From all of us at NAMI Cape Cod & The Islands...

        We wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year

From the desk of Jackie Lane, Executive Director  NAMI CC&I 

As we move on into 2018, I want to wish everyone a happy and fulfilling new year as we all work together to make our community a healthier and safer place for our residents.
2017 has been an important year in the growth and development of NAMI CC&I. Both the Shiobhan Leigh Kinlin Memorial Golf Tournament and Dragonfly on Nantucket, our two major fundraisers, had record proceeds. We send a most sincere thank you to all the sponsors, donors, players and participants who are responsible for these successes. And as always, we need to remember to thank the special and visionary individuals who founded and nourished these events; the Arnett and Kinlin families and Kate Kling and her family on Nantucket. Each of these families has responded to a mental health tragedy in their respective families with pro-active, dedicated support of our organization.
We have also been fortunate this year to obtain significant grant money making it possible for us to schedule extensive community programming including Think:Kids (offered to all Cape and Island public schools), Community Crisis Intervention Team (CCIT) training offered to all our police departments, and Mental Health First Aid teacher training as well as classes in Brazilian Portuguese for our Brazilian community. We will also be developing and instituting a major mental wellness marketing campaign on Nantucket. Grantors have included the Weny Charitable Trust, The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, Cape Cod Healthcare, The Kelley-Bangs Foundation, Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, The Shepley Company, The Kingston Fund of the Cape Cod Foundation, and the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. We are committed to using these funds to maximize community understanding of mental health issues and to train "on the ground" workers to respond to those in need with understanding and compassion. We offer a huge thank you to all these grantors who are giving us this opportunity.
We also want to sincerely thank all our NAMI CC&I volunteers; our teachers, our support group leaders, and our special event volunteers. The NAMI CC&I family educational programming and support groups are run by volunteers with shared experiences making the bonding and the "you are not alone" aspect an important part of the program. These programs, run with the use of volunteers are the heart and soul of the NAMI CC&I philosophy.
Each year, we as an institution, make more connections and collaborate with more agencies and individuals in an attempt to help those in need to receive mental health services. So much can be accomplished if we work as a community. Thank you to all of you who have partnered with us to help those who come to us for help, education, and guidance.
The NAMI CC&I staff is looking forward to the new year and we are busy planning services and programming to meet the needs of our Cape and Islands community.
On behalf of the NAMI CC&I Board of Directors and the NAMI CC&I staff, thank you to all our supporters, our volunteers, and our community partners. Happy New Year!

         Community Crisis InterventionTeam Training
                     Funded by the WENY Charitable Trust

NAMI CC&I held a 2nd highly successful training with 27 police officers from 13 of the 15 towns as well as participants from community agencies such as the Homeless Prevention Council, Housing Assistance Corp, Baybridge Clubhouse, Relief Home Health and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.  Speakers included Senator Julian Cyr and  Rep.Tim Whelan, Judges John Julian and Kathryn Hand, Assistant DA Michael Trudeau, Sean Sheehan from Barnstable District Probation, Dr. Daria Hanson & Deb Ciavola from Cape Cod Behavioral Healthcare, Elizabeth Mandell of Boston Medical Center, Lori Myles of Bay Cove Human Services, Gina Hurley, Melissa McGuire & Jaime Curley, Directors of Student Services from Barnstable, Monomoy & Mashpee, Martha Troutman of the VNA, Suzanne Faith from Hope Dementia & Alzheimer Services, Barbara Hayes from Community Health Center of Cape Cod among many others.


                                                                                                                   Photo Credit:  Judith Selleck


From the desk of Mary Zdanowicz, Esq.

In a new study, "Funds for Treating Individuals with Mental Illness: Is Your State Generous or Stingy?",  Massachusetts ranks #39 in a study of expenditures on mental health programs as a percentage of the total state government budget.
The national average in FY 2012 and FY 2013 was 2.4%. Massachusetts was 1.1%. 
All New England states ranked higher: Maine 5.6%, New Hampshire 3.7%, Connecticut 2.8%; Rhode Island 1.4%
"The percentage of state expenditures allocated by the governor and legislature to mental health programs in a state is not a measure of the quality of mental health programs in that state. Rather, it is a measure of the relative generosity of that state and its potential to generate good mental health programs."
"State governors, legislators, and advocates should become aware of the relative mental health allocation for their state and work politically to increase that allocation. They should also work to insure the funds are being spent effectively by prioritizing programs independently proven to improve meaningful metrics in people with serious mental illness. Meaningful metrics include rates of homelessness, arrest, incarceration, violence, victimization, hospitalization, and suicide."
Source of report data: The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Research Institute, funded by a federal contract, collects annual data for each state on mental health 5 revenues and expenditures. The data includes state expenditures on mental health programs as a percentage of the total state government budget.

