September 26, 2017

In This Issue
Quote of the Week:

"Serious mental illness has now gained a fresh imprimatur as a social-justice issue."
-Ron Powers

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This edition of the E-News comes on the heels of our successful NAMIWALK NYS. Below you can read about the walk and how you can still support NAMI-NYS. You'll also find exciting news about two of the featured speakers at this year's NAMI-NYS Education Conference. We also want to draw your attention to the latest ACTION ALERT from NAMI, as although it appears that the Senate healthcare bill is dead new threats remain.

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!
NAMIWALKS NYS 2017-A Great Success
Still Time to Support NAMI-NYS

NAMIWalks NYS took place this past Saturday. It was a beautiful day and the NAMI-NYS spirit was in full effect. It was an inspiring morning as people shared their recovery stories and families explained how NAMI-NYS has helped them. We want to express our gratitude to all our walkers who came out and supported NAMI-NYS. Click here to view pictures of the walk on Facebook.

We also want to thank Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20), Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, NYS-OMH's John Allen and Jason Paden for speaking at the event.

We also need to acknowledge volunteers from the Boy Scout Troops around the Capital Region, Doctors for Hope and Middle Earth (both from the SUNY Albany Campus), Albany Leadership Charter School, Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth, Mohawk Ambulance and our Board of Directors and walk planning committee. We also want to thank Kelly McCabe for running the face painting station, the Missing Links for providing the music and all of our exhibitors.

Though it was a wonderful and inspiring day, we still have yet to reach our fundraising goal. There is still time to support the walk and help NAMI-NYS. Click here to donate.  The funds raised will help support NAMI-NYS mission of providing education and support throughout the state. One example of how your donation will be put to work is through scholarships to the NAMI-NYS Education Conference. We never want finances to be a barrier to people attending the conference and gaining the valuable knowledge the conference provides. Friday is the deadline for applications and we have already been overwhelmed with requests. Please help us meet the demand by donating to NAMIWalks NYS.

2017 NAMI-NYS Honoree Ron Powers Nominated for 
Goddard Riverside Stephen Russo Book Prize 
for Social Justice

Ron Power's book  No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America  is one of six books nominated for the Goddard Riverside Stephen Russo Book Prize for Social Justice. You can click here to read more about the prize and the other nominees.

Upon learning of the nomination Ron said: " " NO ONE CARES ABOUT CRAZY PEOPLE joins a short list of five other powerful and important books. I'm grateful that mine is included.  

The important point, though, is not whether my book wins or loses. The far more important point is that serious mental illness has now gained a fresh imprimatur as a social-justice issue. Years of incalculable physical and psychic pain, suffered by the afflicted and their l oved ones, in the streets, in the courts, in jails, and in "care centers," now is reaffirmed as unnecessary, cruel, a blight on our slipshod mental-healthcare system, and in some cases unconstitutional.

We must all build on this moment, and work to see that it does not dissipate."
Ron is one of three people being honored at the inaugural NAMI-NYS Honors Leaders of Awareness event on the Friday evening of the 2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference. We will be selling copies of Ron's book, which he will be signing following the banquet. 

It's a G Thing: Education Conference Featured Speaker Hakeem Rahim hopes to Break Mental Health Stigma

Ron is not the only education conference featured speaker in the news last week. Hakeem Rahim was featured by legendary New York City weatherman, Irv Gikofsky, (also known as Mr. G), in his weekly story, "It's a G Thing" on WPIX news spotlighting people who are making a difference in the community. Last week, "It's a G Thing" told Hakeem's story and detailed his efforts to raise mental health awareness by explaining his bi-polar disorder and recovery. The piece also interviews  Dr. Rafael Braga, an outpatient psychologist at Zucker Hillside Hospital. Click here to watch the full segment.

Hakeem will be a part of the education conference's Saturday lunch panel: With Intervention, Engagement and Implementation, Recovery is Possible. Also participating will be John Allen, Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health and Keris Jan Myrick, Director for the Office of Consumer Affairs and Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA.

Click here to register. Click here to obtain a scholarship application. Scholarship applications are due THIS FRIDAY, September 29th.

Read the STARR Coalition's Summer Review
NAMI-NYS is proud to be a part of the Stakeholders in Treatment Advocacy,  Research, and Recovery (STARR) Coalition, which works to bring researchers and advocates together to generate best practices in communicating the need for research into psychiatric disorders. You can click here to read the STARR Coalition's Summer Review. The review features a piece on Hakeem Rahim, work of NAMI members who are stakeholders and praises NAMI-NYS's social media work.
NAMI- NYS's Executive Director, Wendy Burch and Associate Director, Public Policy, Matthew Shapiro will be participating in the STARR Coalition's annual summit in November.  

