August 22, 2017

In This Issue
Quote of the Week:

"Solitary confinement is a demon that feeds on human souls."
-Ron Powers

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This week's edition of the NAMI-NYS E-News features a lot of information on two subjects that will have focus tracks featured at the 2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference: young adult mental health and improving the mental illness-criminal justice interface. For young adult issues, you will find the details of our conference's young adult track, a new college guide produced by NAMI and an article from conference featured speaker, Hakeem Rahim. Our look at criminal justice issues includes NAMI-NYS 2017 Leader in Awareness honoree Ron Powers detailing the need to abolish solitary confinement, a rally in Brooklyn to protest people with mental illness dying at the hands of police, how one of our board members is working to improve police interventions by participating in the CIT International Conference and the latest from the Council of State Government's Justice Center.
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 Announces Details of 2017 Education Conference Young Adult Track
NAMI-NYS is excited to build our young adult network and expand the young adult track at our 2017 Education Conference. This year's track features four workshop sessions on Saturday, curated by the young adult steering committee. The session topics are:
  • Self Advocacy
  • Using Artistic Creativity to Drive Recovery
  • Understanding the Benefits of Peer Support
  • Employment
The track is designed for people 16-30, and you can click here for full details. NAMI-NYS also has special scholarships for young adults and you can click here to obtain a copy of the scholarship application. 

2017 NAMI-NYS Honoree Ron Powers Details Why We Must Kill the Monster of Solitary Confinement

Pulitzer Prize winning author Ron Powers, who is one of the first people to be honored as a NAMI-NYS Leader in Awareness at this year's Education Conference, recently wrote about the need to abolish the use of solitary confinement.

In the blog he states, "Solitary confinement must be wiped out because of its very purity: it is the purest most unadulterated method of infesting a human brain with loneliness, then despair, then desperation, and finally with head-banging madness that the world has ever seen. Solitary confinement is a demon that feeds on human souls." 

Powers continues to explain the impact it has on one's psyche."As it feeds, here is some of the residue that it leaves behind, to fester: Paranoia. Stupor. Amnesia. Hallucinations; imaginary shapes and voices. Rage. Suicidal impulses. (Half of all jail and prison suicides are committed in solitary or soon after release, though solitary inmates make up only 5 percent of these populations.)"

Click here to read the full blog.

The Friday of the Education Conference will feature both the Leaders of Awareness banquet as well as the criminal justice track in the afternoon, which will feature a session on alternatives to solitary confinement. Click here to register today. 

Education Conference Featured Speaker 
Hakeem Rahim Writes About the Most Important 
Conversation on Campus
Last week, we detailed Education Conference featured speaker Hakeem Rahim's 2017 I Am Acceptance college tour. This week, we bring you an article Hakeem wrote for the American Foundation on Suicide Prevention. As Hakeem explains in the article, each year over 1,100 college students - the size of some graduating classes - die by suicide. One in four students in general has a diagnosable mental health condition; over 50 percent suffer from anxiety that negatively impacts their academic progress; and thousands drop out of school as a direct result of a mental health condition.
Hakeem states, "I know these statistics well because I was one of them. As a thriving survivor and advocate for mental health awareness, my mission is to let every young person know that no matter how great the struggle may seem in the moment, where you are is not who you are."
Hakeem goes on to tell his story of developing severe bipolar disorder while a sophomore at Harvard, how he established and maintains his recovery and the importance of discussing these issues with college students. 

Click here to read the full article. 

The 2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference, taking place November 10-12, will feature Hakeem Rahim and others detailing how recovery is possible on Saturday afternoon. Friday afternoon will feature a Zero Suicide panel. Click here to  register. Click here for a scholarship application. 
NAMI-NYS Board Member Dhanu Sannesy Participates in the CIT International Conference

NAMI-NYS Board Member Dhanu Sannesy participated in this year's CIT International Conference, which took place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Above Dhanu is pictured with our colleague, Don Kamin, PhD, Director of Institute for Police, Mental Health & Community Collaboration and who also serves on the CIT International Board of Directors. In other New York State news from the conference, Steve Miccio, CEO of PEOPLe, Inc., which is based in Poughkeepsie, was appointed to the CIT International Board of Directors.

NAMI-NYS to Hold a Fundraiser With Blaze Pizza

On Thursday, September 14th, the Blaze Pizza at Stuyvesant Plaza will be holding a fundraiser to benefit NAMI-NYS. Click here for a flyer to present and 20% of your purchase will be donated to NAMI-NYS.
NAMI Releases New College Mental Health Guide

75% of all mental health conditions begin by age 24. That's why the college years are so critical for understanding and talking about mental health. NAMI has partnered with the Jed Foundation to produce the guide for college students, "Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health" and created a video based on the guide. Along with the full video are also shorter clips which break down the guide into key sections:

  • Navigating College
  • Mental Health Conditions Are Common
  • Who To Talk To
  • Make A Plan
Click here to access the guide and the videos.

NAMI CEO Selected to Serve on Federal Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee

NAMI Chief Executive Officer Mary Giliberti has been selected to serve as a non-federal member of the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee. 

The Committee was established pursuant to the 21 st  Century Cures Act of 2016 to provide guidance to Congress and relevant federal departments and agencies about advances in research and access to services for people with serious mental illness (SMI) and children and youth with serious emotional disturbance (SED).

"I am honored to have been chosen to participate in this important Committee as a representative of NAMI and its members - individuals and families affected by mental illness," stated Mary Giliberti. "I will be listening to our members and bringing their input to this critical work to shape federal priorities for improving mental health services for those with the greatest needs.  I look forward to keeping our community informed as the Committee's work progresses."

