August 1, 2017

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This week's edition has all the details of what was a wild and historic week in Washington D.C. In fact, we waited a day to send out this alert as things in the Capitol were still in flux. In the past week, the NAMI advocacy voice helped defeat the healthcare bill that would have had a disastrous impact on people with mental illness. The celebrations were tampered later that same day when the White House used stigmatizing language about people with mental illness. In an article below 2017 NAMI-NYS honoree Ron Powers explains why this is so hurtful and just plain wrong. The fallout from those comments are also addressed in the article below.

Yesterday was also the last day of Minority Mental Health Month and this edition will look at a cultural group with a unique set of mental health challenges, the LGBTQ community. We also have information on the NYS Suicide Prevention Conference,  a new guide from the NYS Department of Health and the hearing for the new Mental Health secretary.

We want to thank all of you who made your voice heard during the fight to keep the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Medicaid system, both of which have been integral to advancing recovery for many living with a mental illness. Whether you participated in NAMI Hill Day, made a phone call, sent an email or voiced concerns on social media, please know that you helped make a difference and your commitment to #Act4MentalHealth is at the heart of NAMI-NYS's mission.

You spoke up and Congress listened. They heard your stories. 
Because of you, they know that mental illness affects 1 in 5 of their constituents. Because of you, they know that stripping Medicaid funding would result in millions of Americans losing access to mental health and substance use services. And because of you, they know that taking a step back from insurance protections would harm people with mental illness. As we thank you, it is also important that you thank your senator if they voted no (as both New York senators did) or continue to educate senators of our readers outside of New York who may have voted yes. 

Click here to participate in NAMI's follow-up campaign. 
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!
2017 NAMI-NYS Honoree Ron Powers Explains 
Why  White House's 
Stigma Promoting Language is So Hurtful 

On the same day that the Senate voted against the repeal of the ACA, the now ousted White House Communication Director, Anthony Scaramucci, called a writer at the New Yorker magazine and went on an obscenity-filled tirade. Included in his rant was criticism of the now former White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus. Scaramucci said,  'Reince is a ( expletive ) paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.' 

This year's NAMI-NYS Education Conference features our first "NAMI-NYS Honors Leaders in Mental Health Awareness," event. One our honorees, Pulitzer Prize winning author Ron Powers, wrote a blog explaining why this type of language is not only hurtful to people living with a mental illness and those who care for them, but it also advances negative imagery of mental illness which NAMI is dedicated to eliminating. 

Powers says;  "Among the many burdens endured by the chronically mentally ill and those committed to safeguarding them is the misuse of "paranoid schizophrenic," "paranoiac," and a several other medically descriptive words: their misuse as hateful epithets, with the implication that those who answer to such descriptions are somehow morally inferior. The widespread acceptance of this misuse is part of the lifeblood of stigma, the uninformed and biased contempt for the mentally ill that still stands in the path of enlightened, and necessary, reforms." Powers continues; "In attempting to smear Reince Priebus with the labels "paranoid schizophrenic" and "paranoiac," White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has given para-official legitimization to the ongoing stigma and to the destruction it causes. He has gratuitously dishonored the mentally ill of this country and wounded their protectors." Click here to read Ron's entire blog, with links to the full Scaramucci interview. WARNING: This link contains language that may be offensive as it quotes some of the vulgarities made by Mr. Scaramucci. 


As we're sure you know by now, as we were about to go to print yesterday, news broke that Mr. Scaramucci was removed as Communications Director. We delayed sending out the E-News to see if the White House would issue an apology for Scaramucci's comments . It was reported that new White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, wanted Scaramucci removed from his new role as the communications director because he did not think he was disciplined and had burned his credibility. However  it is important to note that at the time we sent the E-News out, neither the White House or President Trump have apologized  for the language used by Mr. Scaramucci or the stigmatizing term.

Scholarships Now Available for 
2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference

Scholarship applications are now available for the 2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference. You can click here to obtain an application. PLEASE NOTE: A submitted application does not guarantee a registration.  

Registration is also currently open. You can click here to register or click here to obtain a registration sheet which can be mailed in. 