NAMI-NYS Exhibits at Walk for Rita
 Suicide Prevention Event

Along with our walk the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also had a walk this past weekend. NAMI-NYS Outreach Coordinator Bill Wallace was present as NAMI-NYS had exhibit space at the Walk for Rita event in Saratoga Springs. Bill was joined by NAMI-NYS volunteer Dawn Balak. 

NAMI Staten Island Participates in 
New York State Nurses Association Event
(pictured left to right) Joan Rowley, New York City Councilwoman Debi Rose (49th District), Rachid Ottley and Peter Shiffman 

  NAMI Staten Island president Peter Shiffman, along with Board members Rachid Ottley and Joan Rowley participated in the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) dinner event in Staten Island. Local candidates for offices such as district council leader and borough president were in attendance and answered questions. It was a lively exchange as mental health issues were often referenced. NAMI Staten Island currently has three nurses on their board. Joan Rowley (critical care, now works for NYSNA representing behavioral health nurses), Joanne Pietro, Associate Director of psychiatric services for Staten Island University hospital and Peter (who is hitting his 30 year anniversary of being an RN)

NAMI Queens/Nassau Graduates Large Family-to-Family Class at the Greater Allen Cathedral
NAMI Queens/Nassau recently graduated the largest Family-to-Family class held at the Greater Allen Cathedral of New York in Jamaica since 2008. NAMI-NYS wants to thank the teachers Theresa Stahling, Janice Miles Service and Muriel Jno Baptiste . We also congratulate all the graduates.  

People With Mental Illness Targeted in Both Graham Cassidy Bill and SSI Bill

This will be a busy week in Congress and we need your help as services and benefits for people living with a mental illness are being threatened in both the House and the Senate. 

Yesterday we sent out an action alert about the Graham/Cassidy Bill in the Senate which would roll back Medicaid funding and coverage for people with preexisting conditions; both would negatively impact people living with a mental illness. Click here to view the alert and take action. Even though the bill appears to be dead, it is still important that the Senate hears that we will not sit back and let them take away services and protections for people living with a mental illness.

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a bill (HR 2792) as early as this evening that would suspend eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for certain beneficiaries classified as "fugitive felons."
This bill would disproportionately harm people with mental illness that currently receive SSI benefits who have previous law enforcement interactions.
The bill offers no exception for minor infractions in the past or inactive cases that law enforcement agencies are no longer pursuing. It would even apply to a missed court appearance from years ago.
The primary effect of this bill would be to deprive thousands of people of the SSI benefits they depend on. The loss of eligibility for SSI will be especially devastating in the many states where it will result in people with mental illness also losing eligibility for Medicaid and access to treatment.
This bill is attached to HR 2824, the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. While NAMI does not oppose the MIECHV program, it should not be funded by cutting SSI benefits for people with serious mental illness. 

Click here to tell your Representative to OPPOSE HR 2792.

New York News
Gov. Cuomo Says Major Budget Changes May Be Needed If New York Loses $2B 
In Health Care Funding
The NY Daily News reported how Gov. Cuomo said a special session of the state Legislature may be needed if more than $2 billion in federal health care cuts to New York are allowed to take effect on Oct. 1.
Cuomo said the looming cuts, which are called for under the Affordable Care Act, could require lawmakers to make drastic changes in the state's already-adopted budget.
"If we lose $2 billion on Oct. 1 from the federal government, the budget is gone," Cuomo told a gathering of The Business Council of New York State.   "Throw it out the window."
Click here to read more. 

Rochester's Urgent Need for Adolescent Mental Health Help

Last week, the local ABC news affiliate in Rochester told the story of the O'May family and their struggle to find mental health services for their teenage son after he made a suicide attempt. The news segment also interviews child psychiatrist Dr. Michael Scharf of the University of Rochester Medical Center, who says, ""Child psychiatry is the most underserved medical specialty in the United States and all of North America."
Click here to read more. 

The 2017 NAMI-NYS Education Conference will feature a focus track on children's mental health issues. Click here to learn more about the track.

Rep John Katko Receives American Life Sciences Innovation Council's   2017 Champion of Health Care Innovation Award

The International Institute for Human Empowerment presented the American Life Sciences Innovation Council's 2017 Champion of Health Care Innovation Award to Congressman John Katko (NY-24). NAMI-NYS was invited to participate in the award presentation but was unable due to a scheduling conflict. We are told it was a productive meeting and the Congressman specifically brought up the importance of funding mental health initiatives and the prevention of suicide. Rep. Katko explained how he works closely with NAMI-NYS.
National News
Talks on Mental Health almost Nonexistent Within the
 Black Community
The Philadelphia Tribune recently looked into the lack of discussion of mental health within the black community. Mental illness does not discriminate and affects individuals of all races and both genders. That being said, African American individuals are less apt to seek psychiatric help. This can be due to a number of causes, such as mental illness stigma, fear of being perceived as "weak" for seeking help, and lack of cultural understanding. As little as 2% of psychiatrists, 2% of psychologists, and 4% of social workers are African American in the United States. Also, African Americans tend to rely on close friends and family for guidance even though at times professional help is crucial.

