This week's edition of the NAMI-NYS E-Newsletter arrives as the 2016 campaign season officially kicks-off following the conclusion of both national party conventions. While it is unlikely that either of the major presidential candidates will be spending much time campaigning in New York, there are still many ways our readers can make their voices heard on key issues and talk to candidates running for the House of Representatives and both houses of the NYS Legislature as all of those seats are up this year.
On Wednesday, August 3rd, NAMI-NYS members will have two opportunities to #Act4MentalHealth. At noon, we will be participating in a rally in front of NYS Capitol to urge Governor Cuomo to sign legislation to regulate Step Therapy. Later that evening, beginning at 6pm, NAMI-NYS will be participating in a Congress on the Corner event focusing on mental health organized by Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20). Congressman Tonko will also be our guest on the next episode of Mental Health Now which will be taped earlier that afternoon. We also encourage members to make your voice heard by running for the NAMI-NYS board and information on that can be found as well.
This issue also contains information on NAMI-NYS Signature Program offerings, Minority Mental Health Month, how singer Demi Lovato inspired many by discussing her mental illness at the Democratic National Convention and news that Dr. Joshua Gordon of Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute has been named the new director of NIMH.
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.
NAMI-NYS Joins Coalition in Meeting With
Governor Cuomo's Office to Urge Him to Sign
Step Therapy Legislation
On Wednesday, July 27th, ten of the leaders from the New York Step Therapy Reform Coalition met with Axel Bernabe, Assistant Health Counsel to Governor Cuomo, at the Capitol to advocate for the signing of A.2834-D/S.3419-C which would regulate the use of step therapy practices by insurance providers. NAMI-NYS and the Mental Health Association of New York State (MHANYS) represented those impacted by mental illness at the meeting. The coalition consists of more than 80 health organizations. Also this week, the Albany Times Union and the Buffalo News featured Op-Ed pieces arguing for the signing of the bill.
NAMI-NYS encourages our members to call the Governor's office at 518-474-8390 and urge him to sign A.2834-D/S.3419-C. Despite the fact that the bill passed BOTH houses of the Legislature UNANIMOUSLY, the bill faces an uphill battle as the insurance lobby is pushing back hard. We also ask our members to attend the rally on Wednesday August 3rd at the West Capitol Park beginning at noon, For more
, email Matthew@naminys.org.
Click here to read the letter of support NAMI-NYS sent to Governor Cuomo on this issue.
Click here to read the editorial from the Albany Times Union.
Click here to read the Op-Ed from the Buffalo News.
Click here to read a cost analysis of Step Therapy.
NAMI Rensselaer Completes Peer-to-Peer Course
The NAMI Rensselaer County Peer to Peer class led by NAMI-NYS Helpline Coordinator Christine Rickeman completed their 10 week course and held its graduation ceremony on Monday July 25th. Christine said "during the 10 weeks the commitment and perseverance of this class was exceptional. They shared many personal, emotional, and happy times and learned about ourselves as well as others struggling with similar situations and feelings. It has been an honor to mentor and learn from this great group of people and build new friendships. We are STIGMA FREE!"
Thank you to Christine and all who took the course.
NAMI-NYS Conducts Family-to-Family Training
On the weekend of July 22nd, NAMI-NYS hosted a training for new Family-to-Family teachers. The training led by Pam Solomon and Gerry Burton graduated ten new teachers from throughout the state. NAMI Signature programs are the door most people use to enter NAMI and we are so grateful to all our program leaders for giving of their time and their commitment to educate and support their communities as well as serving as NAMI ambassadors. As we say, hope starts with you. Thanks as well to our Program Coordinator Shaniqua Jackson for organizing this training and all our programs. To learn more about Signature Programs in your area, be sure to visit the Signature Program section of the E-News.
NAMI-NYS Board Member Rob Laitman
To Run Three Marathons to Support NAMI and
NAMI-NYS board member Dr. Rob Laitman plans to run three marathons (London, Boston and New Jersey) in a two-week span in the spring of 2017. Dr. Laitman is doing this as part of his Team Daniel Run for Recovery which is designed to raise awareness about mental health issues and financial support for NAMI, NAMI-NYS and NAMI Westchester along with supporting the research conducted by New York's Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation. Dr. Laitman estimates that this endeavor will raise more than $100,000. We are grateful for all the support Team Daniel has given NAMI on the local, state and national levels and for his role in advancing research. We look forward to supporting him during this ambitious project.
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 read the nomination letter.
