March 12, 2018

In This Issue
Quote of the Week:

Our families are desperate to have their stories told in the hope it will introduce a positive change and increase treatment availability. It is painfully clear more needs to be done to increase mental health services; however NAMI-NYS does not believe that mass shootings should be the conduit to engage in this crucial conversation and discussing it in a manner that only promotes fear and a sense of helplessness will certainly hurt more than it helps.
"-From NAMI-NYS Response to the New York Post

Quick Links

Follow us on Twitter

Click here to watch the latest episode detailing the importance Crisis Intervention Teams.
Join Our Mailing List
This edition of the NAMI-NYS E-News is once again focused on many of the issues of revolving around our 2018 Advocacy Agenda. We cannot let our voices fall silent because weather forced us to cancel our legislative advocacy day. The fact is that your advocacy voice is needed more than ever. This edition also has a story detailing the impact our voice had on regulating fail-first practices by insurance providers. Below you will find a link to the Action Alert which provides all the tools you'll need to advocate and we also want to remind you that tonight is the first of our two advocacy teleconferences.

As always, we want to know about  the work you are doing.
Please email 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 Wit
h You!
NAMI-NYS Still Needs You to Project Your Advocacy Voice
The NAMI-NYS needs your help in projecting your advocacy as the state budget negotiations heat up. Click here to view the Action Alert NAMI-NYS sent out last week detailing how you can make your voice heard in the next few weeks. This is a crucial time as the budget negotiations will shape the future for three of our key priority issues: mental health housing, creating an ombudsman to monitor mental health insurance parity and restoring prescriber prevails. 

NAMI-NYS Advocacy Call Schedule: We want to remind you that NAMI-NYS has scheduled two teleconferences to discuss our Advocacy Agenda, provide tips on how to have successful meeting with legislative offices and answer any questions you may have. The calls will be:
Tonight, March 12th from 6:30-7:15
Thursday, March 15th from 12:30-1:15
Call-In Number for both calls: 712-451-1019 Access Code 400510

NAMI-NYS Responds to Stigmatizing Cover and Article in 
the New York Post

As you can see above, the March 8th cover of the New York Post featured a headline "When your child is psycho." NAMI-NYS took issue with both the cover and the article which corresponded with it. As we stated in our letter to the editor: " This representation is not only offensive by invoking an archaic and stigmatizing term, it will further alienate families who suspect their child may have a mental illness, increase fear among the general public and ultimately lead to people not getting the support they need to recover."

Click here to read the full response. NAMI-NYS submitted the response as a letter to the editor the day of the edition's publication and as of yet have not received a response from the paper. 

NAMI-NYS Presents at NYAPRS Legislative Day

On February 27th, the New York Association for Psychiatric Rehabilitative Services (NYAPRS) held their legislative advocacy day. NAMI-NYS Associate Director, Public Affairs, Matthew Shapiro presented on the need to expand Crisis Intervention Teams as well expand community-based crisis centers and respite centers. These community resources are necessary to ensure that police have options for where to take people whom they have had to intervene with while in mental health crisis. In many communities, the only option available to police are emergency rooms or bringing someone to the police station; neither option is ideal. The issues Matthew discussed were central aspects of our legislative advocacy priorities on criminal justice and c ommunity reinvestment.   

NAMI-NYS Continues to Educate Young Adults on 
Mental Health and Advocacy Issues

The last few weeks have found NAMI-NYS active in our efforts to connect with young adults and educate them on NAMI-NYS activities, mental health awareness and how to make an impact in their community.

On February 26th, Executive Director Wendy Burch and Community Education and Outreach Manager Tina Lee met with the NAMI on Campus club at the Emma Willard school. Tina and Wendy spoke to the students about ways to get involved with NAMI both in their school and their community.

Wendy and Tina also attended the SUNY Albany Fit Fair, a great event that featured community resources that promote wellness.  They were able to engage with hundreds of students and talk about NAMI programs and activities.

