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.
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:
Webinar: Workplace Accommodations for Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities
Wednesday, March 16
2:00 – 3:30 EDT
The principles prohibiting discrimination in the workplace under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were formulated for both physical and psychiatric disabilities; however, the statute as applied to physical disabilities tends to receive more attention. An estimated 61.5 million Americans have experienced a mental health impairment in a given year (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2013). The prevalence of employees with psychiatric disabilities in the workforce continues to rise. This session will discuss the employment rights of persons with psychiatric disabilities under the ADA with emphasis on workplace accommodations and discuss issues that arise including:
- How the broadened definition of disability under the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) affects individuals with psychiatric disabilities
- Determining when a person with a psychiatric disability is “qualified” for a job
- Common workplace issues involving persons with psychiatric disabilities
- Recent or poignant cases
- Identifying when safety issues or concerns arise and how the concept of “direct threat” may apply
- Resources for both employers and employees
Webinar: Making the Tax Code Work For You
11-12 p.m. PT / 2-3 p.m. ET
In this Peerlink webinar, host Marisa Danley will explore tax benefits that are targeting toward low-income and disabled people. Learn about the Earned Income Tax Credit, Education Credits, and more!
BRSS-TACS Webinar: Establishing Whole Health Recovery Models in Diverse Communities
Thursday, March 17
Recovery supports are not as available or as utilized in diverse communities as they are in predominately white communities. Addressing this reality is not as simple as increasing outreach and engagement. Organizations seeking to deliver recovery supports within diverse communities must make sure that the supports they deliver are culturally congruent.
For many individuals belonging to diverse communities, adverse childhood experiences, social determinants of health, discrimination, and intergenerational toxic shame pose persistent barriers to achieving long-term recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) or mental health conditions. Adapting recovery-oriented support models to better suit the social, cultural, spiritual, and economic characteristics of diverse communities is both essential and achievable. A number of organizations have developed culturally congruent or culturally specific approaches to delivering recovery supports. Others have adapted existing programming to better fit the needs of diverse communities.
The Establishing Whole Health Recovery Models in Diverse Communities webinar will describe how principles of recovery relate to whole health approaches in diverse communities, offer examples of culturally congruent recovery supports, provide tools and resources to assist with planning and implementing recovery supports in diverse communities, and discuss culturally congruent recovery messaging and language.
Webinar: Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Program: Overview, New Directions and Implementation Guidance
Thursday, March 31
1:30 PM EDT
Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) create opportunities for states to provide medical and non-medical services to facilitate greater community integration, quality of care, and choice for individuals with disabilities. In January of 2014, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) released new rules that impact everyone who receives or provides HCBS services. More than a year later, states and organizations are still grappling with what the new rules really mean, especially with regard to real-world implementation. Please join Melissa Harris – Senior Policy Advisor/Acting Deputy Director at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services – as she provides a high-level overview of the new HCBS standards, addresses current implementation efforts and discusses future directions for the HCBS program. Her remarks will be followed by a short presentation from a community behavioral health organization about key questions and challenges of HCBS waiver implementation, and an open question and answers session for attendees.
This webinar is hosted by the National Council for Behavioral Health.
Study Finds Housing First Approach Key to Better Mental Health Outcomes
Evidence that providing stable housing is the most promising avenue to address the mental wellness of those with mental health conditions that face homelessness continues to mount. This study featuring 200 participants adds to the credibility of the strategy of putting housing first.
Webinar: Targeting Readmissions: A Collaborative Strategy for Hospitals, Health Plans and Local Communities
Wednesday, March 30
1 to 2 p.m. EDT
Even as hospitals work to reduce readmissions through internal quality improvement efforts, local healthcare communities must also play an active role in addressing factors outside the hospitals’ control. The truth is that a significant percentage of hospital readmissions are associated with community-related factors such as unemployment, poverty, lack of education, and inadequate access to care.
During this webinar, experts from Health Management Associates will outline the rationale for a collaborative approach to reducing readmissions, involving hospitals, health plans, community-based organizations, and other providers who can address cultural and community-related factors that impact healthcare outcomes.