Monthly Book Review

  It Didn't Start With You
How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

by Mark Wolynn
        I read this book in order to learn more about the science of epigenetics.  Epigenetics is the study of how the environment can lead to inherited effects without changing our DNA.  The part of our DNA that determines our traits and metabolic functions is only a small part of our total DNA.  A larger part is what is called non-coding DNA.  The non-coding DNA determines to what extent a particular gene will be expressed.  Thus certain genes can be turned on or  turned off.  This type of on/off switch is mediated by small molecules (epigenetic tags) that attach to the non-coding DNA.
        Some of these genetic effects that influence our behavior and emotions are related to our stress response.  Significant trauma will alter the makeup of our stress hormones through these epigenetic changes.  The epigenetic changes can then be passed on to future generations.  These epigenetic changes have a positive roll by affecting how we relate to our immediate environment.  Passing them on to the next generation can help that generation cope with a changing environment and "forge a legacy of strength and resilience that can be felt for generations to come."  However, sometimes these changes can make it harder to deal with an environment and lead to behavioral disorders.
        Studies of children whose mothers have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are at higher risk of PTSD, depression, and anxiety than controls.  Dr. Rachel Yehuda has studied Holocaust survivors and their children.  She found similar epigenetic tags on genes associated with the stress response in both parents and their children.  They did not find these changes in Jewish families living outside Europe during the war.  Wolynn quotes Dr. Eric Nestler who writes, "Indeed, stressful life events have been shown to alter stress susceptibility in subsequent generations."
        Wolynn, a psychotherapist, devotes the bulk of the book to a discussion of how to explore the effects of family trauma. He describes methods to uncover family traumas that have been passed down to subsequent generations.  He includes illustrative examples from his clinical practice that show how past family trauma can relate to a person's behavioral and emotional disorders.  By uncovering such a history of trauma patients can realize that the roots of their dysfunction lie not in themselves but in their family's past.  This realization can then begin the process of healing.
        I found the book easy to read and understand.  It provides a good grounding in the evolving science of epigenetics.  I found it's discussion of the long-term effects of family trauma insightful.  Wolynn concludes that by exploring past family trauma you may well find "that a great love was just waiting to be excavated the whole time.  It is the love passed forward from those who came before you, a love that insists that you live your life fully without repeating the fears and misfortunes of the past."

Written by Dr. George Vitek, retired pediatrician who practiced for 28 years in Wilbraham, MA.   Married father of four and grandfather of 9.                                                                                  
Suzanne Fronzuto
NAMI on Nantucket Program Coordinator

Christmas came early to NAMI on Nantucket in the form of 2 grants awarded by the Nantucket Cottage Hospital Community Health Fund, a donor advised fund of the Community Foundation for Nantucket. The first grant will support a year-long comprehensive education and outreach campaign promoting the many social services on Nantucket where help can be obtained for mental and behavioral health issues while providing easy and non-threatening access to these services, The second grant will support NAMI's David Glidden Memorial Travel Fund, which is used to reimburse mental health patients and family members of mental health patients involved in associated mental health emergencies requiring transportation off Nantucket.

On a sad note, NAMI on Nantucket would like to express sorrow at the passing of Richard Ross, a clinician on the island who was much-respected and loved. He was instrumental in developing NAMI's Dragonfly peer support group and was the original facilitator. Our deepest condolences go out to his family. We miss him very much.

I look forward to facilitating a Family-2-Family group at the end of January and to setting the date for our first island group conducted entirely in Spanish. As 2017 draws to a close, remember this;

"Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go, they merely   determine where you start."                                         Nido Qubein

 And From NAMI on Martha's Vineyard 

Many of you have voiced interest in having NAMI become more present on MV.  Behind the scenes we are working to make that happen. We have applied for some local grants to increase funding that can be used for additional programming and service for our island community. 
We've been working with our MV School Administration to bring the MGH Think Kids program to our teachers and staff. We've gained interest from our Police Departments in the Community Crisis Intervention Training being held at the end of November. 
Attendance at our monthly support groups (held first Sunday of month at 6:00 pm at IWYC) is up by more than 50%. 
All this with just a few strong and steady volunteers. 
Now I would like to ask for your help. Please consider making a donation specifically to NAMI Cape Cod and Islands and earmark it specifically to Martha's Vineyard. You can do this by clicking on the link below, make your donation, and mention specifically for MV in the comments section.  Or simply write a check to NAMI CC&I and put MV in the memo section and send to NAMI CC&I,
5 Mark Lane Hyannis MA 02601-3792
With this increased funding we can increase our outreach efforts and family support. 
My best for a wonderful holiday season.  
Cecilia Brennan
MV Representative

