Quote of the Week:
"Instead of just hoping insurers will do the right thing, let's hold them accountable through a law that already exists. This is not someone else's problem...Silence kills. It's time to stand up and demand parity enforcement."-Patrick Kennedy
Unfortunately, we need to begin this week's E-News on a sad note as we share with you the news of the passing of our good friend Dr. Lewis Opler. We know many of you have fond memories of Dr. Opler, and you will find a tribute to him below. In happier news you find information about this year's What's Great in Our State honorees as well as save the date information for our 2018 Education Conference.
You'll also find a new Children's Mental Health Awareness Month calendar from the New York State Office of Mental Health, an article on insurance parity from Patrick Kennedy, the latest NIMH Update and a story on why Mariah Carey's bi-polar diagnosis matters.
You will also find the information for the third week of the NAMI-NYS NAMIWalk Strong Body, Strong Minds challenge.
We also remind you that the NAMI-NYS Ribbon Campaign is fast approaching; click here to learn more and order your ribbons.
As always, we want to know about
the work you are doing.
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.
Remembering Lew Opler, MD, PhD
April 16, 1948 ~ April 12, 2018
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news with you that NAMI-NYS has lost one of our greatest friends with the passing of Dr. Lew Opler. Anyone who has been to a NAMI-NYS Education Conference will remember Dr. Opler for the insights and kindness he brought to his "Ask the Doctor" session, which he led for 34 years. Dr. Opler deeply enjoyed his interactions with NAMI-NYS members and we loved him and came to view him as our trusted adviser. Dr. Opler's
collaboration with NAMI-NYS also produced the "Ask the Doctor" column, which ran in our newsletter for many years and was the first type of question and answer column in a NAMI publication. For many NAMI-NYS members, Doctor Opler's column was their source for answering their psychiatric questions, especially in the days before the internet.
Dr. Opler and his wife Annette were always a warm
presence at the conference and for many the highlight of the weekend was getting to talk and catch-up with him. Our conference will never be the same without his presence. While NAMI-NYS lost a dear friend, the psychiatric community lost one of its brightest minds. Along with being a renowned researcher, among Dr. Opler's many accomplishments was serving as the Medical Director for the New York State Office of Mental Health.
NAMI-NYS Board Member Robert Laitman, MD collaborated with Dr. Opler on the book Meaningful Recovery From Schizophrenia and Serious Mental Illness with Clozapine. Dr. Laitman writes of Dr. Opler: "His loss to his family, friends and the entire psychiatric community is devastating. He was such a warm, giving quirky guy that just brought so much joy and hope to so many. You cannot replace such a man. Though I feel so cheated by his untimely death and personally feel enervated, he really had so much more to do, I know that the best way to honor him is to continue his mission." Dr. Laitman adds," As Lew would put it, he was one of the few people that could out hyperbolize me. We shall all rise from the ashes and continue our quest to make the world not only a better place for our NAMI community, but the world in general. This is what Lew really wanted. So, one last hyperbole, join me as we continue to march into hell for a heavenly cause. Lew Opler, NAMI-NYS's Ask the Doctor, would then be made complete and honored as he should. We will miss him, but even thinking about him still brings a smile to my face. The world is a better place that Lew Opler sallied forth."
Announcing the 2018 What's Great in Our State Honorees
NAMI-NYS is delighted to share with you the 2018 What's Great in Our State honorees. This year saw a record amount of nominations and honorees were selected in two categories, Individuals and Programs. The 2018 honorees are:
- Mr. Mark Laurrie, Superintendent, Niagara Falls School District
- Ms. Cindy Misrock, Social Worker, Freeport School District
Programs to be Honored
Click here to to learn more about the 2018 honorees and register for the free event. What's Great in Our State will also feature a keynote presentation from Dr. Peter Gray and the Young Adult Voice of Recovery presentation which will be delivered by NAMI-NYS Young Adult Network member Dianna Page. Click here to learn about the two presenters.
- APIC (Access to Psychiatry through Intermediate Care)
- Children of Promise
- Mental Health Juvenile Justice Program
- Walter Panas High School Warr;ors
- PAX Good Behavior Game
Members of NAMI Montgomery, Fulton, Hamilton
are Preparing for the Ribbon Campaign. Are You?
As May and Mental Health Awareness Month are fast approaching, NAMI-NYS affiliates in communities across the state are preparing to tell their neighbors that NAMI is a place to find help and find hope through our annual ribbon campaign. Last week, members of NAMI of Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton Counties got together to make bowed ribbons to display.
