May 24, 2018

In This Issue
Quote of the Week:

"May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a crucial element of awareness is exploring ways to prevent suicide. NAMI-NYS has consistently urged our leaders to do more to address suicide prevention. We are tremendously grateful to Senator Kavanagh, for his tireless advocacy to advance the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill. This bill has the power to save lives and reduce suicide"
-Matthew Shapiro remarks from ERPO Press Conference

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This week's E-News takes a deep look at issues around suicide. NAMI-NYS believes it is impossible to discuss mental health awareness without exploring ways to prevent suicide and support families impacted by suicide. Each of the sections of this week's edition features an article involving suicide. While this can be a difficult conversation, there is hope. On Tuesday, NAMI-NYS's advocacy helped New York State take a small step forward on this issue with the advancement of the Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) bill out of the NYS Senate Judiciary Committee. You will also find NAMI-NYS's participation in the Saving Lives Through Education event, NAMI Sullivan County's performances of the play Every Brilliant Thing and stress reduction activities conducted by the NAMI on Campus Club at the University at Albany. 

We all play a role in supporting and educating each other and working towards our goal of zero suicide. We hope this edition of the E-News inspires you to help make a difference and save lives. 

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's Advocacy Helps Advance ERPO
But Challenges Remain for Full Passage
(clockwise from upper left) NAMI-NYS's Matthew Shapiro speaking at ERPO press conference and with bill sponsor Senator Brian Kavanagh, Ranking Senate Mental Health member John Brooks, committee debating bill and Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

This past Monday, NAMI-NYS sent out an Action Alert detailing Tuesday's NYS Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) which would allow for petitions to remove guns from the home of those deemed to be a danger to themselves and others. NAMI-NYS believes this enactment would help save lives and reduce suicide, as the Brady Center states that 60% of successful suicides involve guns. Hopes of passing a Democratic sponsored bill addressing guns through a Republican controlled committee seemed dim.

Prior to the committee vote NAMI-NYS's Associate Director, Public Affairs, Matthew Shapiro spoke at a press conference alongside Senator Kavanagh, Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Ranking Mental Health Committee member John E. Brooks. A
vigorous debate on the bill carried on for almost an hour. One of the more powerful moments in the debate is when Sen. Luis Sepulveda detailed how his mother took her own life when he was ten years old. The bill passed with only three no votes (several members of the committee sat out of the vote, literally leaving the room before the bill was introduced). However, Senator Kavanagh and the ERPO advocacy coalition wanted the bill introduced onto the Senate floor for a full vote. Judiciary Chairman John Bonacic opted to send the bill to the Codes committee (which handles bills dealing with legal matters), where it is feared it may not be voted on by the end of session. NAMI-NYS will be making another advocacy effort directed at Codes Chair Andrew Lanza to introduce the bill in committee.

All the major networks covered the ERPO press conference and committee meeting. 

Click here to watch the NBC coverage.
Click here to watch the ABC coverage.
Click here to watch the CBS coverage.

NAMI-NYS Participates in Albany County
 Mental Health Awareness Event

On Wednesday, May 16th  Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy hosted a Mental Health Awareness Month event focused on addressing stigma surrounding mental illness. The event featured a panel moderated by Dr. Stephen J. Giordano, Director of Albany County Department of Mental Health. NAMI-NYS's Matthew Shapiro was a panelist along with Glenn Liebman, CEO of the Mental Health Association of New York State and Vicki Gates-Williams who runs consumer services for the county. The event also saw a spoken word and poetry performance.

Matthew discussed that while it is important to work to eliminate stigma, we must also focus on addressing all the barriers keeping more than half of those living with a mental illness from accessing services to advance their recovery. These include not enough mental health services and a lack of mental health parity and network adequacy once services are located. Matthew also detailed the advancements being made to combat stigma and how young adults are leading the way in changing the perception of mental health issues.    

