May 8, 2017

In This Issue
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It's Mental Health Awareness Month
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Now Start Your Week With the NAMI-NYS E-News!

As you may have noticed, for the last few weeks we have experimented with sending the E-News on Monday and since we see a significant difference in reader engagement, we are going to make Monday the new E-News day. 

The past week was certainly monumental for both good reasons and bad. Obviously, the big headline grabber was the passage of the American Health Care Act through the House of Representatives, and we have NAMI's response to that. We also bring you good news from both New York and Washington. Here at home NAMI-NYS has launched our Ribbon Campaign and we were proud to once again participate in What's Great in Our State. This issue also has developments on one of our top legislative priorities, Kendra's Law. From Washington, we bring news on a budget agreement that will provide an additional $2 billion to the National Institute of Health. 

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 Awareness Ribbons Popping Up Throughout NYS!!!

For the second year in a row, NAMI-NYS and our affiliates have raised awareness about mental health issues in communities throughout New York State by presenting our Ribbon Campaign during the month of May. Ribbons are being displayed in public areas, businesses, schools, police and fire departments, doctor's offices, government buildings and other community partners. For this first week, we bring examples of the ribbons in Westchester and Dutchess counties, Auburn City Hall and in the Capital District at Start Children's Center. You can click here to see all the pictures from this first week of May.

It's not too late for you to participate in the campaign and raise awareness in your community. Click here to view the campaign's brochure and email to order ribbons and for more information.  

Clockwise from top left: Beth Ramme, Donna Bradberry, Associate Commissioner, NYS Office of Mental Health, Joseph Fusaro; Shaniqua Jackson, NAMI-NYS Program Coordinator, Kate Provencher, NYS Office of Mental Health, Beth Ramme, Wendy Burch, NAMI-NYS Executive Director, Joseph Fusaro; Presentation of Proclamation from Governor Cuomo; Joseph Fusaro providing the Young Adult Voice of Recovery; Joseph Fusaro, NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton, Matthew Shapiro, NAMI-NYS Associate Director for Public Affairs; Beth Ramme receives her certificate of recognition from Donna Bradbury

The 2017 What's Great in Our State-A Celebration of Children's Mental Health Awareness took place on Tuesday, May 2nd and was a major success. NAMI-NYS was proud to serve on the event's steering committee (which is comprised of several state agencies and non-profit organizations) and played a major role in the event which took place at the New York State Museum. 

NAMI Huntington's Beth Ramme, was one of this year's five honorees. Beth was recognized for innovative work in adapting the NAMI Basics program and offering it in women's prisons and to mental health professionals. Click here to learn about her upcoming NAMI for Professionals course being offered in Long Island and is accredited for 15 CE Hours for licensed social workers. NAMI Ending the Silence presenter Joseph Fusaro gave the
Young Adult Voice of Recovery presentation and inspired the audience by telling his remarkable story. NAMI-NYS Associate Director for Public Affairs, Matthew Shapiro introduced Senator Jesse Hamilton.

Click here to watch a video tribute to this year's honorees and click here to view photos from the event. 

City of Yonkers Celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month
With Flag Raising
Left to right: Martin Ascher representing Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, City of Yonkers Councilman Christopher Johnson, Fabiola Tambini-Mallette, Eva Hale Leighton and Sharon McCarthy, NAMI Westchester, City of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, City of Yonkers Councilman Mike Breen, Representative for Yonkers Council President Liam McLaughlin, Marie Considine, NAMI Westchester

NAMI Westchester and the City of Yonkers, represented by Mayor Mike Spano, kicked off Mental Health Awareness Month with a flag raising on May 1, 2017 at the Unity  Fountain at Yonkers City Hall. The area was decorated with NAMI awareness ribbons and the Yonkers City Hall clock-tower was lit up in NAMI colors. This is the fifth year that the City of Yonkers has held this flag raising. R epresentatives from NYS Senate and Assembly, Yonkers City Council and community organizations as well as several mental health supporters and NAMI members attended and showed their support for mental health.

NAMI-NYS Spreading Mental Health Awareness by Exhibiting at 
Take Back the Night and Empire State Plaza Concourse 

NAMI-NYS Helpline Coordinator Christine Rickeman has been busy spreading awareness in the community both by participating in the Ribbon Campaign in the Capital Region and at various exhibiting opportunities. First Christine, joined by NAMI volunteer Mary Beth Honsinger, had a table at the  Take Back the Night event at the University at Albany. Christine is also joining the New York State Office of Mental Health in tabling each Tuesday in May at the Empire State Plaza Concourse,. 
  NAMI-NYS Testifies at Drug Utilization Review Board Hearing

On April 27th, NAMI-NYS Associate Director for Public Affairs Matthew Shapiro provided testimony at the New York State Drug Utilization Review board meeting. NAMI-NYS's testimony pertained to what second-generation anti-psychotics should be on the state's preferred drug list. 

