Michigan Mental Health Counselors Assoc Image
In This Issue:
Out of My Mind
Legislative Update
Celebrating Black History Month - MMHCA Celebrates It's First African American President
Human Trafficking Trainings
Job Postings on Behalf of MMHCA Members
Important Web Links
Life Lines                                                  February 2020
Out of My Mind
By James Blundo
MMHCA Executive Director
February 24, 2020
I feel compelled to respond to efforts to distort and minimize MMHCA's role in our wonderful law PA96 of 2019 which protects all counselors in Michigan.
I am going to use the same theme MMHCA used in passage of our bill.
We used facts to substantiate our positions not misleading language to take credit and minimize our hard work on your behalf. Instead of a point by point fight over incorrect details by others, I want you to make up your minds as to who saved the profession and who has your best interests at heart.
We are the only Counseling profession who protects you with a fulltime paid lobbying firm who specializes in mental health issues.
2019 was the most consequential years since our license was passed in 1988. MMHCA and LLPC/LPC's were facing the greatest challenge to our survival as a profession. MMHCA was able to introduce and pass a bill to protect LLPC/LPC's in the fall of 2018. It was to be sent to Governor Snyder on the last day of the lame duck legislative session. It was killed on technicalities. We were very disappointed but determined to succeed.
In 2019, our lobbyist firm Acuitas led by Andres Cascarilla was able to introduce our bill written and tweaked by the PPL Committee and Andrea. It was moved forward in spite of prior scheduling and political agendas in the legislature. Our Public Policy Committee met in Lansing and held several conference calls and emails to layout the strategic action plan.
In the summer of 2019, the Board of Counseling (BOC) was hit by an administrative decision by the Department Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). In spite of the BOC decision opposed to the LARA decision to change our Scope of Practice that would block us from diagnosis, psychotherapy, and other issues developed over thirty 30 years.
MMHCA decided take the lead in fighting this decision. Our bill had been written and negotiations were already in progress with LARA and several groups who wanted to make changes in our language and in opposition. We were able to satisfy most concerns except the Michigan Psychological Association. With them we were not willing to give up diagnosis
Our sponsor Rep. Aaron Miller helped our lobbyist hold meetings with associations and LARA over the summer and into the fall of 2019.
In August MMHCA received the changes to our Scope of Practice in writing by LARA. It was obvious that we needed to act fast and furious. With our lobbyist, and the MMHCA and PPL Committee went public with the crises. We alerted the media and all the counselors in Michigan we could reach on the dire level of threat.
The organic response was phenomenal. A very effective facebook page was created with the facts and a place for counselors to connect. A petition was signed by 54000 individuals in support of our legislation. We had media attention across the state.
We determined the bill had to be passed before LARA was able to implement the changes targeted for November 2019. We were given one date to raise opposition to the Scope of Practice changes. On October 4, 2019 2000 counselors came to Lansing to oppose the intended changes. An additional 7000 emails were sent to LARA in opposition to intended changes. LARA had never seen this level of clarity in response to recommended changes.
In case LARA was able to implement the rule changes, we consulted with five attorneys with knowledge of regulatory affairs and filing lawsuits to block LARA's implementation. We referred to it as Plan B. We were prepared for all contingencies.
With the help of our lobbing firm (Acuitas) we were able to Fastrack our legislation. With considerable hours of work to finalize negotiations over objections from other professions and measuring level of support of each member of the Health Policy Committees in the House and Senate, we moved forward with the hearings required to precede a vote of the full House and Senate.
We requested the counselors in every district of the House and Senate be requested to support our legislation. Your efforts were extremely successful! My Senate representative received 1700 emails in support.
Our feedback was from your efforts and was extremely effective.
Our lead lobbyist Andrea Cascarilla, polled the legislature's members and they were on board.
To the amazement and pleasure of the MMHCA-PPL Committee, the bill passed each committee by 100% favorable vote.
Both the House and Senate passed the bill with no objections. From introduction to the signing was 5 and half weeks. No legislation has passed unanimously in in this time frame in over 22 years.
The Governor Whitmer signed Public Act 96 of 2019 on October 29, 2019.
It went into effect January 27, 2020.
With hundreds of hours of hard work, numerous trips to Lansing, weekly conference calls and the support of counselors across the state, we have accomplished a miracle. We are now protected from most threats to our profession. We closely monitor the rules committee of the BOC in relation to LARA's actions. The MMHCA PPL Committee recently made recommendations to develop rules around tele-supervision.
As a matter of fact, MMHCA is now considered the go to experts on the delivery of mental health services in Michigan.
Legislatures and lobbyists are coming to us for input. We have and will be setting up meetings with legislatures with help of our lobbyists to help design language and support bills that involve mental health.
We are expecting all legislation we support to include LLPC/LPC's
This challenge was handled masterfully by MMHCA.
We relied on facts to support our efforts. Some associations relied on miss information and unsubstantiated and distorted facts to take credit for MMHCA's success.
No one can deny The Michigan Miracle created by MMHCA!  
You can thank and support us by joining MMHCA, and liking us on facebook.
We have 1000 members. We have your back! Follow us on the MMHCA facebook site and on our website www.mmhca.org to see our future actions on your behalf.

