Happy Friday Readers!
NAMI-NYS Celebrates Several Legislative Victories!!!
This week's edition of the NAMI-NYS E-Newsletter comes after a historic week for NAMI-NYS and our grassroots advocates. Together, our shared and powerful advocacy voice led to three legislative victories this week as both houses of the NYS Legislature passed bills to incorporate mental health education in schools and to regulate step therapy and fail first practices. On the Federal level, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed HR 2646-The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. You will find extensive information on all three of these triumphs throughout this edition.
Another theme this week is identifying the lack of services that exist in minority and underserved populations and how NAMI-NYS, our affiliates and our Signature Programs can help bridge those gaps.
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 the upcoming Summer Newsletter. Showcasing your work will allow others to learn from you and that's the best way we can grow together as an organization.
As this week's victories demonstrate, together, we can create a more mentally healthy New York State but remember...
NAMI-NYS Celebrates Legislative Victories
As Both Houses of the Legislature Pass
Mental Health Education Bill &
Step Therapy Regulation Bill
The New York State Legislative session concluded this week and for NAMI-NYS and our advocacy partners the session ended on a high note as both houses passed bills that were a high priority for NAMI-NYS. The first was the mental health in education bill that will now mandate that mental health is incorporated into schools' health curricula and the other would regulate the practice of step therapy and fail first policies thus giving doctors more say in what medication their patients receive. NAMI-NYS has been active on both these issues for many years and several legislative sessions.
In January, the NAMI-NYS Government Affairs committee ranked step therapy regulation, mental health in schools and enacting a paid family leave initiative as their three top priorities. The enactment of paid family leave and the passage of these two bills makes this the most successful legislative session for NAMI-NYS and our members in decades. These successes would not have been possible without the tremendous voice of our grassroots advocates. Every time we sent out an action alert you answered the call and made your voice heard. We hope you share in our pride as together we are shaping a more mentally healthy New York State both for individuals living with a mental illness and their families.
We still have work to do. When these bills reach Governor Cuomo's desk we need to make sure he hears from us to get these bills signed into law. It is also important to note that while we made many key advances this session there were still many of our advocacy issues that were not addressed including funding for supportive housing, increased investments in community services, solitary confinement reforms and raising the age of criminal responsibility; also the bill to make Kendra's Law permanent passed the Senate but stalled in the Assembly, so we will have a lot of work to do in 2017.
to watch the episode of Mental Health Now that focused on Mental Health in schools and
to read our memo of support for the bill that passed.
to read our memo of support for the step therapy bill with pictures from the advocacy day for that issue.
Next week NAMI-NYS will present our summary of this year's legislative session and look forward to 2017.
The NAMI-NYS Nomination and Election Committee is Seeking Candidates for the Board of Directors
NAMI-NYS election season is upon us. In 2016 we will have five Board positions open for election. Those elected would serve from 2016-2019.
Click here to access the instructions and nomination form.
New Brochure Details the Power of the
NAMI-NYS Ribbon Awareness Campaign
We have repeatedly reported on the success of the NAMI-NYS Ribbon Campaign. NAMI-NYS created a brochure to demonstrate the impact the Ribbon Campaign has had in communities across New York State. We will have the brochure available to download on the Ribbon Campaign page on the NAMI-NYS website and hope to have a print version available ahead of the 2017 Campaign.
Hakeem Rahim Launches the
#IAMAcceptance College Tour This Fall
NAMI-NYS member and New York City Thrive NYC spokesperson Hakeem Rahim will be launching the #IAMAcceptance College Tour this fall. The #IAMAcceptance College Tour will visit 36 college campuses nationwide and reach up to 15,000 students! The goals of the tour are to raise awareness, reduce stigma and encourage mental wellness among college students.
Hakeem is inviting a limited number of colleges to sign up for the tour. The tour's costs will be covered through sponsors and donors who want to empower college students to take full control of their mental health.
If you would like to have the IAMAcceptance Tour visit your college or the college of a loved one or if you are interested in sponsoring this initiative, you can email Hakeem directly at
The tour coincides with Hakeem starting his non-profit I Am Acceptance, Inc.