This Week's NAMI-NYS's Ribbon Campaign Spotlight
Sullivan and Renesselaer Counties

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Month, communities across New York are being adorned with NAMI-NYS awareness ribbons. This week, we spotlight the ribbon campaign in Sullivan and Renesselaer counties. The top row features some the ribbons in Sullivan County (L to R), NAMI Sullivan County'Executive Director Lori Schneider's donkey Smokey shows off some his NAMI spirit as ribbons are displayed throughout the county including public libraries and town signs. 

The bottom row features the great work NAMI Renesselaer is doing. This includes the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany, where NAMI Renesselaer member and Honest Weight baker extraordinaire Stephen Piorkowski, points to the support your community board. HWFC has a program where when customers bring their own bags to use for groceries, they receive a chip to put in a bucket for one of six local charities; for each chip HWFC will make a donation to the charity. The charities change every three months and NAMI is one of the charities for April, May and June. Among the many other places NAMI Renesselaer has hung ribbons are the National Bank of Coxsackie and the I Love Books store. 

Thank you again to our affiliates and community partners who are committed to raising awareness through the campaign. 

NAMI Sullivan Produces Performances of
Every Brilliant Thing

Along with the ribbons mentioned above, NAMI Sullivan County has also been offering performances of the play Every Brilliant Thing, including a debut performance at the historic Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. 

NAMI Sullivan County Executive Director Lori Schneider stars in the one person play, which focuses on a young person trying to prevent her mother from making a suicide attempt by providing every brilliant thing that life has to offer. A review in the Middletown Times Herald Record states: " Everything about this production, directed and starring Lori Schneider, is indeed brilliant. As the executive director of NAMI Sullivan County, the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Schneider knows her subject well, and she offers it in a manner that is both engaging and witty." Click here to read the full review.

There will be an additional performance on July, 29 at 2:00pm at the Sullivan County Museum. Click here for more information as well as a soon to be announced special performance in the Fall.

Rain Cannot Dampen the Spirits of Those Participating 
in NAMIWalks Westchester

Sharon McCarthy, Vickie Edwards, Jim Van Metter, Marie Considine and Michael Orth

A constant theme for the May NAMIWalks taking place downstate has been wet weather. This was the case again this past Saturday when NAMI Westchester held their NAMIWalk. Once again however, rain (and in this case 30 mph winds) failed to dampen the NAMI spirit and the walk was a great success.

During a shortened opening ceremony, Michael Orth, Commissioner of Westchester  Department of Community Mental Health, thanked NAMI Westchester for the hard work they have done in educating the community, especially youth, and for being the voice of families on several county committees.  NAMI Westchester President Eva Hale Leighton encouraged everyone to keep the conversation going after they leave as a way to bring more awareness to the community and Executive Director Sharon McCarthy ended the opening ceremonies by sharing how this event has helped us bring in many of the affiliate's program volunteers.

You can still support the Westchester NAMIWalk by clicking here.

NAMI-NYS and NAMI Queens/Nassau Members
Participate in Latest Solitary Confinement Advocacy Day

On May 16th, NAMI-NYS Criminal Justice chair, Jayette Lansbury along with  Maria Ceraulo, chair of the NAMI Queens/Nassau Criminal Justice Committee and past NAMI-NYS President and NAMI Queens/Nassau Criminal Justice Committee member Janet Susin  went up to Albany with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset to participate in the Campaign Against Isolated Confinement  Advocacy Day. Reforming the use of solitary confinement is one of the major planks of NAMI-NYS Action Agenda on criminal justice. 

NAMI-NYS Presents at Jacobi Hospital
Saving Lives Through Education Event

On Wedesday, May 16th, NAMI-NYS's Matthew Shapiro presented at Jacobi Hospital's Saving Lives Through Education event. The featured speakers at the event, which focused on the new mental health education law, were NYS Office of Mental Health Commissioner Ann Sullivan and NYS Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. John Richter and Amy Malloy of the Mental Health Association of NYS presented on the history and implementation of the new law and Matthew presented on how NAMI's Ending the Silence program can be used by schools to teach mental health education.  Several NAMI members from the New York City metro area were in attendance, including Larry Bryant, Support Programs Coordinator for NAMI-NYC Metro, who is pictured above with Matthew. We would like to thank Jacobi Hospital and the event coordinator Sylvia Lask for inviting us to participate and spread the word about NAMI programs. 