James Blundo, LPC
MMHCA Executive Director

Next MMHCA Board Meeting 
MMHCA Members are invited to attend the next MMHCA Board meeting on Friday, March 13th, at 10:30 am. Location is Ele's Place, 1145 W. Oakland Avenue, Lansing, MI 48915. Please contact Jim BLundo at jamesblundo@att.net if you are interested in attending.

Legislative Update from Jim Blundo, MMHCA Executive Director - February, 20, 2020 
"Today I met with two legislators in Lansing who are developing legislation related to mental health.
This would not have happened without the unanimous passage of PA96 of 2019. We are now recognized as experts in the mental health arena. Our lobbying firm, Acuitas arranged the meetings based on contacts within the legislature.
I presented ideas surrounding trauma in children and Human Trafficking. They want our input on specific bills. My recommendations always include the use of LLPC/LPC's as providers. We educated them on our expertise and had them understand the valuable contributions we have to offer.
We were especially pleased with State Senator, Paul Wojno, seen in the photo along with Andrea Cascarilla from Acuitas. He was very interested in the MMHCA Human Trafficking Workshop and the fact that we have trained over 3000 counselors over the last four years. They want to include language from our experts. We will be meeting with these legislators in the near future to take the next step in developing legislation.
This is a very exciting time for our profession. We will be making more recommendations on several pieces of legislation as well as recommendations to LARA, and other government institutions.
We are both creating employment opportunities and improving the mental health delivery system. 
Medicare is on our radar so watch for the details.
MMHCA Celebrates Napoleon Harrington,
the first African American President of the
Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association  
As we continue to celebrate Black History month, MMHCA also celebrates and recognizes Napoleon Harrington, MA, LPC, NCE, HS-BCP. He is the first African American President of the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association serving two terms from 2016-2020.
We thank him for his service and leadership!
Harrington shared, "Words can't express how fortunate I feel to be able to contribute to a field that I love and the wonderful souls attached to it!
I'm standing on the shoulders of giants - so, I'm certainly not worthy of solo recognition but, share my deepest gratitude for noticing the value of African American contributions to the field. We've got a long way to go and a diversity to continue to establish."
Napoleon Harrington is the Founder and Therapist of the Ambassador Counseling & Resource Group (ACRG), a collaborative counseling organization dedicated to providing people and professionals with proficient counseling and training services.
Upon earning his bachelor's degree, he was awarded the Human Relations Award, a
significant honor given to one graduating senior at Oakland University. Napoleon is an
engaging presenter with national experience and has been a keynote speaker for multiple occasions - ranging from university convocation and commencement exercises to professional conference appearances. In 2012 he was awarded the Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award for his academic and professional contributions to his colleagues and the undergraduate student body.
Napoleon's leadership has been recognized by civic organizations and government officials. In January of 2016, he was inducted into the fifth class of the "Elite 40 under 40 of Oakland County", by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. He has recently been inducted as alumni and class president of the 28th Class of Leadership Oakland - a nationally recognized premiere leadership program. He is also serving as President of the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association.
Oakland University has equipped Napoleon with many experiences that inspired him to develop his counseling, speaking and facilitation skills, to be a voice of courage for people facing a variety of fears and challenges. Napoleon has had multiple television appearances and been featured as a radio guest a variety of times to discuss mental health and psychology related topics. He has written multiple articles for National and local publications on topics related to mental health and wellness. He has a passion for people and has made it his mission to cultivate optimum mental, physical, and spiritual
well-being of those he comes in contact with. Napoleon is affectionately known as the "Courage Counselor".
Napoleon lives in Auburn Hills with his college sweetheart and wife, Faith and they just welcomed the birth of their twin girls!
  1. Seeking Full-Time Contractual Therapists - Room to Talk in Ann Arbor
  2. Contractual Therapist is needed at Lake Orion Counseling Center
  3. Therapist opening at Listening Ear Crisis Center in Mt. Pleasant
  4. Hiring Full-time Staff Therapists (Employment NOT Contractual) in Ann Arbor - Group Private Practice, Positive Work Culture, Support to help therapists succeed, Full Benefits including 3 weeks PTO. Send Resume to   hiring@annarborcounselingservices.com .   www.annarborcounselingservices.com
Click here for more information regarding these job postings:  http://mmhca.org/articles/