NAMI-NYS Community Education and Outreach Manager Tina Lee and Helpline Coordinator Christine Rickeman participated in the  University at Albany EAP's "Meet and Greet" event for University faculty, staff, and graduate assistants. Tina and Christine connected with several staff members and community resource providers, and more so than not, a lot of them had up front and personal experience with mental health issues. Creating a compassionate and competent community which normalizes the discussion of  mental health and encourages people to get help is crucial to establishing a truly healthy society.

On March 10th, Associate Director, Public Affairs, Matthew Shapiro delivered the keynote speech 'The Future is Now: The Importance of the Young Adult Advocacy Voice," at the  Hugh O'Brian Youth (HOBY) Leadership Foundation's upstate New York's Community Leadership Workshop held at SUNY Adirondack. Matthew spoke to the group of high school students about the importance of finding their voice and telling their story, how they can broaden mental health awareness in their schools and communities, how to bring Ending the Silence and the NAMI-NYS Ribbon Campaign to their community and the impact of participating in NAMIWalks NYS. 

NAMI-NYS and NAMI Rensselaer Participate in Mental Health Fundraising Concert

March 10th, NAMI Rensselaer County's  and NAMI-NYS's Shane Shultz, Bonnie Nasca, Pam Slotsky, and Christine Rickeman joined in to spread awareness of Mental Illness and Suicide Prevention  at the Fifth annual Dustin Mele Memorial Concert at Revolution Hall in Troy. The event is organized by the family of Dustin Mele, who lost his life to suicide. We are very grateful to the Mele family for having us participate in the event. 

Click here to watch a news story on the event.

NAMI Westchester Holds Their First Lunch and Learn Event
On February 28th, NAMI Westchester held their first Lunch and Learn event at the law firm of Littman Krooks in White Plains.  The event  included a presentation on mental health and the services NAMI Westchester provides, and Patrice Wiley shared her recovery story. Pictured above is Marie Brill and Marion Walsh of Littman Krooks, NAMI Westchester Executive Director, Sharon McCarthy and Patrice Wiley.

NAMI's Statement Regarding President Trump's Recent Comments on Mental Health Care

On Febuary 22nd, NAMI released a statement responding to President Trump's  rhetoric following the shooting tragedy in Parkland Florida. The president and the NRA used the term crazy people" and expressed a desire to return to the days of the "institutions." As NAMI's statements says, "These comments reinforce inaccurate and negative stereotypes and create barriers to having real conversations about how to improve the mental health services that lead to recovery and participation in American society by people experiencing mental health conditions."

The statement also says, "NAMI would welcome the opportunity to meet with President Trump and work with his administration on steps for improving mental health services in America. We were proud to participate in the Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee for Serious Mental Illness. This report provides the Administration with a blueprint for fixing our nation's broken mental health system, including improving services for children and youth who are at risk."

Click here to read the full statement. 
New York News
 Mental Health Advocates Call for Reforms in the NYPD

Advocates for the mentally ill popped nine black balloons on the City Hall steps on Friday, February 23rd, to memorialize emotionally disturbed people killed in confrontations with the NYPD that the advocates say were avoidable. Among the nine lives remembered was Deborah Danner, a 66-year-old woman with schizophrenia who was shot dead in 2016 by NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry. 

Sgt. Barry was recently acquitted after a trial that focused on whether the sergeant was too quick to use deadly force and was adequately trained. In the aftermath of Danner's death, the NYPD was criticized from within, by the commissioner, James O'Neill, who said the department had "failed," and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said: "Deborah Danner should be alive right now. Period."

Click here  to read more. 

Wall Street Journal Reports Police Have a New Tool in Their Arsenal:  Mental-Health Professionals

The Wall Street Journal reports on how police departments nationwide have started teaming up officers with therapists in situations involving the mentally ill, largely in the hope of avoiding the type of incidents such as the one involving Deborah Danner, referenced in the article above.
The Journal explains that the move to create what some departments call "co-response teams" of officers and clinicians has been adopted or expanded in recent years in Salt Lake City, Houston, Los Angeles and elsewhere. Officials in these cities say clinicians can bring meaningful insight to delicate situations, and can help prevent mentally ill people from harming themselves or others.

