm from the excessive prescribing of medications. If nothing is done to change current practices, medication overload will lead to the premature deaths of 150,000 older Americans (original emphasis) over the next decade and reduce the quality of life for millions more,” according to a Lown Institute press release about its report on the crisis: Medication Overload: America’s Other Drug Problem—How the Drive to Prescribe Is Harming Older Adults. For a link to the press release, which includes several takeaways as well as links to the executive summary and the full report, click here.

Courtesy of Rebecca Miller

“FDA Puts Tough Warning Label on Ambien, Lunesta, Other Sleep Aids” After Deaths and Severe Injuries

After 20 people who had taken prescription insomnia medications died as a result of “complex sleep behaviors,” the Food and Drug Administration has ordered a prominent warning label on “eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, Intermezzo and Zolpimist),” U.S. News reports. Forty-six other reports “involved serious but nonfatal injuries among people who took prescription sleep meds and then engaged in sleepwalking, sleep driving and other activities while not fully awake.” “’This warning is likely to affect a lot of people, as millions take hypnotics—sleep aids—at least occasionally,’ said Dr. Steven Feinsilver, who directs the Center for Sleep Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.” For the article, click here.

Growing Up in Poverty Increases Diagnoses of “Psychosis-Spectrum” Mental Health Disorders, Study Finds

“Growing up in impoverished urban neighborhoods more than doubles your chances over the average person of developing a psychosis-spectrum disorder by the time you reach middle adulthood, according to a new UC Davis and Concordia University study of nearly 4,000 families who were monitored over 30 years,” Science Daily reports. “The results of the study[—published in Development and Psychopathology—]suggest that intervention through social policies and investment in neighborhood improvements, as well as identifying those most in need of help by observing certain child behaviors, could prevent future debilitating illnesses and the societal and personal costs associated with them, said the study's authors.” For the Science Daily article about the study, click here. For more about the social determinants of mental health, click here.

“Disability” Is Not a Dirty Word, Psychologists Say

“Erasing the term ‘disability’ from the collective vocabulary is misguided and has harmful sociocultural implications, according to a new article by leading scholars and rehabilitation psychologists in the field of disability identity. The article is part of a special issue of the journal Rehabilitation Psychology that explores disability and social justice in rehabilitation research,” according to a recent Vanderbilt University press release. The paper, whose six authors are all psychologists who identify as having a disability, “outlines the rationale behind, and importance of, the broader #SaytheWord movement, a social media call to embrace disability identity.” “Disabled people are reclaiming our identities, our community, and our pride,” the authors say. “We will no longer accept euphemisms that fracture our sense of unity as a culture.” For the Vanderbilt University press release, click here.

“Ex-Patients Tell of Force, Trauma, and Sexual Abuse in America’s Mental Hospitals”

In a Mad In America survey of people who had been patients in mental hospitals, “more than half of the [486] respondents described their psychiatric ward experience as ‘traumatic.’ Thirty-seven percent said they were physically abused in some way (with forced treatment included as an example of physical abuse). Seven percent said they were sexually abused. Only 27 percent said they felt ‘safe and secure’ while on the psych ward. Only 17 percent said they were ‘satisfied with the quality of the psychiatric treatment’ they received.” “‘If it is within my power, I will never ever allow myself to be coerced into going to one of those places ever again,’ said one female respondent, who, most recently, had been in a California hospital in 2013. ‘My God, what horrific things go on in those places.’” Although the respondents were self-selected, not a random sampling, “the experiences reported in this survey echo findings from other investigations of the treatment of patients in mental hospitals…” For the article, click here.

The New Yorker Reviews Mind Fixers, a New Book on “The Troubled History of Psychiatry”

In Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness, “Anne Harrington, a history-of-science professor at Harvard, follows ‘psychiatry’s troubled search for the biology of mental illness,’ deftly tracing a progression of paradigms adopted by neurologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists, as well as patients and their advocates,” writes Jerome Groopman in The New Yorker. His article—subtitled “Challenges to the legitimacy of the [psychiatric] profession have forced it to examine itself, including the fundamental question of what constitutes a mental disorder”—is more of an essay about psychiatry than a mere book review. For the New Yorker article, click here. For a related NPR story about Mind Fixers, “How Drug Companies Helped Shape a Shifting Biological View of Mental Illness,” click here.

The May 2019 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated (and the Key Update continues after this Digest)

Here is the May wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles and other language are not politically correct but are reproduced as written.) For “Solitary confinement worsens mental illness. A Texas prison program meant to help can feel just as isolating,” click here. For “He’s Living with Severe Mental Illness. Should He Face the Death Penalty?” click here. For “Law Enforcement Mental Health Learning Sites,” click here. For “New York Prisons Offer ‘Tough Love’ Boot Camp Programs. But Prisoners Say They’re ‘Torture’ and ‘Hell,’” click here. For “It’s time to end the callous policy of inmate Medicaid exclusion,” click here. For “Ending Mass Incarceration: Ideas from Today’s Leaders,” click here. For “How people with mental illness become prisoners in Alabama,” click here. For “Who’s Legally Responsible for Prison and Jail Suicides,” click here. For “Crime Victims Get Chance to Confront Perpetrators Through Special Program,” click here. For “‘Cooking Them to Death’: The Lethal Toll of Hot Prisons,” click here. For “A pregnant inmate came to term in jail. Lawyers say she was forced to give birth there—alone,” click here. For “Landmark Study Compiles Data on Pregnant Women in Prisons,” click here. For “People in Prison Are Way More Likely to Have Dyslexia. The Justice System Sets Them Up to Fail,” click here. For “‘No One Feels Safe Here’: Life in Alabama’s Prisons. Four men inside diagnose a hellscape the Department of Justice called cruel and unusual,” click here. For “A bill to increase parole for ‘elder’ inmates now has the Brooklyn DA’s support,” click here. For “The Supreme Court’s Death Drive: Five conservative justices are bent on defending a policy that is unpopular, expensive, and cruel,” click here. For “Where ‘Returning Citizens’ Find Housing After Prison,” click here. For “How Jails Are Replacing Visits with Video,” click here. For “Drawing from Memory: A Former Prisoner Creates Art from Pain and Loss,” click here. For “Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind,” click here. For “Whistleblowers describe culture of abuse, racism and coverups at Florida prison,” click here. For “No One Should Be Forced to Give Birth Alone in a Jail Cell,” click here. For “America must face and fix its unjust prison system,” click here. For “Juvenile Lifers Struggle to Navigate Reentry After Release,” click here. For “Insult to Injury: Arizona Inmates Get Billed for Prison Health Care,” click here. For “Suing from Prison,” click here. For “Five Myths About Prisons,” click here. For “From police to parole, black and white Americans differ widely on their views of criminal justice system,” click here.

FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF THE KEY UPDATE BUT STILL FRESH!

If You Have Experienced Psychosis, “Psychosis Beyond the Box” Wants to Hear From You.

“Psychosis Beyond the Box” seeks to gather anonymous descriptions of “aspects of psychosis that are often neglected, such as felt presences, visual or quasi-visual experiences, and alterations of space, time or distance,” as well as strategies to help with any distressing or challenging aspects of the experiences. The narratives will be compiled and shared in early psychosis programs and other service settings across the U.S. A major aim of the project—which is not a research project—is “to validate the diverse range of things people with psychosis experience, and help people, especially young adults experiencing psychosis for the first time, feel less alone and isolated (in these experiences).” For more information about the project, based at the University of South Florida, or to share your story, click here. Questions? Write to Nev Jones (genevra@usf.edu) or ShannonPagdon@gmail.com.

“Experiences with Hospitalization” Survey Wants to Hear from You

“The purpose of this survey is to help us understand people's lived experience with voluntary and involuntary treatment because of suicidal thoughts. It was created by people with lived experience…We are planning to use this information to facilitate discussions with suicidologists and the suicide prevention community about the impact of the use of these interventions, particularly within marginalized populations. We feel the voice of people with lived experience with these interventions has not had adequate opportunity to be heard, and hope that by completing this survey anonymously, people who have been most impacted can find a safe way to share their experiences. Please note that this is not a research project.” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin Seek Participants for Depression Study

Trinity College Dublin researchers write: “We are a team of psychologists at Trinity College Dublin who are trying to better understand depression. We are interested in using language to predict the occurrence of depression early. Our hope is that in doing so we can one day be able to help doctors provide treatments earlier and maybe even prevent depression altogether. In order to participate, you must be at least 18 years old, have had a Twitter account for at least one year, [and] have at least 500 Tweets. Interested in participating? Learn more by clicking. If not, thanks for taking the time to read about our research.” For the “continue” link to more information, click here.

Mental Health First Aid Australia Seeks Research Participants to Update MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Australia is inviting people from Australia, UK, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA who have expertise in the field of psychosis to participate in research whose goal is to update the Mental Health First Aid guidelines for psychosis, which were last updated in 2008. Invited participants include people with lived experience of psychosis, people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with psychosis, and professionals with research, education, or clinical experience related to psychosis. For more information, click here.

International Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal Seeks Respondents

“Have you taken antipsychotic medication (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon, Stelazine, and others), for any condition or diagnosis, with or without other medications? And did you ever stop taking antipsychotics, or try to stop taking them? Are you 18 years or older? If yes, you can take this survey about antipsychotic withdrawal and attempts to withdraw, including if you stopped taking them completely or if you tried to come off and still take them. The survey aims to improve mental health services by better understanding medication withdrawal. Lead researcher is Will Hall, a therapist and Ph.D. student who has himself taken antipsychotics. Service users/survivors/consumers from around the world also gave input. The study is sponsored by Maastricht University in the Netherlands; co-sponsors include the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Questions? Please contact will.hall@maastrichtuniversity.nl.”  For more information or to take the survey, click on www.antipsychoticwithdrawalsurvey.com

What Is a Peer Support Specialist? Your Opinion Is Wanted

“On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the U.S. Department of Labor,” iNAPS writes. “We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition...The proposed title, Peer Support Specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles, such as Recovery Coach, Peer Bridger, Peer Navigator, etc.” To complete the survey, click here.

