CAFE TAC News and Notes for August 25, 2016

September is almost here, and that means that Recovery Month is here again!

Every September SAMHSA promotes National Recovery Month to bring national attention to behavioral health and let people know that recovery is possible! It’s an occasion to celebrate our own recoveries, as we spread the message that people with behavioral health conditions can and do recover, and live productive, fulfilling lives in the community.

This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!” SAMHSA has many materials and resources to help mental health consumer organizations participate in Recovery Month. Visit the Recovery Month website at While you’re at it, you may also want to join the conversation on the National Recovery Month Facebook page, watch videos on SAMHSA’s Recovery Month Youtube channel, follow the Recovery Month Twitter feed, or download the National Recovery Month Toolkit in English or Spanish.

September also means that its’ time for Alternatives! The 30th Annual Alternatives conference is coming to San Diego on September 19-23. We hope to see you there! You can find everything you need to know about Alternatives at

And if you’re looking for another great September conference on the other side of the country, you can join The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) for their 34th Annual Conference on September 14-16 at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa in Kerhonkson, NY. To learn more, visit

Wherever you are on your recovery journey, we hope September brings you a renewed sense of wellness and possibility!


Peer Specialist Training & Certification Programs National Overview 2016

The Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health at the University of Texas School of Social Work is the preeminent source of information on how peer support specialists are trained and certified in states across the nation. In this new report, they catalog how peer specialist programs work in each state. It also includes a set of “recommendations for states to consider in an attempt to enhance and further advance training and certification programming for peer specialist programs.”


Justice Department Sues Mississippi for Discriminating Against Adults with Mental Illness

A recent DOJ suit alleges that the state “violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) by failing to provide adults with mental illness with necessary integrated, community-based mental health services.”


Share Your Experience with the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force

The US Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force wants to hear from patients, families, consumer advocates, health care providers, insurers, and other stakeholders on their experience with mental health and substance use disorder parity requirements. Comments are due by August 31.

To participate, visit

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CAFE TAC News and Notes for August 11, 2016

In putting the CAFÉ TAC News and Notes email together, we look to a number of sources, including other SAMHSA grant programs and mental health organizations that produce newsletters of their own, as well as Google Alerts, Facebook, Twitter, and emails from SAMHSA. To lead off this edition of our News and Notes, we thought it would be a good idea to let you know about some of the great sources of mental health news and information that we look to, so you can connect with them too!

CAFÉ TAC is one of five national TA centers for adult mental health consumers. Each one serves an assigned geographic area, and shares information on an assigned are of concentration. All of them share information and resources that are relevant for a national audience, and we encourage you to connect with the other four TAC’s.

  • The Peerlink National TA Center is hosting this year’s Alternatives conference, and has a focus on financial self-sufficiency. They send out a weekly “Wednesday UP Beat” email. You can subscribe at
  • The National Empowerment Center has a wealth of resources available. While its focus as a TA center is peer-run crisis alternatives, it also provides information in many other areas. You can subscribe to their email list by visiting
  • The Doors to Wellbeing TA Center, which is operated by the Copeland Center, focuses on promoting the use of peer specialists across the country. You can find them online at, and subscribe to their email list at here.
  • The NAMI Star Center has a core concentration on youth leadership development, and produces a monthly electronic newsletter. You can subscribe by visiting them at

Beyond the five TA centers, there are a few other resources we rely on to stay on top of what’s happening.

If you want to know what the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is up to, you can subscribe to their email list at You can also find SAMHSA on Social Media. All of their accounts on various platforms are listed at

Wherever you turn for news and information about the mental health community, we hope you stay engaged! To empower every American with a mental health need and bring recovery to every community, we need every advocate to understand the issues and use their voice!

Now, on to the items that have caught our interest over the last couple of weeks.


SAMHSA Announces New Chief Medical Officer

SAMHSA’s Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto has announced the hiring of SAMHSA’s new Chief Medical Officer, Anita Everett, M.D. to lead the newly created Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO). Read the announcement bout Dr. Everett and her role at SAMHSA in this press release.\


Stop Calling Trump Crazy

Various pundits have used a mental health frame to talk about one of the candidates for President in recent days. These two opinion pieces point out the dangers of drawing together criticism of a political candidate and mental health language, and the way it reinforces existing stigma.


Why Mental Health Organizations Should Endorse the Movement for Black Lives

What does Black Lives Matter have to do with the mental health movement? Quite a bit, Will Hall argues in this blog.

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CAFE TAC News and Notes for July 27, 2016

This week marks the 26th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This landmark piece of legislation guaranteed that citizens with disabilities would have the same access to public spaces, rights in the workplace, and ability to access public transportation as their fellow Americans. And that includes Americans with psychiatric disabilities!

While 26 isn’t the kind of round number that typically brings about large celebrations and extra attention, this particular ADA anniversary is an important one to recognize. That’s because one of the essential rights that is protected by the ADA is the right to vote. In this critical election year, it is more important than ever that people with disabilities take advantage of that right, and make their voices heard at the ballot box!

With that in mind, CAFÉ TAC would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to register to vote this November. Depending on which state you live in, the rules and processes for voter registration differ. Visit this link to find out how to register in your state:

For additional disability voting resources, check out this document from the Southeast ADA Center:

The signing of the ADA in 1990 was an important landmark for people with disabilities that brought us essential rights, but those rights are only meaningful if we choose to exercise them. So please celebrate this 26th ADA Anniversary by making sure you are registered to vote, and that you know how to access the polls where you live!

Mental Health Legislation Unlikely to Move in 2016

Between the limited space on the Congressional calendar and the potential for contentious amendments, the chance of mental health reform legislation passing this year are dwindling.

