January - February 2012 Newsletter
From the Director
This week I visited the national Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and spent some time reflecting on parallels between the civil rights and mental health liberation movements. The words on the statue are “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” I was reminded that while we have come a long way, we still have a very long way to go for full equality, rights, self-determination, choice, and the pursuit of liberty, happiness, and access to a full life in the community. I am optimistic about our future, for as Dr. King so eloquently said: “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”.
2012 has started with a great blast of hopeful energy. People with the lived experience of mental health recovery are increasingly taking our place at the head tables where decisions are being made. Join us on February 27 at 3pm EST for the National Coalition's Annual Teleconference on Leadership. More information is in the Events section, below.
Chaos and budget-tightening creates new opportunities as we move from a competitive consumption economy to one more focused on sharing resources and working cooperatively.
Healthcare reform moves forward. Technical expert panels on a variety of topics are being held to find national consensus about treatments, services and supports, and the essential health benefits comment period is now open. With no federal benefits package it is up to the states to determine benefits. We need highly coordinated efforts in each state to include the voice of people with the lived experience of recovery (of course) and representatives from the office of the Governor, the state Medicaid director, the Insurance Commissioner, and appropriate people from other state agencies. Focus on where you can make the biggest impact in the next 6-8 months.
Wellness made a big step forward in 2011 with the first ever National Wellness Week (Sept 19-25, 2011) in which over 100 communities mobilized in 36 states and organized local activities which attracted more than 6 million web page views. Half of the activities were led by peer-run organizations.
The National Coalition’s first elected board of directors is making strides in filling more board seats and continuing to work towards organizing the US by region and increasing our membership. Click here for the membership application.
Emotional CPR, our public health education program that teaches lay people how to assist others through emotional crisis is expanding across the US and overseas. To read more about eCPR, click here. Speaking of eCPR - please join us for a free Introduction to eCPR webinar on February 16, 2012 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm EST (10:00 – 11:30 am PST). Click here for more information and to register.
Remember to surround yourself with support and celebrate your victories every day.
Here’s to a great 2012!!
Help support our work to promote a mental health system that meets our real needs.
OpEd: Forced Treatment Doesn't Work
Here is an excerpt from the USA Today OpEd written by Joseph Rogers, executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse:
Studies have shown that what works is not force but access to effective services. We don't need to change the laws to make it easier to lock people up; existing laws provide for that when warranted. Instead, we need to create and fund effective community-based mental health services and supports that would make it attractive for people to come in and receive care, and that would support them in their recovery. We also must end the discrimination that discourages people from seeking help. [Click here to access the USA Today OpEd] [Click here for a version with complete references]
eCPR Featured in the SAMHSA ADS Center Information Update
eCPR was featured in the most recent issue of the SAMHSA ADS Center Information Update: Promising Practices for Social Inclusion: Peer-Provided Respite Care—Innovative Practices that Promote Wellness and Recovery. To read about eCPR and other promising practices, click here.
SAMHSA Releases New Definition of Recovery
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a new working definition of "recovery" from mental health and substance use issues. The new definition now states that recovery is a "process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential." For further detailed information about the new working recovery definition or the guiding principles of recovery please visit: www.samhsa.gov/recovery
So, What's Wrong with Hearing Voices?
Hearing Voices Network featured on Major Provider Website
At a New York City forum some 50 professionals and consumers considered two unusual but important questions: "How unusual is it to hear voices?" and "What can I do about it?" The forum brought information about a growing international organization, the Hearing Voices Network that embarked on a nationwide training effort early in 2011, hoping to train voice-hearers how to create and facilitate HVN groups across the United States. The session was presented by two voice-hearers, Daniel Hazen, executive director of Voices of the Heart, Inc. and Oryx Cohen, Technical Assistance Director for the National Empowerment Center, who began the session by "de-pathologizing" so-called "extreme" experiences that include not only hearing voices, but seeing things, feeling things (e.g., feeling that one's observations are unusually powerful or unique), or smelling things that are not detectable by others. To read the rest of the article, visit: www.behavioral.net
New Episode of Madness Radio: Healing Veterans with Paula Caplan
How can we truly help combat veterans facing the aftermath of war? Is veteran trauma a sign of mental illness, or a healthy response to violent situations? Are medications and therapy the answer? Paula Caplan, author of When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans, discusses healing the wounds of war by listening to the stories of veterans in our communities. Click here to go to this episode on the Madness Radio site.