NAMI Westchester Receives Bridges of Hope Grant 

NAMI Westchester received a grant from NAMI for the Bridges of Hope program.  As a result,  ten people have been trained to give this presentation to the faith base community.  The presentations focus on mental health education and how congregations can help families and those living with a mental illness.

We congratulate NAMI Westchester on the grant and thank those who will serve as ambassadors to the faith-based community.   

NAMI Laments How the  Senate's Rejection of  the
Health Care Bill Is A Vote For Mental Health Care

Following the defeat on the Senate's efforts to repeal the ACA, NAMI wrote of their appreciation of the vote. The piece explains that NAMI understands health care in America is far from perfect, but as NAMI CEO Mary Giliberti stated: " Solutions lie in improving our health care system and in promoting effective practices such as early intervention for psychosis, not in dismantling Medicaid and health insurance." Giliberti continues, "We urge Congress to work toward bipartisan solutions to fix the insurance marketplace. NAMI stands ready to help Congress increase access to affordable, quality mental health coverage for all Americans." Click here to read more. 

NAMI's Ron Honberg Pens Open Letter to Governors in the Hill

Ahead of last week's Senate vote, NAMI's Senior Policy Advisor Ron Honberg, J.D. wrote a piece in the Hill to the nation's governors not only asking them to urge their senators to vote no on the health care bill but to make sure they also advocate for more funding to help improve the criminal justice-mental illness interface.

Ron wrote: "As you evaluate the critical choice before the Senate, I urge you to consider the impact not only to your state's health care system and your vulnerable citizens, but the impact to mental health care and in turn, to those who have sworn to protect and serve your constituents as local and state law enforcement officers. Recently, more than a dozen police unions nationwide, including those in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Jose, called on the federal government to provide more resources, including training and partnerships with mental health professionals, to help local law enforcement agencies respond effectively to emergency and crisis calls involving people with mental illness and substance use disorders." Click here to read full article.

The 2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference will feature a focus track on reforming the criminal justice system. Details of the track will be announced shortly.
New York News
New York State Announces 
2017 Suicide Prevention Conference

The 2017 New York State Suicide Prevention Conference: Pillars of Prevention will be taking place in Albany on September 18-19th. Plenary speakers include: John Draper, PhD, Project Director for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Michael Rosanoff, MPH Senior Director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Project 2025 and author and suicide survivor Craig Miller. Click here to learn mor e. 

The 2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference will  include a featured session on Zero Suicide featuring former New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner,  Michael Hogan, Rosa Gil, PhD,  Founder, President and CEO of Comunilife, Inc,  Brett Scudder , Executive Director, Scudder Intervention Services Foundation, Inc.'s Abuse and Suicide First Aid Response and Wellness Centers and  Allen Hershman, PhD, PsyD NCSP,  Veteran Services Coordinator, BRiDGES.

NYS Department of Health Issues Guidance Document on Social-Emotional Development

The New York State Department of Health is pleased to announce the issuance of a new guidance document, Meeting the Social-Emotional Development Needs of Infants and Toddlers: Guidance for Early Intervention and Other Early Childhood Professionals.

This new guidance is geared towards early childhood health, development specialists, and early care and learning professionals to partner with families to promote and support healthy social emotional development in infants and toddlers. Several of our collaborators from What's Great in Our State and previous honorees contributed to the guide. Click here to access the guide.

Brandon Marshall Delivers Powerful Message to Owners about Mental Health

USA TODAY reports on the presentation New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall gave to NFL owners and coaches at their annual meeting. Marshall, one of the most prominent professional athletes to publicly advocate for mental health awareness, shared his account of his own mental illness (borderline personality disorder).

Most notably, Marshall shared his message - that the sports world and society need to accept mental illness as a disease - and the steps necessary to destigmatizing the taboo topic.

"It wasn't just lip service this time," Marshall told USA TODAY Sports. "All the teams' coaches and owners were there and embraced the conversation. I said I wasn't gonna come unless they were ready to really hear me. It had been a long time coming."

Click here to read the full article.
National News
LGBTQ People are Prone to Mental Illness.
"It's a Truth We Shouldn't Shy Away From"

When we explore minority and multicultural mental health awareness, it is vital that we recognize mental health issues in the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered and Questioning (LGBTQ) community. As NAMI explains, LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. This fear of coming out and being discriminated against for sexual orientation and gender identities can lead to depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse. Click here to view NAMI's page on LGBTQ issues. 