Click here to read the article. 

Many Deserve Credit for Curbing Fail First Policies

As many of our readers know, one of NAMI-NYS's advocacy priorities for the last few years was regulating the insurance industry mandate known as step therapy, or ''fail first.'' This practice allows insurance companies  to require a patient to first fail on alternative medications, prior to getting coverage for the drug initially prescribed. Insurers used this to save money but the cost to patient health was high. 

NAMI-NYS was part of a broad coalition consisting of physicians, patients and other organizations that banded together and were victorious in passing legislation which Governor Cuomo signed into law to address this.  As of Jan. 1, state-regulated, public and private insurance plans must provide a fair and standardized appeals process when insurers try to require patients to fail first. The appeals process can be used when the alternative drug is not in the best interest of the patient.

One of our advocacy partners, Rachelle Brilliant, DO, Advocacy chairwoman of New York State Academy of Family Physicians, wrote a an op-ed piece in the Albany Times Union discussing the advocacy effort. NAMI-NYS again thanks our members who contributed their advocacy voice to this effort. 

Click here to read. 

National News
Oprah Winfrey Reports on Trauma Informed Care for 
60 Minutes

Last night on CBS's 60 Minutes Oprah Winfrey reported on  how trauma plays a role in childhood development and what new methods are being used to help kids who have experienced it. She details the revolutionary way that Milwaukee Wisconsin's Saint A program uses trauma informed care to help advance the recovery of both children and adults impacted by trauma. The story also features an interview with Dr. Bruce Perry, a leading expert on childhood trauma and the impact it has on both mental and physical health. Oprah also recounts her own traumatic experiences growing up in Milwaukee.

Click here to watch. 

Pediatricians Call for Universal Depression Screening 
for Teens
Only about 50 percent of adolescents with depression get diagnosed before reaching adulthood. And as many as two in three depressed teens don't get the care that could help them. To address this divide, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued updated guidelines this week that call for universal screening for depression. The new recommendations also call for families with a depressed teen to develop a safety plan to restrict the young person's access to lethal means of harm. Suicide is a leading cause of death for children aged 10 to 17, and "adolescent suicide risk is strongly associated with firearm availability," according to an AAP report.

Click here to read.

Demi Lovato Kicks Off World Tour by 
Discussing Mental Health
Pop star Demi Lovato kicked off her "Tell Me You Love Me" world tour Monday night with a heartfelt message. She invited a group of survivors of the Florida school shooting   on stage and asked the more than 7,000 fans there to help provide mental health support to the Parkland community. Lovato has been a mental health advocate since she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010. Moved by the images of the Florida school shooting, Lovato personally reached out to some of the students on social media, concerned about their mental health after living through the tragedy.

Click here to read more. 

NIMH Update

Click here to read the latest Update from NIMH. 

New Clinical Trial Now Seeking Recruits
Depression and Brain Function

(Inpatient and/or Outpatient study: 8 weeks, and 3 once-a-month follow up visits or phone calls.) This depression research study tests the effects of the combination of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and psychotherapy on brain function. Participation includes research evaluations, brain scans, and  active TMS and psychotherapy, or inactive TMS and psychotherapy .  