MMHCA members may email their job postings to info@mmhca.org and we will post them. It's another way we can support our members.
Ms. Andrea Cascarilla

Ms. Andrea Cascarilla is Legislative Director at Public Relations firm, Acuitas, LLC in Lansing.  MMHCA hired Acuitas to represent LPC's and LLPC's in our state capital. Her work has been tantamount to our efforts to protect our license in the state. With Guidance from Acuitas, and much hard work by MMHCA's Public Policy Co-Chairs, Sara Schaeffer and Irene Ametrano, as well as Executive Director, Jim Blundo and President, Napoleon Harrington, progress is being made. Acuitas continues to represent LPC's and LLPC's in Lansing thanks to Michigan Mental Health Counseling Association. Please join us to help support this important work! 

Joyce Haskett, LMSW, ACSW, SAP  
Joyce was the first of three women to get her degree from the University of Michigan while in prison. She is now a Clinical Social Worker/Therapist, LMSW, ACSW, SAP helping others work through their own trauma.When she was a child of seven she was molested by an adult with people in the next room.Joyce believes the damage created in that room made her a target for the John that would find her later. When the sale of her body started, no miraculous rescue took place. In the end, she killed her trafficker, and was arrested. Joyce was imprisoned for life. After 17 years and 120 days in prison she was released. Attend the MMHCA Human Trafficking Workshop to hear her story!   
February 28 Networking & Speaker Breakfast in Dearborn
March 20 Human Trafficking Workshop at WMU in Grand Rapids
March 21 Networking & Speaker Breakfast in Grand Rapids
March 27 Networking & Speaker Breakfast in Rochester Hills
April 17 Human Trafficking Workshop at Park Place Hotel in Traverse City
April 18 Networking & Speaker Breakfast in Traverse City
September 18-19 MMHA 2020 Conference in Lansing.

MMHCA Human Trafficking Training on February 21, 2020 with over 70 Counselors and Social Workers participating. MMHCA thanks Ashland Theological Seminary for hosting this event.
This is the 52nd workshop with over 3000 Counselors and Social Workers receiving MMHCA-sponsored Human Trafficking training.
MMHCA Workshops meet the LARA requirements. All Michigan Health Professionals are required to take Human Trafficking training.
"When do I have to meet the requirements for the completion of training in identifying victims of human trafficking?"
Rule 338.3901a requires licensees to complete training in identifying victims of human trafficking. This training requirement will need to be completed prior to license renewal in 2021.
What the Training is About: In this workshop, Dr. Jeremy Norwood will provide professionals in the counseling, health care, and social work fields substantive training regarding the issue of human trafficking and how it relates to their areas of practice.  In response to the rise in the number of cases of human trafficking which have been reported around the State of Michigan, the Michigan legislature has required all counseling professionals to receive training on the topic of human trafficking.
Human Trafficking Workshop at WMU in Grand Rapids
March 20 @ 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Human Trafficking Workshop in Traverse City
April 17 @ 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Cost for Workshops (MMHCA Members receive a $50.00 discount)
MMHCA Members: $100.00
Non-Members: $150.00
MMHCA 1-Year Membership Plus Workshop: $200.00
Students: $75.00
Dr. Jeremy Norwood and Joyce Haskett speak at the MMHCA Human Trafficking Training on February 21, 2020. 

Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association
This News Update Compiled From MMHCA Social Media Posts by
Kathryn Hoover, MMHCA Social Media Director
Newsletter by:
Cindy S. Goldman, MEd, LPC, NCC
MMHCA Member at Large