In a recent article which appeared in the Guardian, the writer discusses his own experiences being a Gay man with mental illness. He explains that while he openly discusses going on dates with men and attending other LGBTQ events with co-workers, he has found it much more challenging to discuss going to see his therapist or the need to take time off due to a mental health issue. Both this article and the NAMI page explain that many in the LGBTQ community are reluctant to discuss their mental health even among others in the community.  Click here to read the article.

The 2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference will have a session on LGBTQ mental health issues. 

Hearings for New Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use   to Take Place Later Today

The Senate Committee that oversees healthcare related issues will be considering five nominees for federal agency posts, most notably Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz who is the Trump Administration's pick to be the nation's first Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, a new position created by Congress earlier this year.

You can view the hearing by using this link to the HELP Committee website about 15mins prior to the nomination hearing which is scheduled for 2:30.

Our Brains Harbor "Residual Echo" 
of Neanderthal Genes

NIMH researchers have produced the first direct evidence that parts of our brains implicated in mental disorders may be shaped by a "residual echo" from our ancient past. The more a person's genome carries genetic vestiges of Neanderthals, the more certain parts of his or her brain and skull resemble those of humans' evolutionary cousins that went extinct 40,000 years ago, says NIMH's Karen Berman, M.D.

Click here to read more.

Summary from NIMH Outreach Partner Meeting

Last week we detailed NAMI-NYS's participation in the NIMH Outreach Partner Meeting and included a summary of the meeting. We wanted to provide one more opportunity for our readers to learn about the meeting.   Click here to read the summary detailing presentations by NIMH Director Joshua Gordon and the latest on suicide prevention, treating bipolar disorder, the NIH All of Us initiative and the importance of participating in clinical trials.


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  

Save the Dates

Click here to learn more and register for the 2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference- Engagement, Implementation, Internvention: Three Pronged Approach to Sustainable Mental Health Recovery, taking place November 10-12 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany.
AUGUST 1 & 2- Webinar: Suicide Postvention - The Role of the School Community After a Suicide. Join us for a webinar with Rich Lieberman, MA, NCSP, and Dr. Scott Poland, who will discuss:
  • The rationale and primary goals of "postvention"
  • The roles and responsibilities within the school community after a suicide
  • Recommendations and resources for schools and districts 
Tuesday August 1st, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. and Wednesday August 2nd , 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

AUGUST 3- Shakespeare & Co. Books (NYC).  939 Lexington Avenue (corner of 69th Street). Thursday, August 3, 2017, 6:30pm. Author's Talk moderated by Howard Husock of Manhattan Institute. Must RSVP

AUGUST 7- Join SAMHSA's Program to Achieve Wellness for part three of our four-part series on Monday, August 7, from 12pm to 1pm ET. Register for Enhancing Personal Capacity for Wellness: Building an Organizational Culture of Wellness.

AUGUST 9- NAMI-MFH and NYS Office of Mental Health- Community Integration and Employment Exploration:How to Help People Explore Work and Integrate into the Community. Wednesday August 9th from 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at 2390 Riverfront Center, Amsterdam NY 12010. Light refreshments provided. To register please contact: Elizabeth Patience, Phone 315-426-3942 or Email:
Click here to download flyer.

AUGUST 14 - Join SAMHSA's Program to Achieve Wellness for part four of our four-part series on Monday, August14, from 12pm to 1pm ET. Register for Enhancing Personal Capacity for Wellness: Incorporating Refelctive Practices Click here to register

SEPTEMBER 13- Annual NAMI Mid-Hudson Gala 2017. Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM at The Grandview, 176 Rinaldi Blvd. Poughkeepsie, NY. Gala 2017 Keynote Speaker Kevin Hines, who in 2012 was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding work suicide prevention advocate and speaker by the National Council of Behavioral Health, Click here to learn more about Gala. If you have any questions, please contact Tina Yun Lee at

