January 9, 2017

In This Issue
Quote of the Week:

"More work needs to be done to create a more mentally healthy New York State and this is shaping up to be one of the most challenging budget years in quite some time. This is why your advocacy voice is needed more than ever."-NAMI-NYS in analysis of the State of the State.  
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We hope all of our readers had a joyous holiday season and we wish you all the best for a happy and healthy 2018. In this issue, we turn the page on not just a new year but to a new legislative session here in New York State. This issue contains information on advocacy issues both in New York as well on the federal level. Along with articles on various issues you will also find our analysis of the Governor's State of the State. As the articles and the analysis indicate, many challenges lay before us, but as we have done before, NAMI-NYS members will project our advocacy loud and clear and continue to fight for adequate services for people living with a mental illness and their families. 

As always, we want to know about the work you are doing.
Please email  Matthew@NAMINYS.org with details and pictures about your work. This way we can feature it in the E-News and print Newsletter. Showcasing your work will allow others to learn from you, and that's the best way we can grow together as an organization. 

Hope Starts With You!
NAMI-NYS Provides an Analysis of the Governor's
State of the State

Last Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo made his annual State of the State (SotS) Address and released the SotS Book. Though the Governor didn't discuss much about mental health issues, he did touch on it a bit (specifically in regards to homelessness in the speech and  the book details a mental health in schools initiative) and  many of the initiatives the Governor proposes will have a direct impact on individuals and families affected by mental illness. These initiatives are aligned with five of NAMI-NYS's main advocacy priorities: 1) Housing 2) Criminal Justice 3) Community Reinvestment 4) Access to Appropriate Medications and 5) Mental Health in Schools. 

Click here to read NAMI-NYS's analysis. While there is certainly a lot of encouraging aspects of the SotS, clearly more work needs to be done to create a more mentally healthy New York State, and this is shaping up to be one of the most challenging budget years in quite some time. This is why your advocacy voice is needed more than ever.  

Click here to visit the webpage for our 2018 Advocacy Day and register. NAMI-NYS foresees many budget challenges this coming year and we need as many voices as possible to come together and advocate for a more mentally healthy New York State.  
Watch the Latest Episode of Mental Health Now

Click here to watch the latest episode of Mental Health Now, which details the important role Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) play in improving the mental illness-criminal justice interface. Our guests on the episode are  Don Kamin, PhD, Director of the Institute for Police, Mental Health & Community Collaboration, and Lt. Willie Flack of the Albany Police Department. CIT expansion is one of NAMI-NYS's leading advocacy issues. 

Watch Video from the Forum with 
Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

This past December, NAMI-NYS staff and board members participated in a forum hosted by the Manhattan Institute featuring Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D, the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. NAMI-NYS Associate Director, Public Affairs had the the opportunity to meet with Dr. McCance-Katz prior to the forum to detail NAMI-NYS's advocacy priorities.

C-SPAN recorded the Forum which featured a discussion moderated by Erin Billups (the recipient of the 2017 NAMI-NYS Media Award) featuring authors/advocates Pete Early and DJ Jaffee and a discussion with Dr. McCance-Katz. 

Click here to watch the forum.   
NAMI CEO Discusses Saving Lives in Our
 Rural Communities in the HuffPost

One of the positive aspects NAMI-NYS identified in our analysis of the Governor's State of the State was his attention to address health issues in rural communities. In the analysis we praise the Governor's proposal of expanding telehealth services in rural areas, but we are also concerned that telehealth is not enough and more crisis services are needed. This is especially true in combating suicide. 

NAMI CEO Mary Giliberti discusses this issue in a recent article she wrote for the HuffPost. Mary explains, "T he growing disparity in suicide rates between rural and urban communities may well have multiple causes, but one clear issue is a lack of access to mental health care. While there is an overall shortage of mental health providers nationwide, this is particularly true for rural counties. More than half of rural counties have no licensed behavioral practitioners. It is hard to imagine any other area of health where this level of unmet need would continue."

Click here to read the full article. 

New York News
Governor Cuomo Announces $60 Million in Awards to Mental Health and Addiction Healthcare Providers to 
Lower Cost and Improve Outcomes 

On January 4th, Governor Cuomo announced that New York will issue $60 million in awards over three years to mental health and addiction services providers as part of the transformation of the State's Medicaid system. The awards will aid behavioral health providers in transforming to a business model of Value-Based Payment, which rewards quality of care and better health outcomes, rather than the volume of services they provide. 

