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The Key Update, Volume 11, Number 3 - September 2014

Alternatives 2014 Is an Approved Provider of CEUs!

$425 Registration Rate Extended Through October 9!

There are only 24 days left before Alternatives 2014, to be held at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando, Florida, October 22-26, 2014! Something new: Alternatives 2014 is now an approved provider of Continuing Education Credit (CEU) by the Florida Certification Board! CEUs can be earned by attending conference sessions; you will receive 1 CEU for every hour of a session you attend. In order to receive CEUs, complete and return the form at the Registration Desk. You must also receive a stamp for each session you attend. You will receive your CEU certificates of participation via e-mail after the conference. If you have questions about CEUs, please e-mail or call Erik Soto at esoto@mhasp.org or 267-507-3894. Also, the $425 registration rate has been extended through October 9! To register, click here. For the registration form in Spanish, click here. To book your hotel room, click here. Suggestions for seeking funding are available on the conference website if you click here. The deadline to sign up for an exhibit table has been extended while tables last. For the exhibitor application, click here. For more information about the conference, please visit the Alternatives 2014 website: http://alternatives2014.mhasp.org.


Pre-Conference Arts Event on Wednesday at Alternatives 2014!

There will be a special pre-conference arts event on Wednesday, Oct. 22, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Creative Dialogue: Creating, Teaching and Celebrating – for all early bird attendees who are artistically inclined. It will take place in Caribbean III. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a variety of recovery-oriented creative expression activities, including painting, collaging, making music, and writing poetryFrom 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., participants will gather together in a circle to share their creative endeavors and talk about the importance of art as part of wellness, recovery and healing. Thanks to Bluebird, Sharon Wise, and Franzswa Watson for coordinating this event! 


Engage in Social Media at Alternatives 2014, Including a Pre-Conference Workshop on Twitter!

Be part of the conversation by sharing your Alternatives 2014 conference experience on Twitter and Facebook! You can Tweet quotes and highlights during sessions, and post photos and short videos! Post to Twitter with our hashtag #AltCon14. (All Tweets are the opinions of individuals and do not constitute endorsement or recommendation by SAMHSA.) And if you’re new to social media, you can learn to use Twitter by attending a pre-conference workshop on “Using Twitter to Learn, Share and Connect: Introductory Hands-On Orientation,” taught by Leah Harris and Tanya Naranjo! (Thanks, Leah and Tanya!) The session will take place in the Multicultural Room (Grand Sierra C) on Wednesday, Oct. 22, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Here is the workshop description: “Do you want to use Twitter but find it intimidating to get started? What are hashtags and how are they used? What is ‘live Tweeting’ and how does one do that? In this hands-on introductory session, you will discover how to use Twitter to learn, share, and connect. Please plan to bring your smartphone, tablet, or laptop with the Twitter application downloaded, and an account created. To sign up with Twitter, click here.”


SAMHSA Offers a “New, Evidence-Based Recovery Tool”

“SAMHSA’s new, evidence-based recovery tool – Taking Action: A Mental Health Recovery Self-Help Educational Program – can help health care officials, providers, and peers promote recovery and wellness for individuals with mental and/or substance use disorders. Taking Action includes 24 training sessions educating individuals about self-help concepts, mental health management, and other effective ways of promoting ongoing recovery. It also helps individuals identify and attain their life and vocational goals, improve self-esteem, and become full contributing members of the community.” To obtain a copy of Taking Actionclick here


SAMHSA Report on Substance Use and Mental Health Conditions Is Released

According to a recently released report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older had used illegal drugs (mostly commonly marijuana) in the previous month – this is 9.4 percent of this age group. In addition, the report notes that 34.6 million adults aged 18 or older (14.6 percent of this population) had received mental health treatment or counseling in the previous 12 months. “Nearly one in five American adults (18.5 percent), or 43.8 million adults, had a mental illness in 2013,” according to the report. “Ten million adults (4.2 percent of the adult population) had a serious mental illness in the past year. Serious mental illness is defined as mental illness that resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interfered with, or limited, one or more major life activities.” The report is available by clicking here.


Website Offers Information about Free Webinars for Mental Health Professionals

The “Social Work Career Development” blog “helps social workers (and other mental health professionals) with their professional development.” “This site provides a variety of social work career resources such as: roundups of webinars and best in mental health posts from around the web, self-care, interviews with mental health professionals on different modalities/practices, key learnings from trainings, as well as LMSW licensing exam strategies, interviewing tips and more.” Although not all of the webinars will be of interest to those in the mental health arena, October 2014 webinar topics include “Providing Financial Planning, Coaching and Education to People with Disabilities, Part I” (Oct. 1), “WHAM: Feedback from Graduates, Research, and Billable Funding of Peer Program” (Oct. 6), “Supporting Homeless LGBTQ Youth Through Better Access to Care,” (Oct. 8), “Self-Compassion and Psychological Well-Being” (Oct. 9), “Is Bipolar Disorder an Energy Disorder? Evidence and Novel Treatments” (Oct. 14), and “Making Connections and Networking for a Coordinated Community Response” (Oct. 29). For information on more than three dozen webinars in October, click here.


