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National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery | NCMHR

National Coalition News (NCN)

June 2010 Newsletter

From the Director

“Revolutions begin when people who are defined as problems achieve the power to redefine the problem.” - John McKnight

Opportunities abound in this time of fiscal restructuring and reform. We can always find avenues to advocate for a mental health system that meets our real needs in an efficient, effective, and accountable manner. Here in Washington DC, we are working several pathways to change. One opportunity, for example, is Medicaid. On June 3, 2010 while meeting with Cindy Mann, director of Medicaid, she said “We need to end the institutional bias… it is objectively there… we need to eradicate it.” Medicaid wants to hear from National Coalition members and friends. Medicaid has just started a new Center for Innovation – they want to know specifically what works and what has worked in the past. Talk to them - at the state, regional or federal level. Another priority area where we are making progress is encouraging discussions between Medicaid and SAMHSA about peer support and identifying model projects. This work is moving forward.

Let us remember, we know how to make our way out of chaos and into the light. Our journeys of recovery have taught us much about being creative, and staying hopeful and focused on the vision. And know that you are not alone – even though it may often feel that way. Invite others to join you or support you in your advocacy efforts so we can amplify our collective voice and create the change we want.

In solidarity

Lauren Spiro

Lauren Spiro

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Kennedy, Green Introduce SAMHSA Reauthorization

On May 28, Congressmen Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) and Gene Green (D-TX) introduced legislation to reauthorize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Established in 1992, SAMHSA is tasked with targeting services to the millions who fail to receive the substance abuse or mental health services they need, and to translate research in these fields into more effective prevention and treatment strategies. To read the full press release, click here.

Briefs Filed in Florida, Illinois and New Jersey to Support the Supreme Court’s Olmstead Decision

Briefs Allege Failure to Comply with the ADA

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed briefs in three separate cases in Florida, Illinois and New Jersey as part of its continuing effort to enforce civil rights laws that require states to end discrimination against and unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities. The department’s filings support two private lawsuits seeking relief in Florida and New Jersey, as well as a proposed statewide class action settlement in Illinois. To read the full press release, click here. In Washington DC and in meetings with Cindy Mann, the National Coalition and JFAAN (our cross-disability coalition lead by people with disabilities) have strongly advocated for the enforcement of Olmstead and that Medicaid reinforce the efforts of the DOJ.

Disability Rights Leader Judith Heumann to Join U.S. State Department in Fulfillment of Obama-Clinton Pledge

Judith Heumann, an international leader in the disability rights movement and a governmental representative to the USICD Board of Directors, will be joining the U.S. Department of State as their Special Advisor for International Disability Rights. This position was announced last summer, when President Obama and Secretary Clinton declared that the United States would sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Heumann resigned her position as Director of the Department on Disability Services for the District of Columbia, and will assume her new position at the Department of State on June 7, 2010. To read the full press release, click here.

Speaking from Your Heart: Public Speaking and the Path to Recovery
Webcast Available Online

Presenters: Dally Sanchez, Lauren Spiro, and Daniel Fisher

Sharing one’s recovery story helps change the mental health system. Recovery stories are not just powerful on a personal level; they break the silence that exists, bring people into the discussion, and help transform the system to be more person-driven. This is a very powerful demonstration of a marginalized group taking a step toward social inclusion.

This training provides:

  • Information on the value of public speaking as a recovery and educational tool.
  • Information on self-disclosure as a recovery and educational tool.
  • Introductory skills and tips in preparing to share one’s personal story.

Click here for more information and to listen to the webcast.

NYAPRS 6th Annual Executive Seminar on Systems Transformation

Transforming Systems and Services: From Policy to Practice

Presentations Available Online

NYAPRS’ 6th Annual Executive Seminar on Systems Transformation brought together over 200 representatives of community behavioral health agencies, state policy makers, advocates and self advocates from across the state and nation. This exciting program featured cutting edge information in the most essential areas of systems transformation. Presenters have graciously made presentation materials available for download. Click here to access the presentations.

New Madness Radio Shows Online! - Art and Schizophrenia: Louis Sass

Does modern art, such as Artaud, Beckett, and Duchamp, parallel the mad frames of mind that get labeled “schizophrenia?” Is extreme sensitivity and inner self-consciousness behind artistic innovation and breaks with reality? Rutgers University psychologist Louis Sass, author of Madness And Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought, discusses art as an insight into the subjective inner world of madness. Click here to listen to the show.

Reinventing Bipolar: Steven Morgan

Peer Specialist advocate and bipolar survivor Steven Morgan talks about his experiences with spirituality and meditation, including healing through dream work. Click here to listen to the show.

Jonathan Metzl: Schizophrenia and Black Politics

How did the definition of schizophrenia change during the civil rights and Black Power era of the 1960s? Why did a disease primarily affecting withdrawn white housewives suddenly become focused on angry and "paranoid" African American men instead? Psychiatrist and historian Jonathan Metzl, author of The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease, discusses racism and social control in psychiatric diagnosis, and how Black protest was turned into a mental disorder. Click here to listen to the show.