Mental illness stigma affects communities in different ways and it is important to be aware of the specifics in order to combat it effectively. 

Click here to learn more.

Watch Patrick J. Kennedy's Keynote Speech 
at CMS Conference

On September 8th, Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, Founder of the Kennedy Forum, gave the keynote address at a landmark Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conference that previewed innovative payment models to improve access, quality, and cost of care for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders (SUDs).
In his speech, Former Congressman Kennedy lauded CMS's creation of billing codes for the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM), which is a form of integrated behavioral health care with nearly 80 studies supporting its effectiveness, and encouraged widespread adoption of the codes. Mr. Kennedy also implored the federal government to declare the opioid and suicide epidemics as national emergencies.
Click here to watch the address.

Life-Saving Post-ER Suicide Prevention Strategies are 
Cost Effective

Three interventions designed for follow up of patients who are identified with suicide risk in hospital emergency departments save lives and are cost effective relative to usual care. A study led by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) modelled the use of the approaches in emergency departments and found that all three interventions compare favorably with a standard benchmark of cost-effectiveness used in evaluating healthcare costs.

"In the face of a gradually rising suicide rate, the need for effective prevention strategies is urgent," said NIMH Director Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D. "These findings of cost-effectiveness add to the impetus for implementing these life-saving approaches. Importantly, they also make a strong case for expanding screening, which would allow us to reach many more of those at risk with life-saving interventions."

Click here to read more. 

Suicide Prevention Resources from NIMH

To support suicide prevention awareness activities this month, NIMH is promoting its suicide prevention resources through a series of messages on social media. We encourage our readers to help promote the availability of these resources including NIMH suicide prevention brochures.

To Support Suicide Prevention Month
  • Facebook/Google+ post linking to NIMH suicide prevention webpage:
    • Over 40,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States; it is the 10th leading cause of death overall. Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives. Learn more for Suicide Prevention Month:
To Support National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16, 2017)
    • Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, & ethnicities can be at risk. #NSPW
    • Suicide is complicated & tragic, but it's often preventable. Know the warning signs: #NSPW
    • Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress and should not be ignored #NSPW

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. 

If you are one of the thousands of people who received education and/or support from NAMI-NYS past year or if you believe in NAMI-NYS's of providing help and hope to communities in all corners of the state, then we ask that you please support our NAMIWalks Efforts. 

Even if you couldn't join us in Albany this past Saturday, please consider making a donation to our NAMIWalks effort by clicking here

Read the Latest Edition of the 
NAMIWalks NYS Newsletter

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.
OCTOBER 5 - The 2017 In My Mind: A LGBTQ Peoples of Color Mental Health Conference will be taking place October 5 & 6th in New York City. 
Over the course of two days, with 30 presentations in five Sessions, 14 of which qualify for Continuing Education Credits, the conference brings mental health professionals, clinicians, advocates, consumers, students and activists together for a cross-pollination, sharing ideas, research, experiences, and to examine the many issues contributing to mental health destabilization affecting LGBTQ peoples of color, and to learn healing, in a 75-minute yoga and meditation session, guided by Nanda Mahadeo, a Hindu priestess.
Click here to learn more about the conference

OCTOBER 10 -The Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation hosts their free monthly Q&A webinar series: Psychosocial Interventions for Maternal Depression:Impact on School Age Children
Presented by: Holly A. Swartz, M.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2006 Young Investigator
Moderated by: Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
2:00pm-3:00pm EST
Dr. Swartz will discuss findings from a randomized trial comparing two brief psychosocial interventions as treatments for depressed mothers of children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders. She will focus on the effects of maternal depression treatment on children.
Join by phone or on the web:

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 14-NAMI Rensselaer 4th Annual Recognition Dinner & Consumer Art Show. Otcober 14 th from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm at Moscatiello's Italian Family Restaurant, 99 N. Greenbush Road (Rt. 4), Troy, NY  12180. Directions: . Buffet Dinner and cash bar, Members $25.00, Non Member $30.00. Please make checks payable to NAMI Rensselaer County, Inc. RSVP by October 1 st. NAMI Rensselaer County, PO Box 397,  West Sand Lake, NY  12196, (518)588-6949.Contact Mary Beth Honsinger at 518-491-3743 or Sandra Dinato at 518-439-3834.              