New "Mental Health Matters" TV Episode!
When is a mask more than just art? In the January episode of "Mental Health Matters," learn about a new mask-making workshop that empowers participants to combat mental health stigma and end stereotypes. Discover how the workshop was born, what it did for one consumer, and how you can get involved. You can watch this show at www.mpuuc.org/mentalhealth/mentalTVMasks.html
New Video: Youth Leaders Unite
This video was created during the last 2 days of the 2011 Alternatives in Orlando, Florida, and features youth leaders from some of the nations' leading youth groups focused on mental health, substance abuse and foster care issues. This video was shown during the youth plenary session which was lead by MY LIFE, Youth n' Action, Youth POWER, Active Minds, TAY and Florida Youth Council. Click here to watch the video.
Directory of Peer-Run Warmlines and Other Resources Available
The National Empowerment Center (NEC) has put together a section of its website on peer-run warmlines, which includes a warmline directory, presentations about warmlines, and other resources. Click here to explore this page.
TSA Launches New Toll Free Number for Air Travelers with Disabilities
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has launched a new helpline number for air travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. You can call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 before you travel for answers to questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA recommends that passengers call about 72 hours before traveling so that when needed, TSA Cares can coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager at the airport.
Building the Foundation for a Successful Peer-Run Respite: Creating Connections with the Local Community
Wednesday, January 25 1:00 – 2:30 PM Eastern (10:00 – 11:30 AM Pacific)
Peer-Run respites/hospital diversion programs are increasing in numbers and having positive results across the country. Peer-run respites offer an alternative to traditional mental health hospitalization, are operated by peers, and are cost-effective.
The presenters will discuss their first-hand experience with building connections with the community while opening and running a peer-run respite, including how to:
- Lay the groundwork, educate the community, and establish relationships;
- Address common community misconceptions and avoid the "Not in My Backyard (NIMBY)" phenomenon; and
- Maintain positive connections in the local community while operating a peer-run respite.
Building the Foundation for a Successful Peer-Run Respite is the second in a webinar series on peer-run crisis alternatives sponsored by the National Empowerment Center's Technical Assistance Center. To watch the archive of the first webinar, So You Want to Start a Peer-Run Respite, click here.
How to register:
Space is limited. Register today! www3.gotomeeting.com/register/620285462
Registration will close on Tuesday, January 24.
National Coalition's Teleconference on Leadership
Monday, February 27, 2012, 3pm-4pm ET
1-877-444-7543, Code: 8839036387#
Presenters will be:
Daniel B. Fisher, MD, PhD,
National Empowerment Center; and
Chair of the Board, National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
Susan Rogers, Director, National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse; Director of Special Projects, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania; and NCMHR Judi Chamberlin Joy in Advocacy Award Winner 2011
Wilma Townsend, Acting Director, Office of Consumer Affairs, Center for Mental Health Services
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, which take place the third Monday of every month at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. (If the third Monday is a national holiday, the call will take place the fourth Monday.) The call-in number is 866-906-0123; the pass code is 5037195#. The purpose of the call is for consumer/survivor leaders from around the U.S. to get together, share information, and "network." There is no agenda; it is a free-flowing forum! Join us!
Boycott Normal! Occupy the American Psychiatric Industry
May 5, 2012
Sponsored by MindFreedom International
MFI calls on mental health consumers, psychiatric survivors and allies to Boycott Normal in response to the American Psychiatric Association's preparation for a fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. DSM-5 would be the latest edition of what is widely known as psychiatry's "label bible," used to determine if people can be diagnosed with mental 'disorders' or 'illness.' Be part of peaceful protest of the American Psychiatric Association, everywhere, especially Philadelphia, on 5 May 2012.
For more information, click here.