Virtual Group Is Launched to Advance Peer Research Capacity, Leadership, and Involvement

Nev Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Cutler, a doctoral candidate, have launched a new listserv dedicated to building research capacity, leadership, and involvement among peers, survivors, and service users.  Dr. Jones, assistant professor, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, was part of the team that developed “User/Survivor Leadership & Capacity Building in Research: White Paper on Promoting Engagement Practices in Peer Evaluation/Research (PEPPER),” published by the Lived Experience Research Network. For the white paper, click here. Anyone interested in joining the virtual group can email Nev at nev.inbox@gmail.com.

Save the Date! NARMH Conference in Santa Fe, NM, August 26-29, 2019

The 2019 National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH) annual conference will be held in Santa Fe, N.M., August 26-29, 2019. The conference will focus on “Surviving to Thriving, Workforce Issues, Innovations in Service Delivery, Dilemmas in Addressing Trauma, Rural and Frontier Workforce Development Strategies, Embracing the Reality of Behavioral Health in Rural Communities—Struggles, Responses and Successes, Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders and Other Topics.” For more information and/or to register, click here.

Save the Date! NARPA Annual Rights Conference September 18-21 in Hartford, Connecticut

“For more than 30 years, NARPA [National Association for Rights Protection & Advocacy] 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 & developmental disabilities.” For more information, click here.

Disclaimer: The Clearinghouse does not necessarily endorse the opinions and opportunities included in the Key Update.

About The Key Update

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 15, No. 11, May 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at selfhelpclearinghouse@gmail.com. Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH

 

Key Update, April 2019, Volume 15, Number 10

Key Update, April 2019

Volume 15, Number 10

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

TO CONTACT THE CLEARINGHOUSE: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                                                TO CONTACT SUSAN ROGERS: SUSAN.ROGERS.ADVOCACY@GMAIL.COM                                  TO CONTACT JOSEPH ROGERS: JROGERS08034@GMAIL.COM

Honor Peer Leaders in Your Community at Alternatives 2019! (Early Bird Registration Deadline Extended to May 15!)

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR), which will host Alternatives 2019—July 7-11 at The Catholic University in Washington, DC—has extended Early Bird Registration to May 15! The Early Bird rate is $295 for the full conference, $95 for one day.  And you have until May 3 to nominate a deserving peer leader for one of six different awards! Are you curious about the conference? The workshop titles have just been posted on the website! Alternatives 2019 will also feature a two-day pre-conference, including advocacy training and a “Hill Day,” when peer advocates will meet, by appointment, with the staff of their U.S. senators and congressional representatives. The theme is “Standing Together, Celebrating Our Gifts, Raising Our Voices.” For more information, including links to the award nomination form and the workshop titles, click here.

Five-Week “Treating Trauma Master Series” Features Expert Advice

In each one-hour session of the Treating Trauma Master Series—sponsored by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine—“the experts unpack the most important ideas, strategies, and applications for treating trauma. When you register for free, you can tune into the scheduled broadcasts every Wednesday and Thursday. (New modules are broadcast multiple times each Wednesday and Thursday, from April 17 through May 16.) You can join any time during the run of the series—each module is a stand-alone session.” (“Gold Subscribers” pay $197 for “downloads of each module to watch at any time…and more.”) For more information and to register for free, click here. For more about NICABM, click here.

Courtesy of Amy Smith

CDC EPIC Webinar on April 24 at 1 p.m. ET: “Cultural Competence in Preparedness Planning”

“When a disaster strikes a community, it affects people of various cultural backgrounds—sometimes disproportionately. Cultural competency can help public health communicators reduce this disparity,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) writes. The presenter “will discuss why cultural competency matters during emergencies, the potential consequences of being culturally incompetent, and resources to help build your understanding.” For more information and a link to join the webinar, click here. And for “Helping People with Mental Health Conditions Prepare for Disasters,” a publication of the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion and the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, click here.

Courtesy of Lynn Keltz

Free Virtual Event: Increasing Access to Treatment and Recovery Supports for People with Disabilities

Join this free, interactive Recovery LIVE! virtual event on Thursday, April 25, from 2:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. SAMHSA’s Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) invites you to be part of this conversation about how organizations and service providers can engage and support people with disabilities.  Specific focus will be devoted to individuals seeking treatment and recovery support services for serious mental health conditions or substance use disorders. Presenters include John de Miranda, National Association on Alcohol, Drugs and Disabilities; Anastasia Edmonston, Maryland Behavioral Health Administration’s Federal Traumatic Brain Injury State Partnership Grant; and Sterling Johnson, Legal Science. Bring your questions and, to register, click here!

Courtesy of Judene Shelley

Free Webinar: A Learning Session for Youth and Young Adult Leaders
On April 25 at 2 p.m. ET, the STAR Center will host a free online learning session for youth and young adult leaders with lived experience in the behavioral health system. “Are you an active youth leader in your organization or community? Are you looking for ways to step up your game? This session will focus on strategies to turn your leadership into action with the introduction of action and strategy tools.” The presenter is Johanna Bergan, executive director of Youth Move National. For more information and to register, click here.

Free Webinar: “Reconnecting with the Earth for Personal and Global Healing, Part II: The Calling”

On April 25, 2019, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET, Oryx Cohen of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery will moderate Part II of a webinar series that “explores ways of healing for our bodies, minds, and spirits and weaves connections for repair—not only on the personal, but also on a larger global and environmental scale. Through efforts showcased in the webinar series, a supportive infrastructure is emerging, and very much needed for resilience, empowerment, connection to the earth, and sustainable wellness in our communities.” For more information and to register, click here.

CSGJC Publishes Free Framework to Improve Police-Mental Health Collaborations

“Police-Mental Health Collaborations: A Framework for Implementing Effective Law Enforcement Responses for People Who Have Mental Health Needs,” published by the Council of State Governments Justice Center in April 2019, is “intended to help jurisdictions advance comprehensive, agency-wide responses to people who have mental illnesses…The framework is organized around six main questions that law enforcement executives should consider to be successful in implementing or improving police-mental health collaborations (PMHCs) in their jurisdiction.” For more information and to download the free 24-page publication, click here. (For more about the criminal justice system, in which many people with mental health conditions are incarcerated, see the criminal justice digest, below.)

Have You Been Harmed by Psychiatry? Share Your Story by April 30 as Part of the 2019 APA Protest.

“Share your story as part of the 2019 protest of the American Psychiatric Association on May 18, 2019. We’re collecting videos of people's experience with involuntary treatment, coercion, psychiatric abuse, courts, forced drugging, electroshock, insulin coma, outpatient committals, and more. Submit your three-minute video by April 30 to be included.” Sponsors include the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, MindFreedom International, and the Network Against Psychiatric Assault. For more information and/or to submit your video, click here.

“Five Myths About Psychology: No, Talking About Difficult Things Isn’t Always Helpful.”

“Psychological discoveries continue to sharpen and refine our understanding of human suffering and of the human condition more broadly. Nonetheless, many myths about psychology persist,” according to a recent column in the Washington Post. For example, the author writes, “…About 10 percent of psychotherapy patients get worse during treatment, and only about half get better. One reason: Many therapists do not use evidence-based techniques and procedures shown to be effective in clinical trials.” Another myth challenged by the author involves the role of medication in treatment for mental health issues. For more about these two myths and the others that the author has identified, click here.   

Free Webinar on “Understanding Trauma and Post-Traumatic Growth” on April 30

On the last Tuesday of almost every month at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing hosts a free, one-hour webinar. On April 30, 2019, the topic will be “Understanding Trauma and Post-Traumatic Growth.” “Trauma can have a serious impact on our mental health and wellbeing, but many trauma survivors also report positive growth as a result of their experiences,” Doors to Wellbeing writes. “This webinar will explore the impact of trauma and post-traumatic growth (PTG) and how peer specialists can use the research on PTG in their own recovery and work with others.” To register, click here.

Mental Health America Offers Free “May Is Mental Health Month” Toolkit

“In 2019,” Mental Health America writes, “we are expanding upon last year’s theme of #4Mind4Body and taking it to the next level, as we explore the topics of animal companionships (including pets and support animals), spirituality, humor, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections as ways to boost mental health and general wellness.” For more information and to download the free toolkit (available after you provide your name, address, and email address), click here.

If You Have Experienced Psychosis, “Psychosis Beyond the Box” Wants to Hear From You.

“Psychosis Beyond the Box” seeks to gather anonymous descriptions of “aspects of psychosis that are often neglected, such as felt presences, visual or quasi-visual experiences, and alterations of space, time or distance,” as well as strategies to help with any distressing or challenging aspects of the experiences. The narratives will be compiled and shared in early psychosis programs and other service settings across the U.S. A major aim of the project—which is not a research project—is “to validate the diverse range of things people with psychosis experience, and help people, especially young adults experiencing psychosis for the first time, feel less alone and isolated (in these experiences).” For more information about the project, based at the University of South Florida, or to share your story, click here. Questions? Write to Nev Jones (genevra@usf.edu) or ShannonPagdon@gmail.com.

