March 24, 2017

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This edition of the NAMI E-News comes on the heels of a truly historic week that saw mental health advocates projecting their voice throughout our state and the country. It appears as though our voices are being heard. As we go to print it appears that the House of Representatives is pulling the vote on American Health Care Act due to a lack of support.  NAMI-NYS is also making inroads in our advocacy campaign to have New York State invest in the mental health workforce.  The NAMI-NYS News section has the latest on this advocacy movement as well as a focus on what we and our affiliates are doing to broaden mental health awareness to young adults. 

We also want to again draw your attention to the new NAMI-NYS Ribbon Campaign section of the E-News. The campaign is another opportunity for our members and readers to raise awareness of mental health in your community.

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 With You!
NAMI-NYS and Our Advocacy Partners
Move Forward With Push to Support
The Mental Health Workforce
Assembly Mental Health Chair, Aileen Gunther meets with mental health advocates earlier this week to discuss workforce  
For the last few weeks we have been informing you on the movement to support the mental health workforce in New York State. As we have stated, it is impossible to have adequate mental health services without the ability to hire and retain a qualified and caring workforce. The workforce is paramount to our legislative priorities of housing with wrap around support services and investing in community services as these goals are unattainable without appropriate staff.

As we have detailed, the legislature has committed investments for the workforce treating those with developmental disabilities while ignoring the mental health workforce. This is unacceptable and NAMI-NYS has been working in a broad coalition of mental health advocates to address this issue. Over the last two weeks we have met with legislative leaders and spoken to various press outlets. Many of you have lent your voice to this effort and it looks like our advocacy is making a difference as our message of equality is resonating both in the media and the halls of power. As there is still a week left before a budget is due, we urge you to call legislative leaders if you have yet to do so. 
Click here  to read an article about the issue from the Albany Times Union's Capitol Confidential where NAMI-NYS's Executive Director is among those quoted.

Click here to listen to NAMI-NYS Associate Director, Public Affairs Matthew Shapiro on the Talk of the Town radio show. During the interview Matthew discusses the importance of Assisted Outpatient Treatment, the importance of investing in the mental health workforce and why the AHCA would be harmful to people with mental illness.

Click here to read an article on this from Politico.

NAMI-NYS Participates in the HOSA Conference

On Wednesday, March 22nd, NAMI-NYS Executive Director Wendy Burch presented at the Spring Leadership Conference of Future Healthcare Professionals (formally HOSA) in Liverpool, NY.  The conference consisted of high school students from throughout the state who intend to pursue a career in healthcare.  Wendy spoke to the students about NAMI and its mission, highlighting the role family members can play in an individual's recovery.  She urged them to take the time to listen to input from family members and include them in the recovery process whenever possible.
NAMI Mid-Hudson Continues to Spread Mental Health Awareness
to Young Adults

NAMI Mid-Hudson continues to make inroads in expanding mental health awareness to young adults throughout the Hudson Valley. They gave the featured presentation at the Minds Matters: Mental Health in Children and Adolescents held for the staff, students and parents of the Beacon Central School District.
The affiliate also provided an Ending the Silence presentation for the Dutchess County Intensive Treatment Alternative Program (ITAP). ITAP is a court mandated jail diversion program. ITAP's Director Debbie Masterson reached out to NAMI-MH and wanted an ETS for the participants in the program, most of which have dual-diagnosis issues. The response to the presentation was so positive that Ms. Masterson is now considering making presentations a regular part of the program.
NAMI Westchester Reaches A Benchmark in Being a Resource to Schools
Joseph Fusaro Giving a Parents and Teachers as Allies Presentation

NAMI Westchester has had the opportunity to do two Parents & Teachers as Allies Presentations for the Sleepy Hollow School District.  On January 13, Sharon McCarthy and Laura DeToia presented to approximately 50 teachers and social workers at the Washington Irving Elementary School.  On March 27 Sharon presented with Joseph Fusaro to high school and middle school staff,  over 150 principals, teachers, teacher's aides and social workers attended this presentation.  Both presentations emphasized how to identify warning signs for mental illness, suicide prevention strategies and how families and schools can work together to help students achieve success while struggling with a mental illness and other mental health issues.

