News and Notes from The CAFE TA Center

It’s March, and spring is right around the corner. Even though some parts of the country are still dealing with heavy snow and cold temperatures, a season of new growth and renewal is right getting closer with every passing day. We hope the spring brings you a renewed sense of wellness and possibility.
In that spirit of growth, we’d like to tell you about a new learning opportunity that has been created through a cooperative effort by the five national technical assistance centers. CAFÉ TAC has joined with Doors to Wellbeing, the NAMI STAR Center, the National Empowerment Center, and Peerlink to form the Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative. The purpose of this collaborative is to host a series of webinars on topics related to operating a healthy mental health consumer organization, with subjects ranging from the nuts and bolts of organizing, like budgeting, board development, fundraising, and strategic planning, to other important issues, such as conflict resolution, inclusion, and relationship building.
The first webinar in this series, Conflict Management in Peer-Run Organizations: Tools for Effective Conversations, was held on March 14th. The second webinar, Developing a Board of Directors for Mental Health Organizations, is set for Wednesday, May 15th from 2:00 – 3:30 pm ET. You can register to participate in the webinar series at
We are also eager to hear about what topics and issues you would like to see addressed by the Peer-Run Organization Learning Collaborative in upcoming webinars. To help make sure that happens, we have created a brief survey to learn about the needs and priorities of peer-run organizations. Please take the survey at
For more about what’s happening in the world of mental health, check out the links below.


Mental Illness Not To Blame For Gun Violence, Study Finds

A new study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston debunks the connection between mental health issues and gun violence that is an all-too common feature of public opinion.

Effectively Employing Young Adult Peer Providers: A Toolkit

Peer-run organizations may see the value of having youth and young adult peer providers, but experience difficulties in recruiting, retaining, and managing them. A new guide from the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research offers some ideas on how to make it work.

World Health Organization Quality Rights Survey

The WHO QualityRights initiative is working to improve the quality of mental health services globally and to promote the human rights of people with mental health conditions and psychosocial, intellectual, and cognitive disabilities. To do so, WHO has opened a survey that allows respondents to recommend “people-centered services . . . that operate without coercion, and that respond to people’s needs by promoting autonomy, inclusion in the community, and the involvement of people with lived experience at all levels of decision-making.”

Learn more and take the survey at

A Survey to Define Peer Support Specialist for The Department of Labor

A national workgroup organized by iNAPS has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the US Department of Labor. The group is seeking input before moving forward with its submission.

Learn more and take the survey at

A Ketamine Derived Drug Gets FDA Approval as Antidepressant

The FDA has approved the use of a drug derived from an anesthetic for use in treating adults with “treatment-resistant depression.”

Peer Support Tied to Fewer Repeat Mental Health Hospitalizations
According to a UK study described in this Reuters article, people who receive support from peers are less likely to return to be readmitted one year after a hospitalization when compared to those that do not receive peer support.
Peer Support: Evidence and Experience
A new guide from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care offers a quick reference on peer support and reference to studies demonstrating its efficacy.
Peer Support Makes a Difference in Tennessee
As this article from the Tennessean describes, peer support provided by consumer organizations like the Tennessee Mental Health Consumers’ Association can significantly reduce re-hospitalization, improving outcomes while also reducing costs.
The Collected Schizophrenias
An award-winning new collection of essays by Esmé Weijun Wang entitled “The Collected Schizoprhenias” offers an intimate, thoughtful first-hand account of living with schizoaffective disorder. Read a review of this engaging new book here.
An Actress Looks to Break the Silence on Black Mental Health With a New Foundation
The actress Taraji P. Henson is trying to open up a conversation about mental health in the black community through a foundation named after her late father: the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation.
2018 Bazelon Center Campus Mental Health Update
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is available to provide help to students with mental health needs in higher education with issues such as involuntary leaves of absence after hospitalization, difficulties returning to school after taking leave, and obtaining appropriate accommodations.
For information on this program, visit
After Daughter’s Suicide, Grieving Parents Denounce Gaps in Access to Mental Health Care
As this San Francisco Chronicle article describes, despite progress toward parity a gap between the availability of physical health care and mental health care remains a major challenge.
Poor Mental Health Can Lead To Physical Ailments
This Medical Xpress article recounts the story of a young woman whose mysterious physical symptoms were ultimately linked to her mental health condition, illustrating the link between physical and mental health.
The Six Challenges Of Making Peer Services Work
This Open Minds article lists six challenges that organizations must address in integrating peer support services into their approach: role confusion, lack of integration, performance measures, management training, career paths, and specialties of focus.
ERs ‘Flooded’ With Mentally Ill Patients With No Place Else To Turn

According to this CNN report, the volume of people visiting emergency rooms for behavioral health issues is causing problems for hospitals, and highlighting the lack of better care options.