Nutritional Psychiatrists Counsel People Toward Achieving Better Mental Health

The field of nutritional psychiatry focuses on helping people eat better to help ease their depression and anxiety, The New York Times reports. According to a researcher at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, “‘Our imaging studies show that the brains of people who follow a Mediterranean-style diet typically look younger, have larger volumes and are more metabolically active than people who eat a more typical Western diet.’” People are advised to “cut out processed foods, minimize meat and dairy and eat more whole foods like fatty fish, vegetables and whole grains and legumes to cut the risk of developing degenerative brain diseases associated with aging.” At the same time, “a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School cautions that a plant-only diet may carry some risks…[and that] strict vegetarians and vegans may have somewhat higher rates of depression and eating disorders than those who eat a more varied diet. Those on a meat-free diet may also need to take supplements to provide missing nutrients.” For the article, click here.

Save the Date! NARMH Conference in Santa Fe, NM, August 26-29, 2019

The 2019 National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH) annual conference will be held in Santa Fe, N.M., August 26-29, 2019. The conference will focus on “Surviving to Thriving, Workforce Issues, Innovations in Service Delivery, Dilemmas in Addressing Trauma, Rural and Frontier Workforce Development Strategies, Embracing the Reality of Behavioral Health in Rural Communities—Struggles, Responses and Successes, Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders and Other Topics.” For more information and/or to register, click here.

A Growing Number of Video Games Tackle Mental Health Issues, The New York Times Reports

“[A]s a cultural conversation around mental health grows louder, makers of [video game] content are responding,” according to a recent article in The New York Times. “Some makers are now developing games to explicitly promote better mental health.” A game called Celeste “explored depression and anxiety through a protagonist who had to avoid physical and emotional obstacles. In 2017’s fantasy action-adventure video game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, a young Celtic warrior deals with psychosis. Other games in recent years, including Night in the Woods and Pry, have delved into self-identity, anger issues and post-traumatic stress disorder. All followed the 2013 interactive fiction game Depression Quest, which asked players to step into the shoes of a character living with depression.” To read the article, click here.

Prejudice Against Voice Hearers Varies, Depending on an Array of Factors, Researchers Find

According to a new study, the prejudice associated with the experience of hearing voices “depends upon what the voice is saying and perceptions about the cause of the voice.” “One hundred forty-three nonclinical participants were presented with vignettes describing people who heard voices that were attributed to either ‘God’ or ‘Abraham Lincoln’ and were described as either complimentary/encouraging or insulting/ threatening. For each vignette, participants were asked about the likelihood that the voice-hearer had schizophrenia or mental illness…Stigma was measured by perceived dangerousness and desire for social distance.” The researchers—including individuals with lived experience—write, “This research suggests that public causal models of voice-hearing experiences vary substantially depending upon the specific contents of the voice (positive, negative, religious, nonreligious) and characteristics of the perceiver (religious vs. nonreligious) and that these variations affect stigma reactions.” For the study, published in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal in April 2019, click here.

Research Debunks the Existence of “Depression Genes”

A “new University of Colorado Boulder study assessing genetic and survey data from 620,000 individuals found that the 18 most highly studied candidate genes for depression are actually no more associated with it than randomly chosen genes,” according to an article in MDLinx Internal Medicine. “‘This study confirms that efforts to find a single gene or handful of genes which determine depression are doomed to fail,’” said the lead author. “‘We are not saying that depression is not heritable at all. It is,’” said a second researcher. “‘What we are saying is that depression is influenced by many, many variants, and individually each of those has a minuscule effect.’” The researchers “set out to see if any of the genes, or gene variants, were associated with depression either alone or when combined with an environmental factor like childhood trauma or socioeconomic diversity.” “‘It's like in “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” There’s just nothing there,’” said the second researcher. For the article about the study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, click here.

Courtesy of Fran Hazam

“Psychosis: What Is It?” A Free Course and a Free Book Try to Answer This Question

A brief course sponsored by Integrative Mental Health for You (IMHU)—“a not-for-profit online resource for exploring effective options to optimize wellness”—is aimed at “anyone with lived experience and their loved ones, and trained therapists who want to explore new viewpoints.” IMHU writes: “Watch a variety of compelling videos, read select articles, and rethink extreme states, how to label and navigate them. Listen to reflections of those with lived experience as well as qualified support people who evaluate the risks of anti-psychotics and conventional care.” For more information, click here.

Courtesy of Lauren Spiro

“Can We Get Better at Forgetting?” The Answer Is Yes.

“Some things aren’t worth remembering,” The New York Times writes. “Science is slowly working out how we might let that stuff go…A new study, published this month in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that some things can be intentionally relegated to oblivion…To intentionally forget is to remember differently, on purpose…[I]ntentional forgetting also may be an ability that can be practiced and deliberately strengthened.” This is because “activating a memory also makes it temporarily fragile and vulnerable to change. This is where intentional forgetting comes in. It’s less about erasing than editing: incrementally revising, refocusing and potentially dimming the central incident of the memory.” For the New York Times article, click here.

The April 2019 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated (and the Key Update continues after this Digest)

Here is the April wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles and other language are not politically correct but are reproduced as written.) For “He’s Living With Severe Mental Illness. Should He Face the Death Penalty? A South Dakota case reflects the national debate on whether execution should be banned for the mentally ill,” click here. For “National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction,” click here. For “The National Registry of Exonerations: Exonerations in 2018,” click here. For “Introducing News Inside: The Marshall Project launches a print publication that will be distributed in prisons and jails,” click here. For “The Everyday Brutality of America’s Prisons,” click here. For “[Canadian] government ordered to pay $20M for placing mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement,” click here. For “New Orleans Wants to Make Its Notorious Jail Bigger: Activists Say the Sheriff Is Trying to Add Jail Beds Under the Guise of Mental Health Treatment,” click here. For “Prison Arts Programs Produce Change That No Audit Can Measure,” click here. For “Who Belongs in Prison? A truly just system must do more than protect the rights of the innocent; it must also respect the humanity of the guilty,” click here. For “John Jay’s Prisoner Reentry Institute Maps [New York] State Prison Education Programs,” click here. For “21 more studies showing racial disparities in the criminal justice system,” click here. For “Massachusetts Mental Health Court Serves As Alternative To Jail time,” click here. For “SC inmate’s baby died in toilet: Lawsuits allege rampant medical neglect in prisons,” click here. For “Meet the Grown-Ups Keeping Kids Out of Prison: The Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice will help guide towns, cities, and states on how to close youth prisons for good,” click here. For “Five years on, Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project is going strong,” click here. For “Making musical connections at Sing-Sing Prison,” click here. For “If Prisons Don’t Work, What Will? The Democratic presidential candidates should look at what a growing number of prosecutors are doing to end mass incarceration,” click here. For “A Unique Approach to Career-Focused Prison Reentry Programming,” click here. For “My jail stopped using solitary confinement. Here’s why,” click here. For “A Father’s Story: How Shoplifting Led to My Son Spending 7 Months in Solitary,” click here. For “Addressing mental health in criminal justice system requires training, systemic changes, visiting professor says,” click here. For “These Men Are Fighting to Abolish the Death Penalty—From Death Row,” click here. For “When ‘Violent Offenders’ Commit Non-Violent Crimes,” click here. For “Inside America’s Block Box: A Rare Look at the Violence of Incarceration: Would we fix our prisons if we could see what happens inside them?,” click here. For “Designing in Prison: Part Three,” click here. For “German-Style Program at a Connecticut Maximum Security Prison Emphasizes Rehab for Inmates,” click here. For “Six Necessary Principles for Successful Decarceration,” click here. For “Promoting a New Direction for Youth Justice: Strategies to Fund a Community-Based Continuum of Care and Opportunity,” click here. For “Criminal Justice Legislation Means Nothing Without Follow-Through: Sentencing disparities and felon disenfranchisement can end on paper, but the stigmatization that comes with incarceration remains,” click here. For “Psychological Restorative Solutions, P.C., Presents T.A.S.T.E.,” click here. For “Even Very Short Jail Sentences Drive People Away from Voting,” click here.

FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF THE KEY UPDATE BUT STILL FRESH!

“Experiences with Hospitalization” Survey Wants to Hear from You

“The purpose of this survey is to help us understand people's lived experience with voluntary and involuntary treatment because of suicidal thoughts. It was created by people with lived experience…We are planning to use this information to facilitate discussions with suicidologists and the suicide prevention community about the impact of the use of these interventions, particularly within marginalized populations. We feel the voice of people with lived experience with these interventions has not had adequate opportunity to be heard, and hope that by completing this survey anonymously, people who have been most impacted can find a safe way to share their experiences. Please note that this is not a research project.” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin Seek Participants for Depression Study

Trinity College Dublin researchers write: “We are a team of psychologists at Trinity College Dublin who are trying to better understand depression. We are interested in using language to predict the occurrence of depression early. Our hope is that in doing so we can one day be able to help doctors provide treatments earlier and maybe even prevent depression altogether. In order to participate, you must be at least 18 years old, have had a Twitter account for at least one year, [and] have at least 500 Tweets. Interested in participating? Learn more by clicking. If not, thanks for taking the time to read about our research.” For the “continue” link to more information, click here.

Mental Health First Aid Australia Seeks Research Participants to Update MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Australia is inviting people from Australia, UK, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA who have expertise in the field of psychosis to participate in research whose goal is to update the Mental Health First Aid guidelines for psychosis, which were last updated in 2008. Invited participants include people with lived experience of psychosis, people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with psychosis, and professionals with research, education, or clinical experience related to psychosis. For more information, click here.

International Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal Seeks Respondents

“Have you taken antipsychotic medication (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon, Stelazine, and others), for any condition or diagnosis, with or without other medications? And did you ever stop taking antipsychotics, or try to stop taking them? Are you 18 years or older? If yes, you can take this survey about antipsychotic withdrawal and attempts to withdraw, including if you stopped taking them completely or if you tried to come off and still take them. The survey aims to improve mental health services by better understanding medication withdrawal. Lead researcher is Will Hall, a therapist and Ph.D. student who has himself taken antipsychotics. Service users/survivors/consumers from around the world also gave input. The study is sponsored by Maastricht University in the Netherlands; co-sponsors include the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Questions? Please contact will.hall@maastrichtuniversity.nl.”  For more information or to take the survey, click on www.antipsychoticwithdrawalsurvey.com

What Is a Peer Support Specialist? Your Opinion Is Wanted

“On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the U.S. Department of Labor,” iNAPS writes. “We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition...The proposed title, Peer Support Specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles, such as Recovery Coach, Peer Bridger, Peer Navigator, etc.” To complete the survey, click here.

New Virtual Group Is Launched to Advance Peer Research Capacity, Leadership, and Involvement

Nev Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Cutler, a doctoral candidate, have launched a new listserv dedicated to building research capacity, leadership, and involvement among peers, survivors, and service users.  Dr. Jones, assistant professor, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, was part of the team that developed “User/Survivor Leadership & Capacity Building in Research: White Paper on Promoting Engagement Practices in Peer Evaluation/Research (PEPPER),” published by the Lived Experience Research Network. For the white paper, click here. Anyone interested in joining the virtual group can email Nev at nev.inbox@gmail.com.

Save the Date! NARPA Annual Rights Conference September 18-21 in Hartford, Connecticut

“For more than 30 years, NARPA [National Association for Rights Protection & Advocacy] 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 & developmental disabilities.” For more information, click here.

Disclaimer: The Clearinghouse does not necessarily endorse the opinions and opportunities included in the Key Update.

About The Key Update

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 15, No. 10, April 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at selfhelpclearinghouse@gmail.com (and please note that this is a new email address). Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH

Key Update, March 2019, Volume 15, Number 9

Key Update, March 2019

Volume 15, Number 9

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

TO CONTACT THE CLEARINGHOUSE: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                                                 

TO CONTACT SUSAN ROGERS: SUSAN.ROGERS.ADVOCACY@GMAIL.COM                                                     

TO CONTACT JOSEPH ROGERS: JROGERS08034@GMAIL.COM

Free Manual on “Tackling Mental Health Prejudice and Discrimination” Is Hot Off the Virtual Press

The Temple University (TU) Collaborative on Community Inclusion and the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse have written and published “Tackling Mental Health Prejudice and Discrimination.” The free manual offers information on anti-prejudice and anti-discrimination initiatives that people with lived experience, particularly those involved in peer-run programs, have successfully implemented in the past. “The goal is to provide useful guidance for new peer-based efforts to tackle prejudice and discrimination.” For the manual, and links to other information from the TU Collaborative, click here.

Early Bird Registration Deadline Extended for Alternatives 2019 (Deadline: April 26)! And You Can Still Nominate a Keynote Speaker (Deadline: March 28)!

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR), which will host Alternatives 2019—July 7-11 at The Catholic University in Washington, DC—is extending the deadline for Early Bird Registration to April 26! The Early Bird rate is $295 for the full conference, $95 for one day.  And the deadline for nominating a keynote speaker has been extended to March 28! The NCMHR writes that the Alternatives Conference, now in its fourth decade, “is renowned for offering the latest and best information in the peer recovery movement, and a chance for peers to network with and learn from one another. Now the People's Alternatives once again, this conference is funded entirely through registration fees and donations.” Alternatives 2019 will feature a two-day pre-conference, including advocacy training and a “Hill Day,” when peer advocates will meet, by appointment, with the staff of their U.S. senators and congressional representatives. The theme is “Standing Together, Celebrating Our Gifts, Raising Our Voices.” For more information, click here.

Free Webinar on “Benefits of Recovery Environments” on March 26

On the last Tuesday of almost every month at 2 p.m. ET, Doors to Wellbeing hosts a free, one-hour webinar. On March 26, 2019, Doors to Wellbeing will present “Benefits of Recovery Environments. “As mental health peer specialists, how do we create an environment that fosters recovery and growth? Ahmad Abojaradeh will discuss best practices for creating an environment for enhancing mental health and personal empowerment to make changes in one’s life.” The learning objectives are: “Recognize the foundations of recovery environments, list at least three steps to create an inclusive recovery environment, and identify at least three ways in which creating a recovery environment enhances workplace wellness.” To register, click here.

Free Interactive BRSS TACS Event on Engaging People from Latinx Communities in Treatment and Recovery Support Services

“Join this free, interactive Recovery LIVE! virtual event on Thursday, March 28 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. SAMHSA’s Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) invites you to be part of this conversation about providing culturally responsive services to individuals and families from Hispanic and Latino communities to improve engagement and retention. Presenters include Diliana DeJesús, Casa Esperanza, Inc.; Jamie Bailey, Project Vida/Recovery Alliance of El Paso; and Luis Rosales, Trilogy Recovery Community. Bring your questions and register today!”

Thanks, Judene Shelley.

Webinar on “How to Launch a Podcast That Makes a Difference” on March 28 at 3 p.m. ET

On March 28, p.m. at 3 p.m. ET, for the ticket price of just under $7, “Bo Hammond, CEO and founder of Tours for Humanity, a DC-based walking tour company, will teach the basics of launching a powerful podcast that can spread your message…Podcasts have quickly become one of the newest tools for delivering your message and expanding your support, but where does a company or an individual even begin to create one? How do you post it? Edit it? Market it? Get funding? This webinar seeks to answer all these questions and more.” For information and to register, click here.

Thanks, Fran Hazam.

“Experiences with Hospitalization” Survey Wants to Hear from You

“The purpose of this survey is to help us understand people's lived experience with voluntary and involuntary treatment because of suicidal thoughts. It was created by people with lived experience…We are planning to use this information to facilitate discussions with suicidologists and the suicide prevention community about the impact of the use of these interventions, particularly within marginalized populations. We feel the voice of people with lived experience with these interventions has not had adequate opportunity to be heard, and hope that by completing this survey anonymously, people who have been most impacted can find a safe way to share their experiences. Please note that this is not a research project.” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Leah Harris.

“28 Ways to Make the World Less Hostile to Mad, Neurodivergent, and Psychiatrically Disabled People”

In a recent piece in Radical Abolitionist, five authors who identify as “Mad, neurodivergent, and psychiatrically disabled people” (MNPD) suggest 28 ways to make the world less hostile to them and others like them. Among the suggestions: “Research the impact that coercive treatments and practices have had on MNPD individuals.” “Radically reconsider what constitutes expertise. If you believe that mental health professionals know more about a person’s experiences, wants, desires, and needs than that person themselves, examine some of the prejudices and biases that may be underlying this belief.” “Advocate for policies that increase the resources and social safety nets for MNPD people.” And 25 more! For the article, click here.

Thanks, Stephanie Jamison.

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin Seek Participants for Depression Study

Trinity College Dublin researchers write: “We are a team of psychologists at Trinity College Dublin who are trying to better understand depression. We are interested in using language to predict the occurrence of depression early. Our hope is that in doing so we can one day be able to help doctors provide treatments earlier and maybe even prevent depression altogether. In order to participate, you must be at least 18 years old, have had a Twitter account for at least one year, [and] have at least 500 Tweets. Interested in participating? Learn more by clicking. If not, thanks for taking the time to read about our research.” For the “continue” link to more information, click here.

“FDA Approves First Drug for Postpartum Depression,” NY Times Reports; But Some Experts Question Its Use

The first drug to treat postpartum depression was recently approved by the FDA, The New York Times reports. The reportedly fast-acting drug, called brexanolone—a 60-hour infusion which requires a stay in a certified medical center—will be expensive; “insurers said this week that they are evaluating the drug,” according to the story in the Times. A more-accessible pill “is showing promise in its clinical trials.” For the article, click here. However, in “PostPartum Depression: Is Brexanalone the Answer,” in Mad In America, the author, a holistic women’s health psychiatrist, paints a less optimistic picture: “In September of 2017, brexanolone failed its clinical trial as a treatment for super-refractory status epilepticus, but just two months later, the drug was being touted as a cure for postpartum depression, gaining fast-track status from the FDA. That’s despite the fact that the more trials were conducted, and the larger the sample of women they tested became, the less statistical significance the drug’s effect showed… compared to an ordinary placebo.” For the Mad In America article, click here. And, in an opinion piece in the Times, the authors write: “It’s worth pointing out that the Zulresso study was small, involving 247 women, and that the drug maker was involved in its design and interpretation…we fear that Zulresso [the brand name for brexanalone] is just a stopgap, and yet another instance of pathologizing a very sane reaction to our very insane culture….More research is needed before we can be sure that this is not just the latest in a long line of drugs offered to women as a quick fix of middling efficacy, with the potential for unexpected side effects.” For the op ed, click here.

Raise the Minimum Wage and Decrease Suicide, a New Study Reports

A “new study shows that increases in state minimum wages have been associated with decreases in suicide rates in recent years,” according to the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. The authors of the study, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, “studied retrospective data for all 50 states to determine the relationship between changes in state minimum wages and suicide rates between 2006 and 2016...With 432,000 reported deaths by suicide in the time period, the team found that a one-dollar increase in the real minimum wage was associated on average with a 1.9 percent decrease in the annual state suicide rate, or nearly 8,000 fewer deaths by suicide…[T]his recent study shows how reversing increases in suicide deaths requires more than improved access to health care. Policy makers must consider poor social, economic, housing and labor conditions and their impacts on suicide rates.” For the article, click here.

Thanks, Bethany Lilly.

“Mental Health Apps Lean on Bots and Unlicensed Therapists.” Are They Effective?