"This funding will help ensure New Yorkers in need receive access to vital mental health services, while continuing our work to make Medicaid both more effective and more affordable," Governor Cuomo said. "This is one more step towards a stronger, healthier New York for all."

Ann Marie Sullivan, MD, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health said of the awards:  "Governor Cuomo and I are pleased to provide this financial assistance to mental health and substance use treatment providers as they transition to a system which pays on outcomes and not on volume.  This funding will help to improve the integration of behavioral health and physical health care and better serve people with mental health conditions. It will allow behavioral health providers to develop the tools needed to demonstrate the quality of their services and succeed in a value based reimbursement system."

Click here to read the full announcement including quotes from Assembly Mental Health Chair Aileen Gunther and Senate Mental Health Chair Robert Ortt. 

At George Washington Bridge, a Fence Rises 
to Deter Suicides

The George Washington Bridge connecting Manhattan and New Jersey is one of the nation's busiest bridges both for traffic and for suicide attempts. In 2017, fifteen people jumped to their death from the bridge and the Port Authority Police Department estimates they have to thwart a suicide attempt once every five days. They claim they successfully prevented 68 suicide attempts in 2017. 

More measures are being taken to prevent suicide attempts on the bridge. Recently  an 11-foot-high fence connected to netting that forms a canopy over the pathway beyond the traffic lanes was installed. Until now, the only barrier along the pathway was a barricade-high railing. There are plans to build a permanent suicide deterring fence on the bridge.

Click here to

The above article from the New York Times details how  Suicidologists say that barriers on bridges are effective tools for preventing suicides. A  2015 analysis  published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry averaged 18 suicide studies and concluded that placing safety nets under known "hot spots" for suicide reduced death rates. The study found that the death rate from suicide was an average of 5.8 a year before such nets were installed to an average of 2.4 deaths a year after, a decline of 58 percent. There is a growing movement to create suicide barriers on major bridges.

This past Sunday, CBS Sunday Morning featured a story on the longtime efforts to build a net under the San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Click here to watch that story. 

NAMI-NYS Asks for Help in Participating in a Survey
on Non Medical Switching

NAMI-NYS firmly believes in person centered care when it comes to mental health treatment. A big part of the person-centered approach is access to medication that a provider believes to be most appropriate in addressing a person's unique set of symptoms. While medication may not be needed for every person's recovery, when it is deemed necessary, the people should have access to the medication their providers thinks would be right for them. 

As we mentioned in our analysis of the State of the State, more needs to be done to address the fact that health insurance plans are increasingly interfering with patient care by making prescription drug coverage changes mid-contract. This troubling practice forces patients to switch to drugs other than what was prescribed by their health care provider. Many individuals select insurance plans based on what medications are covered, and to have the insurance company alter coverage during the contract period could prove disastrous to the patient's health.  NAMI-NYS is very concerned about this practice as anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications are not interchangeable and drug-to-drug interactions with medication being taken for co-occurring disorders must be considered.

NAMI-NYS is helping gather information from patients, caregivers and providers who have experienced non-medical switching. This information will help us positively influence state legislation to end this unfair insurance practice in New York State and help ensure insurance companies are honoring their contracts with patients. This is a short 14 questions survey and should take no more than five minutes to complete.

Click here to take the survey for patients and caregivers.
Click here to take the survey for providers.
National News
Dr. Herb Pardes Writes How We Need to do More Than
Just Talk About Mental Illness

Dr. Herbert Pardes, executive vice chairman of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital Board and President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation's Scientific Council, recently wrote an op-ed for the Hill in which he states the time is now for bi-partisan action to address mental illness.

He states, "Millions of people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, go untreated due to a persistent lack of psychiatrists and hospital beds. In many cases, people become homeless or incarcerated; our prison system has become the nation's largest caretaker of the mentally ill."

He also points out that "Mental illness affects one in five people, so it is quite likely that every single member of the House or Senate has a spouse, a child, a relative, or a friend who has been touched by mental illness." Despite the prevalence of mental illness, Dr. Pardes says, "Over the years, few major figures have had the clout to successfully press for mental health parity."