NAMI Westchester has reached a milestone in their Ending the Silence presentations.  As of March 1, they have presented to more than 6,000 students since offering this program in Westchester County.  They are in over 20 schools with many of the teachers bringing this presentation to their health classes twice a year.  NAMI Westchester presently has 15 presenters who volunteer their time in helping to educate students while ending the stigma.   With the NYS Education Department mandating mental health education in health classes in 2018, we are expecting the demand to increase and will be seeking to recruit more volunteers.

NAMI at Emma Willard Club Contributes to Equinox

The NAMI at Emma Willard, which is the first NAMI club in a New York State high school, held a month-long drive for health, hygiene and comfort products. The students donated the products collected to those receiving mental health housing services through Equinox in Albany. We thank the students for their commitment to help those with mental illness and to all who donated to this drive. 

NAMI NYC-Metro Participates in UFT School Counselor's Conference

Matt Dobbs and Deniece Chi of NAMI-NYC Metro attended the United Federation of Teachers Annual School Counselor's Conference on Saturday, March 18. This was an inspiring gathering of counselors finding ways to promote social-emotional learning, socially just and inclusive curricula, and anti-bullying efforts in NYC schools. An inspiring, necessary conference, instilling hope in the face of the many stressors facing K through 12 students, teachers, and their families.

Time is Running Out to Nominate Someone for a 
What's Great in Our State Award

As we detail the incredible work NAMI-NYS and our affiliates are doing to interject mental health awareness to schools and young adults, we want remind you that NAMI-NYS will once again be co-sponsoring the What's Great in Our State: A Celebration of Children's Mental Health Awareness event on May 2nd. 

We encourage our readers to nominate a person or program that is working to address mental health issues in children and adolescents. This is the final week to nominate someone. Click here to download a nomination form. Click here to register for this free event. 
Using a NAMI-NYS Board Member and his Family to
Take Another Look at a Too-Often-Forgotten Treatment for Schizophrenia

In his latest blog, NAMI Medical Director Ken Duckworth, MD, writes about the benefits of 
clozapine in treating schizophrenia. In the blog, Dr. Duckworth tells the story of NAMI-NYS Board member Rob Laitman, MD and how clozapine worked wonders for his son Daniel. 

Dr. Duckworth also details how "the New York State Office of Mental Health has made a concerted and systematic effort to have doctors and patients who have failed two antipsychotics take another look at clozapine as well. Drs. Jay Carruthers and Lloyd Sederer are leading an educational and quality-improvement project to raise awareness of this unique treatment. They have pursued a statewide approach to educate patients about clozapine's profile as a treatment, and to work with psychiatrists in state hospitals and community settings to reconsider this as a more active treatment option. This could become a model for other states to emulate, given the potential boost it can give to recovery for some individuals. Their initial findings show an increase in use."

Click here to read more. 
New York State News
The Tragic Case of the Death of an EMT Worker in the Bronx Demonstrates Many of the Fractures in the Mental Health System Which NAMI-NYS is Working to Fix

The tragic death of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Yadira Arroyo, who died when she was run over after someone stole her ambulance demonstrates outcomes possible by not addressing many of the gaps in mental health services that NAMI-NYS is advocating to fix. Jose Gonzalez, who stole the ambulance and is being charged with murder, has symptoms of schizophrenia, depression and traumatic brain injury. He has been arrested more than 30 times and never once was his mental health condition taken into consideration and addressed. As his father said, "The police and how they handle people with mental health issues are wrong, Something tragic happened, and I am very sorry." Mr. Gonzalez lived in a supportive shelter for homeless people  which also failed to address his mental health conditions, despite the f act that he would constantly lash out when not taking his medicine. 

It is clear that Ms. Arroyo's death could have been avoided if several aspects of the NAMI-NYS Advocacy Agenda including housing, community services, assisted outpatient treatment and improving the mental illness-criminal justice interface were fully enacted. Of course, none of this is possible without investing in the mental health workforce. 