“Mental health care services are going through a quiet revolution, fueled in part by the widely acknowledged problem of access to therapists and other licensed professionals,” according to a recent article in Nature. This revolution includes mental health “apps” that offer help that may be provided by people who are not licensed. For example, Sibly, based in San Francisco, uses smartphone instant messaging provided by four to six unlicensed “coaches.” But some experts question whether such new online services “will actually have a positive impact, or whether offering mental health care without involving licensed therapists has the potential to cause real harm. ‘Is the technology being used to just reduce the quality of mental healthcare? I think that’s a concern,’ says John Torous, director of the digital psychiatry division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.” At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence for the effectiveness of peer support, i.e., support by people who have lived experience of the mental health system but may not have any formal training (click here). For the Nature article, click here.

More Evidence Confirms That Gun Access Is the Major Cause of Gun Violence

“Despite the public, political, and media narrative that mental health is at the root of gun violence, evidence is lacking to infer a causal link,” according to a recently published article. The data were from a longitudinal study in Texas; the 663 participants had an average age of 22 and were 61.7 percent female. “…individuals who had gun access were 18.15 times and individuals with high hostility were 3.51 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun, after controlling for demographic factors and prior mental health treatment…Counter to public beliefs, the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence. Instead, access to firearms was the primary culprit. The findings have important implications for gun control policy efforts.” For the abstract, click here.

A Peer Specialist Training Manual in Spanish Can Expand Such Training to the Latinx Community

A training manual entitled “Peer2peer: Curso de formación professional” is available to help train peer support specialists whose preferred language is Spanish. For the free 180-page manual, click here.

Thanks, Maria Ostheimer.

The Atlantic Calls BS on Psychiatry in “Psychiatry’s Incurable Hubris”

“The biology of mental illness is still a mystery, but practitioners don’t want to admit it.” This is the teaser on an article in the April 2019 edition of The Atlantic, which calls into question the science behind psychiatry. Reviewing a new book—Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness—the article’s author notes: “…it’s a tale of promising roads that turned out to be dead ends, of treatments that seemed miraculous in their day but barbaric in retrospect, of public-health policies that were born in hope but destined for disaster.” For the article, click here.

You Have a Right to See Your Medical Records but Not Your Psychotherapist’s Notes

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “The Privacy Rule gives you, with few exceptions, the right to inspect, review, and receive a copy of your medical records and billing records that are held by health plans and health care providers covered by the Privacy Rule.” However, “[y]ou do not have the right to access a provider’s psychotherapy notes. Psychotherapy notes are notes that a mental health professional takes during a conversation with a patient. They are kept separate from the patient’s medical and billing records. HIPAA also does not allow the provider to make most disclosures about psychotherapy notes about you without your authorization.” For more, click here.

“6 Reasons Why Comics Can Improve Mental Health”

“Comics have the power to improve mental health and here are six reasons why: 1. They have relatable characters. 2. Comics are inspirational. 3. Comics help to build relationships. 4. Cosplaying is awesome. 5. Graphic novels will encourage you to read. 6. You’ll be exposed to a different way of thinking.” For more, click here.

The March 2019 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated (and the Key Update continues after this Digest)

Here is the March wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles and other language are not politically correct but are reproduced as written.) For “The Jail Health-Care Crisis,” click here. For “Critical Voices on Criminal Justice: Essays from Directly Affected Authors,” click here. For “It’s Official: First Jail Accredited As A Mental Health Facility. Need Help? Get Arrested! Outrageous!” click here. For “The insanity defense isn’t available in every state. It should be,” click here. For “‘Medicare for All’ Is Missing a Vital Group: The Incarcerated,” click here. For “Two recent opinions by Justice Clarence Thomas should alarm us all,” click here. For “NYPD’s Mental-Illness Response Breakdown,” click here. For “Reimagining Prison with Frank Gehry: Prison as college campus. Prison as wellness center. Prison as monastery,” click here. For “It’s reasonable to want to rid the world of evil. But the death penalty can’t do that,” click here. For “Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2019,” click here. For “Seriously Ill Federal Prisoners Freed As Compassionate Release Law Takes Effect,” click here. For “Companies pledge to hire more applicants with criminal backgrounds,” click here. For “Philly probation violators are finally getting real hearings. Many are being released,” click here. For “RESCALED aims to thoroughly reform detention as a form of punishment in Europe. All prisons should be replaced by detention houses…embedded in their immediate environment and community,” click here. For “Why Reimagining Prison for Young Adults Matters,” click here. For “ACLU disputes Corrections’ solitary confinement numbers,” click here. For “Without access to credit, ex-cons may return to lives of crime,” click here. For “After 40 years in solitary, activist Albert Woodfox tells his story of survival,” click here. For “Building Justice/Impact Justice,” click here. For “The Case for Expunging Criminal Records,” click here. For “After 21 years in prison, an ex-offender has a job—and a better future,” click here.

FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF THE KEY UPDATE BUT STILL FRESH!

Mental Health First Aid Australia Seeks Research Participants to Update MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Australia is inviting people from Australia, UK, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA who have expertise in the field of psychosis to participate in research whose goal is to update the Mental Health First Aid guidelines for psychosis, which were last updated in 2008. Invited participants include people with lived experience of psychosis, people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with psychosis, and professionals with research, education, or clinical experience related to psychosis. For more information, click here.

International Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal Seeks Respondents

“Have you taken antipsychotic medication (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon, Stelazine, and others), for any condition or diagnosis, with or without other medications? And did you ever stop taking antipsychotics, or try to stop taking them? Are you 18 years or older? If yes, you can take this survey about antipsychotic withdrawal and attempts to withdraw, including if you stopped taking them completely or if you tried to come off and still take them. The survey aims to improve mental health services by better understanding medication withdrawal. Lead researcher is Will Hall, a therapist and Ph.D. student who has himself taken antipsychotics. Service users/survivors/consumers from around the world also gave input. The study is sponsored by Maastricht University in the Netherlands; co-sponsors include the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Questions? Please contact will.hall@maastrichtuniversity.nl.”  For more information or to take the survey, click on www.antipsychoticwithdrawalsurvey.com

What Is a Peer Support Specialist? Your Opinion Is Wanted

“On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the U.S. Department of Labor,” iNAPS writes. “We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition...The proposed title, Peer Support Specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles, such as Recovery Coach, Peer Bridger, Peer Navigator, etc.” To complete the survey, click here.

New Virtual Group Is Launched to Advance Peer Research Capacity, Leadership, and Involvement

Nev Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Cutler, a doctoral candidate, have launched a new listserv dedicated to building research capacity, leadership, and involvement among peers, survivors, and service users.  Dr. Jones, assistant professor, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, was part of the team that developed “User/Survivor Leadership & Capacity Building in Research: White Paper on Promoting Engagement Practices in Peer Evaluation/Research (PEPPER),” published by the Lived Experience Research Network. For the white paper, click here. Anyone interested in joining the virtual group can email Nev at nev.inbox@gmail.com.

Save the Date! NARPA Annual Rights Conference September 18-21 in Hartford, Connecticut

“For more than 30 years, NARPA [National Association for Rights Protection & Advocacy] 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 & developmental disabilities.” For more information, click here.

Disclaimer: The Clearinghouse does not necessarily endorse the opinions and opportunities included in the Key Update.

About The Key Update

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 15, No. 9, March 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at selfhelpclearinghouse@gmail.com (and please note that this is a new email address). Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH

 

Key Update, February 2019, Volume 15, Number 8

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

 

TO CONTACT THE CLEARINGHOUSE: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                                                 

TO CONTACT SUSAN ROGERS: SUSAN.ROGERS.ADVOCACY@GMAIL.COM                                                     

TO CONTACT JOSEPH ROGERS: JROGERS08034@GMAIL.COM

Registration Is Open for Alternatives 2019! Submit a Workshop Proposal! And Learn How You Can Get Involved!

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) will host Alternatives 2019—“Standing Together, Celebrating Our Gifts, Raising Our Voices”—at The Catholic University in Washington, DC, July 7-11! The Early Bird rate—$295 for the full conference, $95 for one day—will be available through March 30. The deadline for submitting a workshop proposal is March 20. And there are opportunities to participate in the planning! The NCMHR writes that the Alternatives Conference, now in its fourth decade, “is renowned for offering the latest and best information in the peer recovery movement, and a chance for peers to network with and learn from one another. Now the People's Alternatives once again, this conference is funded entirely through registration fees and donations.” Alternatives 2019 will include a two-day pre-conference, including advocacy training and a “Hill Day,” when peer advocates will meet, by appointment, with the staff of their U.S. senators and congressional representatives. For more information, click here.

FDA Panel Recommends Controversial Treatment for Depression; Prominent Psychiatrist Urges Caution

“In a move that may clear the way for the first new treatment in years for depression, an expert panel [recently] recommended that federal regulators approve a nasal spray that delivers the active ingredients of ketamine, a popular club drug in the 1980s and 1990s,” according to The New York Times. “The new drug…is aimed at people with severe depression, particularly those with suicidal thinking. The panel…was nearly unanimous in deciding that the drug’s benefits outweighed its risks…The federal agency has until March 4 to decide whether to approve the drug.” However, in 2016, Dr. Allen Frances, chair of the DSM-IV Task Force, critic of the DSM-V, and author of Saving Normal, wrote: “Ketamine is a classic case of commercial hype and exploitation racing far ahead of scientific proof.” On February 17, 2019, he tweeted: “#FDA is making tragic mistake prematurely approving #ketamine for #depression. Reminds me of its rush 20 yrs ago to OK #Oxycontin…FDA buys hype/misses risks/serves #pharma.” For the New York Times article, click here. For the article by Dr. Frances, click here. For a related article, “Prominent Psychiatrist Tells CNN Why Antidepressants Are So Dangerous,” click here.

What Is a Peer Support Specialist? Your Opinion Is Wanted

“On behalf of iNAPS [International Association of Peer Supporters], a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the U.S. Department of Labor,” iNAPS writes. “We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition...The proposed title, Peer Support Specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles, such as Recovery Coach, Peer Bridger, Peer Navigator, etc.” To complete the survey, click here.