After praising those lawmakers who have worked to address the issues around mental illness, he writes about the bi-partisan introduced Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act.

Click here to read more.

Disability Advocates Worry as Justice Department Scraps ADA Guidance

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he's rescinding more than two dozen guidance documents including several clarifying the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Among the 25 revoked documents are a number of ADA-related items dating as far back as 1995 offering guidance on everything from service animals to accessible building practices as well as a 2016 letter on employment of people with disabilities.

Disability advocates indicated they are particularly worried about the U.S. Department of Justice's decision to pull a statement issued under the Obama administration addressing the implications of the ADA's integration mandate on employment.

"The civil rights of persons with disabilities, including individuals with mental illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities, are violated by unnecessary segregation in a wide variety of settings, including in segregated employment, vocational and day programs," the Obama-era guidance stated.

Click here to read more. 


NAMI-NYS Activities Features in the Latest Issue 
of NIMH Outreach Connection

The latest edition of the Outreach Connection, the news bulletin for the NIMH Outreach Partner Program, features several examples of how NAMI-NYS is bringing the work of NIMH to broader audiences. The edition discusses the Mental Health Now Episode featuring NIMH's Dr. Robert Heinssen as well as two examples of NIMH participation in our 2017 Education Conference. 

In his greeting, NIMH's Dr. Josh Gordon discusses the recent rash of natural disasters and how "in their wake, people want to know what they can do to have a meaningful impact on the mental health of communities affected by these disasters." Dr Gordon also noted that "Natural disasters can be particularly disruptive for individuals with serious mental illness, especially if they are cut off from regular sources of care and support," while adding that, "We can draw on evidence from NIMH-supported research after past disasters to deploy assistance when and where it can help most."

Click here to view the Outreach Connection.

Different Approaches to Understanding and
 Classifying Mental Disorders: 
An in-depth look at the DSM, the ICD, and 
the NIMH's RDoC

Research in a wide range of disciplines supports the idea that mental disorders result from the complex interplay of biological, developmental, social, and environmental processes; however, the more we learn about mental disorders, the more we realize there are still gaps in our understanding of how best to classify, diagnose, and treat them.

In a new report, authors representing a range of research centers and institutions discuss challenges in the conceptualization and classification of mental disorders and detail how each of three existing approaches-the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)'s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC)-handles these issues.

Click here to read more. 

Clinical Trial Recruitment

The primary purpose of this research study is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the oral drug AV-101 (an antagonist of the glycine receptor) versus placebo. The study aims to determine if this experimental drug has antidepressant effects and fewer side effects than other novel treatments for depression.
We are enrolling moderately depressed individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 with hard-to-treat major depressive disorder. This inpatient study lasts up to 14 weeks and procedures include a medication taper, taking the research drug, taking placebo and 4 brain imaging scans. Optional procedures include a lumbar puncture and catheter placement in the spine two times. After completing the study, participants receive short-term follow-up care at the NIH while transitioning back to a provider.
The study is conducted at theNIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and enrolls eligible participants from across the USA. Travel arrangements are provided and costs are covered by NIMH (arrangements vary by distance). There is no cost to participate and compensation is provided.
To find out if you qualify,  send an email to moodresearch@mail.nih.gov ,
 or call 1-877-646-3644 (1-877-MIND-NIH [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Save the Dates

Click here to register.

January 23-Webinar on Conflict Resolution Resources for Peers
Do you know how to communicate effectively in conflicts and where to find resources for when conflicts escalate? This program introduces conflict resolution processes, skills you can use to manage conflicts, and resources you can access when you need help. We will specifically highlight conflicts related to mental health and roles peers can play in resolution. All participants will receive access to online resources they can use immediately following the presentation. Dan Berstein, MHS will be the presenter. Dan is the Vice Chair of the Diversity Committee of the American Bar Association's Section of Dispute Resolution. He developed the Dispute Resolution in Mental Health Initiative at the CUNY Dispute Resolution Center.

The webinar will be held on Tuesday, January 23 at 2pm. Click here to register. 