Please contact Cecilia at 201-981-5123 with questions or interest in becoming involved. 
NOTE:  The next Family-to-Family class will be held on Mondays beginning March 5, 2018
               from 6:00 - 8:30 pm in Vineyard Haven.  Call Megan Grennan at 508-939-0681 for more 
               information or to register.


     Anosognosia is an awkward term introduced by neurologists a century ago to denote "a complete or partial lack of awareness of different neurological . . . and/or cognitive dysfunctions." It is not the same as denial of illness. Anosognosia is caused by physical damage to the brain, and is thus anatomical in origin; denial is psychological in origin.

     The late, eminent neurologist Oliver Sacks described anosognosia thus:
It is not only difficult, it is impossible for patients with certain right-hemisphere syndromes to know their own problems - a peculiar and specific 'anosognosia,' as Babinski called it. And it is singularly difficult, for even the most sensitive observer, to picture the inner state; the 'situation' of such patients, for this is almost unimaginably remote from anything he himself has ever known.

     Approximately 50% of individuals with schizophrenia and 40% of individuals with bipolar disorder are estimated to have co-occurring anosognosia. It is reported to be the most common reason why individuals with schizophrenia refuse to take medication; since they do not believe that there is anything wrong with them, why should they? Awareness of illness sometimes improves with treatment with antipsychotic medication, especially clozapine.

     Among neurological patients, anosognosia is seen most commonly in Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and traumatic brain injury. Most patients with Alzheimer's disease, for example, are aware that something is wrong early in the course of their illness but then lose all awareness of their illness as it progresses. Anosognosia is seen less commonly in patients with stroke (especially those involving the right parietal lobe) and Parkinson's disease. Impaired awareness of illness is not a new idea for psychiatric patients either; in 1604, a character in playwright Thomas Dekker's The Honest Whore says, "That proves you mad because you know it not."

     Since 1992, there have been 22 studies comparing the brains of individuals with schizophrenia with and without anosognosia. In all but two studies, significant differences are reported in one or more anatomical structures. Since anosognosia involves a broad brain network concerned with self-awareness, a variety of anatomical structures are involved, especially the anterior insula, anterior cingulate cortex, medial frontal cortex, and inferior parietal cortex. Three of the positive studies included individuals with schizophrenia who had never been treated with medications, discounting the likelihood that the observed brain changes resulted from treatment.

Earlier anosognosia research is summarized by Xavier Amador, PhD, and Tony David in their 2004 book, Insight and Psychosis: Awareness of Illness in Schizophrenia and Related Disorders.

The Key Idea

The Key to Understanding- Stories of Struggle and Healing
Two years ago my son came back for the Christmas break from college and never made it back to school. He was overseas when he suffered a major depressive episode that left him barely functioning and almost catatonic. I only became aware of what was going on a week before he was arriving back at Logan airport.
Mental illness can come out of nowhere and pull the rug out from under you. It is a life-changing event for the person with the disease and a journey to understanding for their families, and their community.
As I tried to educate myself about our new reality I found NAMI Cape Cod & The Islands. I took the Family to Family class which was a life saver for me and my son. I felt so strongly about impact the class had on our lives that I became a trained facilitator for the program and thus began my journey with NAMI.
Raising awareness about mental illness in our community became a goal for me. Initially I was afraid to talk about what our family was going through for fear of being judged. The stigma surrounding mental illness is enormous. When I did begin to share our story I was surprised how many people close to me were having similar struggles with a loved one. It was a relief for them to be able to share something they had been afraid to talk about as much as it was for me.
During this time I was working with a new nonprofit, The Key Idea, Inc.  We had been collecting and exhibiting KeyStories from people ages 1-100 who were answering the question "what does your key open or start or do." When the KeyStories were collected and arranged according to age groups, you could see the progression of artistry and how certain thoughts and ideas change over a lifetime. We noticed how people took their time; how creating the art allowed them to synthesize their thoughts. Many people we spoke to said they were surprised by what they had written, that they had never put their thoughts in writing before. 
The Key to Understanding: Stories of Struggle and Healing was born out of my desire to raise awareness about mental health issues on Cape Cod and also reduce stigma and long held beliefs and fears about those who struggle. One in five families has been directly touched by mental health challenges. When you add the web of peripheral relationships any one person has...friends, employers, teammates, etc., the touches become vast.
With a grant from the Hope & Grace Fund, a project of New Venture Fund in partnership with Philosophy, Inc., I am collecting KeyStories from NAMI Cape Cod & The Islands program participants over a ten-month period. I am going to Family to Family classes, support groups, and recently to NAMI's Community Crisis Intervention Team training. With The Key Idea, Inc. I am hoping to collect 550 KeyStories that will be part of an exhibit beginning in May (mental health awareness month.) The exhibit will travel to several Cape Cod libraries over a three-month period.
The Key to Understanding gives a voice to those who struggle with mental health issues, their family members, care takers, friends and first responders. Through this project we hope to empower individuals, educate the public, and impact the future through awareness and understanding.

