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The Key Update, Volume 9, Number 6 - December 2013

News and Alerts

SAMHSA Seeks Applications for 2013 State Peer Awards for Health Reform Education

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has issued a Request for Applications for its 2013 State Peer Awards for Health Reform Education, under its BRSS TACS (Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy) initiative. These awards – which will go to eight peer-run organizations, each of which will receive a $25,000, six-month subcontract – are intended “to promote wide-scale adoption of recovery-oriented supports, services, and systems for people in recovery from substance use disorders, mental health problems, and/or co-occurring disorders.” An optional letter of intent is due by Jan. 7, 2013, at 5 p.m. ET. The complete application is due Feb. 1, 2013, by 5 p.m. ET. Details are available at http://brsstacs.center4si.com/State_Peer_Awards_2013.doc

Source: http://www.samhsa.gov

Nomination Deadline Extended for National Council Awards of Excellence

The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare has extended the deadline to submit nominations for its Awards of Excellence to January 10, 2013. The awards include the Reintegration Awards, which “celebrate the achievements of those who dedicate themselves to improving the lives of individuals with serious mental illnesses, as well as those living with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder [who] battle the odds to improve their own lives and the lives of their peers”; the Welcome Back Awards, which were created “to fight the stigma associated with depression and to promote the understanding that depression is treatable”; and the Impact Awards, which were created by the National Council “to honor distinguished behavioral healthcare individuals and organizations. . . .” (The Reintegration Awards and the Welcome Back Awards are sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company.) More information is available at www.thenationalcouncil.org/awards or contact awards@thenationalcouncil.org or 202-684-7457, ext. 262.

Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nominations-now-open-for-the-national-council-awards-of-excellence-179698411.html


CDC Launches New Campaign to Encourage Smokers to Quit

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is ramping up efforts to get smokers to quit. The agency’s “Commit to Quit Smoking in 2013” campaign says quitting may be “the most important resolution you ever make. Help is available to help you stop smoking for good.” Smokers can start by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). That number will connect people with stop-smoking programs in their respective states, and they can talk with coaches who can provide free advice and support, as well as written information and resources. In addition, the federal government has launched a new website that “brings together the best information the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has on the health effects of tobacco, quitting smoking, and more.” The site is available at http://betobaccofree.hhs.gov/ 

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/smokingcessation/index.html 

Thanks to the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline Offers Immediate Crisis Counseling

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a national hotline dedicated to providing disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free Disaster Distress Helpline, which operates 24/7, “is confidential and multilingual, and available for those who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of natural or manmade disasters, incidents of mass violence, or any other tragedy affecting America’s communities. Our texting service also is available to Spanish speakers. Text ‘Hablanos’ to 66746 for 24/7 emotional support. TTY for Deaf/Hearing Impaired: 1-800-846-8517.” The Helpline can also be accessed online at the source below.

Source: http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/

Newsletter on Medicaid Expansion Available from Café TA Center

The latest edition of the CAFÉ TA Center’s “Focus” newsletter covers Medicaid expansion: “Right now, states are deciding whether or not to opt in to the part of the Affordable Care Act that will allow them to add newly eligible individuals to their Medicaid roles. As many individuals with behavioral health needs are single adults [who] would qualify for Medicaid if expansion in their states were to move forward, the issue of potential expansion becomes particularly relevant. To help describe what’s at stake, and how an expanded Medicaid program would work, The CAFE TAC is pleased to share this new Focus on Medicaid Expansion, available at the following link: http://cafetacenter.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Focus-22-final-draft.pdf.”

Source: http://cafetacenter.net/2012/12/whats-at-stake-in-medicaid-expansion


Research Indicates That Young People with Psychosis Should Try Talk Therapy Before Other Treatments

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggests that youth who are considered at “ ‘ultra-high risk’ for a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia” should engage in talk therapy before trying antipsychotic medications, which have risks and negative side effects. The study involved 115 individuals between the ages of 14 and 30 at a clinic in Melbourne, Australia. The study participants either had low-level psychotic symptoms, had had previous brief psychotic episodes that resolved without treatment, or had a close relative diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, coupled with “low mental functioning” during the previous year, according to the article on the PsychCentral blog (see the source below). The three types of treatment that were studied were talk therapy plus a low dose of risperidone, talk therapy along with a placebo, or therapy “emphasizing social and emotional support” along with a placebo. The study found no significant difference among the groups after a year. However, nearly 40 percent of the study participants dropped out; this may have affected the results, the researchers said. Despite the dropout rate, the author of the study noted that there is “no evidence to suggest that antipsychotic medications are needed in first-line” treatment.

Source: http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/12/19/talk-therapy-touted-as-first-line-treatment-for-youth-with-psychosis-risk/49355.html

Thanks to Dan Fisher

Three 2013 Conferences – in Winter, Spring, and Summer, Respectively – Are Coming Up

Three conferences – about WRAP, suicidology, and rural mental health issues, respectively – are planned over the next few months. The WRAP Around the World Conference, in Oakland, Calif., will be held Jan. 25-27, 2013. A Copeland Center spokesperson writes that WRAP Around the World “will bring together hundreds of people who are committed to enhancing their wellness. In addition to lots of interesting workshops, Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D., Robert Whitaker, and B.J. North will keynote. There will be plenary sessions on transition-age youth as well as WRAP internationally.” The 2013 conference of the American Association of Suicidology will be held April 24-27, 2013, at the Hilton Hotel in Austin, Tex. Its theme is “Challenging Our Assumptions and Moving Forward Together.” And the 2013 annual conference of the National Association for Rural Mental Health will be held July 31-August 3, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio in San Antonio, Tex. The theme of the conference is “Lassoing Rural Solutions for Rural Challenges.” For more information on the three conferences, respectively, see the sources below.

