News and Alerts
Alternatives 2013 Early-Bird Registration Is Extended and Keynote Speakers Are Announced!
The deadline for Alternatives 2013 early-bird registration has been extended to October 8! The roster of keynote speakers includes Paolo del Vecchio, MSW, director, Center for Mental Health Services; Chacku Mathai, associate executive director, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services; William Kellibrew IV of the William Kellibrew Foundation; and Marty Hadge of the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community. Alternatives – the oldest national conference organized by and for individuals active in the mental health consumer/survivor/peer recovery movement – will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, Texas, from Wednesday, December 4, through Saturday, December 7, 2013. The theme of the conference, which is being organized by the National Empowerment Center, is “Building Inclusive Communities: Valuing Every Voice.” To register or for more information, please click on the source below.
Web Guide to Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Mental Health Conditions Is Published
Mental Health America has published an online resource “that provides a comparative, research-based approach [to] complementary and alternative treatments for mental health conditions”; it is available by clicking here. The website evaluates SAM-e (which has been used in Europe for more than three decades), fish oil, rhodiola (which “has long been employed in Eurasian traditional medicine”), DHEA (a natural steroid), CES (Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation), yoga, meditation, and ginkgo biloba (an ancient Chinese herbal remedy). For more information, please see the source below.
Study Finds Psychiatric Factors Are Not Linked To Multiple Homicide Victims
A study published in the September 2013 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry found “no relationship between the presence of psychiatric disorders and the use of firearms. Also, the presence of a psychiatric disorder was not related to offenses involving multiple victims.” According to the study, these findings would seem to “counter the popular notion . . . that perpetrators of mass gun violence are invariably mentally ill.” The study looked at defendants charged with homicide in a U.S. urban county between 2001 and 2005 who received a psychiatric evaluation after arrest. “The study identified only 15 individuals – just 5 percent of the sample – who had a mental disorder and no co-occurring substance use disorder.”
“What Is It Like to Hear Voices?” A New Study Seeks Answers
Hearing the Voice (a project of Durham University in the U.K.), in collaboration with the Lived Experience Research Network (LERN), is seeking participants for an online survey – which can be completed anonymously – on the experience of hearing voices. This study “invites people who hear voices to reflect upon important aspects of their experience – such as moods and emotions, or bodily sensations – which may not usually be the subject of attention, especially in clinical settings. You can find out more about the study, and take part, by clicking here. The study will run until November 29.”
Free Help Available to Get Ready for the “Health Insurance Marketplace”
A 30-minute narrated training toolkit to make sure that “people with lived experience of mental health labels and histories are aware of their new options for coverage under the Health Care Law, and that they understand how to take advantage of these options” may be downloaded for free by clicking here. The toolkit – “Getting Ready for the Health Insurance Marketplace” – is a product of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery and the National Empowerment Center, which have partnered with SAMHSA and other national organizations in this effort. The NCMHR helped create the toolkit to “facilitate our efforts to educate consumers about the new Health Care Law, what the Law means for them, and how they can take advantage of the new options for better, more affordable health coverage.” For more information, see the source below.
New Tool Is Created to Help Reduce Reincarceration and Unemployment Among Adults with Criminal Histories; and a Model Online Resource Is Launched for Philadelphians on Probation or Parole
On Sept. 19, the Council of State Governments Justice Center released “Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies: Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Job Readiness,” “a starting point for cross-systems collaborations to reduce reincarceration and unemployment among adults with criminal histories.” The document is available for free download by clicking here. Other information on this topic is available at the first source below. At the same time, a model online resource has been launched in Philadelphia to connect people leaving prison with community resources to ease their reentry into the community. The resource is available by clicking here.
Thanks to NYAPRS Enews
New Web Resource Provides a Hub of Information about ECT
Every year, an estimated 100,000 Americans receive electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – usually to treat severe depression – and many mental health professionals (including those at such established institutions as the Mayo Clinic) promote it as safe and effective, according to a recent article in USA Today. However, other experts believe that the negative impact of ECT on the brain outweighs any potential benefits. Now Peter Breggin, M.D., long a critic of the controversial procedure, has launched a website with links to blogs, brochures, and more than 125 scientific articles about the effects of ECT. The website is available at the following link: http://www.ectresources.org/.
National Mental Health Observances Are Coming Up in October
In 1990, the U.S. Congress designated the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in recognition of NAMI's efforts to raise mental illness awareness. (In 2013, MIAW runs from Oct. 6 through Oct. 12, but is sometimes indicated as Oct. 7-13.) October is also National Bullying Prevention Month and National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. Oct. 8 is the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding; and Oct. 10 marks World Mental Health Day, National Bipolar Awareness Day, and National Depression Screening Day. Oct. 13-19 is ADHD Awareness Week and Oct. 14-20 is OCD Awareness Week.
