News and Notes for November 30, 2017

By now, hopefully, you have adjusted to the season’s shorter days, and the annual fall ritual of setting your clock back an hour. The sudden loss of an hour of sunlight in the afternoon can be jarring, and for some, the general lack of daylight that sets in this time of year can have a negative impact on mental health.

This phenomenon is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, and is sometimes referred to as SAD. People that experience SAD deal with things like depression, fatigue, weight gain, a desire to sleep more than usual and a lack of energy. If any of this sounds familiar, you might be one of the estimated 10 million Americans whose mental health is negatively impacted by the shifting seasons.

This article from the Huffington Post offers some insight into SAD, and information on how to deal with it. As with any mental health issues, there a few basic things to keep in mind. First of all, although it may be common to downplay or joke about mental health symptoms being driven by the lack of daylight, SAD is a legitimate phenomenon, and should be addressed accordingly. Secondly, applying the techniques and strategies that guide your recovery throughout the year can be a great way to deal with seasonal issues. If the fall makes your mental health journey more challenging, think about the tools you have in your recovery toolbox, and see if you can bring them to bear to help you get through the darker months.

Even though it’s getting dark earlier these days, we’re still keeping busy at the CAFÉ TA Center collecting information on news, trends, and learning opportunities. Please take a moment to check out what we’ve gathered below!


Training Opportunity: Working with Managed Care Companies Towards Outcomes in Behavioral Health

Apply by December 8

Our fellow TA Center, the STAR, presents Virtual Learning Collaborative for Peer Run Organizations in Behavioral Health: Working with Managed Care Companies Towards Outcomes in Behavioral Health.

Learn how to work with managed care through a free virtual learning community, one on one coaching and more. The STAR center is seeking applicants for this free nine-month program. At the end of the monthly webinar series, assignments and coaching, participants will have the opportunity to pitch their programs to a virtual panel of managed care executives for feedback and perhaps gain their interest in a partnership.

24 executives of peer-operated services in behavioral health will be selected to participate. Peer leaders who are not executives will also be considered.

Application deadline is Friday, December 8, 2017

Learn more and apply at

Map of National Peer Training Programs                                                             

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center on Integrated Health Care & Self-Directed Recovery announces its interactive map of U.S. mental health peer certification programs. Use the map to learn the status of each state’s certification program, whether its peer services are Medicaid-reimbursable, and the number of specialists trained thus far.

After Hurricane Maria, Mental Health Specialists See Toll Among U.S. Puerto Ricans

This report from NBC News documents the trauma that continues to impact Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Info

People in various parts of the nation continue to experience impacts resulting from hurricanes. Here are some resources that can be helpful:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is offering a Disaster Distress Helpline available by calling 1-800-985-5990 or texting TalkWithUs to 66746. See

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has various resources available at Returning Home after a Disaster: Be Healthy and Safe (, and Prevent Injury after a Disaster (

The Georgetown Center on Health Insurance Reforms answers questions about access to health care and insurance benefits after a disaster (

If you have been impacted by a hurricane in 2017, you have extra time to apply for health insurance through federal exchanges. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) established new special enrollment periods for people affected by recent natural disasters, extending the application deadline through December 31st. (See

Call for Workshop Proposals for Peerpocalypse Conference

Deadline to apply is November 30, 2017

The organizers of the Peerocalyse conference, which will bring mental health peer leaders together in Seaside, OR, on April 9-12 of 2018, are now seeking presentation proposals for workshop sessions. The sessions are 90 minutes long and should include more than one method of sharing information (i.e. facilitated conversation, interactive exercises, visuals, handouts). Since this is a conference for and by peers, presenters will, ideally, identify as having lived experience of mental health and/or addiction recovery.
Deadline for Proposals: 11:45 PM PT, Monday, November 30, 2017. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of peers.

Apply at

To learn more about Peerpocalypse, visit

Research into Peer Academic Support in Higher Ed Ongoing

As described in this from the Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center (SPARC), academics are engaging in a study of the effectiveness of mental health peer support. The model being studied is the Peer Support for Success (PASS) project, which aims to provide strong academic supports to successfully launch the college careers of students with serious mental health conditions.

Read a report on the research at

Leaders Of Campus Organizations Speak Up About Student Mental Health Issues

In this article, students at the University of Florida share their thoughts and concerns on how campus mental health can be better addressed.

American College Health Foundation Accepting Applications for Annual College Mental/Behavioral Health Award

The American College Health Foundation, the charitable arm of the American College Health Association, is seeking applications for its FirstRisk Advisors Initiatives in College Mental/Behavioral Health Award.

The annual award is designed to fund the development of creative initiatives that address prevention, early intervention, and/or treatment for mental and behavioral health disorders among college students. The goal of the program is to reduce the risk of mental and behavioral illness and injury among college students and to enhance both individual and community health as a strategy to support student learning. To that end, a single $3,500 grant will be awarded at the 2018 ACHA annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in late May.

Learn more at

Equity in Mental Health Framework Launched

The JED Foundation and The Steve Fund have teamed together to launch the Equity in Mental Health Framework. It provides colleges and universities with ten recommendations and key implementation strategies to help inform and strengthen their mental health supports and programs for students of color.

Read about the program at

Americans Living In Rural Areas Are More Likely To Die By Suicide

As this Huffington Post article explains, not only are suicide rates on the rise, but they are growing most acutely in rural parts of the country.

Webinar: Building Partnerships and Collaboration Between Housing Providers and Behavioral Health Practitioners

Wednesday, December 6
1:00 p.m. ET

This final webinar in the Recovery to Practice webinar series on Housing and Unstable Housing explores how strong communication and collaboration between housing programs and behavioral health practitioners can positively impact engagement and recovery outcomes. Participants will learn:

The advantages of developing partnerships between housing services, behavioral and primary health providers.

How to overcome common challenges with partnerships between housing and clinical teams.

Strategies to strengthen and enrich collaboration.

Register at