CAFE TAC News and Notes for April 12, 2016

In our last message, we let you know about our latest Focus newsletter, Supported Education: Examining the Evidence. Coincidentally, we happened across a report from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the US Department of Health and Human Services this week that has a lot to add on the question of just how much evidence there is to validate supported education as an investment-worthy practice.

This report, entitled Feasibility Study for Demonstration of Supported Education to Promote Educational Attainment and Employment among Individuals with Serious Mental Illness, notes that “Findings from the current review of research, policy, and practice indicate that SEd is on the cusp of widespread and sustained implementation.” It points to the need for a “two-stage demonstration program” with careful implementation followed by a randomized controlled trials to obtain the necessary evidence for supported education to become an official evidence-based practice, concluding “Such a program would provide the platform necessary to generate the potential evidence needed to move SEd from a promising practice to an evidence-based practice, thus encouraging future funding and widespread adoption.”

This report confirms our belief that supported education is on the verge of becoming widely accepted. If you’re interested, you can read the full report here. CAFÉ TAC will continue to keep you updated on the latest developments in supported education and efforts to demonstrate its value and efficacy.

Of course, there’s a lot happening in the world of mental health beyond developments in supported education, including the Alternatives Conference call for presentations, multiple webinars and new funding opportunities. To see what’s caught our attention, please see below!

Alternatives Conference

The 2016 Alternatives Conference is being held September 19-23 in San Diego, CA, and presentation proposals are currently being accepted. If you would like to submit a proposal, you must do so by May 23rd. To view the call for presentations, and learn more about the process, visit the Alternatives website:

Despite Bipartisan Support, Mental Health Reform Bill Could Be Derailed

Here’s an update on federal efforts at mental health reform, which appear to be slowing with attention focused on the upcoming Presidential election and pending Supreme Court nomination.

Tennessee Passes Anti-LGBT Counseling Bill

A bill passed by Tennessee’s legislature would allow mental health providers to decline to treat people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

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Supported Education: Examining the Evidence

Supported education is a simple idea that makes intuitive sense. Getting a college degree can be extremely beneficial, both personally and professionally. Higher education allows people the chance to explore their interests and fulfill their dreams, while also markedly improving their employment prospects for a lifetime. At the same time, people with mental health needs often struggle to adapt to the demands of higher education. The practice of supported education came about to resolve this challenge, by designing strategies, resources and supports specifically designed to help students with mental health need succeed in higher ed settings, and enjoy the benefits of getting a degree.

But what evidence exists to show that supported education works? Is it an “evidence-based practice”? What does that designation really mean, and how might it impact the way supported education gets implemented? In the latest Focus newsletter, Supported Education: Examining the Evidence, we take a look at these questions, and explore the implications of the growing body of evidence that supports the effectiveness of supported education.

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CAFE TAC News and Notes for March 15, 2016

The headline for this edition of our collection of “News and Notes” has to do with this year’s Alternatives conference. Alternatives is the nation’s largest event hosted by and for people with experience of mental health conditions. It’s a truly inspiring event that brings together hundreds of peers and advocates to talk about recovery and how to push the mental health movement forward.

We’ve recently learned that this year’s Alternatives conference will be held September 19-23 at the Town & Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego, CA. More details will be coming soon, including a conference website with information about presentation proposals, room reservations and more. We will be sure to share whatever we learn with you just as soon as new info becomes available.

In addition to Alternatives, there is plenty more going on, including markup of the Senate’s mental health reform bill, as well as a new piece of legislation intended to reinforce mental health parity.

For all the latest, keep reading below the fold! And as always, you can stay in touch us through Facebook and Twitter.



Senate Turns to Mental Health Bill

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will meet on Wednesday at 10:00 to discuss the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016.

Here are some resources to help you follow developments:

A short overview of what’s happening from The Hill:

Full text of the bill:

The Senate HELP Committee website, where you can watch live video of the hearing scheduled for Wednesday, March 16 at 10:00 ET:


Parity is Also on the Congressional Agenda

There is also another bill on the Senate agenda that’s intended to reinforce the mental health parity provisions that have been included in prior legislation, the Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act. Here’s the full text:

And here’s an article that offers some background:

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CAFE TAC News and Notes for March 2, 2016

Welcome to March!

In this News and Notes email, CAFÉ TAC has brought together a collection of highlights from the mental health and recovery world to keep you informed and connected with what’s going on!

There are several webinars and articles that deal with integration of mental health services in whole health settings, peers in the workforce, campus mental health and other prevalent issues. There should be something here to interest everyone.

Don’t forget, you can also stay in touch with us through Twitter and Facebook. We are always eager to hear your thoughts, opinions and perspective, so let us know what you know!


Sen. Durbin (D-IL) Introduces Bill to Expand Access to Substance Abuse Treatment Under Medicaid

A new piece of legislation has been introduced in the Senate, The Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion (Medicaid CARE) Act. While this is a substance abuse bill, not a mental health bill, it does touch on an important issue for the mental health community: the “IMD exclusion.”

The IMD Exclusion, which came into law as part of de-institutionalization efforts, prohibits the use of federal Medicaid financing for care provided to most patients in residential mental health and substance use disorder residential treatment facilities larger than 16 beds. This bill would lift that restriction for substance abuse treatment facilities.

Of course, the bill also has a number of other provisions. You can read all about them in this press release, which accompanied the bill’s introduction:


Webinar: What if I am the Only Peer on My Team? Leading the Way in Behavioral and Integrated Healthcare Settings

Friday, March 4, 2016
Noon ET / 11:00am CT / 10:00am MT / 9:00am PT

It can definitely be challenging for peer support specialists working in settings where they interact with other non-peer professionals to feel like their voice is heard and their role is understood by other members of the team. In this BRSS TACS webinar, LaVerne Miller will lead a conversation on how peer professionals working in integrated settings can deal with the hurdles that accompany working as a team.

Register for this webinar at

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CAFE TAC News and Notes for February 11, 2016

February is a busy month, with lots happening. There are multiple opportunities available to learn from webinars and online resources, and to make your voice heard through surveys and open public comment periods. You can find the details below.

On the national scene, a new bill on the House appears likely to shape the conversation about mental health reform in 2016. Mental health advocates will be watching closely to see how debate on the nation’s approach to the mental health system of care moves forward. Read the initial press release about the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Reform and Recovery Act, and one advocate’s take, in our lead item.

We also have a number of interesting news items to share with you, on topics ranging from parenting, to campus mental health, to new information on how social factors impact our wellness. To stay connected with what’s going on in mental health in Washington, across the nation and beyond, we encourage you to connect with us through Facebook and Twitter.

Legislative Update

Momentum toward some type of mental health reform legislation continues to build in Washington. This week, Congressman Gene Green (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee, along with five members of the Committee, introduced the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Reform and Recovery Act of 2016.

Here is the press release announcing the introduction of the bill.

In this article, Ron Manderscheid, Executive Director of the National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors, offers an overview of the bill’s provisions.

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