 The Committee will hold its first meeting on August 31, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The meeting will be available via webcast at  

New York News
Hundreds March in Rally Over Police Violence Against People with Mental Illness in Brooklyn

This past weekend a rally and march was held in Flatbush, Brooklyn to protest the killing of people living with a mental illness at the hands of police. Many of the marchers were family members of those slain. Family members held pictures of their loved ones and told their stories. 

The march was organized by attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who is currently representing four families who had mentally ill family members killed by police."Only 13% of NYPD officers have been trained how to deal with emotionally disturbed people," Rubenstein said. "That is unacceptable for the people of New York. One hundred percent of police officers must be trained to deal with emotionally disturbed people."

Click here to read more.

Peer Led Forums Now Available for 
Medicaid Eligible Enrollees

Peer led educational forums are now available throughout New York for eligible Medicaid enrollees. The forums are designed to help participants understand what services are available to them and how to set goals for health, work, school and social elements.

Click here to learn more.

National News
 Read the Latest from the Council of State Governments' Justice Center's Judges and 
Psychiatrists Initiative

Click here to read the latest publication for the Justice Center of the Council of State Government's Judge's and Psychiatrist's initiative. This issue features several articles about mental health courts.

LA Times Probes How Mental illness and Homelessness are Connected, 
but Not How You Might Think

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times interviews the director of a Santa Monica Step-Up housing facility about the connection between homelessness and mental illness. Contrary to popular belief, mental illness does not lead to homelessness, nor does homelessness lead to mental illness. Instead, the homeless and individuals suffering from mental illness inhabit overlapping circles.

Nationwide, about half of those who are homeless suffer from a disabling condition, either physical or mental. Two notable conclusions factor into that statistic. First, not all of these conditions qualify an individual for federal disability assistance, so a great many disabled individuals will end up homeless for lack of an income. Second, federal disability benefits often do not pay enough to cover a beneficiary's expenses such as rent and utility bills, leading individuals who do qualify homeless despite the benefits they receive.

In Los Angeles, most of the homeless population consists of unmarried adults, a demographic which is more likely to suffer from mental illness. Step-Up's Executive Director, Tod Lipka, notes that isolation can also have a detrimental impact on an individual's mental health. That is, by virtue of being an adult on one's own, one becomes more susceptible to mental illness.

Click here to read more. 


Director's Message:
Summer Travels

In his latest Director's Message, NIMH Director, Joshua Gordon recounts his first summer as director and some of the conferences he participated in. This include the NIMH Outreach Partner Meeting, which NAMI-NYS participated in. Click here to read the message. 

NIMH Update

Click here to read the latest Update from NIMH.

As is our tradition, the 2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference, will once again feature an Update on NIMH research. This year, we are thrilled to welcome 
Kathleen R Merikangas, Ph.D, Chief of NIMH's Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch. Dr. Merikangas will present on her landmark community-based family study of affective spectrum disorders and their overlap with other mental disorders and medical disorders such as migraine and cardiovascular disease.

Click here to register for the conference. 

2017 NAMIWalksNYS September 23rd

Read the Latest Edition of the 
NAMIWalks NYS Newsletter

Click here to read the latest edition on the NAMIWalks NYS Weekly News. This edition features new contests and introduces the NAMIWalks NYS air dancers. 

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 25 - NAMI Schenectady Annual Summer Chicken Barbeque. Friday August 25, 2017 from  3:30p.m. - 8:00p.m. at the Niskayuna Community Center: 2682 Aqueduct Rd., Niskayuna, NY. Tickets are $20 ($10 for consumers).  Send  ticket reservation order and payment to NAMI Schenectady, PO Box 974, Schenectady NY 12301 . Dinner reservations should be purchased in advance. Contact Flora Ramonowski (372-6771) Roy Neville (377-2619) or Cindy Seacord (374-8071) for info.Click here for Flyer
- NØpiates Supports International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, 2017.   Please consider joining the N Ø piates Committee at West Sand Lake Elementary School Parking lot, August 31st at 6pm.  We will rally and walk to the WSL Fire House for a memorial ceremony and light refreshments.     All are welcome to attend the next N Ø piates Committee open meeting, scheduled for Monday, August 7th at 6pm at the Trinity Lutheran Church in West Sand Lake.  For more information, or to participate in our memorial event, contact The N Ø piates Committee at .

SEPTEMBER 7-CDPC Presents "Controlled Medication and their Potential for Addiction" presented by Dr. Arif Shahabuddin, C.D.P.C. Thursday September 7, 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm in the CDPC Family Resource Center, 75 New Scotland Ave, Albany NY. For more information or to register contact: Frank Greco, Director of Family Services (518) 549-6816.

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

SEMPTEMBER 14- NAMI Westchester, SECOND ANNUAL EDUCATIONAL FILM SERIES:THE IMPACT OF SUICIDE ON THE SURVIVING FAMILY MEMBERS. Thursday, September 14, 2017 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at The Picture House, 175 Wolfs Lane, Pelham, NY 10803. 

September 24th-NAMI Syracuse will be hosting their Harvest Hoopla benefit. Click here to register. 

OCTOBER 11- NAMI NYC Metro Seeds of Hope: Ending the Silence. Wednesday October 11th from 6:00pm to 9:30pm at the Metropolitan Pavilion West. For more information regarding Sponsorship or Ticket/Table Sales, please email Sarah Sheahan or call her at 212.684.3365 x 207.Click here to purchase Tickets/Tables

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

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 Saratoga/NAMI Schenectady NAMI Family-to-Family. Tuesdays,  September 12th  through November  28th  from 6:15p.m. - 8:45 p.m. at Four winds, 30 Crescent Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, Contact: Dotte Coon 518-429-5047 or Cindy Seacord 518-344-9177

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