Sources: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e5qlu6zm8c0f1f6b&llr=xdytm6cab 


Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) Peer Trainings Are Offered

The National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council) now offers two-day in-person trainings in WHAM – Whole Health Action Management. In a press release, WHAM is described as “a new science-based program that teaches participants to set and achieve whole health goals through weekly action plans and eight-week support groups. The training prepares persons with mental illness and addiction disorders, employed in behavioral health organizations, to facilitate WHAM groups that help their peers reach whole health, wellness, and resiliency goals through effective self-management. . . . WHAM was developed by peers for peers to help them improve chronic health and behavioral health conditions.” The training is based on the WHAM curriculum developed by the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (run by the National Council) to promote whole health self-management and strengthen the peer workforce’s role in integrated healthcare delivery. “WHAM offers new tools for consumers to engage their peers and prepares the healthcare workforce for a future that demands a whole health perspective,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council. For more information, see the source below.

Source: http://www.thenationalcouncil.org/cs/press_releases/eight_weeks_to_whole_health_national_council_offers_wham_peer_trainings

Thanks to NYAPRS Enews


Judges’ Ruling Could Have “Broad Ramifications” for Drug Companies, New York Times Reports

In a recent two-to-one decision, a federal appeals court for the Second Circuit in Manhattan overturned the conviction of a pharmaceutical company sales representative who sold a medication for off-label uses – that is, uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The court’s decision was predicated on the grounds that “the ban on so-called off-label marketing violated the representative’s freedom of speech,” The New York Times reported recently. However, the dissenting judge argued that, by its decision, “the majority calls into question the very foundations of our century-old system of drug regulation,” and that if pharmaceutical manufacturers “were allowed to promote FDA-approved drugs for non-approved uses, they would have little incentive to seek FDA approval for those uses.” Although the current decision applies only to the Second Circuit, if the government appeals the decision – which some say is likely – the case could make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. As matters stand, some drug manufacturers have had to pay huge fines for promoting medications for unapproved uses, due to the premise that promoting medications or medical devices off-label is unlawful. 

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/business/ruling-backs-drug-industry-on-off-label-marketing.html


Two Studies of Schizophrenia Support Its Link to Poverty and Inequality

Two recent studies published in Schizophrenia Bulletin support the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emphasis on the social determinants of health as “mostly responsible for health inequities – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries.” (WHO defines the “social determinants of health” as the circumstances people are born into and live and die in, which are “shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources.”) In one study, British researchers found that more individuals were diagnosed with schizophrenia in economically depressed urban areas. Scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Queen Mary University in London studied 427 adults diagnosed with schizophrenia and found a link between that diagnosis and increased levels of deprivation, population density and inequality. The study suggests that individuals who live in poorer areas were 4 percent more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. Another study, entitled “The Myth of Schizophrenia as a Progressive Brain Disease,” found that it is not a progressive brain disease, that most people with that diagnosis can achieve recovery, and that “[t]he fact that some experience deterioration in functioning over time may reflect poor access, or adherence, to treatment, the effects of concurrent conditions, and social and financial impoverishment.”

Sources: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/417181/20121220/schizophrenia-linked-deprivation-poverty-inequality-urban-areas.htm 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23172002 http://www.who.int/social_determinants/en/ Thanks to NYAPRS Enews

Federal Law Will No Longer Include the Word “Lunatic”

In a 398-to-1 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives has agreed to strike the word “lunatic” from federal law, according to an Associated Press (AP) story published in The New York Times. The Senate version of the bill passed in May 2012; one of its sponsors said that “the continued use of this pejorative term has no place in the U.S. code.” According to the AP story, the sole dissenting vote in the House was by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who said that “not only should we not eliminate the word ‘lunatic’ from federal law when the most pressing issue of the day is saving our country from bankruptcy, we should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/us/house-votes-to-eliminate-lunatic-from-laws.html


You Are Invited to a Monthly National Networking Teleconference!

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse invites you to participate in our monthly national networking teleconferences. The next teleconference is Monday, January 28, at 1 p.m. ET. The calls usually take place the third Monday of every month at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, noon Central Time, 11 a.m. Mountain Time, and 10 a.m. Pacific Time. However, if the third Monday is a national holiday – such as is the case in January, when the commemoration of the birth of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. takes place on the third Monday – the call takes place on the fourth Monday. 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! The next call will take place on Monday, January 28, 2012, at 1 p.m. ET, noon CT, 11 a.m. MT, 10 a.m. PT. 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.

Source: http://www.mhselfhelp.org

Do You Operate, or Know of, a Warm Line?

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is assembling a list of warm lines around the country. If you operate or know of a warm line, please share this information with us by emailing info@mhselfhelp.org or calling 800-553-4539.
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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/contact, via fax at 215-636-6312, or by phone at 800-553-4KEY (4539). To receive an application by mail, write to info@mhselfhelp.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 9 No.6, December 2012, http://www.mhselfhelp.org