Please join us for an exciting free webinar hosted by the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse in partnership with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

Learn about the movement to reduce incarceration, including imprisonment of individuals with mental health conditions!

To register, click here.  For more information, please see below.

Date: Thursday, June 25, 2015

Time: 2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. CT, noon MT, 11 a.m. PT, 8 a.m. in Hawaii (90 minutes)

This webinar – presented by three prominent experts in criminal justice issues – will cover an array of topics, including:
  • the movement for social justice whose goal is to cut the incarceration rate in half by 2030 while reducing crime;
  • how to support individuals with mental health conditions who are incarcerated and how to help them transition successfully into the community;
  • diversion models to prevent or minimize incarceration, including the Nathaniel Project, the first alternative-to-incarceration program in Manhattan Supreme Court for adults with serious mental health conditions convicted of felony offenses, 
The U.S. has the highest prison population rate in the world. The reason for such high incarceration rates is not serious crimes but misguided policies such as mandatory minimums, three-strikes laws and reductions in the availability of parole and other early release mechanisms. The high incarceration rate is significant to individuals with mental health conditions because persons with mental health conditions are disproportionately incarcerated when compared to persons who do not have mental conditions. In fact, more than half of all those incarcerated in prison and jail had a mental health problem according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report issued in 2006 – the most recent BJS information available. Once incarcerated, they are more likely to incur disciplinary infractions, and Human Rights Watch recently reported that individuals with mental health conditions in jails and prisons are routinely physically abused by guards. They are also less likely to be released on bail, and they have longer jail and prison terms. In addition, they are more likely to incur technical probation violations once released. 
The presenters:
  • Dan Abreu, MS CRC LMHC has been a senior project associate at Policy Resource Associates since 2005. A senior technical assistance specialist for SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, Mr. Abreu provides technical assistance and support to the states that received Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery – Priority to Veterans grants, as well as the communities that were awarded SAMHSA Adult Treatment Court Collaborative grants. He also serves as a senior technical assistance specialist for PRA’s SAMHSA-funded Service Members, Veterans and their Families (SMVF)Technical Assistance Center. Mr. Abreu is a former associate director of operations at Central New York Psychiatric Center (CNYPC) and oversaw discharge planning activities for individuals with mental health conditions, as well as development and implementation of the Sing Sing Community Orientation and Re-entry Program (CORP). He formerly held positions with CNYPC as regional supervisor and chief of mental health services at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Previously, Mr. Abreu coordinated jail mental health services in Albany and Rensselaer counties in New York State. 
  • Ann-Marie Louison joined CASES in 1999 and is the co-founder of the Nathaniel Project, the first alternative-to-incarceration program in Manhattan Supreme Court for adults with serious mental health conditions convicted of felony offenses, which received the 2002 Thomas M. Wernert Award for Innovations in Community Behavioral Healthcare. In June 2003, the Project was licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health to provide evidence-based Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) services. Ms. Louison became Director of Mental Health Programs in 2002, overseeing Nathaniel ACTand subsequently launching the EXIT and Transitional Case Management programs. In 2011, CASES merged its Criminal Court and Mental Health programs into a new program group, Adult Behavioral Health, which Ms. Louison currently co-leads. She is also a consultant to the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center. Frequently sought as a national expert on jail diversion, in 2010 she participated on a panel of national experts convened by the National GAINS Center to reflect on conclusions from SAMHSA’s Targeted Capacity Expansion Jail Diversion cross-site evaluation. 
  • Christa Burkett, technical assistance coordinator of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, will facilitate.

Criminal Justice Issues for Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Will Be the Focus of a Special Clearinghouse Teleconference on May 18, 2015. Join us!

On May 18, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET, the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse will host a special one-hour national technical assistance and networking teleconference featuring a presentation on how to support individuals with mental health conditions who are incarcerated and how to help them transition successfully into the community. This will be followed by a discussion.

The call – part of the Clearinghouse’s monthly teleconference series – will be on Monday, May 18, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET, noon CT, 11 a.m. MT, 10 a.m. PT, 7 a.m. in Hawaii. The call-in number is 866-906-0123; the pass code is 5037195#.

According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report issued in 2006 – the most recent BJS information available – more than half of all those incarcerated in prison and jail had a mental health problem. This included 705,600 (56 percent) of individuals in State prisons, 78,800 (45 percent) in Federal prisons, and 479,900 (64 percent) in local jails. The number of individuals who had received mental health treatment – usually prescription medication – during their incarceration was only about one in three in State prisons, one in four in Federal prisons and one in six in jails.

At the same time, a number of state and local authorities have supported the development of a new forensic peer specialist workforce, which involves individuals with a history of mental health and/or incarceration who are in recovery and can provide support to others with criminal justice involvement. For example, beginning on June 22, 2015, the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers’ Association will be hosting a three-day forensic peer support training for certified peer specialists and veteran certified peer specialists. In addition, the Behavioral Health Training and Education Network (BH TEN) in Philadelphia provides forensic peer support training. The Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania runs the Forensic Targeted Case Management project, which helps individuals coming out of prison obtain community services, including housing, outpatient treatment, medical care, and connection to benefits/entitlements. And New York City’s Nathaniel Project is an alternative to incarceration for individuals with serious mental health conditions who have committed felonies. But much more is needed.