Participants will understand the role that community-related and demographic factors play in driving hospital readmissions, including a look at the most recent research; identify successful partnerships and programs in which collaborative care can reduce hospital readmissions and improve care quality and outcomes; find out how team communications, early discharge, care management, and follow-up are key components of any readmissions strategy during and after discharge; and understand the economic and business rationale for hospitals to develop strong collaborative efforts to address readmissions.
Register at https://hlthmgtevents.webex.com/mw3000/mywebex/default.do?nomenu=true&siteurl=hlthmgtevents&service=6&rnd=0.3511716461640907&main_url=https%3A%2F%2Fhlthmgtevents.webex.com%2Fec3000%2Feventcenter%2Fevent%2FeventAction.do%3FtheAction%3Ddetail%26confViewID%3D1755571325%26%26EMK%3D4832534b000000023acea825d408d43885fae3ec12efb6a61459cc46e423d8c36395d7f774e9f490%26%26encryptTicket%3DSDJTSwAAAAJHJUnxDmiQdfhGvdsILkIr3R2i382Nk0sjoSL7gb2Lug2%26%26siteurl%3Dhlthmgtevents
Webinar: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Youth and Young Adult Engagement in Wraparound
Tuesday, March 29th
11am – 12pm PST / 2pm – 3pm EST
This webinar from the National Wraparound Initiative will bring research evidence to bear on the question of how to increase young people’s active participation in Wraparound, and how to assess whether this is happening. It will present findings from a new randomized study of a youth engagement enhancement for Wraparound, and discuss what research can tell us about how to structure youth/young adult peer support so that it contributes to active engagement.
California Legislation Targets Campus Mental Health
A new bill being considered in California is intended to specifically address college mental health by providing for additional resources.
Shift in Workforce Model in Public Mental Health Clinics May Affect Efforts to Improve Services
The public mental health system is simultaneously trying to promote evidence-based practices while contracting with independent contractors to deliver services. According to a new study performed by the University of Pennsylvania, these trends may be in conflict.
Peering In: A Look At Mental Health Peer Providers And How They Help People Recover
This article shares the perspective of an individual that transitioned from being a recipient of care to a peer support professional. This is a great example of the ideals of recovery and the power of peer support being shared with a wider audience in a mainstream publication.
Webinar: Creating Welcoming Mental Health Work Environments
2 p.m. EDT
The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion announces the release of Creating Welcoming Mental Health Work Environments, focusing on strategies for creating more welcoming work environments within mental health agencies for staff members with mental health conditions who work in non-peer specialist roles. While the growth in the number of peer specialists in mental health agencies continues to increase, it is important to note and respond to the number of mental health professionals in non-peer specialist roles who also have a history of mental health concerns: the new publication identifies and responds to their concerns.
This new publication provides readers with practical strategies to better support agency colleagues by creating and maintaining a positive, supportive, and welcoming work environment that enhances work life for all employees. Creating Welcoming Mental Health Work environments can be used by those who have been diagnosed with a mental health issue as well as agency CEOs, board members, supervisors, managers, and others to strengthen an agency’s commitment to the fundamentals of recovery. To access this new document, please visit our website.
To facilitate effective use of this document, we will be hosting a national webinar. It will Highlight the importance of creating a welcoming environment and review the current state of our knowledge in this area; discuss the findings from a recent survey of mental health professionals with mental health problems and their perspectives on what agencies can do to make them feel more welcomed and supported; and provide recommendations to mental health agencies for developing more welcoming work environments for employees who have mental health issues.
10th Annual iNAPS Conference
The 10th Annual iNAPS (International Association of Peer Supporters) Conference will be held August 26 and 27 at the Philadelphia Sheraton Society Hill Hotel. This year’s theme is “Collaborating for Unity.”
Early-bird and group discount conference rates have been announced and posted on the website. Registration opens by March 31. For more information on this event, visit http://inaops.org/2016-annual-conference/.
Mental Health Costs of Climate Change
You might not think of climate change as something that relates to mental health, but for First Nations and Inuit communities in the Canadian North, changes in the environment are major sources of stress and anxiety.
More Than a Third of People Shot by L.A. Police Last Year Had Mental Health Condition, LAPD Report Finds
A new report that examines the use of deadly force by the Los Angeles Police Department, and finds a startling rise in the number of people with mental health histories shot by police officers.