Click here to view the program for the event. 
Click here to watch the Mental Health Now episode filmed during the advocacy for the law, featuring John Richter.

NAMI on Campus at University at Albany
Hold Mindfulness Tie-Dye Event Before Finals

The NAMI on Campus Club at the University at Albany ended a busy semester of programming on the day before finals with a stress
relieving mindfulness tie-dye event in the Campus Center. This gave students a fun way to take a break from studying. The club also had resources on stress reduction on mindfulness to help students take care of themselves during the most stressful time of the semester. 

We want to thank club president, Esteban Cellbalos, and all the members for all that they have done throughout the year to raise mental health awareness and support their peers. 
NAMI NYC Staten Island Participates
in Senator Lanza's Special Needs Fair

 On Friday, May 11th, NAMI NYC Staten Island participated in the annual fair for caregivers of people with special needs organized by NYS Senator Andrew Lanza at the JCC in Staten Island.

Click here for a news story on the fair. 
I Lost My Husband to Bipolar Disorder
A recent NAMI blog details how difficult it is for family members and friends to lose their loved ones, especially to suicide. The blog, written by a wife who lost her husband to suicide, explains that people are negatively affected by mental illness and therefore need love and support in attempts to prevent suicide (as referenced above in the Every Brilliant Thing article). The author provides a harrowing account of how bipolar disorder transformed her husband and discusses the personal tragedy of the loss. She states, "He was a pastor, a musician, an entrepreneur, a surfer, a loving father and one of the most gifted, talented human beings I've ever met. He was never depressed, but rather had a constant zest for life and adventure." A few years later, her husband, the same man she knew to be very happy, experienced constant manic episodes, often went missing, and became very psychotic, tragically leading to suicide. The blog also explains how it is important to note that you are never alone. We all are connected and united as one. If you know someone that is suicidal or is expressing suicidal symptoms, always remember to provide support.

Click here to read more.   
New York News
NY Council on Problem Gambling Responds to Supreme Court Ruling Legalizing Sports Gambling

Last week, the Supreme Court, after hearing the case of Murphy v. the National Collegiate Athletic Association, declared the federal ban on sports betting to be unconstitutional. This may have a big impact on those living with co-occurring mental health and addiction issues. People with gambling addictions are  much more likely to attempt and complete suicide.

The New York Council on Problem Gambling has put out a statement on the ruling and one of their recommendations is for state agencies who serve consumers at high risk for gambling problems be provided with resources and trained by NYS OASAS and NYS Office of the Professions to incorporate services for preventing, screening, intervening and treating gambling problems into their service delivery. The Department of Health, NYS Gaming Commission, Office of Mental Health, Commission on Higher Education, Office of Victim Services, Division of Parole, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives, Division of State Police, SUNY, and the Division of Veteran's Affairs need to be offered these services as well to effectively and responsibly manage gambling problems in New York.

Click here to read their full statement. 

Don Kamin Interviewed for Article on Why New York is One of the Best States to be a Police Officer
Wallet Hub recently released a report of best and worst states to be a police officer and New York ranked number two among the best, behind South Dakota. As part of the article, Wallet Hub spoke to many experts including frequent NAMI-NYS collaborator, Don Kamin, PhD, Director of the Institute for Police, Mental Health & Community Collaboration.

Don states: "One of the biggest issues facing police officers today is how to respond to citizens experiencing mental health crises, most of whom have not violated any laws."

Click here to read the full article.
Click here to watch the Mental Health Now episode on CIT featuring Don Kamin. 

National News
Members of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Mental Health Caucus Including Three Recipients of the NAMI-NYS Legislative Champion Award
Go Green for Mental Health Awareness 

Last week, in an effort to raise awareness of mental health as well as demonstrate that mental health issues cut between party lines, members of the bi-partisan Congressional Mental Health Caucus wore green and led discussions on mental health on Capitol Hill. 

