CAFE TAC News and Notes for June 22, 2016

It’s hard to believe that it’s already halfway through 2016, but July is fast approaching!

The latest news in the mental health community is all about the movement of federal mental health legislation from the House Energy and Commerce committee to the full House of Representatives. This piece of legislation, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646), has been significantly revised to gain the support of Democrats. It now includes no changes to HIPAA or incentive for states to increase their use of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT). Although the chances for rapid advancement of this legislation are reduced given the election year calendar, consumers and advocates will certainly need to follow this issue closely.

We would also like to remind you that the Alternatives conference is only three months away! Early bird registration for this landmark event is still open. Register at before the end of the month to take advantage of the reduced rate!

And if you’re not willing to wait until September to get together with your peers from around the nation, consider attending the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) 10th Annual National Peer Support Conference in Philadelphia this August 26-28. Learn more about that event at

We have our usual collection of upcoming webinars and articles to get you thinking below. Remember, if you want more, you can always join us on Twitter and Facebook, where we regularly share news and articles about issues, stories and developments in mental health.


Legislative Update: HR 2646 Moves Forward

The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) has been advanced out of committee in the House or Representatives. Here are two links to help you understand what that means:

House panel moving ahead with long-delayed mental health bill – via The Hill

Mental Health Bill Approved by Committee, Now Heads to House Floor – via The National Council for Behavioral Health


It’s Time for Mental Health Advocates to Take Back Assisted Outpatient Treatment From Misguided Politicians

One of the most contentious issues in mental health reform is Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT). This post from Scott Bryant-Comstock urges advocates to define what AOT should look like before it’s done for them.


Webinar: Peer Providers: Innovations and Future – Peer Providers

Fri, Jun 24

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

Join us Friday, June 24th from 1-2pm EST for a webinar to learn more about what the future holds for peer providers!

The webinar will feature Brandee Izquierdo, Director, Office of Consumer Affairs, State of Maryland; Jennifer Padron, Founder & Principal, Klein, Padron & Associates; and Dr. Jessica Wolf, Yale University School of Medicine, Dept of Psychiatry Consultant Peer Workforce Issues.

They will discuss innovative and emergent roles of the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, peer career development and education, regional and national innovations on the CPS, FPS, RC and CHW in integration and much, much more!

Register here:

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 at


Webinar: Reframing Recovery

July 21

11-12 p.m. PT / 2-3 p.m. ET

Reframing Recovery challenges perceptions and ideals around mental health recovery, including how we, as a community, define it. Too often, our ability to recovery is questioned, challenged, and defined by others. With visuals, frank discussion, narratives, and thought-provoking statements, participants are challenged to reframe how they see recovery from mental health challenges. Reframing Recovery has been offered in several formats to a variety of audiences; including peers, peer support workers, mental health providers, and allies, all with generally high praises for its well-constructed content. In this first ever webinar format, we will discuss the concept of recovery in detail through story-sharing and interactive questions.

This PEERLINK webinar will be hosted by Donita Diamata and Robyn Priest.



These Stories Will Change How You Think About Men’s Mental Health

National Men’s Health Week, which took place June 13-19, offered a chance to bring focus to the value of men speaking openly about their mental health. This Huffington Post piece features several first-hand stories of recovery.


How to Talk to Your Boss About Mental Health Issues

Deciding what and how much to disclose in the workplace is always tough for people with mental health needs. This article offers some tips on how to approach the issue, and what rights employees have to protect them.


Stigma stops people from googling the word ‘counseling’

People often think about stigma as an external force. But this article reveals that it is powerful enough to change how young people seek out information about mental health online.


It’s not just college students. Higher education itself is experiencing a mental health crisis

Here’s a great overview of the issues facing institutions of higher education as they determine how best to, or even whether, to address the behavioral health needs of their students.


New TV Series to Center on Pharmaceutical Industry

A new show to be produced by George Clooney’s production company will be based on a series of articles by Huffington Post journalist Steven Brill. “Lawbreaker is the true story of a venerable pharmaceutical company that created a powerful drug and marketed it aggressively to children and the elderly while allegedly manipulating and hiding data about its side effects. The drug company was investigated and agreed to pay more than $2 billion in penalties and settlements but made a reported $30 billion in sales of the drug worldwide.”


States turn to former patients to fill mental health gaps

This report out of South Dakota sheds light on how certified peer specialists are helping to fill gaps in the mental health workforce.


Webinar: Recovery After Incarceration: Peer Supports as a Critical Re-Entry Service

Thursday, June 30

2:00-3:30pm ET (1:00pm CT, 12:00pm MT, 11:00am PT)

More than half of the 2.2 million people incarcerated in the United States have mental health conditions, substance use disorders, or both (The Sentencing Project, 2016; Osher, D’Amora, Plotkin, Jarret, & Eggleston, 2012).  Each year, hundreds of thousands of people with behavioral health needs leave prison or jail and return to their communities. This transition is fraught with challenges, including barriers to accessing treatment and recovery supports, obtaining public benefits, finding employment, regaining custody of children, and gaining stable housing.