Recruiting ages 18-65 with major depressive disorder, who are free of other serious medical conditions. If you are currently taking anti-depressants, you may still be eligible. (17-M-0147). Click here for more information or Call: 1-877-MIND-NIH, (1-877-646-3644), TTY: 1-877-411-1010, or email


Save the Dates
MARCH  19 - Capital District Psychiatric Center Family Services presents An Overview of the NYS Justice Center Presented by Davin Robinson Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention and Support and Stephanie Belveg Individual and Family Advocate.
Monday, March 19, 2018 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm at the CDPC Schenectady County Support Center, 738 State Street, Schenectady, NY 12307 (518) 374-3403.  There will be time for Questions and Answers as well as support services after the presentation. For more information or to register contact: Frank Greco, Director of Family Services (518) 549-6816

MARCH 20-Capital District Psychiatric Center Family Services Presents an Overview of A.O.T. Guidelines presented by Cherie Seidewand, Mental Health Program Specialist Hudson River Field Office - O.M.H. Tuesday, March 20, 2018 from 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm at the CDPC Family Resource Center 75 New Scotland Avenue Albany, NY 12208 (518) 549-6000
There will be time for Questions and Answers as well as support services after the presentation.  For more information or to register contact: Frank Greco, Director of Family Services (518) 549-6816

April 20th- NAMI-NYS Young Adult Network member Olivia Case will be hosting a screening of Suicide The Ripple Effect at the Regal Theatre in Victor, NY. The film chronicles Kevin Hines, who at age 19 attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. Seventeen years later, he still struggles with many of the same symptoms that led him to attempt to take his life, but he is on a mission to use his story to help others stay alive. The screening will benefit NAMI-NYS

Click here to learn more and register. 

Signature Programs

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, or, or, 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 or or Co-Leaders:Ellen Ritz RN (516) 330-9778 or

MARCH 20- NAMI-NYC METRO Peer to Peer. Tuesdays March 20 - June 5 2018, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., at the NAMI-NYC Metro Office, 505 Eighth Ave. @ 35th St., Suite 1103, New York, New York. Co-teachers: Alice Morris and Ida Shaw-Forbes. To register for upcoming classes, contact the helpline at 212-684-3264.   

MARCH 28- NAMI Huntington Family-to-Family. Wednesdays, March 28th-June 13th  7:00p.m. -9:00 p.m.  at the Northport VA Medical Center, Building 200-A1-5, 79 Middleville Rd. , Northport, NY 11768. To register contact: Jill Ryan 516-695-0389(, Barry Goggin 631-261-4400 Ext 2785 (, Jane Dovi  631-835-2277 (

APRIL 3-NAMI Orange County Family-to-Family .Tuesdays, April 3rd - June 19th , 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 33 Park Place, Goshen, 10924.To register contact NAMI Orange County  / (845)956-6264.

APRIL 5- NAMI Cattaraugus Family-to-Family. Thursdays April 5th - June 21st from 6:00p.m. - 8:30p.m. at the Directions In Independent Living, 512 West State Street, Olean, NY 14760. To  Register Contact Theresa Klice 716373-4602. Program Leaders: Theresa Klice and Lenny Ligouri

APRIL 9 - NAMI Staten Island Family-to-Family. Mondays, April 9th -June 25 from 7:00p.m. -9:30p.m. at the Holy Rosary Parish, 85 Jerome Ave., Staten Island, New York 10305.   Paulette and Keith will be teaching. Please contact us to register(718)477-1700.

MAY 8- NAMI Orange County Family-to-Family. Tuesdays, May 8th -July 24th  , 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.  at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 145 Benkard Ave., Newburgh, NY 12550. To register contact NAMI Orange County  / (845)956-6264.

JUNE 3- NAMI Orange County Basics. Sundays, June 3rd -July 8th , 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 33 Park Place, Goshen, 10924. To register contact NAMI Orange County  / (845)956-6264.

Please contact your local affiliate program le aders for more information and how to enroll.
NAMI Family-to-Family
April 6th -8th
Location: NAMI-NYS Office
NAMI Homefront
April 20th -22nd
 Location: NAMI-NYS Office

NAMI Basics
 June 2nd-3rd
 Location: NAMI-NYS Office

NAMI Peer-to-Peer
June 15th-17th
Location: NAMI-NYS Office

NAMI Family Support Group and NAMI Connections
 June 22nd -24th
Location: NAMI-NYS Office

NAMI-NYS | 99 Pine Street Suite 105| Albany, New York 12207 | (518) 462-2000