Mindfreedom Radio: Robert Whitaker and Linda Andre

This web radio show interviewed two authors whose books question common psychiatric treatments. Journalist Robert Whitaker is the author of the new book, "Anatomy of an Epidemic," which says that studies show the main psychiatric drugs are actually increasing the level of mental and emotional problems. Electroshock survivor Linda Andre is author of the book "Doctors of Deception," which exposes the history of electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT. Host is psychiatric survivor David Oaks, director of MindFreedom International. Click here to listen to the show.

Upcoming Events

GLBTQI* Pride Month: A Celebration of Recovery, Mental Health and Wellness (*Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex)

Thursday, June 17, 2010, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Eastern (2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Pacific)

Speaker: Edward Schreiber

Edward Schreiber is a Trainer, Educator, Practitioner of Psychodrama and an author and editor of a number of books. His life story is an example and an expression of our ability to access inner power and move through and beyond challenges and barriers.

Edward Schreiber has served as clinical director of the addiction services at Harvard Medical School, teaches a course at Lesley University, and originated a program at the Boston Living Center that teaches a method for awakening the autonomous healing center within the individual as well as within groups and organizations. Edward is a person with a long and rich history of experience with and recovery from mental, physical and spiritual conditions, including extreme states involving trauma and addiction.

Please register by sending your request to star@nami.org


JUNE 23, 2010 FROM 3:00 – 4:30 PM (EASTERN)

If you are a person with a mental health disability interested in learning about the Ticket to Work Program or other Social Security Work Incentives, you can attend a FREE Web-based education event on work incentives! This first-ever Mental Health Work Incentive Seminar Event (WISE) Webinar will feature presentations by people who know the ins and outs of all available work incentives, including the Ticket Program. A success story of a Social Security beneficiary who used work incentives successfully will be shared. We will also be joined by a mental health peer counselor who currently works encouraging other people with mental health disabilities in their recovery through work.

Want specific information on how work and work earnings will impact your personal Social Security disability benefits? Please visit www.ssa.gov/work or www.choosework.net to get more information and to find a list of resources available in each state, including the Work Incentives Planning Assistance (WIPA) projects, professionals who can provide more information on your individual situation.

Register for this free WISE Webinar or find WISE events in your area at www.cessi.net/wise.

Approximately 2 days before the event, all those who have registered will receive an e-mail message with instructions on how to log in to the Webinar.

If you have questions, please email wise@cessi.net or call 1-877-743-8237 (v/tty).

STAR Center Teleconference Series: Celebrating National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month with Tenemos Voz , New Mexico : Building Latino/Hispano Networks

Thursday, June 24, 2010, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time (2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time)

To register please send your request to star@nami.org with title of teleconference in the subject line. More information will be sent in advance of the call, as well as posted on the STAR Center Web site, www.consumerstar.org.

The STAR Center gratefully acknowledges SAMHSA as the funding source for the STAR Center ’s work and activities. Please visit SAMHSA/CMHS at http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs for many helpful resources, self-help tools and guides, and links.

The STAR Center promotes consumer-directed approaches that maximize self-determination and recovery and assist people with serious mental health challenges to decrease their dependence on expensive social services as well as to avoid psychiatric hospitalization.

Empowerment   -  Independence  -  Responsibility  -  Choice  -  Respect and Dignity
“Let your Star shine!”

SAMHSA ADS Center Training Teleconference

Building an Inclusive Society
Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 2:30 p.m.– 4:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT)


  • Henry Claypool—U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Celia Brown—New York State Office of Mental Health Recipient Affairs
  • Andy Imparato—American Association of People with Disabilities

How can we build an inclusive society with a collaborative network of agencies aligned to deliver effective integrated services to people with disabilities including individuals with psychiatric disabilities? To assist people with disabilities, consumers, survivors, family members, advocates, and health care/mental health providers to better understand the rights of people with disabilities, the challenges posed by the assertion of these rights, and the protections offered under the law, the SAMHSA ADS Center invites you to a free training teleconference titled “Building an Inclusive Society.”

To learn more and to register, click here. Registration will close at 5:00 p.m., EDT, on Friday, June 25, 2010.

This training teleconference will include a question and answer session. We invite you to submit questions at any time before or during the teleconference. To submit questions before the teleconference, please e-mail promoteacceptance@samhsa.hhs.gov. Speakers will answer as many questions as possible during this session, but we cannot guarantee that your question will be answered during the teleconference. We will provide each presenter’s contact information so that you may contact him or her directly for a response or additional information.

This teleconference is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Opportunity for Creation of a Study Guide To Go with “Can,” A Documentary Film by Pearl J. Park

A rough cut has been completed of the documentary film, “Can”, about the life of a young Vietnamese-American man with a mental health condition. This is a 60-minute film shot in “cinema veritae” for the general public, as opposed to a “clinical-type” film for therapy classes.

The Mental Health Association and REMHDO (the Racial and Ethnic Mental Health Disparities Coalition) are looking for a person to create a study guide for this film. There is approximately between $3,500 - $4,000 for a study guide to be developed. This would need to be completed by August 15th, 2010.

If you are interested in this project, please email Stacie Hiramoto to apply or call (916) 557-1167. Please feel free to forward this to others that may be interested and qualified.

The purpose of the NCN is to share information that is consistent with our mission and values and that is significant for our constituency. We are not endorsing any particular organization.