First Fridays with BRSS TACS: “Health Information Technology Tools to Support Recovery”

On Oct. 3, BRSS TACS (Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy) will host its October “First Friday” event, “an opportunity for participants to meet with national recognized leaders to discuss specific topics each month.” The October topic is “Health Information Technology Tools to Support Recovery,” and the expert is Wayne Centrone, NMD, MPH, of the Center for Social Innovation. Participants join by calling the phone number provided and entering the “Adobe Connect Room” online by clicking the link provided. “Please ensure that you have downloaded Adobe Connect on your computer prior to the event.” For more information, click here. To register, click here.


Bazelon Offers Free Supported Employment Guide

The Bazelon Center has released Getting to Work: Promoting Employment of People with Mental Illness, a guide that details the benefits of helping individuals with mental health conditions find competitive employment via supported employment services. Bazelon writes: “Employment has been widely recognized as a fundamental part of recovery and of community integration for people with serious mental illness. Yet mental health systems have long operated under the mistaken assumption that people with serious mental illness cannot work….Getting to Work describes how supported employment services can change this, the successful outcomes they secure, the cost savings they produce for states, and how they enable states to fulfill their legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also offers recommendations to help states expand the availability of supported employment services for people with serious mental illness.” The full report is available for free download by clicking here.


National Dialogues on Behavioral Health Conference in New Orleans, Nov. 2-5                                 

 A national conference titled “Opportunities in Behavioral Health Crisis Services: What Is the New Frontier?” will take place at the Renaissance Arts Hotel in New Orleans Nov. 2-5, 2014. On Nov. 2, there will be a pre-conference workshop entitled “Implementing Trauma-Informed Approaches across Service Systems.” The conference organizers write: “What happens when a person experiences a behavioral health crisis? Unfortunately, inappropriate involvement with law enforcement and hospitalization is often the result. The question is: What should happen?” The conference will focus on “issues and models related to services for persons experiencing a behavioral health crisis.” The conference is co-sponsored by the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors and the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education. For more information and to register, click here.


Most Churches Do Not Address Congregants’ Mental Health Conditions

Protestant clergy rarely preach about mental health conditions to their congregations and only a quarter of congregations have a plan in place to help congregants deal with mental health challenges, according to a new LifeWay Research survey of a thousand Protestant pastors. Sixty-six percent of the respondents reported that they mention mental health once a year or never; 26 percent talk about it several times a year; 4 percent mention it once a month, and only 3 percent talk about it several times a month. Although 68 percent of pastors said that their church maintains a list of local mental health resources for congregants, only 28 percent of families are aware of such resources, the survey found. Ironically, nearly a quarter of pastors surveyed – 23 percent – said they had personally experienced a mental health challenge. For the LifeWay report, click here. For the article about the study, click here.


Some Video Games Could Help People Deal with Mental Health Issues, Researchers Say

Some new video games have been developed to help people who have mental health challenges. According to the developer of one such game, Personal Zen (a smartphone app), “We can train an anxious person to pay less attention to threat, to pay more attention to positive things in the game, and then that eventually transfers to how they look at and pay attention in the real world.” According to the developer’s research, the brain begins to process negative information differently after only 20 minutes of playing the game. Another game, Superbetter, is being studied by the federal government, according to a recent article on the website of the Chicago CBS affiliate. At the same time, at least one developer of such a video game has come under attack. According to a recent article in The New Yorker, Zoe Quinn, who developed the award-winning gameDepression Quest, has been the target of criticism and threats. But Quinn has gone ahead anyway. She told The New Yorker: “I can’t in good conscience hold back offering someone something that could help them start making real changes in their life for the sake of reducing the risk of offending people or hurting my own reputation.” To read The New Yorker story, click here.


National Conference Focused on Fighting Stigma to Take Place Feb. 18-20, 2015

The 7th International Together Against Stigma conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Feb. 18-20, 2015; there will be a pre-conference institute on Feb. 17. The theme of the conference is “Together Against Stigma: Each Mind Matters.” The conference is organized in partnership with the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions, the California Mental Health Services Authority, the World Psychiatric Association Scientific Section on Stigma and Mental Health, and the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California. For more information, click here.


Senate Committee Approves Second Chance Reauthorization Act

On Sept. 18, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to reauthorize the Second Chance Act, which was designed to improve outcomes for people returning to communities after incarceration. This landmark legislation authorizes federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide support strategies and services designed to reduce recidivism by improving outcomes for people returning from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. A recent report highlighted eight states that had successfully reduced three-year recidivism rates for adults released in 2007 and 2010. The report is available for free download by clicking here. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act now goes to the full Senate for consideration. “Investing in reentry programs improves public safety and saves taxpayer dollars. It is also the right thing to do,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, a co-author of the bipartisan legislation, said in a prepared statement. “Many of the states represented on this Committee have benefitted from these programs and seen reductions in their recidivism rates. That is why it enjoys the support of law enforcement, the faith community, and members of both parties in the House and Senate.” For more information, click here.


No Monthly National Networking Teleconference in October; the Teleconferences Will Resume in November

The monthly national networking teleconferences of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-HelpClearinghouse alternate between 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). There will not be a teleconference in October. The next teleconference will be on Monday, November 17, 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 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 srogers@mhasp.org 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 srogers@mhasp.org; 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 srogers@mhasp.org with the word “Minutes” in the subject line.


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 athttp://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 athttp://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 info@cdsdirectory.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 11, No. 3, September 2014, http://www.mhselfhelp.org. For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at 800-553-4539 x3812, 267-507-3812 (direct) orsrogers@mhasp.org.