The caucus is co-chaired by Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24), recipient  of the 2017 NAMI-NYS Legislative Champion Award. NAMI-NYS is proud that two of our other previous Legislative Champions: 2011 recipient Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) and 2012 recipient Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) are also playing an active role in the caucus. 

Study Finds More Children Attempting Suicid

Last week both the New York Times and NBC News detailed a new study by Vanderbilt University that finds more teens/children are thinking about and attempting suicide, specifically females, during the academic school year due to performance anxiety and social duress. Similarly, a new study from the Journal  of Pediatrics discovered that suicide rates of female teens have approximately tripled from 2008 to 2015.  Dr. Laurel Williams, psychiatrist at Texas Children's Hospital, believes 90% of young people attempting suicide are affected by mental illness, with many not receiving treatment. Experts also believe another possible reason for the rise is due to the isolation and lack of connection young people feel from using social media.  It is beneficial for parents to work with their children on deciding the best possible ways to address mental health issues and reach recovery. As NAMI-NYS believes, collaboration is key and support from loved ones is a necessity.   

Click here to read the New York Times article exploring why ER visits involving children attempting suicide has tripled.

Click here to watch the NBC Nightly News story featuring an interview with a teenager who made a suicide attempt. 

Netflix Adds New Content Warning to '13 Reasons Why' -- 
It's Just a Year Too Late

Last week, the popular television show, "13 Reasons Why" came out with its second season on Netflix. After a wave of criticism around how Netflix and the series presented the discussion of suicide in an irresponsible way, season two has new warnings and resources. Many viewers, including suicide attempt survivors and those living with mental illness, are expressing disappointment over the fact that warnings are coming too late. Writer Elizabeth Cassidy openly discusses the challenges the show presents to those with mental illness. She explains the lack of preparation she felt after watching the symbolic and graphic scenes of suicide and sexual assault from "13 Reasons Why."  A study from October concluded that Google searches related to suicide increased by 19 percent because of the negative impact the show had on viewers.

Click here to read more. 

Suicidal Patients Often Get Stuck in Hospital Emergency Departments, Due to Lack of Psychiatric Beds
The Washington Post reports on a newly released 2016 survey which concluded that psychiatric boarding, or in other words, " when patients in need of psychiatric treatment wait for prolonged periods in emergency departments due to shortages in mental-health resources, particularly inpatient beds" has became the harsh reality for approximately three-fourths of psychiatric patients. The article includes the insights of the Treatment Advocacy Center, which argues that due to the popular path towards deinstitutionalization, there has been a limitation in the number of beds within psychiatric facilities. They cite the failure of community mental health resources to meet high demands as well as the inability to address those in crisis, have led to many individuals being unable able to achieve effective treatment.
The article also explains why emergency departments are horrible environments for psychiatric patients due to the noise, lack of privacy as well as the long duration of wait times before seeing a doctor of led to a higher risk for self-harm.

Click here to read more. 

Age-Related Racial Disparity in Suicide Rates Among 
U.S. Youth

New research suggests the suicide rate is roughly two times higher for black children ages 5-12 compared with white children of the same age group. The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), appears online May 21 in JAMA Pediatrics. 

Jeffrey Bridge, Ph.D., of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, Lisa Horowitz, Ph.D., of the NIMH Intramural Research Program, and coauthors set out to investigate race-related differences in suicide rates in youth overall. The findings suggest the suicide rate is roughly two times higher for black children compared with white children of the same age group. These results were observed in both males and females. In contrast, the rate of suicide for black adolescents was half that of white adolescents; these results held when the data were analyzed by sex.

Click here to read more. 

NIH Launches the All of Us Research Program

The Update above has a lot of details about the new NIH All of Us Research program. The mission of the All of Us Research Program is to speed up health research and medical breakthroughs. To do this, NIH is asking one million people to lead the way to provide the types of information that can help NIH create individualized prevention, treatment, and care for all of us.

What Does This Mean?

