Focus 46: Passing the Torch: Sustainability and Leadership Transition

One of the greatest challenges that any small nonprofit can face is maintaining its focus and momentum through times of change.

The grassroots consumer mental health organizations that house the voice of so many people with lived experience often come into existence as a result of the passion and vision of a committed, motivated leader. That pioneering leader may drive the organization’s development in its early stages, lead the Board of Directors in determining a mission and setting a direction, and personally develop working relationships with funders. By relying on the energy of a single visionary leader, an organization can make progress and have an impact; but what happens when that single visionary leader exits the picture? Who will take up the mantle where they left off? Will those remaining even know where to begin?

To help prepare organizations to meet the challenges of leadership transition, CAFE TAC presents Focus 46: Passing the Torch: Sustainability and Leadership Transition. It provides tools that organizational leaders can use to assess their own readiness to manage a difficult transition, and maintain operations in the face of change.

If you are concerned about whether or not your organization could carry on without key leaders and essential personnel, and want to be ready to deal with change, check out Focus 46: Passing the Torch: Sustainability and Leadership Transition today!


Posted in Focus newsletter, Organizational Development | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

News and Notes for December 14, 2016

We’re already halfway through December, and the holidays are closing in! It’s no secret that this can be a stressful time of year, whether or not one has a mental health condition. People deal with all kinds of expectations, from deciding what gifts to buy, for whom, and how to afford them, to trying to squeeze every party, gathering and event into a packed schedule. You also might be stressed planning a get together of your own, or sorting out some kind of travel.

One of the most popular pieces of advice you hear about dealing with holiday stress is to practice good “self-care.” It seems obvious that people need to take care of themselves, but what does that really mean? This article from Psych Central has a few of the basics included, with tips like “Make a schedule” and “Set boundaries.” It can also be helpful to return to the practices that keep you grounded throughout the rest of the year. There are lots of great articles out there with similar advice, and we encourage you to find them.

In the big picture, however, there’s one simple idea that is at the root of much of the specific advice: perspective. It’s so easy to get caught up in the urgency and pressure of the holiday season. The real challenge is to maintain perspective. Whether you cope by taking some time to yourself, sticking to your routine and wellness practices, or making a point to serve others, it’s important to find a way to step back from the pressure and chaos. So if you find yourself irritated, stressed or triggered, try to keep the holidays in perspective, and take a step back and think about the big picture. And remember to breathe!

Despite the holiday season coming around, important news continue to break, with the biggest story of the month to day being the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act. We’ve gathered a handful of articles on this significant piece of legislation below. It’s critical that advocates remain connected and engaged, with this new law being enacted, a new administration in Washington, and other potential changes on the horizon in 2017. CAFÉ TAC will continue working to keep you informed. Scroll down for the latest.


The 21st Century Cures Act Set to Impact Mental Health System

Earlier this week President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. This is a large, complex piece of legislation that includes funding for cancer research, changes to the FDA drug and medical device approval process, and money intended to address the opioid addiction epidemic. In terms of mental health, it also includes a number of provisions that had been included in the Mental Health Reform Act and the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.

This link goes to the full text of the bill. It’s the best resource for a detailed cataloging of the full legislation:

The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) has a useful breakout out the bill’s provisions here:

This Psych Central article does a good job of enumerating the provisions that relate to mental health:

USA Today also provides an overview of mental health provisions here:

This article from The Hill details some of the objections to the bill raised by advocates:


Mental Health and the ACA

Throughout the campaign season, candidates for the Presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives discussed the merits of the Affordable Care Act at length. These articles examine how changes to our full repeal of the ACA might impact mental health.

This NY Times opinion piece from a psychiatry professor discusses the potential impact of repeal of the Affordable Care Act for people with mental health conditions, given the ACA’s emphasis on behavioral health parity.

This US News piece examines viewpoints of several legislators and advocates.

Continue reading

Posted in Latest News, SAMHSA news | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

News and Notes for #GivingTuesday

Today is #GivingTuesday. What’s #GivingTuesday? It’s an idea that began a few years ago, and grew out of the tradition of Black Friday shopping, and the more recent growth of Cyber Monday, the day dedicated to online shopping.

During the holiday season, we spend a lot of time and energy on searching out bargains and looking for that perfect gift. #GivingTuesday is all about taking a moment amidst the holiday rush to support the things we think are important by investing in them.

If you would like to help support the work that CAFÉ TAC does to promote recovery and the peer voice, we would certainly welcome the contribution. You can do that here.

But the point of this message isn’t to ask you to donate to CAFÉ TAC. It’s to remind you of two important things.

  • One, you have a voice, and that voice matters.
  • Two, it’s not just the things you say that represent your voice out in the world. It’s also how you invest your time, energy and effort, and your hard earned dollars.

So on this #GivingTuesday, we encourage you to find something that you believe in and contribute to it. Even if it’s only one dollar, that dollar represents your voice, and speaks to the kind of world you want to help create. So be empowered, and make that voice heard on this #GivingTuesday!

Washington Updates

With a new administration and Congress set to come to Washington in January, there are many policy changes and legislative battles on the horizon. Here’s one overview of what’s potentially to come.