February 9th-MHA of Fulton and Montgomery Counties will be hosting Fun Fever-A Night of Stand Up Comedy, to benefit their new support group for families who have lost a loved one to opiates. The event will take place at the Country Club of Amsterdam, 130 Guy Park Ave. Amsterdam.

Click here for more information.

JANUARY  25-    Capital District Family Services presents: An Overview of E.C.T. by Marcos Nieves, MD. CDPC Chief of Psychiatry. Thursday January 25th 5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. CDPC Family resource Center. For more information or to register contact Frank Grecco Director of Family Services (518) 549-6816.

MARCH 13-CAIC Advocacy Day 2018
On any given day, as many as 4,000 people are locked in isolated confinement in New York's prisons and jails. This practice is ineffective, unsafe, and inhumane. It causes people detained in terrible conditions to deteriorate psychologically, physically, and also harms their families and communities. On March 13th 2018, people will come together from across the state in Albany to demand an end to this torture! Meet with legislators, learn, and rally to get the Humane Alternatives for Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act [A. 3080/ S. 4784] passed.

Signature Programs

JANUARY 9-NAMI Rockland Basics Spanish Class (Bases Y Fundamentos). Tuesdays, January 9, 2018 - February 13, 2018
6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at The Stony Point Conference Center
17 Cricketown Road, Stony Point, NY 10980.
Co-Teachers: Marilyn Matos & Barbara Martinez
To register call NAMI Rockland at (845) 359-8787 or 8784 (Melinda) or email:  familysupport@namirockland.org.

JANUARY 27-NAMI Rockland NAMIHomefront:
Saturdays, January 27th - March 3, 2018, 9:30 AM - 12 Noon. Rockland Community College (RCC) 145 College Road, Suffern, NY 10901. Co-Teachers: Chris Vanasse & Melinda Gonzalez

MARCH 1- Nami Queens Nassau Family-to- Family. Thursdays March 1-May 17 2018, 7:00 pm -9:30 pm at the Walk in Love for Jesus Church, 906 Newbridge Rd, North Bellmore NY 11710. To register: Please contact NAMI Queens Nassau at (516) 326-0797 or ( 718) 437-7284 or www.office@namiqn.org, or www.Namiqn.org, or www.facebook.com/namiqn. Co-leader Carol Ann Viccora ( 516) 221-6168 Elizabeth Janow.

MARCH 6- NAMI Queens Nassau Family-to-Family. Tuesdays March 6- May 23 2018, 4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. atThe LaGuardia Community College, ECLC 31-10, Room MB09, Thomson Ave.  LIC, NY 11101.To register: Please contact NAMI Queens Nassau at (516) 326-0797 or (718) 347-7284 or office@namiqn.org. or www.namiqn.org or ww.facebook.com/namiqn Co-Leaders: Sonya Evariste (718) 482-5217John Johnson.

MARCH 8-NAMI Rockland Family-to-Family. Thursdays, March 8, 2018 - May 24, 2018, 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM. Location: NAMI Rockland Rockland Psychiatric Center, 140 Old Orangeburg Road, Bldg. #57, 1st Floor Meeting Room, Orangeburg, NY 10962.Co-Teachers: Chris Vanasse & Marlene Becker. To register call NAMI Rockland at (845) 359-8787 or email: familysupport@namirockland.org

MARCH 17- Nami Queens Nassau Family-to -Family. Saturdays March 17 -June 2, 2018,1:00 -3:30 pm at The Greater Springfield Community Church, 177-06 129th Ave.  Jamaica, NY 11434 To register please contact NAMI Queens  Nassau at (516) 326-0797 or ( 718) 437-7284 or www.office@namiqn.org, or www.Namiqn.org, or www.facebook.com/namiqn, Co-leader Susan Gambler  (718) 297-0024 Sharon Ecke.

March 19- Nami Queens Nassau Family-to-Nassau. Mondays March 19-June 18, 2018, 6:30 pm -9:00 pm at Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock 48 Shelter Rock Road,Manhasset, NY 11030. To register: Please contact NAMI Queens Nassau at (516) 326-0797 or (718) 347-7284 or www.office@namiqn.org. or www.namiqn.org or www.facebook.com/namiqn. Co-Leaders:Ellen Ritz RN (516) 330-9778 or el.ritz@yahoo.com


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