A New Approach to Supporting Social Workers Who Have a Mental Health Condition, by the TU Collaborative

Social workers with mental [health conditions] offer unique contributions to service delivery, but also face unique challenges,” according to a new article published in Social Work in Mental Health. “They must weigh the risks and benefits of disclosing their condition in the workplace and are more susceptible to burnout. Past efforts made by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) to support social workers with personal concerns have had limited success. This article sets forth a new approach to supporting these social workers which involves one-on-one peer support, peer education, advocacy opportunities, assistance with requests for job accommodations, a speaker’s bureau, and organizational consultation on peer issues within agencies.” For the article, click here.

“Peer Support Tied to Fewer Repeat Mental Health Hospitalizations,” Study Finds

“Adults who have been hospitalized for psychiatric problems may be less likely to be readmitted when they get support from other patients who went through similar experiences, a UK study suggests.” Reuters, reporting on a study published in The Lancet in August 2018, continued: “Researchers followed 441 patients for one year after they were discharged from the hospital. All of them received personal recovery workbooks to help them manage their own care. Half of them also received 10 sessions with a peer support worker with a history of mental illness. One year after they left the hospital, patients who received peer counseling were 34 percent less likely to have a repeat admission than people who didn’t get this type of support, the study found.” For the Reuters article, which includes a link to the Lancet study, click here.

“A Quick Guide to Research and Evidence on Peer Support” Is Available

“Peer Support: Evidence and Experience,” a free two-page brochure including definitions, history, and select references, is available for free download. The brochure, subtitled “A Quick Guide to Research and Evidence on Peer Support,” is authored by Rebecca Miller, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry; and Laura Van Tosh, a longtime activist in the movement for social justice of individuals with lived experience, and a consultant with Companis Seattle, which matches volunteer professionals with nonprofit agencies in need of staffing assistance. For the free brochure, click here.

Save the Date! NARPA Annual Rights Conference September 18-21 in Hartford, Connecticut

“For more than 30 years, NARPA [National Association for Rights Protection & Advocacy] 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 & developmental disabilities.” For more information, click here.

“Listening to the Music You Love Will Make Your Brain Release More Dopamine, Study Finds”

“A new study has found that dopamine—a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in our cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning—plays a direct role in the reward experience induced by music. The new findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” For the article, click here.

“Teenagers Say Depression and Anxiety are Major Issues Among Their Peers,” New York Times Reports

A Pew Research Center survey of 920 teenagers aged 13 to 17 “found that 70 percent of teenagers saw mental health as a big issue. Fewer teenagers cited bullying, drug addiction or gangs as major problems; those from low-income households were more likely to do so,” according to a recent story in The New York Times. For the story, click here. A related Times story—“As Students Struggle with Stress and Depression, Colleges Act as Counselors”—notes that “[m]ore than 60 percent of college students said they had experienced ‘overwhelming anxiety’ in the past year, according to a 2018 report from the American College Health Association. Over 40 percent said they felt so depressed they had difficulty functioning.” For that story, click here.

“Exploring Alternate Pathways to Voice-Hearing”

In a new study published in Schizophrenia Bulletin the authors “suggest that trauma can play a major role in some hallucinations, a minor role in many, or no role in other hallucinations. They write that ‘there is enough evidence to conclude that trauma is a significant risk factor for psychosis and for voice-hearing in particular. Yet the finding that trauma increases the risk for hallucinations and for psychosis is quite different from the claim that trauma is necessary for either to occur.’” For an article about the study in Mad In America, , click here.

“Comics Can Help You Understand Mental Health!”

“Art can be a way to explain to your loved ones what you are feeling, and if you do not have the emotional energy needed to enter a big conversation, maybe directing them to some comics could help! Not only can art help to destigmatize mental illnesses, but it can also lend a hand to those who may be struggling,” writes the author of this article, which includes examples of mental health-related comics. Among the artists featured are Charles Schulz, Allie Brosh, and Gemma Correll. For the article, click here

“The Impact of Isolation” on Mental Health Is Explored by NPR

“Humans are social animals, equipped with brains hard-wired to connect with those around us,” according to a podcast on NPR about “The Impact of Isolation.” “We rely on relationships for safety and survival, as well as love and fulfillment. And when we’re deprived of those connections, we suffer—both psychologically and physically. On this episode, we explore what happens to our health and our minds when we’re faced with isolation. We hear stories about dealing with the isolation of solitary confinement, medical quarantine, and even the lonely journey to another planet.” To listen, click here.

“Conversations About Intimacy and Sexuality: A Training Toolkit” Is Offered Free by TU Collaborative

The latest newsletter of the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion offers a link to its groundbreaking publication “Conversations About Intimacy and Sexuality: A Training Toolkit Using Motivational Interviewing.” “Forming intimate relationships and expressing sexuality can be challenging for anyone, including people with mental health conditions. This toolkit contains information related to preparing direct service personnel for discussions on topics of intimacy and sexuality with persons with mental health conditions. Informed by the Motivational Interviewing technique, this toolkit includes experiential exercises with instructions, evaluation forms, hyperlinks to resources, and references to be used by trainers.” For the newsletter,  click here.

“For Valentine’s Day, Try Being Nice to Yourself,” The New York Times Advises

Although Valentine’s Day 2019 has come and gone, this New York Times article offers some advice without an expiration date: “Numerous studies have shown that self-compassion is strongly linked to overall well-being. Practicing self-compassion can reduce depression, stress, performance anxiety and body dissatisfaction. It can lead to increases in happiness, self-confidence and even immune function.” For the article, click here.

The February 2019 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated (and the Key Update continues after this Digest)

Here is the February wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles and other language are not politically correct but are reproduced as written.) For “Mentally Ill Prisoners Are Held Past Release Dates, Lawsuit Claims,” click here. For “The Safety Net Is Broken: How Police Became Mental Health First Responders,” click here. For “Costly, ineffective, cruel: How Oregon snares mentally ill people charged with low-level crimes,” click here. For “Mother sues Texas Prisons after ‘egregious’ failure to prevent son’s suicide,” click here. For “No one should have to lose a son the way I lost my son,” click here. For “Report: Public Defender Represents 1,200 Clients in One Year,” click here. For “‘I’m Going to Die Here,’ She Told the Guards. They Didn’t Listen,” click here. For “Jail or Bail? There’s a New Option,” click here. For “Most Inmates with Mental Illness Still Wait for Decent Care,” click here. For “In landmark move, L.A. County will replace Men’s Central Jail with mental health hospital for inmates,” click here. For “Psychiatric Patients Need Hospital Beds, Not Jail Cells,” click here. For “Opinion—Alabama executions: strictly a Christian affair,” click here. For “John Jay’s PRI Advocates to Expand Alternative-to-Incarceration and Reentry Services in New York State,” click here. For “State of Phone Justice: Local jails, state prisons and private phone providers,” click here. For “Psychiatry on Death Row: Interviews From the Inside,” click here. For “How the Federal Government Undermines Prison Education,” click here. For “Finding College by Way of Prison,” click here. For “Prisons Across the U.S. Are Quietly Building Databases of Incarcerated People’s Voice Prints,” click here. For “The Supreme Court Just Struck a Huge, Unanimous Blow Against Policing for Profit,” click here. For “Do Jails Kill People?” click here. For “For Cops, Stress May Be the Biggest Danger. This City Is Trying New Ways to Improve Their Mental Health,” click here. For “Barbaric and Excessive: Two Books on Punishment in the United States,” click here. For “When Going to Jail Means Giving Up the Meds That Saved Your Life: How the Americans with Disabilities Act could change the way the nation’s jails and prisons treat addiction,” click here.

FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF THE KEY UPDATE BUT STILL FRESH!

Mental Health First Aid Australia Seeks Research Participants to Update MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Australia is inviting people from Australia, UK, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA who have expertise in the field of psychosis to participate in research whose goal is to update the Mental Health First Aid guidelines for psychosis, which were last updated in 2008. Invited participants include people with lived experience of psychosis, people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with psychosis, and professionals with research, education, or clinical experience related to psychosis. For more information, click here.

UK Researcher, Together with World Dignity Project, Seeks Your Input on “Patient Experience”

If you “have ever consulted a medical professional about a mental health or psychological issue,” you are invited to participate in “a study about the patient experience relating to mental health.” The researcher, Claire Brooks, writes: “The results of this study will be used to open up important discussions with Mental Health Professionals about how to create dignity in patient experience, relating to mental health. The study asks you to tell me about two patient experiences relating to mental health. You can tell your story in writing online or by posting a 2-3 minute video from your mobile phone. We will also ask for your own opinions on how the patient experience can ensure dignity...” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Global Mental Health Peer Network Newsletter, via Elizabeth R. Stone

International Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal Seeks Respondents

“Have you taken antipsychotic medication (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon, Stelazine, and others), for any condition or diagnosis, with or without other medications? And did you ever stop taking antipsychotics, or try to stop taking them? Are you 18 years or older? If yes, you can take this survey about antipsychotic withdrawal and attempts to withdraw, including if you stopped taking them completely or if you tried to come off and still take them. The survey aims to improve mental health services by better understanding medication withdrawal. Lead researcher is Will Hall, a therapist and Ph.D. student who has himself taken antipsychotics. Service users/survivors/consumers from around the world also gave input. The study is sponsored by Maastricht University in the Netherlands; co-sponsors include the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Questions? Please contact will.hall@maastrichtuniversity.nl.”  For more information or to take the survey, click on www.antipsychoticwithdrawalsurvey.com

Do You Hear Voices? OurVoicesRaised Wants Your Story!