Obamacare and Mental Health: An Unfinished Story

This Politico piece examines how mental health care has been impacted by health reform, and the factors that continue to frustrate the Affordable Care Act’s promises of mental health parity.

Criminal Justice Reform Will Fail If We Don’t Fix Mental Health Care Too

This opinion piece from a public defender in San Francisco’s Behavioral Health Court makes the case that without mental health reform, criminal just reform is impossible.

Watch Singer Demi Lovato Give a Brilliant Mental Health Message to the DNC

Singer and mental health advocate Demi Lovato used her appearance at this week’s Democratic National Convention to share her story, and highlight the need for better mental health services in the US.

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CAFE TAC News and Notes for July 11, 2016

Last week was an eventful one, with the House of Representatives advancing HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. This bill represents the most significant effort at national mental health reform in a generation. It will now go to the Senate, where it is likely to be reconciled with mental health legislation that has been brought forth in that body.

As it stands, the bill has a number of noteworthy provisions:

  • Expands Medicaid funding for stays in private or state mental health and for addiction treatment facilities by relaxing the IMD exclusion. Medicaid managed care programs will be able to pay for inpatient treatment up to 15 days.
  • Makes no changes to HIPAA. The bill includes funding for education about flexibility in the existing law, and asks Health and Human Services and the Office of Civil Rights to consider new rules surrounding HIPAA.
  • Allocates funding for compulsory outpatient treatment (aka AOT). The bill includes increase funding for AOT pilot programs, but does not penalize states for lacking AOT programs as earlier versions of the bill did.
  • Makes no changes to the role of Protection and Advocacy Agencies P&A agencies.
  • Creates the position of Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders within SAMHSA to oversee federal behavioral health policy and set priorities. This position is intended to be filled by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
  • Re-authorizes SAMHSA Block Grants.
  • Calls for a GAO study on parity compliance.

We have gathered some summaries and reactions to the passage of this bill below. CAFÉ TAC will continue to share information on the progress of federal mental health reform legislation as the discussion moves to the Senate.

In addition to legislative developments, peers around the country are getting ready for the iNAPS Conference, which will be held in Philadelphia this August. Please find info about that event below. We have also included information about Alternatives, including a call for award nominations.

Recent events have also brought issues of race to the forefront of the nation’s attention. This edition of our News and Notes email includes some items that highlight the inextricable connections between race and mental health.

Whatever you are doing this summer, we hope that you are staying well! Thanks for being part of CAFÉ TAC, and don’t forget to join us on Twitter and Facebook for more news and information.


House Passes Mental Health Bill

A summary from The Hill:

An account from the hometown paper of the bill’s author:

Reaction from the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery:

Reaction from the National Council for Behavioral Health:

Reaction from Mental Health America:

Full text of the bill is available at


Webinar: Back to the Basics: Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration

Monday, July 11

2:00 pm Eastern / 11:00 am Pacific

Integration is a hot topic and buzzword in health care. And, integrated primary and behavioral health care is the best approach to care for people with complex health care needs. But do you have an elevator speech when someone asks you about integrated care? What do you tell new staff during orientation and how do you communicate the value to potential partners and your board of directors? Join this webinar to go back to the basics of primary and behavioral health care integration and learn how to effectively communicate the importance of integrated care and the benefit to the people you serve.

This webinar is for any service provider in mental health, substance abuse or primary care interested in implementing integration.

Register for free at:


Webinar: Working Together to Support the Caregivers of Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families

Tue., July 12

2:00-3:30 p.m. ET

Over 1.1 million spouses, parents, and friends are caring for injured and disabled veterans who have served since 09/11/01. Caregivers of service members, veterans, and their families (SMVF) have been described as crucial partners in providing a supportive environment for SMVF. The responsibilities of supporting the needs of returning service members and transitioning veterans can prove challenging, and without a strong support system, caregiving can take a toll on one’s health and wellbeing over time.

Understanding those who serve as caregivers—and the array of challenges they face when accessing help—is the first step in supporting their resiliency and behavioral health.

In this webinar, Ms. Tanielian from RAND Corporation will present information on their sweeping study of military caregivers. Ms. Kabat, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will discuss the VA’s services that specifically support caregivers. Ms. Bauer of Operation Family Caregiver, a program of the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving, will discuss examples of possible partnerships to support caregivers. Several other key federal and community resources will also be shared. Through public-private partnerships, some of our best solutions and supports for military families can be offered.



iNAPS: A story of resilience and sustainability

The 2016 iNAPS (International Association of Peer Supporters) Conference will take place August 26-28 in Philadelphia. This event presents a great opportunity to connect with peers from across the nation and the world.

To view the agenda, find travel information, or register, visit the event website at


With the 10th Annual iNAPS Conference set for next month, here’s an article that describes its purpose, growth and history.

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Focus 45: Finding the Right Fit: What to Look For in a College or University

The demand for mental health services is at an all-time high, and colleges and universities are struggling to meet the need for support and counseling among their student bodies. The end result is a crisis not just among the students, who report extraordinarily high levels of depression and anxiety, but among institutions of higher education as a whole, as schools struggle with the demand for mental health services. Given the pressure on colleges and universities to provide for an ever-growing number of students in need of support, it is more essential than ever that people with mental health needs seeking to pursue higher education make decisions about where to study that are grounded in an understanding of the their own needs, the unique culture of each campus,  and the level of support and accommodations each school is able to offer.

In the latest Focus newsletter, CAFE TAC provides some advice on what prospective students with mental health needs should look for in a college or university. There’s a lot to consider, from the culture around mental health and stigma on campus, to university policies and available accommodations. To get a sense of how to figure out if a given school is the right fit, check out Focus 45: Finding the Right Fit:  What to Look For in a College or University.


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