NAMI Queens/Nassau: Working with Diverse Communities and Youth to Combat Stigma
NAMI Queens/Nassau continues to lead the way in partnering with diverse communities, school staff and students in order to raise awareness and combat stigma. Janet Susin, the affiliate's president, recently wrote an article detailing their various initiatives which include working with the Theta Iota Omega chapter of AKA (Alpha Kappa Alpha), an African American sorority, the Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York, Who is Hussain?.org, Port Washington Weber Middle School and Schreiber High School and as we detailed in last week's E-News the Manhasset High School Art Honor Society.
NAMI-NYS applauds NAMI Queens/Nassau for these initiatives and encourages all our affiliates to look to develop such partnerships in order to combat stigma and raise awareness in all communities and to ensure that all New Yorkers impacted by mental illness know that NAMI-NYS and our local affiliates are a place to find help and find hope.
Another Successful Family-to-Family Class Held at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral
NAMI-NYS and NAMI Queens Nassau wish to congratulate the latest Family to Family graduates from the recent course taught at the Greater Allen Cathedral of New York in Jamaica. We also want to thank the course's facilitators Janice Miles Service and Rosalind Smith. This once again demonstrates the power and benefits of partnering with religious institutions to offer NAMI support and educational programming. It also shows the need to provide services in multicultural and underserved communities where there is generally a lack of understanding about mental health issues and even a greater lack of mental health services available.
NAMI-NYS participates at the Albany Pride Parade
On June 11th, NAMI-NYS participated at the Albany Pride Parade by occupying a table with information on NAMI and mental illness. We were able to successfully distribute a lot of information to the LGBT community and its supporters. NAMI-NYS acknowledges that the LGBT population has their own set of mental health issues, especially after the tragedy in Orlando, and we are dedicated to supporting our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community and their families.
NAMI Responds to the Committee Passage of
HR2646 and Urges Further Action
This week NAMI applauded the House Energy & Commerce Committee passage of HR 2646-The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. NAMI Executive Director, Mary Giliberti said "It takes leadership on all levels to improve the nation's mental health care system. We applaud the House Energy & Commerce Committee's passage of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act as a step in the right direction as we begin to address the many gaps in America's mental health system."
More information on the bill's passage can be found in the National News section and you can click here to read NAMI's full statement on the passage.
Help Get HR 2646 on the House Floor
NAMI is also urging members to keep the fire going and build on the momentum of the committee passage. They are asking advocates to let your members of Congress know that you appreciate the unanimous vote by the House Energy & Commerce Committee and urge them to bring a vote to the floor of the House and Senate. Click here to participate in this advocacy initiative.
Tech Café Teaches Diverse Communities to Use Technology to Better Their Mental Health
As this E-News discusses the need to establish relationships with diverse communities, we wanted to share information on one such national initiative. NAMI recently featured the NAMI San Diego's Tech Café. During one of the Tech Café's inclusive classes, a group of hearing-impaired individuals learned how to connect with people online through Skype. As the students looked at their screens, they could see the person they were trying to communicate with and sign with them. "It was like a new world had opened up to them. They can connect with people anywhere in the world and be able to sign," says Renee Cookson, the Tech Café's Program Manager and Director of Community Development. For the first time, these individuals could more easily communicate with family, friends and mental health professionals online.
Growing such important technology skills is exactly what the Tech Café focuses on. Beginning in October 2014, this comprehensive program increases mental health literacy and symptom management through technology. The skills gained from the Tech Café's Technology Toolbox teach people how to use technology to schedule medical appointments, find health and wellness resources, gain employment, address transportation issues, access online education and connect with family and friends.
One priority for the Tech Café was to be inclusive, so classes are taught in English, Spanish, Arabic, and American Sign Language, among others. The students get to learn at their own pace and in their own language.
Understanding Changes to Medicaid
Behavioral Health Care in New York -
Live Web Stream of Rochester Consumer Forum
Due to great interest in the Managed Care Consumer Forums, New York State has arranged for a live web stream to be available from your computer on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at 10:00AM-12:00PM
The forum will allow you to get your questions answered and find out more about:
How will these changes impact me?
What are the new benefits?
What is a Health and Recovery Plan (HARP)?
What should a person do if they get a letter about enrollment?
Click here for information about how to attend this event on line.