Miss International 2015 Elise Banks is Working With NAMI to Reduce Within the
African American Community
Miss International 2015 Elise Banks is serving as national ambassador for NAMI. She has spent the last year with a specific focus on breaking the stigma associated with mental health. Ms. Banks who is also a psychotherapist, is especially committed to raising awareness in the African American community, which she says is "one of the populations that are least likely to seek treatment for mental or emotional issues. And because I am African American, I feel it is important to help break some of the common beliefs that perpetuate stigma and incorrect thinking that go into why some may be reluctant to seek assistance."
Governor Cuomo Announces Action to Ensure Insurers Comply With Mental Health Equity Standards
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced this week that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued guidance to ensure that insurers do not unfairly discriminate against individuals facing mental health disorders. In a letter, DFS informed health insurers of their responsibility to provide the same level of coverage for mental health and substance use disorders as for medical or surgical care.
"This administration will have zero tolerance for insurance companies that seek to shirk their obligations to provide coverage for substance abuse and mental health treatment," Governor Cuomo said. "With this action, they're on notice as we seek to create a stronger, healthier New York for all."
The New York State Office of Mental Health and the Suicide Prevention Center of New York State Present the inaugural New York State Suicide
The inaugural New York State Suicide Prevention Conference: A forum to promote collaboration in research, surveillance, clinical, and community interventions will take place September 12 and 13, 2016 at the Hilton Albany
Learn from national experts and colleagues about current best practices in the field and about current initiatives in the state. Align your efforts with the state's suicide prevention plan for 2016-17.
Understand the three pillars of the state's strategy:
- Prevention in Health and Behavioral Healthcare Settings,
- Prevention across the Lifespan in Communities, and
- Surveillance and Data to Inform Suicide Prevention.
to learn more.
The New York Times Reports on Ambitious Next Step to Precision Medicine Initiative
The New York Times reported how government scientists are seeking a million volunteers willing to share the innermost secrets of their genes and daily lives as part of an ambitious 10-year research project to understand the causes and cures of disease.
Those selected to be members of the "precision medicine cohort" will be asked to provide a detailed medical history and blood samples so researchers can extract DNA. They will also be asked to report information about themselves - including their age, race, income, education, sexual orientation and gender identity, officials said. The project, begun as part of President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative, seeks to develop treatments tailored to the characteristics of individual patients.
Congress in December provided $130 million to the National Institutes of Health for the million-person research cohort. Mr. Obama has requested $230 million for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, and the appropriations committees in both houses of Congress have approved the request as part of a spending bill for 2017. That bipartisan support strongly suggests that the project will continue after Mr. Obama leaves office.
People can sign up through academic medical centers throughout the country including Columbia University. Each medical center will be working with local partners. Columbia, for example, is collaborating with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Harlem Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine.
Singer Demi Lovato Details Her Mental Illness During
Democratic National Convention
On the first night of this week's Democratic National Convention, singer Demi Lovato discussed her own mental illness and her work to raise mental health awareness at her concerts and her fight to bring about mental health reform. Lovato said "Untreated mental illness can lead to devastating consequences...This is not about politics, it's simply the right thing to do...I stand here today as proof that you can live a productive and empowered life with a mental illness."
Lovato has done a lot to educate her fans on mental illness, She lives with bipolar disorder and her father had schizophrenia. She has appeared at the NAMI National Convention and testified before Congress in her campaign to bring about reform.
Vice-Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine
Mentions Mental Health Reform as an Issue Democrats and Republicans Must Work Together on During
60 Minutes Interview
During an interview with 60 Minutes, Vice-Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine was asked about if elected how would the Clinton
administration work with a divided Congress. He cited mental health reform as one of the key issues that Republicans and Democrats have been and must continue to work together on.
DISCLAIMER: NAMI-NYS does not endorse political candidates. This article is included to demonstrate that all our elected officials need to work together on improving the lives of the 1 in 5 Americans living with a mental illness. As Ms. Lovato said in the article above, this is not a political issue. NAMI-NYS encourages our members to engage all candidates in conversations about mental illness. We will be sending out an action alert on this next week.
Like Minded Rally Held in Philadelphia to Raise Awareness of Mental Health and Substance Abuse
This past Tuesday, hundreds of people gathered in Philadelphia for the
Like Minded Rally to raise awareness of mental illness and substance abuse. Speakers included former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and NAMI-NYS member and NAMI Board Member Barbara Ricci who talked about how depression is the number one cause of disability in the workplace
Dr. Joshua Gordon Named New Director of NIMH
On July 27th, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the selection of Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., as director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dr. Gordon is expected to join NIH in September.
