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In This Issue


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  Thank you
Eddie Sissons

March represented a month of transition for the newly constituted Arizona chapter of Mental Health America as executive Consultant Eddie Sissons passed the baton to Kristina Sabetta*, who officially assumed management and coordination functions for the chapter March 15.   Since it's reconstitution, Eddie has been a gentle, focused, guiding influence, working with the Board to make reality our dreams and aspirations.    During Eddie's tenure, MHA AZ initiated the critically acclaimed "Association of Association" meetings, secured financial support for the organization from a variety of sources, restarted the MHA SEEDS conferences, established a monthly newsletter, and grew the network of individuals and organizations committed to mental health.   Most importantly, Eddie provided her lifelong passion for the compassion of others less fortunate, blending her commitment to social justice with her keen eye of public policy, to serve as the eyes, the ears, and frequently the mouthpiece of MHA-AZ, ensuring that people and families impacted by the insidious disease of mental illness are not forgotten, or swept under the rung by policy makers and politicians.  
 *Read more about Ms. Sabetta in next month's newsletter.

Coming Events

Arizona Psychiatric Society 2016 Annual Meeting, "Innovations in Psychiatry," to be held on Saturday, April 30, 2016. More info here.
St. Patrick Behavioral Health Interface Conference to be held on Thursday, May 12th, 2016. More info here.

Community Calendars
Cenpatico Integrated Care AZ Community Events
Mercy Maricopa of Integrated Care Community Events 
Health Choice Integrated Care Community Events 
AZ Center for Applied Behavioral Health  Events

Arizona Trauma Institute Trainings 
NAMI AZ Calendar
Sign up here for a Mental Health First Aid class near you!

2016 Board of Directors 
Michael Shafer, Ph.D. Chair  
Joshua Mozell, J.D., Vice Chair  
Jason Bernstein, C.P.A., Treasurer

Jack Beveridge
Max Dine, M.D.

Sheri George
Charles Goldstein, M.D
Laurie Goldstein

Emily Jenkins, J.D.
Marcus Johnson , M.P.H.
Barbara Lang, M.A., L.P.C., LISAC, CCSOTS

Karen Pitico, M.P.H.
Mohamed Ramadan, M.D. 
Clarke Romans
April 19th, 2016
Have you registered yet? Don't Miss Out!

Join us on May 20th and 21st for our annual conference, "B4Stage4:  Starting the Conversation". Connect with individuals and family members living with mental illness, health care providers, and other mental health partners in public safety, education and faith communities, in discussing the early detection and prevention of mental illness.
Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of Mental Health America, and author of the critically acclaimed book Losing Tim: How our Health and Education Systems Failed my Son with Schizophrenia is a featured keynote presenter.
Attendees will learn how to recognize the early signs and symptoms of a mental health condition; develop strategies to advocate for your loved ones and for self-management; navigate community resources including crisis services; get information on innovative programs and services; and how to engage and mobilize with other community.

Check out the conference brochure here.
Check out the conference flyer here.

Costs: $59 two day, $39 one day for family members and people with lived experience. Mental health and social service professionals are asked to pay $109 two days; $79 one day. A total of 10 CEUs will be granted.

Location for the event will be the Salvation Army's Citadel Corps at 628 N. 3rd Avenue, Phoenix.  Sessions will start at 9 am each day and conclude at 4 pm.

To register click here.

Interested in sponsoring? There is still time. Click here for more information.

Statement by Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of MHA on Final Parity Rule

"Mental Health America (MHA) applauds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the final rule applying the Mental Health Parity and Addition Equity Act of 2008, also known as the parity law, to Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs), alternative benefit plans (ABPs), and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

"While the final rule does not apply parity requirements to normal fee-for-service Medicaid, it does offer better access to mental health and substance use services for the thousands of individuals covered by MCOs, ABPs, and CHIP. 

"In particular, MHA appreciates the strengthening of Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT), which is so crucial for ensuring that children get the care they need-Before Stage 4.  The final rule is one step closer to treating mental health conditions like any other condition.

"That said, the final rule does not fully address some of MHA's critical priorities in ensuring greater transparency, stronger oversight, and more empowered consumers.

"Further steps are still needed to fully implement the parity law so that it ultimately means something for each individual in need of treatment. Several bills in Congress would help take the next step. The Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act of 2015 (H.R. 4276) introduced by Rep. Joe Kennedy, III in the House, and S. 2647 by Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the Senate, contains strong provisions to improve transparency and provide more guidance on oversight and compliance. MHA is advocating for movement of mental health reform legislation, and hopes to see many of these provisions included.

"In addition, MHA is working with several national partners including the Kennedy Forum and on model state parity legislation. The federal government can only go so far in ensuring parity - states need to step up and make sure their constituents have a fair access to the services they need. MHA and its affiliates look forward to working with state legislatures to pass the parity statute that fits the needs of its citizens."

Updates from the National Institute of Mental Health
  • A single screening question about drinking frequency in the past year could help doctors identify adolescents at risk for alcohol problems, according to a new study funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, who collaborated with a network of rural primary care practitioners, the study also supports the use of the age-based screening thresholds put forward in NIAAA's Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner's GuidePress Release: Find it here.
  • NIMH has a new fact sheet that provides an overview of coordinated specialty care for first episode psychosis and a checklist. Find it here.
  • The following publication offers guidelines for physicians using medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for patients with opioid use disorder. It also discusses the various types of approved medications, screening and assessment tools, and best practices for patient care. Find it here.
  • Many parents choose complementary health approaches for their children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to help manage symptoms; however, despite this use there is a paucity of high-quality research focused on complementary approaches for ASD. This issue of the National Center for Complimentary and Integrated Health digest provides information on the evidence base of several commonly used complementary health approaches for ASD. Find it here. 
Mental Health America of Arizona wants to acknowledge the support of Janssen Pharmaceutical Company. Corporate support is key to assuring there is a voice in the community.

We invite your participation and sharing of this newsletter by forwarding to your friends and colleagues.  If they wish to receive the newsletter, encourage them to simply click on the link here.  Let's share the word.  Time to get involved.
Kristina Sabetta, LMSW
Executive Consultant