OurVoicesRaised.org, “a collective of people who have found support through the Hearing Voices Movement,” is conducting “a research project investigating Hearing Voices Groups in the United States. We’re interested in gaining a better understanding of how Hearing Voices groups work and what essential elements of hearing voices groups make them effective for people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual or extreme experiences…This project is committed to sharing its findings with the community that has generated them (and beyond), and to create opportunities for the hearing voices community to expand its work in new ways.” Gail Hornstein, a psychology professor at Mount Holyoke and author of Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness, is principal investigator. For more information and/or to participate, click here.

New Virtual Group Is Launched to Advance Peer Research Capacity, Leadership, and Involvement

Nev Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Cutler, a doctoral candidate, have launched a new listserv dedicated to building research capacity, leadership, and involvement among peers, survivors, and service users.  Dr. Jones, assistant professor, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, was part of the team that developed “User/Survivor Leadership & Capacity Building in Research: White Paper on Promoting Engagement Practices in Peer Evaluation/Research (PEPPER),” published by the Lived Experience Research Network. For the white paper, click here. Anyone interested in joining the virtual group can email Nev at nev.inbox@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: The Clearinghouse does not necessarily endorse the opinions and opportunities included in the Key Update.

About The Key Update

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 15, No. 8, February 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at selfhelpclearinghouse@gmail.com (and please note that this is a new email address). Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH

 

Key Update, January 2019, Volume 15, Number 7

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

TO CONTACT THE CLEARINGHOUSE: SELFHELPCLEARINGHOUSE@GMAIL.COM                          TO CONTACT SUSAN ROGERS: SUSAN.ROGERS.ADVOCACY@GMAIL.COM                                    TO CONTACT JOSEPH ROGERS: JROGERS08034@GMAIL.COM

Psychiatric Hospitals with Safety Violations Still Get Accreditation,” WSJ Reports

“More than 100 psychiatric hospitals are still fully accredited by the Joint Commission, despite significant safety violations, including care lapses associated with patient deaths and abuse, a database investigation by The Wall Street Journal found. The nonprofit accrediting organization revoked or denied full accreditation to less than 1 percent of psychiatric hospitals it reviewed in fiscal year 2014 and 2015, according to the most recent federal data available. About 16 percent of those hospitals each year (about 140 institutions) operated with such severe safety violations that they jeopardized their federal funding, state inspectors found. But troubled hospitals use their continued accreditation to attract new patients, even after some facilities lost Medicare funding due to ongoing safety incidents. For the WSJ article, click here. For another article about the WSJ report, click here.

FDA Reclassifies ECT Equipment into Lower-Risk Category Despite Controversy about ECT’s Risks

Despite a decades-long effort by mental health advocates to prevent the FDA from reclassifying the electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) device, as well as information from prominent researchers about the dangers of this controversial treatment (see below), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reclassified ECT equipment “for use in treating catatonia or a severe major depressive episode associated with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder in patients age 13 years and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition” from Class III to Class II. The order became effective on December 26, 2018. Class III medical devices “present potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury”; only 10 percent of medical devices fall under this category. Class II medical devices (43 percent of devices) are considered to pose a lesser risk (click here). For the Federal Register announcement, click here. For critical praise for “Doctors of Deception: What They Don’t Want You to Know About Shock Treatment,” click here. For “Electroconvulsive Therapy Being Used on Teens in NHS Trusts”—in which Dr. Joanna Moncrieff of University College London says, “We just don't have enough research on what ECT does to the brain and the developing brain in younger people. We know it can cause permanent memory loss, so it suggests it may do permanent damage”—click here. For testimony by Daniel B. Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., about the damaging impact of ECT, click here. For an article in Neuropsychopharmacology by Harold Sackeim, Ph.D., a proponent of ECT, in which he nevertheless concludes, “this study provides the first evidence in a large, prospective sample that adverse cognitive effects can persist for an extended period, and that they characterize routine treatment with ECT in community settings,” click here.

National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems Is Launched

The Administration for Community Living and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have announced the launch of the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS). “The goal of NCAPPS is to promote systems change that makes person-centered principles…a reality in the lives of people who require services and supports across the lifespan…Activities will include providing technical assistance to states, tribes, and territories; establishing communities of practice to promote best practices; hosting educational webinars; and creating a national clearinghouse of resources to support person-centered practice. NCAPPS will be administered by the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI).” For details, click here.

Parents with Mental Health Conditions Are 8 Times as Likely as Parents without Mental Health Conditions to Have Contact with Child Protective Services, National Survey Shows

A national survey of 42,761 adults recently published in Psychiatric Services found that parents with a serious mental health condition “were approximately eight times more likely to have CPS [Child Protective Services] contact and 26 times more likely to have a change in living arrangements compared with parents without a serious mental [health condition]. Even when the analysis was limited to parents who had CPS contact, [these] parents were at greater risk of custody loss compared with parents without [a] mental [health condition]….Efforts to reduce CPS involvement would likely reduce stress and enhance recovery and mental health for parents and their children.” For the abstract, click here. For “Preventing Custody Loss: Suggestions for Parents with Psychiatric Disabilities,” published by the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion, click here.

Mental Health First Aid Australia Seeks Research Participants to Update MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Australia is inviting people from Australia, UK, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA who have expertise in the field of psychosis to participate in research whose goal is to update the Mental Health First Aid guidelines for psychosis, which were last updated in 2008. Invited participants include people with lived experience of psychosis, people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with psychosis, and professionals with research, education, or clinical experience related to psychosis. For more information, click here.

Save the Date! Alternatives 2019 to Be Held in Washington, DC, July 7-11!

Mark your calendars! Alternatives 2019 will be held at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., July 7-11, 2019! The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, which is organizing and sponsoring the event, writes: Last year we returned to our roots: We held Alternatives 2018 at a university for the first time in decades, without relying on federal funding, the way our movement for social justice first began… Alternatives 2019 will include a two-day pre-conference, July 8 and 9, with advocacy training on Monday and a ‘Hill Day’ on Tuesday, when peer advocates will meet, by appointment, with the staff of their U.S. senators and congressional representatives. Now more than ever, it is important for us to participate in the national debate.” For the conference announcement, which includes additional information, click here.

“‘Circles’ Could Offer Promising Outcomes After Incarceration for People with Serious Mental [Health Conditions]”

To address the special needs of people with mental health conditions and a criminal justice history, the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion has devised a program that would support these individuals after they are released. The program involves creating “circles of support and accountability”: a regular group session in which friends, neighbors, and/or peers—i.e., others with mental health conditions who have been incarcerated—get together to talk about the challenges they face after prison. They might talk about how someone can find a job, build or rebuild relationships, or become involved in community activities. Group members then agree to help the person achieve a specific goal, which might be as simple as accompanying him or her to an event he or she wants to attend. For the article, click here. For more about the criminal justice system, in which many people with mental health conditions are incarcerated, see the monthly digest, below.

“Psychosis 365” Video Podcast Is Available for Free!

You can watch and listen to “Psychosis 365—Voices, Visions, and Other Realities”—for free! The daily video podcasts for the first seven days of January are by Matt Ball, who describes his own experiences with psychosis and mentions how connections can be key to restoring balance; Noel Hunter—“Trauma is real, discrimination is real, oppression is real... just because people are suffering with these doesn't mean they have a brain disease”; Oryx Cohen, who “talks about how understanding the meaning behind our experiences is a way of being less distressed by them”; Laura, who “talks about the value of her lived experience, the value of the voices and her communication with them”; Ross, who “talks about his experiences of being labelled”; Louisa Dent Pearce, who “talks about how psychosis is a normal part of spiritual evolution for many people”; and Debra Lampshire, who “talks about psychosis as a normal response to extreme anxiety or distress.” And there’s much more! For the video podcasts, a project of HUMANE Clinic in Adelaide, Australia, click here.

“Child Abuse Linked to Risk of Suicide in Later Life”

“Children who experience physical, sexual, and emotional abuse or neglect are at least two to three times more likely to attempt suicide in later life, according to the largest research review carried out of the topic,” Medical Xpress recently reported. “The analysis of 68 studies by psychologists at the University of Manchester and University of South Wales revealed that suicide attempts were: three times more likely for people who experienced sexual abuse as a child; two and a half times more likely for people who experienced physical abuse as a child; [and] two and a half times more likely for people who experienced emotional abuse or neglect as a child.” The research team leader noted, “Around one adult in every three has experienced abuse as a child.” For the article, click here. For the video of Billy Joel’s “You’re Only Human (Second Wind),” which is aimed at preventing youth suicide, click here.

“Abandoning Restraint and Seclusion Has Unexpected Benefits, Study Finds”

“When a large service provider for people with developmental disabilities decided to move away from using restraint and seclusion, a new study finds safety improved and costs went down,” Disability Scoop recently reported. “Over a 12-year period, restraints decreased 99 percent and seclusion was eliminated at the Virginia-based Grafton Integrated Health Network, which serves more than 3,200 people with intellectual, developmental and psychiatric disabilities in residential and community-based settings. At the same time, the provider saw a 64 percent decline in client-induced staff injury and an estimated savings of $16 million in associated costs from overtime, turnover and workers’ compensation. Clients, meanwhile, were far more likely to achieve mastery in their goals.” For the article, click here. For more about seclusion and restraint, click here.

Clutter Is Bad for You, Researchers Say

Clutter increases your stress and cortisol levels, according to DePaul University researchers, who also noted that procrastination is closely tied to clutter. As The New York Times, writing about the 2017 study, recently reported: “The findings add to a growing body of evidence that clutter can negatively impact mental well-being, particularly among women.” An earlier study, by researchers at the University of Southern California, recommended that people who want to declutter take a “hands-off approach.” “Have somebody else hold [the item] and say, ‘Do you need this?’ Once you touch the item, you are less likely to get rid of it.” For the New York Times article, click here. For Times subscribers, the article includes a link to The Tidy Home Challenge: “Our subscriber-exclusive program will help you organize your home, step by step and room by room,” the Times promises. For 15 de-cluttering tips from tidying expert Marie Kondo, click here.