New York State Psychiatric Institute Researcher
Hailed for Work Using Neurogenesis to
Treat Depression and Anxiety
Neurogenesis-the process of new neurons being born in our brain each day-has long been known to be active at a much more intensive level in utero, when the brain is growing very rapidly, and was thought to cease in the first years of life, however, researchers now know that new neurons continue to grow in the already developed brains of adults, almost to the very end of life.
This raises a new set of questions. What do these new brain cells do? Is there an impact on our mental state if we don't make enough new cells? And ultimately, what would happen in someone with a brain disorder like depression if we could increase the rate at which these new cells are born?
The Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation (BBRF) recently focused on the work of one pioneer in this field, René Hen, Ph.D., a Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Pharmacology at Columbia University and Director of Integrative Neuroscience at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Hen has been at the forefront of the effort to find out what newly born neurons do in the adult brain. In recent work, he and colleagues have sought to parlay the knowledge they have gained over the past 15 years to identify new treatments for anxiety and depression.
Click here to read the BBRF article on the work Dr. Hen and his colleagues at NYSPI are doing in this area.
The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act
Unanimously Passes Committee
On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously (53-0) advanced HR 2646,
The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act
. The vote came after several amendments were included, demonstrating a great deal of compromise from the original bill.
As NAMI said in their press release, "H.R. 2646 accommodates different perspectives on complex issues while taking important steps to improve mental health care. The bill will enhance crisis response services, provide grants to track inpatient and residential beds, promote early intervention and support integration of mental health, substance use and primary care
The bill's lead sponsor Rep Tim Murphy (R-PA) said of the committee passage, "Today, this Committee takes a monumental step by advancing a bill that makes real reforms and offers evidence-based treatment for families in mental health crisis. Today we are taking a stand. We affirm that mental illness is not a crime. Mental illness is not a moral defect, it is not a choice, and it is not a joke. Mental illness is just that: an illness."
Some key provisions of the marked up HR 2646 include:
- Codifies into law newly adopted federal rules permitting Medicaid to pay for stays of up to 15 days a month in IMDs, a term that includes state and private psychiatric hospitals and substance abuse treatment facilities (original bill would have funded unlimited stays in facilities that averaged less than 30 days an admission). Though this is a small positive gain, NAMI and NAMI-NYS have called for a complete repeal of the IMD Exclusion.
- Extends assisted outpatient treatment pilot programs for an additional 2 more years. The original bill included a 2% financial incentive for states and localities to adopt or expand the program. NAMI-NYS supported this incentive.
- No significant change to Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) groups. NAMI-NYS recognizes that PAIMI and other such advocacy groups have an important role in ensuring that people living with a mental illness are treated respectfully by all their service providers.
- Requires greater education about HIPAA and FERPA laws, specifically informing providers what sort 'patient information' can be exchanged with families and caregivers. NAMI-NYS is disappointed by this as no reforms were actually made. Basically, it just puts in writing that providers need to be educated on the law as it is currently written. Though we hope this will reduce the occurrences of providers 'hiding behind HIPAA" when they do not want to listen to family and caregiver insights and concerns.
- Installs a Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use within HHS who has to be a doctor or psychologist who would oversee but not replace the SAMHSA administrator. This is a positive development, however NAMI-NYS still believes that SAMHSA, like other federal agencies and institutes that focus on health (such as the National Institute of Health and Center for Disease Control), should be led by a medical doctor.
Democrats called it a good first step but noted that more funding is needed to truly address the problem.
"Congress has got to be willing to put its money where its mouth is," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO.).
Rep Murphy would like to get the bill on the House floor prior to the August recess, however, it is more likely that the bill will get to the floor this fall and then negotiations would begin to reconcile differences with the Senate bill (S.1945).
Click here to read Rep. Murphy's opening statement to the committee.
Not White, Not Rich, and Seeking Therapy
As this E-News focuses on mental health in diverse communities, we wanted to share a disturbing article from the Atlantic, that details the difficulties underserved populations have in getting mental health care.
Discrimination by therapists compounds the already steep obstacles Americans face in accessing mental health care. There are shortages of mental-health providers even in wealthy areas, and more than half of all counties in the U.S. have no practicing psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers.