The presenter will be LaVerne Miller, JD, Senior Project Associate at Policy Research Associates, Inc., which operates SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation. Previously an Assistant District Attorney in New York County, Ms. Miller has since devoted her career to ensuring that the voices of individuals with mental health conditions, family members and youth – particularly individuals with histories of involvement with the Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice systems – are included in the planning, implementation, service delivery and evaluation of grant-supported projects. She is also deeply committed to addressing disparities and ensuring that individuals from underserved communities are partners in the design, planning and implementation of services in their communities. Before joining PRA, Ms. Miller was Director of the Howie T. Harp Peer Advocacy Center in New York City for more than 10 years. She has lived experience of a mental health condition.

Join us on May 18th at 1 p.m. ET! Again, the call-in number is 866-906-0123. The passcode is 5037195.


Proposals for free Hearing Voices Group Facilitation & Network Development Training in your region are now welcomed!

 Deadline for applications: June 1, 2015

The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care is pleased to announce that its Hearing Voices Research
and Development Fund has received $250,000 in funding for a 3-year project to bring Hearing Voices peer support groups to communities across the United States, and to research the mechanisms by which these
groups work. The project will train more than 100 facilitators in 5 regions and create a stronger regional and
local infrastructure of Hearing Voices peer-support groups across the USA. Once a greater number of groups
are up and running, the project will conduct a comprehensive study whose goal will be to identify the factors
promoting effectiveness of these groups.
Proposals are now welcomed from individuals and organizations who would like to be selected as one of the 5
project regions across the USA where the trainings will take place. (Participation in the research phase of the
project will be fully voluntary, regardless of whether or not someone has participated in any of these trainings.)
Guidelines for submitting applications:

Applications are now invited from interested individuals and organizations committed to establishing groups
and networks within their area. We expect demand to be high, so priority will be given to applications which:
  • Demonstrate collaborations between mental health organizations and peer-run community groups, or which involve a number of applicants from the same region
  • Are innovative in imagining ways to involve the public and to build the network in that area
To read more about the approach, see this recent article by the project administrators: Jacqui Dillon and
Gail A. Hornstein (2013). Hearing voices peer support groups: A powerful alternative for people in distress.
Psychosis, 5, 286-295.
For further information about the trainings, please contact: Caroline White, Coordinator, at (413) 539-5941 x316 or
To download an information sheet and proposal guidelines, please use this link:



Next Clearinghouse National TA and Networking Teleconference March 16 at 1 p.m. ET

The next monthly national technical assistance and networking teleconference of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse will be on Monday, March 16, at 1 p.m. ETnoon CT11 a.m. MT10 a.m. PT8 a.m. in Hawaii. The call-in number is 866-906-0123; the pass code is 5037195#. The purpose of the calls is for peer movement activists from around the U.S. to get together, share information, and “network.” Join us! If you have a topic or topics you would like to see discussed on this call, please write to Susan Rogers with the word “Agenda” in the subject line. 

In addition, if you plan to participate, even if you don’t want to suggest an agenda item it would be helpful if you would email Susan Rogers at; this will make it easier to provide the participants with teleconference minutes. Thanks! If you would like a copy of any of the available minutes, please write to with the word “Minutes” in the subject line. (The calls are held on the third Monday of the month except when that is a holiday, such as in January and February, in which case they are held on the fourth Monday.)

Exciting news! The national technical assistance and networking teleconference on April 20 will feature a presentation on career development for certified peer specialists followed by a discussion. Thousands of trained and certified behavioral health peer workers are now employed across the country, in most states with Medicaid reimbursement.  Efforts are also underway to develop national peer worker standards. As this new peer workforce grows, it’s essential to identify and create peer career development and promotion opportunities so that certified peer workers earn salaries consistent with their skills and are able to move ahead in their careers. Accomplishing this will require numerous strategies, including enabling certified peer workers to obtain academic credit and educational credentials. During our April 20th call, Jessica Wolf, founder of the Facebook Group “Education Pays! Peer Career Development,” will facilitate a discussion on individual and systemic peer career development strategies. We hope you will join us!

Jessica Wolf, Ph.D., is principal of Decision Solutions, a behavioral health workforce consulting practice emphasizing peer education, training, and employment. She is also an assistant clinical professor in the Yale University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.  Her extensive administrative and educational experience includes 16 years as coordinator of the Housatonic Community College MERGE Mental Health Certificate Program. She has personal and family experience of mental health conditions.

Our call on May 18 will feature a presentation on how to support individuals with mental health conditions who are incarcerated and how to help them transition successfully into the community. Details to follow!


Join the Clearinghouse for a webinar on Dec 18, 2014 at 2:00 PM EST.

Psychiatric Advance Directives: Why and How to Use this Vital Recovery Tool

Register now!

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is sponsoring a 90-minutewebinar on Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs) on Thursday, December 18, 2014, at 2 p.m. ET1 p.m. CTnoon MT11 a.m. PT

PADs are a legal health care tool that outlines the preferences of an individual with a mental health condition in regard to treatment, and designates a trusted advocate to make decisions on their behalf if they are incapacitated. This webinar will help individuals with a mental health condition, family members, and mental health providers to understand and utilize this important recovery tool. 

The webinar will feature presentations by Sue Walther, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania, and Adam Nester, public policy manager at the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania. 

Topics that will be covered include how to complete a PAD for yourself or with a family member or service participant, and providing greater clarity to individuals with mental health conditions and trusted advocates (often family members) as to their roles in advance mental health care planning.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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