It is not too late for you to engage in the NAMI-NYS Ribbon Campaign.
to learn more about the campaign and
to order rolls of ribbons.
NAMI-NYS Presents at
The New York State Council on Adolescent Pregnancy Conference
Last week, NAMI-NYS Community Education and Outreach Manager Tina Lee did a
Suicide Safety for Teachers
presentation at The New York State Council on Adolescent Pregnancy, Inc. (NYSCAP) Conference, at the Desmond Hotel. NYSCAP has provided leadership in teen pregnancy since its inception in 1985. The conference focused on promoting healthy adolescent development and well-being, reducing the incidents of adolescent pregnancy and increase the capacity of pregnant and/ or parenting youth to become productive members of society. Above Tina is pictured with Alicia Beekman, MAEd, Director of Youth Services, Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network.
NAMI-NYS Presents to PROS Program at Unity House
Also last week, NAMI-NYS's Tina Lee and Information and Resource Helpline Coordinator, Christine Rickeman, presented to the PROS program at Unity House in Troy. Tina and Christine presented to both staff and clients. NAMI-NYS is working with Unity House to start a Peer-to-Peer class there and Unity House will also be having a
NAMI Orange County Hosts A Presentation by the
Last week, NAMI Orange County hosted a presentation by grieving parent turned activist Stephanie Marquesano. Ms. Marquesano founded the Harris Project after the death of her son and the non-profit organization is battling to bring effective treatment to people with co-occurring disorders. Ms. Marquesano delivered a powerful presentation in Goshen to gathered community members and local treatment providers.
Ms. Marquesano shared the story of her son, Harris. Harris was a vibrant teenager whose struggle with anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder, and substance abuse ended tragically in overdose. Despite multiple treatment attempts, Harris' family was not able to find the integrated treatment he needed. Substance abuse programs treated his addiction. Mental health programs focused on Harris' mental health needs. None seemed to treat the whole person, even though the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has long endorsed a more integrated approach as the most effective.
More Information Coming Soon!
My First Voice
In a recent NAMI Blog, a member with schizophrenia recounts the first time she heard a voice. As she notes, "
No one, including family and close friends, has ever asked me about the first time I heard a voice. I think it's a tough topic to talk about. Hearing voices isn't considered normal. Regardless, I remember. Some voices are more memorable than others, just like real people." She recalls the first time she heard a voice, which was male and she named Joe.
She also provides tips on how start appropriate and helpful conversations with people who hear voices. Though it hasn't always been easy for her to discuss this topic, she concludes, "Hearing voices may not be considered "normal" for now, but trying to understand is a good first step in making those who have their own Joe feel accepted."
Saving the Next Saheed Vassell
The killing of Saheed Vassell by NYPD officers - and the city government's defensive response to community outrage over the killing - demonstrates that New York still has much room for serious discussion and immediate improvement when it comes to handling the volatile intersection of serious mental illness and public safety. The killing of Vassell, a man with psychiatric problems, was a tragedy. Storming around the streets of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in an agitated state on the final day of his life, waving a metal pipe as if it were a pistol, Vassell needed help from the community, not a fusillade of bullets. The Brooklyn Movement Center, which has been working on community anti-violence initiatives for years, issued a statement calling for more accountability from City Hall.
Capitol Press Room Explores Rural Counties Reaction to Opioid Crisis
Last week, the Capitol Press Room radio show had a segment exploring the impact of the opioid crisis in rural communities. The segment featured
Katie Zuber, Assistant Director of Policy and Research at the Rockefeller Institute and Executive Director of the Center for Law and Policy Solutions, and Patricia Strach, Deputy Director for Research at the Rockefeller Institute, discussing their research project which looks at Sullivan County, which has one of the highest rates of opioid deaths.
The conversation also discusses the lack of mental health services (especially for children) as well as other issues in the rural county that also impact those with mental illness (many of which have co-occurring psychiatric and addiction issues) including lack of transportation and long-term inpatient care.
OMH Children's Mental Health Awareness Month Calendar Now Available in English and Spanish
The New York State Office of Mental Health has created a calendar of activities that parents and their children can do together during Mental Health Awareness month in May. The calendar is available in both English and Spanish.