Click here to read more about this story from the New York Times. 

Career Opportunities in the Office of Mental Health

Click here to learn about this opportunity.

National News
House of Representatives Pulls Vote on
American Health Care Act

It seems the voice of advocates opposing the American Health Care Act have been heard. President Trump has reportedly asked Speaker Paul Ryan to pull the vote on the bill as they did not have enough votes to pass the bill. 

This is clearly a victory for NAMI and our advocates who feared the disastrous results that the AHCA would have on mental health care. This is a fluid story and we will be bringing you more information in the coming days.  

 NIMH Director's Message:
An Experimental Therapeutic Approach to Psychosocial Interventions

In his most recent Director's Message, Dr. Joshua Gordon discusses psychosocial interventions, and how "one possible way forward...emphasizes an experimental therapeutics approach to translating the growing understanding of the factors that cause and sustain mental illnesses into new or improved approaches to prevention and treatment."

Click here to read more,

Teenage Depression Study

This research study seeks to understand the causes of depression in teenagers. It is part of a larger study looking at irritability and mood dysregulation. This part of the study's goals are to improve our knowledge of which treatments work best in depression, and will compare teenagers with depression to those with severe irritability. The research will also study teenagers with depression as they grow up.

This study is currently recruiting participants who:
* are ages 12 to 17, and medically healthy
* meet the criteria for major depressive disorder
* are currently in treatment with a physician and not currently hospitalized, psychotic, or suicidal 
* are able to perform research tasks that include brain imaging, computer tasks and behavioral & psychological testing

Click here for more information or call 301-496-8381


2017 NAMIWalksNYS September 23rd

NAMI-NYS looks forward to building on the success of our inaugural NAMIWalks NYS. The 2017 NAMIWalks NYS will be taking place on Saturday September 23rd at Jennings Landing in Albany. You can click here to start your team and/or donate to the walk.  
For more information you can email

Information on Other NAMIWalks in New York 

May 6th- NAMIWalks Rochester, Village Gate Square-Rochester
May 6th- NAMIWalks Long Island/Queens, Jones Beach-Zach's Bay, Wantagh
May 13th- NAMIWalks New York City Metro, South Street Promenade-Brooklyn Bridge-Manhattan
May 20th- NAMIWalks Westchester , Rye Town Par-Rye
2017 NAMI-NYS Ribbon Campaign

As May (which is Mental Health Awareness Month) is fast approaching it is time to begin preparing for this year's NAMI-NYS Ribbon Campaign. The statewide campaign allows NAMI-NYS and our local affiliates to partner with businesses, local governments, police and fire departments and schools in spreading mental health awareness and letting people know that NAMI is a place to find help and find hope. 

Click here to view a two-page brochure which details the campaign, which can be printed as a double-sided sheet to give to perspective ribbon campaign partners. 

Click here to download the ribbon order form.
Save the Dates

The 2017 A Brighter Day event will be taking place on Friday, April 21st. 
Click here for more information and to register. 

March 21 -   NAMI -NYC Metro presents a workshop and discussion about WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan), which is a personalized coping strategy designed by the client, for the client. Gina Calhoun, the National Director for Wellness and Recovery Education at the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery, will run an afternoon workshop about what a WRAP is, as well as how to create and use your very own WRAP. In the evening, Gina, her mother, and her sister, will share their stories. Go to for more info and to RSVP.

March 23-24-   The New York State Office of Mental Health will be offering a two-day seminar on how to quickly get approval for SSI, SSDI, Medicaid and other entitlement programs. Many people with disabilities wait years before they are determined to be eligible for benefits. This free OMH seminar will show you that, with the correct documentation, it should take no more than 90 days to get approved.

The two-day seminar will be held at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center-400 Forest Ave. Butler Building Auditorium on March 23 from 9am-4:30pm and March 24 from 9am to 2pm. John B. Allen Jr., Special Assistant to the Commissioner, NYS OMH will be leading the seminar. Click here for more information. 