Patient advocacy groups have long complained that not enough therapists accept insurance, forcing many of their patients to pay high out-of-pocket rates. (Psychologists' groups, including the APA, contend that insurance companies' reimbursement rates are not high enough.) "If it's a market where you pretty much have to pay for yourself, the rich are always going to win," Stanford University psychiatry professor Keith Humphrey said recently.
A new study suggests there might be another problem at play when low-income and black people attempt to schedule psychotherapy appointments: They never make it past the first voicemail. The study, published in the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, suggests psychotherapists are more likely to offer appointments to middle-class white people than to middle-class African-Americans or to working-class people of any race.
Is the Funniest Show about Mental Health That You're Not Watching Yet
The Netflix show Lady Dynamite chronicles comedian Maria Bamford playing a version of herself, coming off a career upswing and crashing into a subsequent mental breakdown. When the show
begins, Bamford is re-acclimating to life as we live it. The narrative unfolds over three timelines, handily labeled "past", "present" and "Deluth", the latter of which are scenes in her hometown of Deluth, Minnesota, where she moves in with her family in the aftermath of a bipolar episode, mirroring Bamford's real-life mental health issues.
The breezy way that
incorporates Bamford's complicated history is the latest in a line of inventive female-led comedies using trauma and personal history as a rich source of absurdity. The chaos on display as Bamford tries to rebuild her career and personal life flip-flops between life before, during and after her depressive episode. By fusing three distinct timelines in Bamford's life together,
brings the same level of hilarious absurdity into both her depression and recovery.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration Urges Minority Communities to Be Champions for
Clinical Trial Diversity
The Food and Drug Administration is launching a campaign to encourage minorities to participate in clinical trials.
to learn more and watch the campaign video
NIMH wants to hear from you!
NIMH is inviting comments from the general public on the state of mental illness research and NIMH's role in the development of this research. Your feedback will be used in developing briefing materials that will represent the full diversity of perspectives on mental illness research for the incoming NIMH Director. Please provide comments by
June 30, 2016
. Learn more about how to submit your comments by clicking here.
NIMH Looking for People to Participate in a
Bipolar Disorder (Pediatric) Research Study:
Treatment of Severe Mood Dysregulation, (SMD)
(Inpatient: 12- to 15 weeks)
This study tests the efficacy of different treatments for decreasing irritability in children with severe mood and behavioral problems. Participants have symptoms of severe irritability and are not doing well on their current medications. The child must be currently in treatment with a physician, medically healthy and not currently hospitalized, psychotic or suicidal. The study includes day or full hospitalization to discontinue medication, followed by either methylphenidate plus citalopram, or methylphenidate plus placebo. Recruiting ages 7-17.
Capital District Psychiatric Center Family Services presents, Overview of mental Hygiene Legal Services (M.H.L.S.) featuring Attorney Jeff May at 5:30 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
June 29-NAMI Rockland Family Support Group (Day) 11:30am- 1:00pm Rockland Psychiatric Center, 140 Old Orangeburg Road, Bldg. #57 Orangeburg, NY 10962
June 29- NAMI Rochester presents Mental Illness & Criminal Justice - Collaborative Efforts: How the Systems Work Together.
:30 - 8:00 pm Rochester Psychiatric Center Auditorium
1111 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620.
Deadline: Monday, June 27, 2016
Register by calling Tammy at (585) 325.3145, ext. 100
To register online, or learn more about this event
- Brain & Behavior Research Foundation presents; Meet the Scientist: Life Elevated: Examining Altitude-Related Effects on Mental illness, presented by
Perry F. Renshaw, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Psychiatry, University of Utah School of Medicine, Medical Director, Rocky Mountain Network, Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Register now:
- NAMI-NYC Metro's second annual NAMI C.A.R.E.S. Community Mental Health Fair. The goal of the NAMI C.A.R.E.S. (Community Advocacy, Resources, Education & Services) Community Mental Health Fair is to highlight mental health issues that specifically face communities of color. Noon to 4 pm, at the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center, located at 530 W. 166th St. at Audubon Ave., New York, NY.