“Say It Forward” Campaign Fights Prejudice with Truth
Say It Forward 2013 is an email and social media campaign – promoted by the International Bipolar Foundation and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – that seeks to “separate myth from fact and help those facing mental health issues feel comfortable seeking care and support,” according to IBPF executive director Scott Suckow. To get involved, click here between Sept. 30 and Oct. 10 “and share the myths and facts of mental illness by email, Facebook, and/or Twitter.”
NYAPRS 2013 Annual Conference PowerPoints Are Available for Free Download
The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services has posted this year’s PowerPoints on its website at the source below. NYAPRS writes, “This year’s Annual Conference was another great success, filled with inspiring keynotes, timely informative workshops and most importantly – you, our NYAPRS family! . . . Please continually check our website for more information on the 2014 Conference; we hope to see you there.”
Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy Has Launched an Organization to Convene Advocates
Former congressman Patrick Kennedy, who has lived experience of a mental health condition, is looking forward to “bringing together the brightest minds and the boldest voices in the mental health, substance use, and intellectual disability community” for “a national conversation on mental health.” The inaugural Kennedy Forum will take place in Boston on October 23-24, 2013. For more information about the forum, please see http://thekennedyforum.org/.
Thanks to Sarah Nathan
Coffee Is Linked to Lower Suicide Risk
A Harvard University study has reported that drinking at least two to three 8-ounce cups of caffeinated coffee a day cuts the risk of suicide approximately in half compared to drinking one or fewer cups a day, Psychiatric Times reports. The results were distilled from three large studies of Americans who responded to validated food-frequency questionnaires every four years. (Caffeine consumption from other sources was considered but the major caffeine source was coffee.) Out of the 208,424 individuals studied, there were 277 deaths as a result of suicide. According to a Harvard University press release, “Caffeine not only stimulates the central nervous system but may act as a mild antidepressant by boosting production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. This could explain the lower risk of depression among coffee drinkers that had been found in past epidemiological studies, the researchers reported.”
SAMHSA Presents 2013 VOICE Awards on September 25 in Los Angeles
On September 25 at a ceremony in Los Angeles, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognized the achievements of consumer/peer leaders and members of the entertainment industry. Joseph Rogers, executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Consumer/Peer Leadership Awards were presented to Drew Horn, Freehold, N.J.; Robert McKinley Gilmore, Sr., Houston, Texas; Mia St. John, Calabasas, Calif.; Jennifer Constantine, Rapid City, S.D.; and William Kellibrew, Washington, D.C. The Young Adult Leadership Award was presented to Lauren Grimes of Baltimore, Md. SAMHSA also honored writers and producers “who incorporate dignified, respectful, and accurate portrayals of people with behavioral health challenges into film and television productions.” This year’s finalists were “Silver Linings Playbook” (The Weinstein Company), “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (Summit Entertainment), “Elementary” (CBS), “The Newsroom” (HBO), “Call Me Crazy: A Five Film” (Lifetime), “NCIS” (CBS), “Homeland” (Showtime), and “Perception” (TNT). David O. Russell, writer and director of “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Fighter,” received a Career Achievement Award. SAMHSA also presented former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy and retired U.S. Army General Peter Chiarelli with Special Recognition Awards for their work to reduce the discrimination and misperceptions associated with people with behavioral health problems and to increase access to behavioral health services and supports.
Monthly National Networking Teleconferences Will Alternate Between Day and Evening!
Because some people have let us know that they would like to participate in the monthly national networking teleconferences of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse but they can’t do so during the workday, we will be alternating daytime (on the third Monday of the month, unless that is a holiday, in which case the call will take place on the fourth Monday of the month) and evening hours (on the third Tuesday of the month) for the teleconferences. The next teleconference will be held Monday, October 21, at 1 p.m. ET, noon CT, 11 a.m. MT, 10 a.m. PT. The call-in number is 866-906-0123; the pass code is 5037195#. The purpose of the call is for peer movement activists from around the U.S. to get together, share information, and “network.” Join us! Again, the next call will take place on Monday, October 21, at 1 p.m. ET, noon CT, 11 a.m. MT, 10 a.m. PT. (The November call will take place on Tuesday, November 19, at 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT, 6 p.m. MT, 5 p.m. PT.) If you have a topic or topics you would like to see discussed on this call, please write to Susan Rogers firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com; this will make it easier to provide the participants with teleconference minutes. Thanks! (The minutes of the August and September 2013 calls will be available soon!)
Consumer-Driven Services Directory
The Clearinghouse welcomes all programs in which consumers play a significant role in leadership and operation to apply for inclusion in its Directory of Consumer-Driven Services. The directory, accessible at http://www.cdsdirectory.org, is searchable by location, type of organization, and targeted clientele, and serves as a free resource for consumers, program administrators and researchers. Apply online at http://www.cdsdirectory.org/database/cds.php, via fax at 215-636-6312, or by phone at 800-553-4KEY (4539). To receive an application by mail, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or NMHCSH Clearinghouse, 1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19107.
About The Key Update
The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. Volume 10, No. 3, September 2013, http://www.mhselfhelp.org