News & Alerts

The National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse is dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date information on mental health and consumer issues. In an effort to keep you informed and to respond to your needs, we update our Web site regularly. Look here first to find the latest additions to our site.


JAMA Publishes Several Letters Responding to Misguided Article Calling for a Return to Long-term Psychiatric Institutions

Among the letters published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 313, No. 17, May 5, 2015) is a letter by Susan Rogers, director of the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse. The letters begin at the top of the second column on page 1755; Rogers' letter begins at the bottom of page 1755 and continues on page 1756. The letters are in response to an article entitled "Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care: Bring Back the Asylum," by Dominic A. Sisti, PhD, Andrea G. Segal, MS, and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, which was published in JAMA, Vol. 313, No. 3, Jan. 20, 2015. The authors' response to the letters begins at the bottom of page 1757.

Read Letters Here


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.


Join us for an exciting webinar hosted by the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse!

Peer Leadership in Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) Services: From Program Development to Outcome Evaluation

Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Time: 2 p.m. ET (90 minutes)

To Register, Click Here

Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) specialty services are exploding around the U.S. following the recent 5 percent Mental Health Block Grant set-aside for early intervention services. While many EIP programs include (or plan to include) some element of peer support and/or family support, questions remain as to how to ensure meaningful peer involvement that significantly impacts services.

In this webinar, the presenters will discuss both the real-world challenges of robust peer involvement and the potential for such involvement to transform – rather than merely augment – services across the domains of planning, service delivery, policy, and evaluation. The webinar will also cover strategies and insights from the Hearing Voices Movement and similar approaches. It will explore the meaning of young people’s experiences and the impact of such experiences on vocational and social identity.

The presenters:
  • Nev Jones, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and a community psychologist by training. Her work focuses on the phenomenology of voices, early intervention, and the sociocultural determinants of recovery following a first break. She is involved in multiple national initiatives related to the 5 percent set-aside, and is herself an alumna of an EIP service. 
  • Irene Hurford, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, and the program director for the Psychosis Education, Assessment, Care, and Empowerment (PEACE) program at Horizon House. Previously she led the Severe Mental Illness Treatment Team at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. Her clinical and research work focuses on cognition in schizophrenia, treatment of early episode psychosis, and functional and quality of life improvements in young people with psychosis. 
  • Berta Britz, MSW, is a certified peer specialist at Creating Increased Connections through Education and Support (CIC) in Montgomery County, Pa. She is strongly committed to promoting acceptance of the experience of hearing voices; and her ministry, “Hearing Voices and Healing,” is supported by the Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. She helped develop and now coordinates the Montgomery County Hearing Voices Network, which offers systems and community education and eight Taking Back Our Power Hearing Voices self-help/peer support groups, two of which are designed specifically for young people. Her commitment to developing different responses to early anomalous, or “psychotic,” experiences stems from her lived experience. 
  • Christa Burkett, technical assistance coordinator of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, will facilitate.

To Register, Click Here


Special National TA and Networking Teleconference on April 20 Will Feature a Presentation on Career Development for CPS

A presentation on career development for certified peer specialists followed by a discussion will be the focus of the next monthly national technical assistance and networking teleconference of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. The call will be on Monday, April 20, 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#.

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.

Join us on April 20th at 1 p.m. ET! Again, the call-in number is 866-906-0123. The passcode is 5037195.


Alternatives 2015 Seeks Volunteers!

Peerlink National Technical Assistance Center is seeking volunteers for the Alternatives 2015 Planning Committees. For more information and to apply for one or more of the committees, click here.