Matthew testified that while NAMI-NYS does not endorse specific medications, we do firmly believe in person centered treatment. Our testimony explained that an important aspect for person centered care is a provider being able to prescribe a medication he/she thinks will be the most appropriate to an individual patient, and this ability is impossible without the full spectrum of medication available to them. 

Click here to read the testimony. 

NAMI-NYS Criminal Justice Chair Participates in 
Solitary Reform Advocacy Day
NAMI-NYS Criminal Justice Committee Chair Jayette Lansbury and NAMI Huntington member Terry Hubbard stand next to one of the powerful messages written by someone in solitary confinement.

NAMI-NYS Criminal Justice Committee Chairperson Jayette Lansbury and several other NAMI members joined the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement in Albany on May 2nd to speak out against the use of solitary confinement, particularly for those already living with a mental health condition.  Speakers discussed the devastating effects solitary confinement has on inmates and outlined some of the alternatives available. Participants then met with legislators throughout the afternoon.  The day ended with a rally and march.

Support NAMI-NYS During Mental Health Awareness Month

We want to remind everyone that there are two other ways to support NAMI-NYS during the month of May. Throughout the month we will be partnering with Yankee Candle in a fundraising initiative.   Click here  to visit their fundraising store, which includes candles and other gifts, use the code 999968124 where it says "start shopping" and 40% of your purchase will go to NAMIWalks NYS. If you purchase $100 or more you receive free shipping. You can also spread awareness about this opportunity and our work on social media. Copy the link, and use this message: "May is Mental Health Awareness month. Help me help NAMI-NYS as they support individuals and families impacted by mental illness. Visit Yankee Candle's fundraising store, use the code 999968124 and 40% of your purchase will be used to help NAMI-NYS's mission of guiding people down the road to recovery from mental illness."

THIS FRIDAY, NAMI-NYS will be hosting Bowling for Hope at the East Greenbush Bowling Center located at 570 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush, NY 12061 from 6-8 pm. Everyone of all ages is welcome to join us for an evening of fun and friendship. We will have 6 lanes available to us the evening of the event, as well as a 50/50 raffle and prizes for the best and worst game bowled!!! Ticket prices are: $12.00 without shoe rental $15.00 with shoe rental. Click here for more information and to register. If you have any questions email or call Heide at 518-462-2000

NAMI Responds to the Passage of the American Health Care Act

On Thursday, May 4th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) despite the vocal concerns expressed by patient and caregivers advocacy groups, including many of you who detailed how the bill would be damaging to those affected by psychiatric disorders.

NAMI released a statement on the passage which said, "NAMI is deeply disappointed that the U.S. House passed the AHCA today by a narrow 217-213 vote. The AHCA will result in an estimated 24 million Americans losing insurance coverage for mental health care at a time when our nation is currently facing a mental health crisis. We need more mental health coverage, not less. The AHCA will, instead, have a devastating impact on mental health coverage for the 60 million children and adults in our country who are affected by mental health conditions." Click here to read the full statement. 

In our advocacy efforts we asked you to call the members of the NYS Republican House delegation and your efforts were somewhat successful as Reps. Dan Donovan (Staten Island) and John Katko (Syracuse) both voted no on the bill.

Along with eliminating mental health parity the bill also  rolls back protections for people with pre-existing conditions which includes psychiatric disorders (including Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia). Click here to learn more about pre-existing conditions. 

NAMI Details Medicaid Waivers

Medicaid is a lifeline for millions of Americans with mental health conditions, covering early intervention and a broad array of mental health services and supports. Although a core set of benefits is required by federal law, states have a lot of leeway in structuring their Medicaid programs. States can also apply to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for demonstration waivers (called 1115 waivers) that allow them to set aside certain core requirements in order to test new approaches.
NAMI's discussion of 1115 waivers is timely because the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the CMS Administrator recently sent a letter to governors signaling a willingness to consider even more flexibility in Medicaid program design. The letter and several recent state waiver applications raise serious concerns for people with mental health conditions. With priorities shifting at the federal level, even more is at stake.  Learn more about 1115 waivers and how to protect access to care.

Click here to read NAMI's document on Medicaid.

New York State News
Update on Kendra's Law Senate Passes Permanency Bill
Uphill Fight Remains in the Assembly
In last week's E-News, we brought you information on the Manhattan Institute's report entitled "Assisted Outpatient Treatment in New York State: The Case for Making Kendra's Law Permanent."  Click here to read the report. 

This past week, the New York State Senate passed the bill which would make Kendra's Law permanent. While this was a victory the bill does face a uphill fight in the Assembly where the bill remains in the mental health committee. There is some positive news, as last week Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Queens), who is the Assistant Speaker and former Chair of the Mental Health Committee, detailed the importance of making the law permanent in an interview with NY1. Click here to watch the interview. 

The U.S. News last week ran a feature about the program's success and the divide among New York State Lawmakers about the law. Click here to read. 

Kendra's Law remains a top priority for NAMI-NYS, and we will be bringing you more information and advocacy alerts on the issue in the coming days and weeks. 

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli Releases New Report on  Office of Mental Health's Oversight of Supportive Housing Programs.

New York is expanding its supportive housing programs to help other vulnerable populations, such as homeless youth, many of whom have spent time in the foster care system and struggle with mental health and trauma issues.  Supportive housing may also help seniors age in place in the community, as well as help people with developmental disabilities be integrated into the community rather than living in segregated group homes. With billions of State taxpayer dollars proposed in recent State budgets for supportive housing programs over the next several years and many New Yorkers relying on the essential services examined in this report, it is time for State officials to re-evaluate how they oversee and monitor supportive housing programs to ensure that State funding is used in the most efficient and effective manner.
The Office of the State Comptroller will continue to promote best practices and to emphasize the importance of critical internal controls and responsible external oversight. OSC will also continue its efforts to ensure that taxpayer dollars intended to provide vital services for mentally ill New Yorkers are used wisely and efficiently. Click here to read the report. 

CCSI Survey

NAMI-NYS encourages our readers to take a moment to fill out a survey from CCSI's Center for Collaboration in Community Health. CCSI is a non-profit organization with an array of expertise in the health and human service field that offers technical assistance and consultation services throughout New York State. The goal of the survey is to better understand and define the measures and outcomes for family support services by asking people from a variety of perspectives; people that have participated in services, service providers, advocates etc. All responses are anonymous; CCSI will use your responses in an aggregated data analysis (summarized/averaged). Please feel free to reach out to Dr. Briannon O'Connor ( ), Brian Smith ( ) or Joslyn Teter ( ) with any questions or concerns!

Click here to take the survey. 
National News
Congressional Budget Agreement Increases Funding to 
National Institute of Health

There was some positive news coming out of Washington last week. In the face of possible government shutdown a bi-partisan budget agreement was made that will set the course on government spending through September. We had previously reported that the budget proposal included drastic cuts across the board and one of the most troubling for us was the severe cut facing the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The Congressional budget agreement not only restores the cuts but provides an additional $2 billion to the institutes to continue their life saving research. Click here to read more. 

For Mental Heath Awareness Week, Think Of the Caregivers

The Huffington Post last week featured an article by a writer in Canada. The writer notes that the first week of May in Canada is mental health awareness while in the U.S., the entire month of May is devoted to mental health. Then, in October, we have mental illness awareness in Canada and in the U.S. The article details how one group left out of both are the families, "the long suffering heroes for many people with mental illness and, in particular, those with serious mental illness."

The article references a commercial for UNICEF with the message that no parent should watch his/her child suffer. The writer argues that parents of those with serious mental illness do that every day while they struggle to help their adult children in an environment that is often disdainful of families.

Click here to read the article.


NIMH Update

Click here to read the latest Update from NIMH.

Brain "Relay" Also Key to Holding Thoughts in Mind
Thalamus Eyed as Potential Treatment Target for Schizophrenia's Working Memory Deficits

Long assumed to be a mere "relay," an often-overlooked egg-like structure in the middle of the brain also turns out to play a pivotal role in tuning-up thinking circuity. A trio of studies in mice funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are revealing that the thalamus sustains the ability to distinguish categories and hold thoughts in mind.

"If the brain works like an orchestra, our results suggest the thalamus may be its conductor," explained Michael Halassa, M.D., Ph.D. , of New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center, a BRAINS Award grantee of the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and also a grantee of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). "It helps ensembles play in-sync by boosting their functional connectivity."

Several NIMH Studies on Irritability in Children 
Looking for Recruits

Why study irritability? During the 1990s, there was a significant increase in the number of children being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After years of studies, NIMH researchers concluded that, although children with severe irritability were being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, severe irritability and bipolar disorder are not the same. However, irritability, like bipolar disorder, can be very impairing for children, and little is known about what causes it or how to treat it. Therefore, today, NIMH clinicians continue to investigate severe irritability and the related diagnosis of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD).

Children pass through many phases of development as they grow up. It can be hard to know if a child is going through normal development or showing signs of something more serious. Occasional outbursts are a normal outcome of being tired, uncomfortable, or frustrated. In some children it can be chronic and explosive.

Children who enroll in NIMH studies have irritability that signi´Čücantly impacts their functioning at home, in school and with other children.

Click here to learn more about the current studies and how to participate. 


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 Park-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 that details the campaign, which can be printed as a double-sided sheet to give to prospective ribbon campaign partners. 

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

May 9- Join the Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation for their latest Meet the Scientist  webinar. The topic is Borderline Personality Disorder and the presenter will be Brad Reich, M.D., McLean Hospital / Harvard University. The webinar will take place from 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. EST. Click here for more information.

May 12th- NAMI-NYS- NAMIWalks Bowling for Hope, May 12th 6p.m.-8 p.m. east Greenbush Bowling Center, 570 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush N.Y. 12061. Click here for more info and to register. 
Click here to download flyer  Bowling for Hope Flyer

May 17th-NAMI Queens/Nassau will be holding their annual Faithnet event "Conversations with Clergy & Community" On EXPLORING FAITH, RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY as Resources for Individuals & Families Struggling with Mental Illness. The event begins 6:30 and will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock 48 Shelter Rock Rd., Manhasset, NY 11030.

All are welcome Please email Ellen Ritz at by May 8 to register. Complimentary Lite Supper will be provided. Click here for more info.

May 18-Join the CDPC Family Support Group for a special presentation: How to Assist Someone with Mental Illness When They Encounter The Criminal Justice System," by NAMI Schenectady's Bob Corliss. The meeting starts at 5pm at CDPC Family Resource Center located at 75 New Scotland Ave, Albany, NY 12208 For more information or to register contact: Frank Greco, Director of Family Services (518) 549-6816

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.    

May 24th- The Albany County Department of Mental Health
Presents the 5th Annual
May is Mental Health Month Health and Wellness Fair
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
11:00am - 1:00pm
Department of Health/Mental Health Building
175 Green Street, Basement
Alabny, NY 12202
For more information contact Vikki Williams at (518) 447-4555

June 13-Join the Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation for their latest Meet the Scientist webinar. The topic is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the presenter will be Carolyn I. Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine. The webinar will take place from 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. EST. Click here for more information.

Signature Programs
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 Family-to-Family. Saturdays June 3 rd - August 26 th  1:300 pm- 4:00 pm at  The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, 110-31 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11433.  To register call (718) 347-7284 or (516) 326-0797 or email  Co-Leaders Rev. Val Gittens, Theresa Stahling, Jeannette Wells. June 16, 2017 is last day to register.

JULY 12-NAMI-NYC Metro Basics PROFESSIONAL CLASS (for professionals only). Wednesdays, July 12th - August 16th at 505 8th Avenue, Suite 1103, New York, NY 10018.  To register contact Deniece Chi (212)684-3365 x 203 /

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

SEPTEMBER 12- NAMI-NYC Metro Basics. Tuesdays, September 12 - October17, 6:00 pm- 8:30 pm at    505 8th Avenue, Suite 1103, New York, NY 10018.   To register contact Deniece Chi (212)684-3365 x 203 /

SEPTEMBER 13- NAMI-NYC Metro Basics (SPANISH SPEAKING). Wednesdays, September 13th-October 18th, 6:00 pm- 8:30 pm at 505 8th Avenue, Suite 1103, New York, NY 10018.  To register contact Deniece Chi (212)684-3365 x 203 / 

SEPTEMBER 14 - NAMI-NYC Metro Basics. Thursdays, September 14th- October 19th 10:00 am-12:30 pm at 505 8th Avenue, Suite 1103, New York, NY 10018.  To register contact Deniece Chi (212)684-3365 x 203 /

NOVEMBER 1 -NAMI-NYC Metro Basics. Wednesdays, November 1st-December 6, 6:00 pm- 8:30 pm at 505 8th Avenue, Suite 1103, New York, NY 10018.  To register contact Deniece Chi (212)684-3365 x 203 /

NOVEMBER 2 - NAMI NYC Metro Basics. Thursdays, November 2nd - December 7th, 10:00 am-12:30 pm at 505 8th Avenue, Suite 1103, New York, NY 10018.  To register contact Deniece Chi (212)684-3365 x 203 / 

NOVEMBER 3-NAMI-NYC Metro Basics (SPANISH SPEAKING) Fridays, November 3rd - December 8th, 10:00 am-12:30 pm at 505 8th Avenue, Suite 1103, New York, NY 10018.  To register contact Deniece Chi (212)684-3365 x 203 / 

Please contact your local affiliate program leaders for more information and how to enroll.
NAMI Homefront Teacher Training
May 20th-21st, 2017
Trainers: Pam Solomon & Jerry Burton
Location: NAMI-NYS Office Albany
NAMI Family-to-Family Teacher Training
June 9th-11th, 2017
Trainers: Patti Sacher & Bonnie Goldberg
Location: NAMI-NYS Office Albany
NAMI Family-to-Family Teacher Training
July 14th-16th, 2017
Trainers: Ann Canastra & Cheri Caiella
Location: Comfort Suite Cicero-Syracuse
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

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