July 21-Capital District Psychiatric Center Family Services presents, Overview of Crisis Services. Thursday at 5:30 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
August 4- Capital District Psychiatric Center Family Services presents, Mental Health Legal Matters. Thursday at 5:30 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
- Brain & Behavior Research Foundation presents; Meet the Scientist: Autism: Understanding the Causes and Developing Effective Treatments, presented by
Jacqueline N. Crawley, Ph.D. Robert E. Chason Chair in Translational Research, MIND Institute, Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento. Register now:
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation presents; Meet the Scientist: Living Well with ADHD: Scientific Guideposts to Improved Outcomes, presented by
Francisco Xavier Castellanos, M.D. Brooke and Daniel Neidich Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Professor, Department of
Neuroscience and Physiology, Professor, Department of Radiology, Dir Rsch Green Cohen Inst Prevent Sci, New York University Child Study Center. Register now:
Capital District Psychiatric Center Family Services presents The Power of Laughter. Thursday at 5:30 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
-NAMI Rensselaer County will hold their 3rd Annual Recognition Dinner & Consumer Art Show. This year's honoree is Philip C. Nasca, PhD, Dean of SUNY School of Public Health. The event will take place from 6:30-9:00pm at Moscatiello's Italian Family Restaurant, 99 N. Greenbush Road (Rt. 4), Troy, NY
October 15- The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention presents Out Of The Darkness Walk 10am, FDR Park in Yorktown. Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck. They need volunteers or for more information contact Maria Idoni (914) 610-9156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Brain & Behavior Research Foundation presents; Meet the Scientist: Schizophrenia, presented by Herbert Y. Meltzer, M.D.Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and of Physiology, Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Register now:
- Brain & Behavior Research Foundation presents; Meet the Scientist: Could We Someday Prevent Schizophrenia Like We Prevent Cleft Palate? Presented by Robert R. Freedman, M.D. Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine. Register now:
2016 NAMI-NYS Education Conference-
New Horizons in Recovery: Breakthroughs in Research and Treatment. The Desmond Hotel, Albany. More details coming soon!
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation presents; Meet the Scientist: Neuroinflammatory Hypotheses of Depression, presented byYvette I. Sheline, M.D.
June 2 - July 7- NAMI Basics classes at NAMI-NYC Metro. Thursdays, 10am to 12:30pm, NAMI-NYC Metro, 505 Eighth Ave., Room 1103, New York, NY 10018. To Register: Call our Helpline (212) 684-3264
June 6 - July 18 - NAMI Homefront classes NAMI-NYC Metro. Mondays, 6 to 8:30pm, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, 130 W. Kingsbridge Road, Room 1B-07, Bronx, NY 10458. To Register: Call our Helpline (212) 684-3264.
June 7 - July 12:
NAMI Basics classes at NAMI-NYC Metro. Tuesdays, 6pm to 8:30pm, NAMI-NYC Metro, 505 Eighth Ave., Room 1103, New York, NY 10018. To Register: Call our Helpline (212) 684-3264.
June 15 - August 31 - NAMI Peer-to-Peer by NAMI-NYC Metro. Wednesdays, 1 to 3pm, NAMI-NYC Metro, 505 Eighth Ave., Room 1103, New York, NY 10018. To Register: Call our Helpline (212) 684-3264.
June 25&26- NAMI Family Support Group training to become a Facilitator. NAMI-NYS. This training is FULL and we are not accepting applications at this time.
In Our Own Voice by NAMI Staten Island. 2:30-4:30 pm. The Jewish Community Center of Staten Island Bernikow 1466 Manor Road
- In Our Own Voice Training to become a Presenter. NAMI-NYS. Contact your local affiliate. This training is FULL and we are not accepting applications at this time.
- NAMI Family-to-Family Training to become a Teacher. NAMI-NYS. Contact your local affiliate.
- NAMI Ending the Silence training to become a Presenter. St. Vincent's in Westchester.
- NAMI Parent & Teachers as Allies training to become a Presenter. St. Vincent's in Westchester.
- Family-to-Family by NAMI AMICO. Tuesdays from 6;30 to 9pm, for 12 continuous weeks. At First Presbyterian Church, 33 Park Place, Goshen, NY 10924. Contact Catha Weiben (845) 551-1777.
September TBD-NAMI Westchester will be starting a Family-to-Family class in Westchester, dates and location are to be determined. To enroll call Sharon McCarthy at 914-592-5458 or email her at email@example.com
October 7-9- NAMI Family-to-Family training to become a Teacher. NAMI-NYS. Contact your local affiliate.