Patrick Kennedy States It's Time to Hold Insurance Providers Accountable for Not Adhering to Parity
Former Congressman and leading mental health advocate Patrick Kennedy recently explored the continuing lack of insurance parity and network adequacy. Congressman Kennedy explains how the recently signed Omnibus Spending Bill features more $2.55 billion in new funding to fight the opioid crisis. However he adds, "While I strongly commend members of Congress for making substantive efforts to address the greatest public health crisis of our time, one thing is still missing from the Omnibus Spending Bill and all of the bills under consideration: parity enforcement."
He explains how the Federal Parity Law has been in place for ten years, "yet most insurers are still not in compliance. Some are complying with the more straightforward components of the law, such as making sure that co-payments for mental health and addiction treatment are no more expensive than those for other medical care, and eliminating inpatient day and outpatient visit limits. Unfortunately, there is still considerable ground to cover regarding the more complex aspects of the law, which relate to how insurers design and apply managed care practices."
Congressman Kennedy concludes by stating, "instead of just hoping insurers will do the right thing, let's hold them accountable through a law that already exists. This is not someone else's problem...Silence kills. It's time to stand up and demand parity enforcement."
Click here to watch the Mental Health Now episode on insurance parity.
This Supreme Court Ruling is Alarming for Black People
with Mental Illness
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump recently wrote about the Supreme Court ruling which failed to hold an Arizona police officer responsible for shooting a woman living with a mental illness. Crump writes, "If you are mentally ill and black, you already have two strikes against you if you come into contact with law enforcement," while adding a new US Supreme Court decision was made that stunned civil rights advocates and revealed a third strike: the unwillingness of our justice system to hold police accountable.
The opinion piece also looks at the recent shooting of Saheed Vassel in Brooklyn as well as other noted cases of African-American people with mental illness being shot by police. Crump concludes, "The color of one's skin and the state of one's psyche should not be compounding risk factors. And when police make mistakes based on those factors, our institutions of justice have a moral obligation to stand up for the diverse and vulnerable people who make up our country."
Why Mariah Carey's Bipolar Diagnosis Matters
An opinion piece in Fortune Magazine states that "mega-star Mariah Carey has done the world, and herself, a great service by sharing the story of her struggles to regain her health and sense of self after receiving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 2001."
The piece notes the role of stigma in Carey's reluctance to go public about the diagnosis and subsequent fears that the information would be made public. The author notes that Carey's story is not unusual, however Carey's ability to find psychiatric treatment was far easier than it is for most. The author states, "The stigma associated with a mental health diagnosis often keeps people from seeking help. If they do, a chronic shortage of health providers, particularly ones who will take insurance, means people are often unable to find or afford the care they need. Today, more than half of adults in the U.S. living with mental illness do not receive treatment. That makes Carey one of the lucky ones."
Click here to read more
Read the Latest Outreach Connection
to read the Spring edition of
the official newsletter of the NIMH Outreach Partner Program. Along with news on how outreach partners are disseminating NIMH information the edition also has access to new NIMH resources including the latest resources on Borderline Personality Disorder and a message from NIMH Director, Dr. Joshua Gordon.
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
to register for the A Brighter Day Event taking place on May 4th. This free event will also serve as the Information Meeting for NAMIWalk NYS 2018.
NYAPRS will be hosting their 14th annual Executive Seminar-New Strategies and Partnerships to Support the Most Challenged New Yorkers. The conference will feature presentations by Elinore McCance-Katz, HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, and renowned author and family advocate Pete Earley. NAMI-NYS will be exhibiting at the event and we hope you can join us.
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.
While a student at SCCC, NAMI Rensselaer County member Stephen Piorkowski began a project in conjunction with CREATE Studios to create a wall of tiles to raise disability awareness. Tiles would be painted by those whose lives have been affected by disabilities (including mental illness); CREATE would fire them and affix them to a column where they would be seen to raise awareness.
We welcome those living with a disability, as well as caregivers and anyone whose life has been affected by a disability to participate.
Materials will be provided and this is a free event.
Wednesday, April 25th, 11:00am--1:00pm
Schenectady County Community College
78 Washington Ave, Schenectady, NY
Click here to sign up
- Capital District Psychiatric Center Family Services Presents: An Overview of Mental Health Services in Rensselaer County by Kirstein DonVito, Rensselaer County Department of Mental Health Deputy Commissioner - Clinical AOT Coordinator and SPOA. Tuesday, May 1 2018 from 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm in the CDPC Family Resource Center, 75 New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY. For more information or to register contact: Frank Greco, Director of Family Services (518) 549-6816.