Health Reform and the Trump White House: Implications for Key Stakeholders

House GOP eying major Medicare overhaul in 2017

Will value-based payment initiatives continue under Trump?


There’s also potential for legislative action on mental health reform during the lame duck session, which represents the current Congress’ last chance to pass anything before their term ends. A pending bill called the “21st Century Cures Act” includes mental health reform, as well as changes to Medicaid and cancer research funding.

21st Century Cures Act will get vote this week

Consumer groups caution Dems on ‘Cures’ bill


How to call your reps when you have social anxiety

Contacting your elected representative can be intimidating. Having anxiety can make it even harder. Here’s some advice on how to overcome it.


The Debate Over Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment

This episode of NPR’s Diane Rehm Show features a conversation about forced treatment from a variety of perspectives.

Continue reading

Posted in Latest News, Organizational Development, SAMHSA news, Supported Education | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

News and Notes for Global Peer Support Celebration Day

Today is Global Peer Supporter Celebration Day! This is a day to recognize the amazing work peers are doing to help people with mental health needs, and to bring a message of hope and recovery to our mental health system.

This global day of recognition was created by the International Association of Peer Supporters in 2015. They have a Facebook page at where anyone from the peer support community can share their thoughts on why peer support, and the people that provide it, deserve to be celebrated.

This day also provides an ideal occasion to let people in your community know what peer support is, how it works, and why it matters. If you want some resources to help get that conversation started, check these links:

Finally, CAFÉ TAC would like to take this moment to celebrate you! Whether you are a certified peer specialist, or someone that lives the values of peer support by practicing empathy, listening actively and believing in people’s strengths, please know that what you do is unique, important, and valuable. You deserve to be recognized!


Preparing for Election Day

The National Disability Rights Network and Asian Americans Advancing Justice have released a fact sheet to help people with disabilities understand their voting rights, specifically relating to potential “voter challenges” on Election Day.


What is The Mental Health on Campus Improvement Act?

A piece of legislation currently pending in Congress would make federal help available for campuses to expand their mental health awareness, outreach, and direct counseling services, brining much-needed support to colleges and universities that struggle to meet the mental health needs of their student bodies.

This article describes recent comments by the bill’s sponsor, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).


Here’s What Happens When Teenagers Talk Openly About Mental Health

When one young person steps forward to talk honestly about mental health, dozens follow suit.


Is Anybody Paying Attention? Harm And Death Within Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities

Recent discussions of mental health reform have emphasized improving access to treatment, and providing more inpatient services. But what will the experience of the people engaged in those proposed systems look and feel like? This article points out that re-institutionalization could be as dangerous as incarceration, and any increase in services must be accompanied by a thorough examination of the quality of that care.

Continue reading

Posted in Latest News, Recovery, SAMHSA news, Youth and Emerging Adults | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

News and Notes for October 7, 2016

The calendar has turned to October, and that means Halloween is coming around again. For most people that means jack-o’ lanterns and free candy, but for people in the mental health community, it also means another round of costumes, attractions, and entertainment that rely on the clichéd depictions of violent “crazy people” and spooky “insane asylums.” Despite the fact that mental health is an issue that has come to be discussed more openly and thoughtfully in recent years, Halloween seems to provide an occasion for regression to the old, damaging stereotypes linking mental health to violence, chaos and danger.

Fortunately, mental health advocates have recently made some headway in helping the general public to better understand how hurtful and offensive Halloween-themed depictions of people with mental health needs can be. In a recent post on Mad in America that you can read here, Susan Rogers, Director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, describes advocacy efforts that forced changes to attractions at Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks. The Cedar Fair attraction, called FearVR: 5150, was described in the LA Times  as “a mental hospital where a psychiatric patient with demonic powers is on the loose.” The Six Flags attractions, with names like Dark Oaks Asylum and PSYCHO-PATH Haunted Asylum, promised to bring visitorsface-to-face with the world’s worst psychiatric patients.”

As Susan recounts in the post, mental health advocates from around the country came together to educate Cedar Fair and Six Flags about why their attractions were offensive, and how they were likely to shame people with mental health needs, while conveying the message that it’s ok to objectify “mental patients.” The fact that both organizations altered their attractions is not just evidence that advocacy actually works. It also highlights the tremendous opportunity that mental health advocates have to take situations in which people with mental health needs are being objectified and derided in the name of “fun,” and use them as an occasion to talk about the reality of mental health, the painful history of institutionalization, and the very real humanity of the many people that deal with mental health every day.

So if you see something that doesn’t sit right with you this October, don’t be afraid to say something. It might be a chance to change someone’s perspective!


March for Dignity and Change for Mental Health

Speaking of defending the dignity and humanity of people with mental health needs, the March for Dignity and Change for Mental Health is planned for Monday, October 10 in Washington DC. If you’re in the area, please consider joining the chorus of people speaking out for the human rights of people with mental health needs. If you can’t be there, follow along on twitter by looking for the #MHDignityMarch tag.

Learn more about this event at


Mental Illness Is A Health Condition, Not Halloween Entertainment

This Huffington Post piece does a good job of explaining the problems with linking mental health challenges and scary Halloween entertainment.

Continue reading

Posted in Latest News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment