MHA News From National: February 11, 2016 | Mental Health America

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MHA News From National: February 11, 2016

By: Erin Wallace, MHA Vice President of Communications and Marketing

In this update:

MHA 2016 Annual Conference Update

Actor Chris Wood Partners with MHA to Share His Family’s Story, Spread Awareness of Mental Illness
MHA is excited to announce that Chris Wood of The Vampire Diaries and the star of the new CW series, Containment is partnering with MHA to share his story and become and Ambassador for the organization. For the first time, he will talk publicly about the loss of his father to mental illness and his family’s struggle to get him help. Chris will speak candidly with MHA’s CEO Paul Gionfriddo about what he and his family went through on June 9, 2016 at MHA’s Annual Conference.

In his own words:

“Four years ago, I lost my father to untreated mental illness. My family struggled to get him help, and it took his heart failing to begin treating his issues…By being an Ambassador for MHA, I hope to help those struggling with mental illness find answers and the help they need before it's too late. My goal is to spread awareness and begin removing any taboos, and improve the policies in place to better benefit a healthy mind.

 “To someone with a loved one who is suffering, or suffering from a mental illness themselves, I would say: Talk about it. Nothing matters more. Don't be afraid of the issue: seek help and guidance. Don't be embarrassed. There are more people around you dealing with similar issues than you can even imagine. You ARE okay, and you CAN get better.”

MHA is excited to welcome Chris to the conference and to the MHA family, and look forward in the months and years to come to working with him to elevate the issue, break down discrimination and stigma, and spread the word that mental illness is treatable and that you can get help.

On Tap: Neon Trees, Emmy-Award Winning Actress, Professional Athletes
At what other conference can you see professional athletes, television stars, musicians and advocates all in the same place? Just check out a sampling of who we have confirmed to speak in June!

Members of the red hot band Neon Trees, acclaimed director and Daytime Emmy-Award Winning Actress from General Hospital, Kimberly McCullough; former NBA Star Chris Herren and founder of The Herren Project; former NFL Tennessee Titan Gerald McRath; and CNN Digital Correspondent and Editor-At-Large Kelly Wallace

You know we are just getting started, right?  So don’t miss out! Register now and take advantage of our Early Bird rates and save big! You can check out the agenda, register and secure your hotel room at a special, limited-time rate at the Hilton Mark Center.

Want to sponsor the conference or a specific event? Have something you want to exhibit? There are still opportunities, so check it out and secure your space today!  

What's Up with Congress?

Who on Earth knows? Much attention is on the presidential primaries, but we continue to be focused on mental health reform. Our message is the same: Congress needs to move mental health reform because the system is broken, not because of any specific headlines. Our leadership and staff continue to talk with the sponsors and proponents of mental health reform legislation, and have offered specific recommendations for improving both the House and Senate proposals by incorporating provisions of both together.

We continue to see momentum in Congress around reform.  Last week, we met with Rep. Frank Pallone, the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, to lend our support to his efforts to find a reasonable compromise with Republican leadership (with whom we had met earlier) on a comprehensive bill.  We also met with Speaker Ryan’s policy staff leader to review the status of the House effort and to hear directly of the Speaker’s continued support for reforms embodied in H.R. 2646.  We listened as the Speaker noted in the media that he and President Obama were in agreement that this should be the year for mental health reform – and saw the President back this up when he proposed a budget with new funding for mental health programs and services.  And we were grateful that Senator Chris Murphy pointed specifically to Losing Tim as the kinds of horrible outcomes that could be avoided if S. 1945 moves forward. 

We believe it is time for investment in earlier identification and intervention, time to integrate health and behavioral health care and remove barriers to services integration, time to make it possible for peers to be reimbursed by insurers when they work on clinical care teams, time to promote innovation, and time to strengthen the lead federal agency dealing with mental health. We are hopeful that the House and Senate committees that have jurisdiction over H.R. 2646 and S. 1945 will be marking up the bills soon – and as we go to press, there are indications that this could occur in both chambers within the next month. 

What We're Reading

WNPR: Former Connecticut Lawmaker's Son Lost in Mental Health System's "Revolving Door" (Profile of Paul Gionfriddo)
The Washington Post: My dad killed himself when I was 13. He hid his depression. I won’t hide mine.
The Mighty: What to Do When You’re Worried a Loved One Might Be Suicidal
Women’s Running: Elite Marathoner Prevents Apparent Suicide Attempt During Run
Huffington Post: Duchess Kate Is Slaying Stigma With This Important Mental Health Message

Where in the World is Paul Gionfriddo?

We’ve been lucky to have Paul in the office lately, but that’s about to change. Next week he travels to Clearwater, Florida to speak at the Mental Health Corporation of America’s 2016 Winter Conference and Annual Meeting. He then returns to DC for MHA’s RPC Meeting and 107th Birthday Celebration (see below) before jumping back on a plane on the 23rd to head to St. Louis to join MHA of Eastern Missouri for their Mental Health Rally at the State Capitol.  

Did You Know?

We’re Having a Birthday!
In the DC area on February 19? Come help us celebrate our 107th birthday as we Salute the States and honor specific Governors making a difference #B4Stage4! 

Friday, February 19th, 2016
4:00 - 6:00 pm
Zenger Room at the National Press Club
529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045

RSVP by February 12th:

MHA is a National Partner in the Icebreaker Run
MHA, The Herren Project (THP), and Break the Stigma Project have partnered to present the Icebreaker Run, a cross-country run to raise awareness around mental illness, substance use and recovery. This spring, a team of six runners, each of whom have been impacted by some form of mental illness, will run a relay across the United States. Throughout their journey, they will speak out about depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more, in a forum that encourages honest dialogue and highlights causes for action. 

Beginning in Los Angeles on May 16, the runners will set out on a 3,000 plus mile relay route that winds through the southern portion of the United States then heads north along the eastern seaboard, finishing in Alexandria, VA at MHA's Annual Conference on June 9. The Icebreakers will run continuous legs, with the team averaging 130-140 miles a day. Their goal is to run 24 hours a day for 24 days. The non-stop concept is important to the relay team because, “Mental health doesn’t rest. It persists and endures.”  

Check out the press release we distributed last week. 

Affiliate News

FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card Program Webinar
Thursday, February 25, 2016
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (EST)

Cost remains a top reason people do not take their medications as prescribed, and can be detrimental to a patient’s health and overall well-being. With skyrocketing deductibles, and more medications not being covered or requiring appeals, this is an urgent issue for those we work with at Mental Health America and across communities in the U.S.  That’s why MHA has joined forces with FamilyWize Community Service Partnership to help address this critical need of our communities.

MHA will host a webinar to highlight the partnership with FamilyWize and the prescription savings card program. The webinar will cover the following topics:

  • Description of the FamilyWize program and how it works;
  • Benefits the program can bring MHA community members;
  • Benefits the program can bring MHA affiliate organizations, including data collection/ ROI measurement, and collaboration with other FamilyWize partners; and
  • How Affiliates can get involved in the program and help their community save on prescription medications.

To Register:

MHA Workplace Mental Health
Friday, February 26, 2016
1:00 – 2:30 pm (EST)  

MHA will host a webinar to invite affiliates who are currently working or interested in working in the area of Workplace Mental Health.

The Goals for the webinar is to:

  • Provide affiliates an opportunity to learn what MHA National is doing in this area;
  • Provide an opportunity for any affiliate currently working in this area to share what they are doing now and what they plan to do in the future; and
  • Gather ideas from affiliates about the needs they see or what they would like to do in this area as part of a national strategy.

To Register:

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