March 29-NAMI Huntington is proud to host "Prison Through Art," a collection of photos by a former Corrections Officer from Rikers Island who will also be presenting about life inside one of Americas' most brutal jails. He will be explaining about those suffering with serious mental illness inside Rikers Island. The program starts @ 7 pm.

Please contact Jayette Lansbury (631)385-0754 or for more info and to RSVP

April 5 - NAMI of Central Suffolk's Educational/Informational Speaker Series offers: SAVE A LIFE WITH NARCAN TRAINING ! The free training, is given by Suffolk Co DOH and will enable participants to recognize an opioid overdose, administer intranasal Narcan and take additional steps until EMS arrives. Participants will receive a certificate of completion and an emergency resuscitation kit that includes nasal Narcan . Hope you can join us at Mather Hospital Port Jefferson Conference Rooms One and Two at 7:30 pm.

April 21 "A Brighter Day" event at Glennpeter Jewelers. Click here for more information.

May 18 - Annual Mental Health Conference Living With Stability and Dignity at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi.  The conference focuses on the challenges and need for housing with featured speakers Toni Lasicki, Executive Director, Association for Community Living, Ralph Fasano, Executive Director, Concern for Independent Living and Denise Bauer, Director, Beacon of Hope, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. Program starts at 6 pm. Light dinner served. Building 4, 2nd Floor,1400 Pelham Parkway, Bronx, NY. RSVP 718-918-3906.
Signature Programs
MARCH 15 - NAMI NYC Metro Family-to-Family. Wednesdays March 15th - May 31st 11:00am -1:30pm at NYC Metro 505 Eighth Ave. @ 35th St. Suite 1103. Facilitators: Almarie Tulloch and Cynthia Scott. Contact NAMI Metro at (212) 684-3264, and they will have facilitator contact you for registration.

MARCH 16-NAMI Huntington and the Northport Veterans Administration Family-to-Family.Thursdays March 16th-June 1st at 7:00pm at the Northport Veterans Administration in Northport NY. Contact Jill Ryan
(516) 695-0389 or Jayette Lansbury at (631) 385-0754

MARCH 16 - NAMI Rockland Family-to-Family. Thursday Evenings,
March 16th to June 1st 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm at Rockland Psychiatric Center
140 Old Orangeburg Road, Bldg #57, 1st floor Classroom,
Orangeburg, NY 10962. Teachers: Chris Vanasse & Marlene Becker. Contact: (845) 359-8787

March 21-NAMI Mid-Hudson will be offering a Family-to-Family course at MidHudson Regional Hospital,  241 North Road in Poughkeepsie. The course will run through June 6th from 6:30-9pm. To register, please call :845-206-9892 or

March 23-NAMI Rockland will begin there next Family-to-Family class. To learn more or register call NAMI Rockland 845.359.8787 or email:

MARCH 25 - NAMI NYC Metro Peer -to- Peer. Saturdays March 25th - June 24th 11:00am -1:00pm at NYC Metro 505 Eighth Ave. @ 35th St. Suite 1103. Facilitators: Lyle Braxton and Robert Potter. Contact NAMI Metro at (212) 684-3264, and they will have facilitator contact you for registration.

MARCH 27- NAMI NYC Metro Family-to-Family. Mondays March 27th - June 19th 6:00pm -8:30 pm at NYC Metro 505 Eighth Ave. @ 35th St. Suite 1103. Facilitators: Chantay Reid and Rosemarie Woods. Contact NAMI Metro at (212) 684-3264, and they will have facilitator contact you for registration.

APRIL 4 - NAMI Queens Nassau Family-to-Family. Tuesdays April 4th - June 27th, 6:30 pm-9:00 pm. Unitarian Universalist Congregational at Shelter Rock, 48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset, NY 11030. Contact: / (516) 326-0797 or Ellen Ritz RN / (516)330-9778
Rev. Val Gittens / (516) 749-4432

APRIL 4-NAMI Orange Family-to-Family. April 4th - June 27th, 6:30pm -9:00 pm. First Presbyterian Church, 33 Park Place, Goshen, NY 10924. Contact Dhanu Sannesy
( 845)294-2749 /