NIH is creating a research community of one million people who will share their unique health data. This will include answering survey questions and sharing electronic health records (EHR). Some participants may also be asked to provide blood or urine samples. The program will ask participants to answer more questions from time to time. It's up to you to decide how much information you want to share.

The health data gathered from participants will be stored in a database. Approved researchers can access this data to explore how factors like environment, lifestyle, and genetics, can impact health. This may help develop new medical treatments that are unique to individuals, and enable a future of precision medicine for all of us.

Click here to learn more. 

Hope Starts With YOU

NAMI Walks

Click here to sign up for NAMIWalk NYS and start your team today!

NAMIWalks NYS: Strong Body, Strong Mind 2018
NAMI NYS invites You to join the movement...
Helpline Coordinator Christine Rickeman Provides Update 
on Her Strong Mind, Strong Body Challenge 

NAMI-NYS challenges you to participate in our Strong Body, Strong Mind Fitness Challenge. Every week the NAMIWalks section of the E-News will feature Strong Body, Strong Mind tools including healthy recipes, fitness challenges, and mindful exercises.

Christine's weekly report: This week marks 6 weeks into my strong body strong mind challenge and I am happy to say that I've lost 11lbs! My main focus has been choosing healthier foods and journaling everyday which includes art therapy! So far so good...I have included the 8 week plan that I have been following: 

We also encourage you to post on your social media why you support NAMI-NYS and are participating in the walk. Send in your posts and we will feature the posts in our upcoming newsletter.
Start your walk team now and join us to change attitudes and save lives!
Come Walk for Wellness on Saturday, September 29th, at Jennings Landing, Albany NY. This inspirational community event will have a full day of live music, informational tabling, and family friendly activities.
Healthy Minds = Healthy Communities

Learn More About the Other NAMIWalks 
Taking Place in New York State

Click here to support NAMIWalks Rochester, which took place May 5th at Village Gate.

Click here to support NAMIWalks Long Island/Queens, which took place May 5th at Jones Beach.

Click here to NAMIWalks New York City Metro which took place May 12th at the South Street Seaport. 

Click here for NAMIWalks Westchester taking place May 19th at Rye Town Park.
Save the Date

MAY 29-NAMI MFH "Engaging our LGBTQIA Community". May 29 2018 from 3:30pm-4:30pm at 2390 Riverfront Center Amsterdam,NY, 12010. For more information 518-843-3261

JUNE 5 -Capital District Psychiatric Center, An Overview of Community Integration as a Discharge Planning Tool presented by John Stenson, Family Advocacy Specialist Office of Mental Health and Christopher Coyle, Family Support Specialist Office of Mental Health. Tuesday, June 5, 2018 from 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm in the CDPC Family Resource Center. As usual, 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

OCTOBER 9- 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  website at 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.
Any questions regarding the conference can be addressed to 

Signature Programs
JUNE 2 -NAMI Queens Nassau Family-to-Family. Saturday's, June 2, 2018 through August 18, 2018 from 1:30p.m. - 4:00p.m. at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, 110-31 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11433. To register contact Theresa Stahling 516-285-7546 or Jeannette Wells 347-441-0572 or online . Registration and phone interview required. Classes limited to 25 Participants. Sponsored and funded by NAMI New York State and NAMI Queens/Nassau

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.

JUNE 5- 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 or call (718) 347-7284 or (516) 326-0697, Co-Leaders Valerie Newman 516-514-5183, Camelle Charles 646-283-9272.

JUNE 6-NAMI Delaware and NAMI Otsego Family to Family. Wednesdays, June 6th - August 29 , 6:00p.m.-8:30p.m. at the Fox Care Center, Oneonta, NY. Contact Shari Stallone to register: sstallone / (607)433-1714

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

JUNE 13-Stratton VA Medical Center & NAMI Homefront . Mental Health Education and Support for Military & Veteran Family Members. Classes will meet six weeks for 3 hours each class. Upcoming class at Stratton VA starts June 13, 2018 at 9:30am. Free of Charge. Call to Register now: Mary Jo Gibson (518) 626-5344 or Elizabeth Donovan (518) 626-5347. Find online classes at

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

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