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.

More Tragic Interactions between People with Mental Health Conditions and Law Enforcement

The steady stream of news about unnecessary deaths resulting from law enforcement acting as society’s default mental health crisis response force continues.

In Austin, a husband called police for help for his wife, who was in crisis. They ended up shooting her.

In New York, police shot and killed a woman with schizophrenia.


Mental Health Parity Is A Serious Issue

In this article, a practicing psychiatrist lays out a compelling case for stronger enforcement of mental health parity laws.


Ghosts are Scary, Disabled People are Not: The Troubling Rise of the Haunted Asylum

This article examines the trend of ghost hunters and fans of the paranormal becoming interested in shuttered mental health facilities, and the ways in which their attention erases the humanity of the people that suffered through institutionalization.


Webinar: The Power of Zero: A Systems Approach to Suicide Prevention

November 1

3:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM PT

Shel Gross, Director of Public Policy at Mental Health America of Wisconsin, will discuss the game-changing potential of the Zero Suicide initiative and how it is being implemented in Wisconsin. Zero Suicide is a quality improvement initiative that incorporates a variety of evidence-based and best practices across seven elements critical to suicide prevention in health and behavioral health care organizations. Shel will review these elements and talk about how MHA-Wisconsin has used a training and learning community approach to support implementation.

Register at


Copeland Center Summit: Mentoring for Re-Entering

November 14-15

West Chester, PA

Mentoring for Re-entering, will focus on our grass-roots peer community converging together around our collective experience and practical approaches using WRAP, Peer Support and other Recovery based programs to overcome and transform the challenges of the criminal justice systems.

For more information, visit


STAR Center Secrets of Sustainability Series: Measuring What Matters

December 15, 2016

2pm ET

Are you concerned about the sustainability of your organization?

Is your organization considered a peer or family run organization?

If you answered yes to both of these questions, Register Now to get involved in an introductory session with Chacku Mathai on December 15, 2016 at 2pm ET and prepare to be in the first cohort of peer and family run organizations supported through this exciting process!

The STAR Center collaborated with Dr. Briannon O’Connor and John Lee of CCSI’s Center for Collaboration in Community Health on the development of a web-based resource called the Measuring What Matters Tookit for Peer and Family Run Organizations for organizations interested in implementing innovations resulting from Medicaid redesign and the transition to managed care.

The Measuring What Matters Toolkit for Peer and Family Run Organizations is designed to help your peer and family run organization more effectively use data to understand and describe the impact of your services.  The focus is on effective data practices that help define who you serve, what you do well, and what impact you have.

Learn more at


Looking Back on Destination Dignity

On October 10, mental health advocates rallied in Washington DC at a “Destination Dignity” event timed to coincide with World Mental Health Day. Here are reflections on the day, and suggestions on paths forward, from two advocates:


Funding Opportunity: Planning and Developing Infrastructure to Improve the Mental Health and Wellness of Children, Youth and Families in American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) Communities

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2017 Planning and Developing Infrastructure to Improve the Mental Health and Wellness of Children, Youth and Families in American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) Communities (Short Title: Circles of Care VII) grants. The purpose of this program is to provide tribal and urban Indian communities with tools and resources to plan and design a holistic, community-based, coordinated system of care approach to support mental health and wellness for children, youth, and families.

Find details at


Funding Opportunity: Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Campus Suicide Prevention Grant

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2017 Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Campus Suicide Prevention grants. The purpose of this program is to facilitate a comprehensive public health approach to prevent suicide in institutions of higher education. The grant is designed to assist colleges and universities in building essential capacity and infrastructure to support expanded efforts to promote wellness and help-seeking of all students. Additionally, this grant will offer outreach to vulnerable students, including those experiencing substance abuse and mental health problems who are at greater risk for suicide and suicide attempts.

Find details at


SAMHSA’s GAINS Center Seeks Communities to Develop Trauma-Informed Training Capacity

SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, operated by Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA), known nationally for its work regarding people with behavioral health needs involved in the criminal justice system, is soliciting applications from communities interested in developing a capacity to provide trauma-informed training. The GAINS Center is offering a series of Train-The-Trainer (TTT) events to train local trainers to deliver its How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses training program. The target audiences for this training program are primarily community-based criminal justice system professionals, including law enforcement, community corrections (probation, parole, and pre-trial services), court personnel, as well as human service providers that serve adult justice-involved populations.

The GAINS Center will offer the Train-The-Trainer (TTT) events free of charge to selected communities between February 2017 and August 2017. Since the purpose of this training initiative is to offer targeted technical assistance and training to prepared communities in the field, there are no fees for registration, tuition, or materials associated with these trainings. If a TTT event is of interest to your community, please review the solicitation and submit your completed application form to the GAINS Center no later than November 18, 2016.

To download the solicitation for the How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses TTT Event, please click here.


Webinar: Estate Planning and Empowerment

November 17th

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

Many think that Estate Plans are only for wealthy people.  This webinar challenges that myth and shows how every person can benefit from having an Estate Plan as a form of personal empowerment.  Without one, the laws of the state in which you live will determine who will care for your children if you die or become incapacitated, and who will get your stuff-not just money, but other belongings as well.  If you get sick and don’t have an Estate Plan in place, other people will make important health care decisions on your behalf, often without considering your wishes.

The webinar explains (1) what exactly is an Estate Plan, (2) what is not typically part of it, (3) why it is so important to have one–even if you don’t have a lot of money or assets-and (4) how you can get one created for you.   The webinar will show how an Estate Plan helps you take back control of your life in very important ways, how it ensures that your wishes will be heard and your choices followed, and how it often makes people feel empowered to take on other life challenges.

Register at