NACBHDD 2019 Legislative and Policy Conference to Be Held in Washington, DC, March 4-6

The 2019 Legislative and Policy Conference of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors (NACBHDD) will be held in Washington, DC, March 4-6, 2019. The conference theme is “Taking Stock of Key Developments.” Topics include “Progress on Medicaid and Affordable Care Act Update,” “National Response to the Opioid Epidemic,” “Solving Workforce Issues at the State Level,” “Key Developments in the Medicaid Program,” “State Brain Drain,” “Update on Federal Mental Health and Substance Use Initiatives,” “Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Training for Providers,” and “Discussion of 2019 NACBHDD Legislative Agenda,” as well as a Hill Day. NACBHDD executive director Ron Manderscheid, Ph.D., writes: “…Assistant Secretary Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz will be joining us for the latest on SAMHSA and its programs. NACBHDD has arranged a block of sleeping rooms at the Cosmos Club [2121 Massachusetts Avenue, NW] for the nights of March 3-5. Reservations can be made by calling 202-387-7783 and identifying the NACBHDD room block.” To register, click here.

Mental Health Cartoons Take a Light Approach to a Serious Topic

For some “[c]artoons and comics that show mental health problems with sensitivity, honesty and humour,” click here.

Doctors in Shetland, Scotland, Can Now Prescribe Nature to Their Patients

Doctors in Shetland, Scotland, are now authorized to prescribe nature  to their patients. “It's thought to be the first program of its kind in the U.K., and seeks to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and increase happiness for those with diabetes, a mental [health condition], stress, heart disease, and more,” Big Think reports. “If you spend 90 minutes of your day outside in a wooded area, there will be a decrease of activity in the part of your brain typically associated with depression. Spending time in nature not only reduces blood pressure, anxiety, and increases happiness, but it reduces aggression [and] ADHD symptoms, [and] improves pain control, the immune system,” and more. For the article, click here. For a related story, “It’s Official: Spending Time Outside Is Good for You,” click here.

The January 2019 Digest of Articles about the Criminal Justice System, in Which Many Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Are Incarcerated (and the Key Update continues after this Digest)

Here is the January wrap-up of stories about the criminal justice system. (Note: Some of the titles and other language are not politically correct but are reproduced as written.) For “St. Paul Police Expanding New Mental Health Unit,” click here. For “US Sentencing Commission introduces big new report on ‘Intra-City Differences in Federal Sentencing Practices,’” click here. For “Locked Up for Three Decades Without a Trial: A New York City Man has been shuffled between Rikers Island and mental hospitals for 32 years,” click here. For “Prisons are housing mental health patients who’ve committed no crimes,” click here. For “An Atlas of American Gun Violence. Five Years. More than 150,000 Shootings. How Has Gun Violence Marked Your Corner of the Country?” click here. For “Prison Food Is Making U.S. Inmates Disproportionately Sick,” click here. For “How Solitary Confinement Drove a Young Inmate to the Brink of Insanity,” click here. For “Out from the Holocaust: Germany reckoned with its past to build a better justice system. America should too,” click here. For “Rethinking Incarceration: What needs to be done to end our half-century long incarceration nightmare?” click here. For “‘Punishment Without Crime’ Highlights the Injustice of America’s Misdemeanor System,” click here. For “113 million adults in America have had an immediate family member incarcerated and, right now, 6.5 million adults have an immediate family member currently incarcerated in jail or prison,” click here. For “Jazmine Barnes Case Shows How Trauma Can Affect Memory,” click here. For “Congressional report: Misconduct by federal prison leaders ‘ignore’ and ‘covered up’ on a regular basis,” click here. For “For years, L.A. prosecutors failed to disclose misconduct by police witnesses. Now the D.A.’s office is trying to change that,” click here. For “The Supreme Court Said No More Life Without Parole for Kids. Why Is Antonio Espree One of the Few to Get Out of Prison?” click here. For “Chicago’s Jail Is One of the Country’s Biggest Mental Health Care Providers. Here’s a Look Inside,” click here. For “Why today’s criminal justice reform efforts won’t end mass incarceration,” click here. For “Illinois Agrees to Federal Oversight of Troubled Prison Health Care System,” click here. For “American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project Year End 2018” articles, click here. For “Cops Charged with Manslaughter After Two Mental-Health Patients Were Left to Drown in Sheriff’s Van During Hurricane Florence,” click here. For “A Road to Ending Mass Incarceration?” click here. For “Sent to a Hospital, But Locked in Prison,” click here. For “‘Ignored to Death’ in the Bexar County Jail: Janice Dotson-Stephen’s death is another tragic example of how bad the criminal justice system is at dealing with mentally ill people who enter it,” click here. For “U-M student podcast helps former prisoners tell their stories,” click here. For “We Are Witnesses,” by the Marshall Project, click here. For “Ex-Inmate Describes Nine Years in Georgia Solitary Unit—‘I’ve Seen People Go Crazy,’” click here. For “Inmates battling addiction get an unlikely ally: a puppy,” click here. For “Bad forensic science is putting innocent people in prison,” click here. For “From A Cell To A Home: Newly Released Inmates Matched With Welcoming Hosts,” click here. For “The FBI Says Its Photo Analysis Is Scientific Evidence. Scientists Disagree,” click here. For “A Funder Helps L.A. Use the Arts to Advance Juvenile Justice Reform,” click here. For a recent newsletter of the National Reentry Resource Center, click here.

FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF THE KEY UPDATE BUT STILL FRESH!

2019 NARMH Conference Invites You to Submit a Proposal

The National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH) is inviting you to submit a proposal to present at the 2019 annual NARMH conference, August 26-29 in Santa Fe, New Mexico! The theme is “From Surviving to Thriving: Embracing Connections.” For more information, and/or to submit a proposal (deadline “February 1, 2019, or until the agenda is filled”), click here.

Should the HIPAA Rules Be Loosened? Your Opinion Is Wanted.

Do you think the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Rules, which protect individuals’ privacy and security, should be relaxed? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), wants to know. “[I]n recent years, OCR has heard calls to revisit aspects of the Rules that may limit or discourage information sharing needed for coordinated care or to facilitate the transformation to value-based health care,” OCR writes. So do you think that any of the Rules “may present obstacles to these goals without meaningfully contributing to the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI) and/or patients’ ability to exercise their rights with respect to their PHI”? One example OCR offers is “facilitating parental involvement in care.” Another is “Changing the current requirement for certain providers to make a good faith effort to obtain an acknowledgment of receipt of the Notice of Privacy Practices.” Public comments are due by February 11, 2019. For details and for the comment link, click here.

Thanks, Elizabeth R. Stone

UK Researcher, Together with World Dignity Project, Seeks Your Input on “Patient Experience”

If you “have ever consulted a medical professional about a mental health or psychological issue,” you are invited to participate in “a study about the patient experience relating to mental health.” The researcher, Claire Brooks, writes: “The results of this study will be used to open up important discussions with Mental Health Professionals about how to create dignity in patient experience, relating to mental health. The study asks you to tell me about two patient experiences relating to mental health. You can tell your story in writing online or by posting a 2-3 minute video from your mobile phone. We will also ask for your own opinions on how the patient experience can ensure dignity...” For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Thanks, Global Mental Health Peer Network Newsletter, via Elizabeth R. Stone

International Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal Seeks Respondents

“Have you taken antipsychotic medication (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon, Stelazine, and others), for any condition or diagnosis, with or without other medications? And did you ever stop taking antipsychotics, or try to stop taking them? Are you 18 years or older? If yes, you can take this survey about antipsychotic withdrawal and attempts to withdraw, including if you stopped taking them completely or if you tried to come off and still take them. The survey aims to improve mental health services by better understanding medication withdrawal. Lead researcher is Will Hall, a therapist and Ph.D. student who has himself taken antipsychotics. Service users/survivors/consumers from around the world also gave input. The study is sponsored by Maastricht University in the Netherlands; co-sponsors include the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Questions? Please contact will.hall@maastrichtuniversity.nl.”  For more information or to take the survey, click on www.antipsychoticwithdrawalsurvey.com

Do You Hear Voices? OurVoicesRaised Wants Your Story!

OurVoicesRaised.org, “a collective of people who have found support through the Hearing Voices Movement,” is conducting “a research project investigating Hearing Voices Groups in the United States. We’re interested in gaining a better understanding of how Hearing Voices groups work and what essential elements of hearing voices groups make them effective for people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual or extreme experiences…This project is committed to sharing its findings with the community that has generated them (and beyond), and to create opportunities for the hearing voices community to expand its work in new ways.” Gail Hornstein, a psychology professor at Mount Holyoke and author of Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness, is principal investigator. For more information and/or to participate, click here.

Virtual Group Is Launched to Advance Peer Research Capacity, Leadership, and Involvement

Nev Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Cutler, a doctoral candidate, have launched a new listserv dedicated to building research capacity, leadership, and involvement among peers, survivors, and service users.  Dr. Jones, assistant professor, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, was part of the team that developed “User/Survivor Leadership & Capacity Building in Research: White Paper on Promoting Engagement Practices in Peer Evaluation/Research (PEPPER),” published by the Lived Experience Research Network. For the white paper, click here. Anyone interested in joining the virtual group can email Nev at nev.inbox@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: The Clearinghouse does not necessarily endorse the opinions and opportunities included in the Key Update.

About The Key Update

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is now affiliated with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 15, No. 7, January 2019. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at selfhelpclearinghouse@gmail.com (and please note that this is a new email address). Follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanRogersMH