News From National - February 25, 2015 | Mental Health America

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News From National - February 25, 2015

In this update:

  • 2015 Annual Conference
  • Federal Legislative Update
  • Mental Health News
  • Where in the World is Paul Gionfriddo?
  • Did You Know?

2015 Annual Conference

Have you registered for MHA’s Annual Conference yet? Don’t delay, register before April 15 to get the Early Bird Rate! If you’ve never attended MHA’s Annual Conference, this is the one you don’t want to miss! If you are an affiliate, don’t forget to use your unique affiliate code to receive the affiliate rate.

You really don’t want to wait, as we anticipate big crowds this year! REGISTER TODAY!

Speakers Update

We continue to add to our already excited list of participants! Hot off the presses—we are excited to share that Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Pamela Hyde, J.D. will be joining us on June 4. Ms. Hyde will join NIMH Director Tom Insel and Brandon Staglin of IMHRO/One Mind Institute on a plenary panel that morning, moderated by MHA CEO Paul Gionfriddo. 

Pamela Hyde was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November 2009 as Administrator of SAMHSA, the federal agency dedicated to reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. Ms. Hyde is an attorney and comes to SAMHSA with more than 35 years of experience in management and consulting for public healthcare and human services agencies. She has served as a state mental health director, state human services director, city housing and human services director, as well as CEO of a private non-profit managed behavioral healthcare firm. In 2003 she was appointed cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Human Services Department by Gov. Bill Richardson, where she worked effectively to provide greater access to quality health services for everyone.

Administrator Hyde joins an already impressive lineup of speakers, including United States Surgeon General, Vice Admiral (VADM) Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., who will keynote the opening session on June 3. As America’s Doctor, Dr. Murthy is responsible for communicating the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal health and the health of the nation. He oversees the operations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, comprised of approximately 6,800 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, protect, and advance the health and safety of our nation. Dr. Murthy has devoted himself to improving public health through the lens of service, clinical care, research, education, and entrepreneurship. Dr. Murthy regards caring for patient as the greatest privilege of his life, and he has cared for thousands of patients and trained hundreds of residents and medical students as a clinician-educator.

Call for Nominations for MHA 2015 Awards

Know someone who is doing great work in the mental health field? What about you? Each year, MHA recognizes at our annual conference outstanding work in the field by its affiliates, young people and adult mental health consumers. This year, in addition to the already-selected Media Awards, MHA will be distributing the Clifford W. Beers Award, the mPower Award, the Legislator Award, and the Innovation in Programing Award. All award recipients will be honored during events held at Mental Health America’s 2015 Annual Conference, June 3-5, in Alexandria, Virginia at the Hilton Mark Center.

For more information about the awards and the nomination process, click here to review criteria and download nomination forms. But don’t delay! Nominations for all awards must be submitted by March 31, 2015.

Federal Legislative Update

President Obama shone a much needed light on the tragedy of military suicide, and offered hope by signing the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, or SAV Act, on February 17th. The act was named for a decorated Marine veteran from Texas who died by suicide after a two year struggle with post-traumatic stress.   The SAV Act will build on the Veterans Affairs mental health care by requiring annual third party evaluations of VA's mental health care and suicide prevention programs; creating a centralized website with resources and information about the range of mental health services available from the VA. It create a three-year pilot program using peer support to assist veterans transitioning from active duty; and it will foster collaborative suicide prevention efforts between the VA and non-profit mental health organizations.

Mental Health America joined with other mental health experts and advocacy groups last week to announce the formation of the Recovery Now! Campaign. The campaign has been created to address the crisis in our mental health service system and the personal crises faced daily by individuals and families in great distress. The campaign promotes the hope and promise that people can and do recover from even the most serious mental health conditions when they are provided a full array of both treatment and recovery supports.  Recovery Now! will identify and promote proven approaches to end cycles of preventable relapses, hospitalizations, incarceration, and homelessness; advance concrete strategies to prevent and address mental health crisis; and will advocate for greater availability of comprehensive community-based services that promote wellness and recovery through the integration of mental health, addiction and medical care. In addition to MHA, organizations supporting the campaign include the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors, the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.

The Keeping All Students Safe Act (national restraint/seclusion legislation) was reintroduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 927). This newly introduced House version more closely matches last session’s Senate version sponsored by former Senator Tom Harkin.  The bill will help to ensure that physical restraint and seclusion are used only in emergencies posing an imminent threat of physical injury. Among other provisions it will require staff training to ensure that restraint and seclusion are used only when appropriate under the law, and are properly used.

CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program, reauthorization legislation has been introduced in both the Senate and the House. Without passage of this legislation, funding for this vital program that affords health insurance to more than ten million children will end in September of this year.  Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are leading are the leading sponsors in the Senate. The House bill is sponsored by Representatives Gene Green (D-TX) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ). 

While not officially reintroduced yet in the 114th Congress, the Families in Mental Health Crisis Act put forth by Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) during the last Congressional session continues to generate much attention. Advocates of all persuasions are speaking out about a bill that has yet to be seen, but is anxiously awaited. 

The comment period for SAMHSA's criteria for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics grant program, referred to as "Section 223," closed this week.  SAMHSA's criteria for what should be considered a Certified Clinic were incredibly comprehensive and incorporated Mental Health America's comments.  We look forward to the next phase of the program and hope that the Clinics can help our nation's behavioral health systems to grow.

Mental Health News

My Medicaid Matters: Today, Mental Health America is announcing a new collaboration with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) My Medicare Matters campaign in support of our joint goal of assisting older adults to access mental health resources through Medicare. Read more about our partnership here.

TWCN Austin:  Mental Health Leaders Hold First-Ever Summit (video)

Wall Street Journal: Where Are the Mental Health Providers? Op-Ed: Beware Return of “Asylums”

KVUE TV: Early Intervention Key to Kids’ Mental Health Awareness (video)

MHA’s Chiming In: In Response to the WSJ Op-Ed: Mentally Ill, Drink a Smoothie

Where in the world is Paul Gionfriddo? (And where is he going?)

Paul continues to spread the #B4Stage4 message around the country, promoting Losing Tim, and visiting with many of you to learn more about the great work happening around the country among MHA affiliates and partners.

On February 6 he participated in a Losing Tim book signing with MHA Southeast Florida and traveled to San Francisco to speak on February 18 at the 7th International Together against Stigma conference, hosted by Each Mind Matters. He then hopped a plane to Austin, Texas where he participating in a donor and supporter thank you event and private book sign for MHA Texas, visited Austin Travis County Integral Care and was the conference keynote speaker at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at University of Texas, Austin. He also found time to be interviewed by a few local television stations about Losing Tim (see Mental Health News above).

Coming up, Paul travels to New Jersey this Friday to attend a corporate town hall with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and then he is off to Atlanta on March 9 to participate in the Emory Rollins School of Public Health Mental Health Grand Rounds Series. On March 17 and 18th he’ll be in Tennessee, participating in a book signing in Vanderbilt and then joining MHA Middle Tennessee MHA East Tennessee, and other members of the TN Coalition for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for their “Day on the Hill.” He then heads to Louisville, Kentucky to attend MHA Kentucky’s “A Celebration of Mental Health” event.

Want to see Paul at your event or host a book signing? Contact Michael King at to schedule something!

Did You Know?

That the average temperature in Alexandria, Virginia in the beginning of June is 81 degrees? Which, after the winter many of us have had, sounds AH-mazing right now! So, can you think of a better place to be to attend a fantastic, fun-filled conference in June? (Hint, Hint, Register now!)

Affiliate Spotlight

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