APRIL 4- NAMI Staten Island Peer-to-Peer. April 4, 2017 Tuesdays at 6 pm at our office building, 930 Willowbrook Road, Bldge 41A Staten Island

APRIL 6-NAMI Rochester Family-to-Family. Thursdays, April 6th - June 22nd, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm.
NAMI Rochester Office, 320 N. Goodman Street, Suite 103, Rochester, NY 14607. Contact Beth Winslow-D'Amico at (585) 423-1593 or

APRIL 17-NAMI Staten Island Family-to-Family. April 17th 2017 Mondays at 7 pm at Fr. Dominic Epifano Parish Center at Holy Rosary Parish - 85 Jerome Ave. Staten Island, NY 10305.

APRIL 19-NAMI Rochester Peer-to-Peer. Wednesdays, April 19th through June 21st ,
From 6:00 pm - 8"00 pm, Location: NAMI Rochester Office To registrar call

MAY 1-NAMI Central Suffolk Basics. Mondays, May 1st through June 12th, from 10:00am-12:30pm at the  Farmingville Mental Health Clinic, Conference Room, 15 Horseblock Place, Farmingville NY 11738.  Contact: Andrea Stolz, (631) 223-5030 or  Maryann Barraco, (631) 223-5029
June 1-NAMI Queens/Nassau will hold a Family-to-Family class at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock 48 Shelter Rock Rd. Manhasset, NY 11030 from 10am-12:30.

Register: (718) 347-7284 or (516) 326-0797 or email

June 3-NAMI Queens/Nassau will hold a Family-to-Family class at The Greater Allen A.M.E., Cathedral of New York 110-31 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11433 from 1:30-4:00pm

Register: (718) 347-7284 or (516) 326-0797 or email

SEPTEMBER 6- NAMI Rochester Family-to-Family. Wednesdays, September 6th -November 29th, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm.
NAMI Rochester Office, 320 N. Goodman Street, Suite 103, Rochester, NY 14607. Contact Beth Winslow-D'Amico at (585) 423-1593 or

Please contact your local affiliate program leaders for more information and how to enroll.

NAMI Family-to-Family Teacher Training
July 14th-16th, 2017
Trainers: Ann Canastra & Cheri Caiella
Location: Comfort Suite Cicero-Syracuse

NAMI Basics Teacher Training
April 1st-2nd, 2017
Trainers Almarie Tulloch & Karen Alvarez
Location: NAMI Rockland Office

NAMI Peer-to-Peer Mentor Training
April 21st-23rd, 2017
Trainers: Cynthia Scott & Donna Israel
Location: NAMI-NYS Office Albany

NAMI Family-to-Family Teacher Training
May 19th-21st, 2017
Trainers: Patti Sacher & Bonnie Goldberg
Location: NAMI-NYS Office Albany

NAMI Homefront Teacher Training
May 20th-21st, 2017
Trainers: Pam Solomon & Jerry Burton
Location: NAMI-NYS Office Albany

NAMI Support Group Facilitator Training
March 25th-26th, 2017
Trainers: Pat Sine & Jack Goldstein
Location: NAMI Rochester Office

NAMI Support Group Facilitator Training
June 3rd-4th, 2017
Trainers: Deniece Chi & Nancy Parker
Location: NAMI-NYS Office Albany

NAMI In Our Own Voice Presenter Training
June 3rd-4th, 2017
Trainers: Bill Perun & Chris Wasilenko
Location: NAMI Rochester Office

NAMI In Our Own Voice Presenter Training
June 24th-25th, 2017
Trainers: Cynthia Scott & Lady Charmaine Day
Location: NAMI-NYS Office Albany

NAMI Family-to-Family Teacher Training
October 20th-22nd, 2017
Trainers: Patti Sacher & Bonnie Goldberg
Location: NAMI-NYS Office Albany

NAMI Homefront Teacher Training
October 21st-22nd, 2017
Trainers: Pam Solomon & Jerry Burton
Location; NAMI-NYS Office Albany

To have your events and Signature Programs listed in the E-Newsletter contact Christine Rickeman at   

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