MAY 4-NAMI-NYS will be hosting the 6th Annual A Brighter Day event. The free event, which will also serve as the NAMIWalks NYS Information Meeting, will be taking place from 5-7:30pm at Glennpeter Jewelers Diamond Centre, located at 1544 Central Avenue Albany.
May 8-Join NAMI-NYS for What's Great in Our State 2018: A Forum to Celebrate Children's Mental Health Awareness. The event which will feature NAMI-NYS Young Adult Network Member Dianna Paige delivering the Young Adult Voice of Recovery address will be taking place from 1:30-4:30pm at the New York State Museum. There is no fee to attend the event.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness Champlain Valley will be sponsoring a free one day conference at Clinton Community College on October 9th titled, "Stand Up 2 Stigma." The conference will have a variety of workshops for peers, families, providers, and interested community members.
Our keynote speaker for the event is David Granirer,
a counselor, stand-up comic, mental health keynote speaker, and author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead to Happiness and Success. He founded Stand Up For Mental Health, a program that teaches stand up comedy to people with mental illness or mental health issues as a way of building confidence and fighting public stigma.
Additionally, the NYS Office Of Mental Health Commissioner, Mental Hygiene Legal Services and many other speakers will be joining us.
The event is expected to provide education & awareness around the effects of stigma, opportunities for reducing stigma, and a chance to become a proactive community member that supports mental health; like one supports cancer and diabetes.
Consider joining us! For those who may remember in 2014 we sponsored Keys to Recovery - 250 were in attendance creating one of the largest mental health conferences in our community. This time, we ask you to take a stand, be the hero, and Stand Up 2 Stigma.
We sincerely hope that you will be able to attend. Registration can be done by going to our
and clicking the Stand Up 2 Stigma tab. When you sign up for the conference you will receive periodic updates. Feel free to forward this information to your friends, family, and colleagues.
- NAMI Columbia County Family to Family. Tuesdays April 17th - June 26th from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at the Niverville-Chatham United Methodist Church, 28 Church St., Niverville, NY 12130. To register contact Heather Llyod (914) 629-5299/ (
) or Nicole Corey (518) 931-4170/ (
- NAMI Rensselaer Family-to-Family. Thursday's, April 19th - July 5th from 6:00 pm-8:30 pm at the NAMI-NYS Office, 99 Pine St. Suite 105, Albany, NY. 12207. To register, please contact: NAMI Rensselaer County, (518) 588-6949/ email:
or Christine Rickeman: (518) 462-2000/email:
Co Teachers: Robin Cole and Christine Robinson-Cooley.
APRIL 24- NAMI Rockland Basics.Tuesday's , April 24th - May 29th,
from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm,
at St. Dominic's Family Services,
500 Western Highway, Blauvelt, NY 10913.
Anne Arias & Rita Strumph.
To Register Contact
: (845) 359-8787 or Email: FamilySupport@namirockland.org.
MAY 8- NAMI Orange County Family-to-Family. Tuesdays, May 8th -July 24th , 6:30 pm -9:00 pm at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 145 Benkard Ave., Newburgh, NY 12550. To register contact NAMI Orange County (firstname.lastname@example.org) / (845)956-6264.
- 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.
- NAMI Queens Nassau Family to Family. Tuesday's June 5 thru August 21, 2018 no class July 3rd, from 6:00 pm-8:30 pm at the Queens Hospital Center Pavilion Building, Security will direct to room 82-68 164 street, Jamaica, NY 11432. To register: email email@example.com or call (718) 347-7284 or (516) 326-0697,
. Co-Leaders Valerie Newman 516-514-5183, Camelle Charles 646-283-9272.
JULY 11-NAMI Rochester Basics. Wednesday's July 11th -August 15th, 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM at NAMI Rochester (320 N. Goodman Street, Suites 102/103, Rochester, NY 14607). To enroll, contact Beth Winslow-D'Amico at (585) 423-1593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEPTEMBER 5-NAMI Rochester Family-to-Family .Wednesday's September 5th - November 28th, 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM at NAMI Rochester (320 N. Goodman Street, Suites 102/103, Rochester, NY 14607). To enroll, contact Beth Winslow-D'Amico at (585) 423-1593 or email@example.com.
2018 NAMI-NYS TRAINING SCHEDULE
Please contact your local affiliate program le
aders for more information and how to enroll.
Location: NAMI-NYS Office
Location: NAMI-NYS Office
NAMI Family Support Group and NAMI Connections
June 22nd -24th
Location: NAMI-NYS Office