OCTOBER 28-Healthy Minds Empowerment Conference. from  8:00 AM-2:00 PM at  Medaille College 18 Agassiz Cir, Buffalo, NY 14214. For Teens (7th-12th grade), Parents & Teen Leaders.Questions about this event may be directed to Ann Venuto, President of NAMI Buffalo /(716) 689-1159, or Josephine Cross, Chairman of the Health Promotion Committee of AKA Gamma Phi Omega Chapter / (716) 636-3014. Click here for more information. Join us for a day of free workshops to explore the emotional and mental well being of youth and to empower youth and adults who care for them. *Free Breakfast & Lunch

Signature Programs
AUGUST  7- NAMI Homefront Online . August 7- September 11, 2017 (six consecutive Mondays from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. MT) to register go to: . All questions and/or concerns please contact NAMI at

AUGUST 8- NAMI Homefront Online.   August 8 - September 12, 2017 (six consecutive Tuesdays from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET) to register go to: . All questions and/or concerns please contact NAMI at

AUGUST 10 - NAMI Homefront Online.  August 10 - September 14, 2017 (six consecutive Thursdays from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. PT) to register go to: . All questions and/or concerns please contact NAMI at  

SEPTEMBER 5 - NAMI Orange Family-to-Family. Tuesdays, September 5Th, 6:30 pm -9:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church, 33 Park Place, Goshen, NY 10924. Teachers: Dhanu Sannesy and Marcy Felter.  Contact: Dhanu Sannesy, (845) 956-6264; (866) 906-6264 or

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 - Stratton VA Medical Center &  NAMI Rensselaer Homefront.  Education and Support for Military & Veteran Families. Tuesdays, September 12 - October 17, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00p.m. at the VA Network Office on corner of New Scotland Ave and Veterans Way, Albany NY. Please call to register : Elizabeth Donovan (518) 626-5347.  Click here for Flyer

SEPTEMBER 12-NAMI Rockland Basics (Spanish Speaking)Tuesday's September 12th - October 17th from  6:00 pm - 8:30 pm. Location: St. Dominic's Community Waiver Program, 500 Western Highway, Blauvelt, NY. Contact: (845) 359-8784 / to register . Teachers: Marilyn Matos and Barbara Martinez-Silva

SEPTEMBER 12-NAMI-NYC Metro Basics. Tuesdays, September 12 - October 17, 6:00 pm- 8:30 pm at    505 8th Avenue, Suite 1103, New York, NY 10018.   To register contact Deniece Chi at (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 at (212) 684-3365 x 203 /

SEPTEMBER 14-NAMI Rockland Basics. Thursdays September 14 - October 26, 2017 (No class Thursday, September 21st) from  6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Location: St. Dominic's Community Waiver Program, 500 Western Highway, Blauvelt, NY 10913. Contact:  (845) 359-8784 or to register. Teachers: Rita Strumph and Kate Johnson.

SEPTEMBER 17 - NAMI Orange Basics. Sundays, September 17th, 6:30 pm-9:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church, 33 Park Place, Goshen, NY 10924. Teachers: Dhanu Sannesy and Marcy Felter. Contact: Dhanu Sannesy, (845) 956-6264; (866) 906-6264 or

SEPTEMBER 20-NAMI Mid-Hudson Family-to-Family. Wednesdays, September 20th- December 13th, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm at The MidHudson Regional Hospital, 241 North Road, Poughkeepsie NY. Contact: Tina Lee or (845) 206-9892.

SEPTEMBER 27- NAMI Mid-Hudson Peer-to-Peer. Wednesdays, September 27th- December 6th, 4:00 pm-6:00 pm at the SUNY Dutchess Community College, Poughkeepsie NY. Contact: Tina Lee,  or (845) 206-9892.

OCTOBER 21-NAMI Mid-Hudson Basics. Saturdays, October 21, 28, November 4th, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm at the Arlington High School,  1157 State Route 55, Lagrangeville NY. Contact: Tina Lee,  or (845) 206-9892.

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 at (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 at (212) 684-3365 x 203 / 

Please contact your local affiliate program leaders for more information and how to enroll.
NAMI Homefront Teacher Training
September 16th-17th 2017
Trainers: Pam Solomon & Jerry Burton
Location: NAMI-NYS Office Albany
NAMI Family-to-Family Teacher Training
October 20th-22nd, 2017
Trainers: Pam Soloman & Geraldine Burton
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