"Josh is a visionary psychiatrist and neuroscientist with deep experience in mental health research and practice. He is exceptionally well qualified to lead the NIMH research agenda to improve mental health and treatments for mental illnesses," said Dr. Collins. "We're thrilled to have him join the NIH leadership team."
Dr. Gordon will join NIH from New York City, where he serves as associate professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. In addition to his research, Dr. Gordon is an associate director of the Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute Adult Psychiatry Residency Program, where he directs the neuroscience curriculum and administers the research programs for residents.
NAMI-NYS congratulates Dr. Gordon and we look forward to working and learning from him in our role as an NIMH Outreach Partner.
Click here to read the official announcement from Dr. Collins.
NIH Health Reach Suicide Prevention Resource Available in Multiple Languages
As part of Minority Mental Health Month, we wanted to share the NIH Health Reach guide How To Help Someone Thinking of Suicide.
This one-page handout educates people about ways they can be of help to someone thinking of suicide. It identifies signs, symptoms, and behaviors of someone who may be thinking of suicide. It provides a list of actions people can take to be of assistance to the person in crisis. The phone number and web link for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline are provided. The document is available to download in several languages and clarifies that interpretation services are available for non-English speakers.
Participate in a NIMH Anxiety Study
Studies are conducted at the NIH Clinical Center, Bethesda, MD. Compensation is provided.
Participants must be:
* Ages 18 to 60 with anxiety
* Free of certain medical conditions
Research will include:
* 1-2 outpatient visits
* Computer tasks
* Exposure to unpleasant stimuli
To find out if you qualify, call 1-888-644-2694 or 1-866-411-2694
Refer to study no. 03-M-0093
- Start a team or join an existing team.
- Become a virtual walker if you can't make it to the Capital Region on September 24th.
- Donate to the NAMIWalks NYS-Your support is crucial to NAMI-NYS's ability to continue meeting the demand for NAMI programming from communities throughout New York State.
Thank You to Our Sponsors
to learn about sponsorship opportunities
Join us on Wednesday August 3rd at the Crossings in Colonie for this important conversation with Congressman Paul Tonko to discuss mental health and the next steps needed to enact federal mental health reform.
Glenn Holsten's SAMSHA award-winning documentary
HOLLYWOOD BEAUTY SALON
opens theatrically in New York City. The "Hollywood Beauty Salon" is an intimate beauty parlor that happens to be part of the NHS Germantown Recovery Community, a non-profit mental health program in Philadelphia that is administered by NHS Human Services. Rachel "Hollywood" Carr Timms runs the beauty parlor, where staff and clients alike are all in the process of recovery from some form of mental health issue. By gathering together to get their hair done, share stories, and support one another, they find a way to rebuild their lives.
Click here for more information about the film
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:
November 1-4-The Association of Community Living Agencies in Mental Health (ACLAIMH) will host its 37th Annual Conference - Housing is Healthcare (Open to All) - on Tuesday, November 1st-Friday, November 4th at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, NY. There will be many sessions that provide social work continuing education credits. Association of Community Living Agencies in Mental Health, Inc., (ACLAIMH), SW CPE is recognized by the New York Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers.
- 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.
- 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.
NAMI Queens Nassau presents Family to Family classes September1st - November 17
2016. 7:00-9:30 pm at Walk in Love for Jesus Church. 906 Newbridge Road, Long Island NY 11710. To register email
September 8-NAMI Queens Nassau presents Family-to-Family classes September 8-December 1st at Congregational At Shelter Rock, 18 Shelter Rock Road Manhasset, NY 11030 and the classes will take place from 6:30-9:00.
September 10-NAMI Queens/Nassau begins the next Family-to-Family course at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, 110-31 Merrick Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11433. The courses will be held on Saturdays from 1:30-4pm. To register email email@example.com or (516) 326-0797 or (718) 347-7284. Click here for more information..
September 26-NAMI Queens Nassau presents Family to Family classes at North Shore Zucker Hillside Hospital Ambulatory Care Pavilion, room 1237. 263rd St. and 74 Ave. Glen Oaks, NY 11004. Classes will be from 7-9:30pm. To register email firstname.lastname@example.org or (516) 326-0797 or (718) 347-7284
September 19-NAMI Cayuga County presents Family to Family classes at Auburn Community College, 17 Lansing Street Auburn, NY 2nd Floor Assembly Room. Classes will be from 6-8:30pm. Please contact email@example.com to register.
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
October 7-9- NAMI Family-to-Family training to become a Teacher. NAMI-NYS. Contact your local affiliate.