Peer support from individuals with lived experience of mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and criminal justice system involvement is a critical resource for people transitioning back to their communities. Re-entry-focused peer supports can help people achieve and maintain their recovery and to successfully rejoin their families and communities after incarceration (Randall & Ligon, 2014).

This webinar will review emerging evidence about the value of peer specialists and recovery coaches in supporting individuals transitioning from incarceration. It will highlight effective approaches to help individuals develop and advance towards their recovery and wellness goals, access services, navigate systems, and achieve successful community integration.


How to Fix a Broken Mental-Health System

The Atlantic’s Norm Ornstein takes a look at the nation’s mental health system of care, and the pressing need for long-promised community-based care to become a reality.


When Aid Turns Deadly

This three-part article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune looks at the highly problematic relationship between law enforcement and people with mental health needs, from the perspectives of law enforcement, families and survivors. “At least 45 percent of the people who have died in forceful encounters with law enforcement in Minnesota since 2000 had a history of mental illness or were in the throes of a mental health crisis, according to a Star Tribune analysis of death certificate data, court and law enforcement records and interviews with family members. That’s double the estimated rate of mental illness among U.S. adults.”


Jarring campaign tackles disability stigma with offensive statements

A campaign in Pennsylvania is resorting to blunt talk to start the conversation about how people perceive individuals with disabilities.


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

Tues., 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.


Consumer-Driven Services Directory

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse invites consumer programs to be listed in their Directory of Consumer-Driven Services. The Clearinghouse welcomes all programs in which consumers play a significant role in leadership and operation to apply.

The directory, accessible at, is searchable by location, type of organization, and targeted clientele, and serves as a free resource for consumers, program administrators and researchers.

Apply online at, via fax at 215.636.6312, or by phone at 800.553.4KEY (4539).

To receive an application by mail, write to or Susan Rogers, Clearinghouse, 1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19107.


Share Your Experience Coming Off Medication

Have you come off, or tried to come off, psychiatric medications in the past five years? We want to know about your experience!

The goal of this project is to understand the process of coming off psychiatric medications.
What helps or prevents people from stopping their psychiatric medications?

Sometimes people who take psychiatric medications choose to stop taking it. When people choose to come off medications, they may struggle to find the information or support they need. Providers who want to help often lack evidence to guide people. Your responses to this survey will help better support people coming off psychiatric medications. We will share the results in public reports and presentations, as well as academic journals.

Who can participate?
Adults ages 18+ in the United States who meet the following criteria:

  • Labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis, such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, psychosis NOS, bipolar disorder I, bipolar disorder II, bipolar disorder NOS, major depressive disorder.
  • In the last five years, took prescribed psychiatric medications for at least nine months before trying to come off them.
  • Had a goal to completely stop taking one or two medications in the past five years.

We are particularly interested in hearing from people of color and people who have experienced poverty.
If you would like to participate:

First, you will complete a screening questionnaire. If you are eligible, you will continue to the survey. It will take you about 20 to 30 minutes to complete the survey. Your answers will be anonymous. Your answers will be combined with others’ when we report results.

The survey will ask you about:
•    Your motivation for stopping medications.
•    Supports you used.

  •  How you feel about stopping medication.

Take the survey:

Read more at:


Study Finds Racial Differences in Psychiatric Diagnosis and Treatment

New evidence confirms that the experience of mental health diagnosis and treatment can be strongly impacted by race: “According to a recent study published in the journal Psychiatric Services, black patients are almost twice as likely as their white counterparts to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, while white patients are significantly more likely to receive a diagnosis of anxiety or depression.”


Webinar: Invasion or Innovation: Peers in the Workforce

Tuesday, June 28

11am PST/ 2pm EST

In this webinar with Rita Cronise of the InterNational Association of Peer Supporters, (iNAPS), she will share what she has learned – both the positive and the areas that still need work – as well as the best way to address the part of the process that gets in the way of a successful utilization of the peer workforce.  She has seen the power of welcoming peers as a powerful innovation that serves to empower individuals in reclaiming their lives as well as the problems that occur when clinical staff see peer specialists as unwanted invaders.  She will detail and address issues that need to be recognized and addressed in order to embrace the peer specialist into the recovery-based work environment in a manner that allows a mutually supportive workforce.


Supportive Housing Helps Vulnerable People Live and Thrive in the Community

New evidence supports the idea that stable housing is central to engendering positive health outcomes. Read this new report from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


Bazelon Shares Brief on Employment

The brief, “Policy Opportunities for Promoting Employment for People with Psychiatric Disabilities,” provides policy recommendations to address current barriers to employment. Individuals with psychiatric disabilities face substantial misperceptions about their abilities, along with a myriad of other employment barriers, including transportation limitations, the complexities of disability benefit programs, and a lack of access to evidence-based supported employment and other services.


Asking Mom: ‘Did You Know I Was Depressed In High School?’

This NPR story looks at the difficulties young adults have discussing their mental health struggles with their families.


Criminal mental health program in Miami-Dade seen as a model for nation

A program in Florida that directs individuals toward treatment instead of incarceration by relying on peer support, resulting in cost savings and better outcomes.