OCTOBER 17-NA MI Rochester hosts the 16th Annual Jessica Henderson Memorial Event. NAMI Rochester is thrilled to welcome Mike Veny as the 2017 Jessica Henderson Event featured speaker. Mike Veny is one of America's leading mental health speakers and a high-energy drum circle facilitator. He has delivered educational, engaging, and entertaining presentations to audiences throughout the world. As a 2017 PM360 ELITE Award Winner, Mike is recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the healthcare industry. He starred in several OC87 Recovery Diaries documentary films, two of which were featured at Rochester's own 2017 Reel Minds Film series.
Doors open at 6:00pm | Program begins at 7:00pm
Penfield High School Auditorium
25 High School Drive, Penfield, NY 14526

Click here to learn more and register.

OCTOBER 26- Capital District Psychiatric Center , Inpatient Discharge Services & Best Practices Presented By Chris Tosado, LCSW-R CDPC Social Work Supervisor. Thursday October 26 th at  5:00 pm - 7:30 pm in the CDPC Family Resource Center. 75 New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY.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
Click here to download flyer

OCTOBER 27 -Northern Rivers presents the second part of their two-part symposium on psychosis, Who Said the Voices Aren't Real?
Part 2: Hearing Voices: An Experiential Learning Workshop
Friday, October 27
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (If demand warrants, a 1:00 p.m. workshop will be added)
Sidney Albert Training and Research Institute (SATRI)
60 Academy Rd, Albany, NY 12208 
The workshop is limted to 40 participants.
In this 3 hour workshop, participants will learn about the experience of hearing distressing voices through didactics and using headphones to listen to a specially designed recording. During this simulated experience of hearing voices, participants undertake a series of tasks including social interaction in the community, and mock psychiatric interview. The simulation experience is followed by a debriefing and discussion period. Watch a video clip of Pat Deegan, the developer of the hearing voices simulation, describing the process.
*Please note that this training is not recommended for individuals who hear voices as the simulation experience can be triggering.
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

NOVEMBER 14th-The Brain and Behaviroral Research Foundation hosts their free monthly Q&A webinar series: Research Updates: Improving Functioning in Schizophrenia
Presented by: Stephen R. Marder, M.D. University of California, Los Angeles  Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Director, Section on Psychosis,  2016 Lieber Prizewinner for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research
Moderated by: Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.

2:00pm-3:00pm EST
Patients with psychotic illnesses are usually interested in treatments that relieve active symptoms and improve their abilities to function at work, school, and in their everyday lives. This webinar will provide an overview of recent research on pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to improving functioning.
Join by phone or on the web:
DECEMBER 12-The Brain and Behaviroral Research Foundation hosts their free monthly Q&A webinar series: Robert Lowell: Courage, Genius, and Bipolar Disorder
Presented by: Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Dalio Family Professor in Mood Disorders, Professor of Psychiatry, 2010 NARSAD Productive Lives Award
Moderated by: Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.

2:00pm-3:00pm EST
Robert Lowell, one of the greatest of American poets, had particularly devastating bipolar disorder. The webinar will discuss his illness and its relationship to his genius, as well as the role Lowell's enormous discipline and courage played in his life and writing.
Join by phone or on the web:

Signature Programs

SEPTEMBER 25-NAMI Queens/Nassau will be holding a Family-to-Family class on Monday nights September 25, thru December 12, 2017. The class will be held at North Shore Zucker Hillside Hospital
Ambulatory Care Pavilion,  263rd Street & 74 Ave., Glen Oaks, NY 11004 in Room 1237 from 7:00-9:30 PM

To register: Please contact NAMI Queens Nassau at (516) 326-0797 or (718) 347-7284 or email Co-Leaders: Janet Reilly (516) 238-1023 and Angela Babaev (718)490-9504
Registration and interview required. Classes limited to 25 participants 

Sponsored and funded by NAMI New York State and NAMI Queens Nassau

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 9, 11 and 12- NAMI Homefront classes online.
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN for the following sessions:
Eastern, Mondays, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. ET, Oct. 9 -  Nov. 13
Pacific, Mondays 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. PT, Oct. 9 - Nov. 13
Mountain, Wednesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. MT, Oct. 11 - Nov. 15
Central, Thursdays, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. CT, Oct. 12 - Nov. 16
Pre-registration is required and space is limited. All participants are screened to ensure this program is appropriate for their needs.
Learn more about NAMI Homefront, and other NAMI programs, online at If you have any questions or concerns, please email
The NAMI Homefront Team, Email: ,Phone: 703-524-7600  
Click Here to Register

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 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