February 2013 Newsletter
From the Director
It has been a terribly trying time for all of us in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, with an increased focus on violence and mental health, in the media, in public debate, and on Capitol Hill. It is our hope that out of this horrific tragedy can come wisdom and an advocacy voice for a more common sense, holistic, preventative approach to both individual and community wellness. The NC has been very busy strategizing about our next legislative steps as well, since Congress will consider additional funding for mental health education projects.
Each of us in our own way can contribute to the debate – whether by writing an op-ed to your local paper about the need for more recovery-based alternatives, writing a letter to the editor, blogging, or engaging with your local representatives. I encourage you to read the eloquent blog by Oryx Cohen entitled “It’s Time to Wake Up and Stop the Violence.”
Emotional CPR (eCPR), our public health education program, is a useful tool to engage people in emotional distress as well as being effective in building healthy, compassionate, peaceful, resilient communities. eCPR is not just a training for peer support staff or others working with people in immediate emotional crisis, but as a way of life that helps prevent crises from occurring. eCPR promotes a way of being with people that fosters trust, mutuality, and most importantly, hope. The eCPR approach differs significantly from and yet is complimentary to the more conventional approach. For a table that compares these two approaches, click here.
eCPR webinar. Stay tuned for an eCPR webinar on April 9 (1-2:30 EST) that will highlight these issues, as well the ways in which eCPR can be applied to diverse stakeholder communities. Details coming soon!
Please join us for the National Coalition’s 3rd Annual Visionary Leadership Teleconference which will be held on March 15, 2013 from 3.30 – 4.30 PM ET. (Call in number: 1-866-554-6142, pin 803-6957877#) This year we have Khatera Aslami, Paolo del Vecchio, and Will Hall sharing their thoughts about leadership and more!!! Keris Myrick will moderate. Stay tuned for details. Click here for the audio of last year’s teleconference featuring Wilma Townsend, Susan Rogers, and Dan Fisher.
And, in closing, some good news! CARF International recommends eCPR as “a holistic, empowering approach to assisting persons served to cope with emotional crisis”. In their 2013 Behavioral Healthcare standards manual, it is included as an example under the training requirement for direct service providers. CARF is the largest behavioral healthcare accrediting organization in the world.
Wishing you a lovely rest of your winter and beauty blooming as we head into spring next month.
By Raymond L. Bridge, Director of Public Policy
You are the evidence and we need your story! We need to convince Congress that it is smart to support our state organizations, local peer-run programs, unique training programs, peers working in the mental health system and peer respites. We don’t have much formal “evidence” but you know that your programs and your work are powerful and life-saving. We need to tell real-life stories. You can help by sending brief stories (one or two paragraphs, half-page max) to Raymond Bridge via our contact form about how your program or your work changed a person’s life. We especially need stories about young people. I will contact you before using your story.
Sequestration seems more likely to happen. As gridlock grips Washington, barring a last-minute deal, across the board cuts in Federal programs and contracts (known as a sequester) will kick in March 1. (Medicaid and other entitlements are exempt.) Even if politicians to find a quick solution after sequestration starts, disruption will ripple across the country.
What does Obama’s anti-gun violence plan mean for us? On January 16, President Obama announced a plan to reduce gun violence through legislative actions and executive orders. Requiring states to enter names of people with mental illness into the instant background check system could deprive millions of people of their second amendment right to own a gun with no recourse. Virginia alone has entered 184,000 names, presumably mostly people who were involuntarily committed at some point. Obama also proposed $155 million in new mental health spending for school-based prevention programs, school counselors (or guards), better care for young people and training more mental health professionals. We are working on having these measures include peers, peer-run programs and recovery training.
NC Clarifies Position on Civil Rights and the Perpetuation of Discrimination
The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) opposes the use of a mental health diagnosis as the basis of persons being listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The NCMHR therefore appeals to Congress to repeal that portion of Section 922 of the Brady Bill that states that the names of persons who have been psychiatrically hospitalized should be placed in the NICS. The intent of the NICS is to prevent people who are known to be dangerous from purchasing guns. However, the existing wording is a form of profiling as it singles out, and violates the civil rights of persons with mental health conditions. Such reporting cannot be justified on the basis of public safety, as studies have shown that persons with mental health conditions are no more dangerous than the general population. In fact, as the President stated, persons with mental health conditions are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence. Wording such as the Brady Bill perpetuates the prejudice and discrimination towards persons with mental health conditions. Click here to read the original press release.
Statewide network grants due March 8
In January, SAMHSA released applications for up to 15 new statewide consumer network grants. Consumer-led organizations that are not in the 2012-2015 cohort are eligible to apply for the 3-year, $70,000 grants.
Nominations for the Voice Awards due Friday, March 15
Join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Voice Awards program in recognizing consumer/peer leaders and TV and film professionals who educate the public about the real experiences of people with behavioral health problems. Through their work and personal stories of resilience, both groups of leaders demonstrate that people can and do recover and lead full and meaningful lives in their communities. If you know a consumer/peer leader who has led efforts to promote the social inclusion of people with behavioral health problems; personally demonstrated that recovery is real and possible; and made a positive impact on his/her community, workplace, or school, please nominate him/her for a 2013 Voice Award. Similarly, if you know of a TV or film production released after April 15, 2012, which contains a positive behavioral health storyline, please nominate it for a 2013 Voice Award. Nominations are due Friday, March 15. Click here to apply.
Training and Technical Assistance Opportunities
The Bringing Recovery Supports to scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) Team can assist you in your work through free training opportunities, telephone consultations, email resources, peer learning, webcasts, distance learning, and knowledge products. The BRSS TACS Team is a consortium, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), dedicated to promoting wide-scale adoption of recovery-oriented supports, services, and systems for people in recovery from substance use and/or mental health conditions. You may access the TA Request Form here and reach the BRSS TACS Team at email@example.com. You may also telephone Tarah Johnson at 617.467.6014.
SAMHSA Recovery Definition
The National Coalition was significantly involved in the development of SAMHSA’s working definition of recovery which combined mental health and substance addiction. It was a pleasure working with SAMHSA, Faces and Voices of Recovery and others to find common ground which is reflected in this definition. Click here to review the working document.
NC Member ED and Advocate Featured on South Dakota Public Radio
South Dakota United Executive Director Jennifer Constantine talked about the agency's volunteerism, advocacy education and peer support for those who have mental health issues. She said that the peer component enhances recovery. Click here to listen to the show.
"Free Your Mind Projects" Radio Show featuring Daniel B. Fisher on Gun Violence, Mental Health, and Emotional CPR
Joseph Rogers, Mark Salzer, and Others Featured on “WHYY’s Radio Times” Program on the Newtown Tragedy
In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., WHYY's Radio Times aired a program on mental health issues and gun control. Joseph Rogers was one of the three guests, along with Dr. Mark Salzer of the Temple University Collaborative on Community Integration and Brian Stettin of the Treatment Advocacy Center. Click here for description and archived audio.
Madness Radio: Singing in the Dark Susan McKeown
Click here to listen to the show.
Madness Radio: Beyond Biological Reductionism Raymond Tallis
Click here to listen to the show.
Wishing David Oaks a Speedy Recovery
David Oaks, longtime activist and Executive Director of Mindfreedom, is recovering from a terrible accident. You can follow his rehabilitation progress and post words of encouragement here.
Teleclass Support Series: Coming off Psych Drugs
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