The Key to Understanding scheduled exhibits:

The Osterville Free Library, May 2018
Snow Library in Orleans, June 2018
The Mashpee Public Library, July 2018

Dance In The Rain 

Dance in the Rain Whole Person Approach is a non-profit organization that supports peers who struggle with mental illness. Located in the heart of Hyannis, we provide this population with an opportunity to expand their lives, despite their condition, to grow, engage and heal. The staff, from executive director to volunteers, live with a history of mental illness as well. Our staff is well vetted to work with other peers who wish grow and seek to define themselves beyond mental illness. We are the only program in New England to have an organization that is conceived, developed and designed by peers for peers. Daily programs are offered to enhance self-esteem and positive identity.

Dance In The Rain is the non profit recipient for the 
"The Annual Barnstable Harbor New Years Day Splash". 
Beginning with the gathering at Mill Way Beach Barnstable Village  before the 12 noon plunge.
For more information, contact:
Mary E. Munsell
Founder/Executive Director/Peer
Dance in the Rain Whole Person Approach
Peer to Peer Mental Health Center
501 c 3 Non Profit Public Charity

   Transportation Services....

  The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority provides a daily general public demand service called Dial-A-Ride Transportation (DART) that is a door-to-door ride by appointment transportation service.  It is available to all 15 Cape towns, runs from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekdays and more limited hours on weekends.  It is easy to access and use.  

For more information, call them at 800-352-7155 or visit their website at:

If you shop at the Orleans Stop & Shop, take a closer look at your shopping cart after November 1.  NAMI CC&I will have its signature sunset ad posted on the cart.  We hope this will bring more awareness of NAMI to that area.

Mark Your Calendars: 

New Family-to-Family classes will begin after the first of the year.  If you are interested, or know someone who could benefit from this course, call Kim Lemmon at 508-778-4277 or email at


In case you missed this last month...
We Need to Talk About Kids and Smartphones
This is an excellent article for all parents

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Legal Advice
Grandparents with questions about guardianship/options can visit the Probate Court on the 3rd Thursday of the month between 8:30 AM-1:00 PM.
They can also call the Bar Association (508-362-2121) or Susan at the courthouse (508-375-6730) for an appointment with Kathleen Snow on  Mondays between 10:00 AM-1:00 PM.
There is no fee for either of these consultations.

Lawyer For A Day--Free Legal Advice
Held daily at the Barnstable Probate Court.  It is advisable to arrive promptly when it opens at 9:00 am as it is first come, first served and fills up quickly.
I nclusions in the Newsletter
We have recently been asked for last minute inclusions of events in our newsletter.  We have instituted a new policy:  It is at the discretion of the Executive Director to determine whether content being submitted for distribution to the membership is aligned with our mission.  If the content is determined to be appropriate, it may be included in the monthly e-newsletter if it is submitted prior to the first of the month.


When  shopping on Amazon, think NAMI CC&I and Amazon Smile.
 Every dollar you give to NAMI CC&I goes to help support, educate and advocate for the residents of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.  

AmazonSmile is a simple way to give when you are shopping on Amazon

Amazon donates 0.5% of your eligible purchases. 
It's so easy, you can still use your Amazon Prime and you still collect points.  All you need to do is:  When you are going to make a purchase on Amazon, first enter
in your internet browser. On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you will be prompted to select a charitable organization .  
Select NAMI Cape Cod Inc.
Thank You!