News From National: May 19, 2017 | Mental Health America

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News From National: May 19, 2017

By: Mallory Pernell, MHA Associate Director of Communications and Marketing

In this update:

2017 Annual Conference Update                                 

New 2017 Conference Logo - Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll

 Senators Al Franken and Tim Kaine Confirmed as Speakers                                    

Franken Kaine

We are excited to announce that Senators Al Franken of Minnesota and Tm Kaine of Virginia will be joining the speaker line-up for MHA’s 2017 Annual Conference! Senator Franken will speak during the opening luncheon on Wednesday, June 14 and Senator Kaine will speak the morning of Friday, June 16.

United States Senator Al Franken was born on May 21, 1951, and grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. In 1973, he graduated from Harvard, where he met his wife Franni. They've been married for 40 years and have two grown children, Thomasin and Joe. The couple's first grandchild, Joe, was born to Thomasin and her husband Brody in May 2013. Jacob, their second grandson, was born to Joe and his wife Stephanie in January 2016. Before running for the Senate, Senator Franken spent 37 years as a comedy writer, author, and radio talk show host and has taken part in seven USO tours, visiting our troops overseas in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Uzbekistan--as well as visiting Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait four times. First elected to the Senate in 2008 and re-elected in 2014, he currently sits on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.

United States Senator Timothy Kaine has helped people throughout his life as a missionary, civil rights lawyer, teacher and elected official. He is one of 30 people in American history to have served as a Mayor, Governor and United States Senator. Senator Kaine was elected to the Senate in 2012 as a can-do optimist skilled in bringing people together across old lines of party, race or region. In the Senate, he serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations, and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committees. He is Ranking Member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee and the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism. Senator Kaine was first elected to office in 1994, serving as a city councilmember and then Mayor of Richmond. He became Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2002 and was inaugurated as Virginia’s 70th Governor in 2006.He is married to Anne Holton, who served as Virginia Secretary of Education from 2014 until 2016.

Not able to make it to the entire conference? MHA offers one-day tickets as well as individual tickets to see Senator Kaine. Register today!

Glennon Doyle Melton Tickets Available Again
Due to popular demand, we have added additional tickets for An Evening with Glennon Doyle Melton. Click here to save your spot to see the two-time New York Times bestselling author of Carry On, Warrior and Love Warrior.

Glennon will be interviewed by Reverend Jennifer Butler on the evening of June 15th. This event is already included in the full conference ticket.

Book Your Hotel Room Now!
The hotel room block for the conference is filling up fast! The Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill has rooms available at a discounted rate for conference attendees. Hurry, once the block fills, these discounted prices are gone!

18.75 Continuing Education Contact Hours Now Offered
Are you a social worker and need social work credit hours for your continuing education? MHA’s 2017 Annual Conference is now offering 18.75 contact hours (24 if you attend the affiliate-only preconference day) for social workers! These credits are approved by National Association of Social Workers – Virginia Chapter.  
 Unsure if these hours apply to your own licensing? Contact your state’s licensing board directly to see if these CEs apply.

Consumer Scholarships Available!
 Many of you have asked about conference scholarships, and we have an exciting answer! SAMHSA has generously offered to provide a limited number of consumer scholarships to attend MHA’s 2017 Annual Conference. You can access the complete application by clicking here
Please review eligibility information carefully. Be advised that a completed application does not guarantee a scholarship. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please submit a completed application to Laqwanda Roberts-Buckley at by 5:00PM EST on Monday, May 29, 2017.

Session Spotlight
When A Loved One Comes Out: The Family, Society, and Mental Health Implications

Speakers: Wesley Davison, mental health advocate; Nicole Avallone, LCSW, NYC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center

This presentation will discuss the impact of society’s treatment of the LGBTQ population has on their mental state, and the internal family dynamics when a loved one comes out. Bullying, family rejection, and discrimination in housing and jobs can all contribute to greater incidences of depression, truancy, low self-esteem, substance use, and self-harm amongst LGBTQ individuals. Attendees will learn about the unique mental health challenges some within the LGBTQ population face, compared to the broader population; about how family members can work to lessen mental health repercussions; and how family, friends, and the general population can work to help reduce such issues and work towards the greater acceptance of the LGBTQ population. 

What's Up With Congress?

Now that the American Health Care Act is out of the House, the Senate has begun working on its own health care proposal. This is a process likely to take at least a month, and must unite divided camps. MHA is working hard to stop cuts that would limit access to mental health and substance use services, but it is even more important that they hear from you. We will be sending Action Alerts to notify you at critical moments to share your stories and help shape the legislation.        

What We're Reading

Features Paul Gionfriddo:
    Chicago Tribune: Speaker: Effective diagnosis, treatment needed for mental health care
    CNN: Health care bill 'shameful,' 'harmful,' medical groups say
    Huffington Post: Trumpcare Will Be Catastrophic For People With Mental Health Issues

Features MHA’s Nathaniel Counts:
    The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics: Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being in Public Health Law and Practice

Features MHA:
    PR Web: U.S. Army Medicine Civilian Corps Observes 'May is Mental Health Month'
    The Mighty: 11 Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following During Mental Health Month

From Around the Web:
    NPR: My Food Struggle In Pictures: When What I Ate Made Me 'Good' Or 'Bad'
    Verily: Amid Social Media Anxiety, Instagram Just Became An Unlikely Advocate For Mental Health

Where In the World Is Paul Gionfriddo?
    Paul has been traveling across the country for affiliate programs. Last week, Paul was in Lake County, IN to talk about Losing Tim and the Before Stage 4 philosophy for their 60th Anniversary Celebration.
    This week, Paul was in beautiful Hawaii, where he attended the MHA Hawaii 75th Anniversary Luncheon, was interviewed by Hawaii News Now, and spoke at the NAMI Hawaii State Conference 2017, co-sponsored by MHA Hawaii.        

Did You Know?

May is Mental Health Month!           

MHM 2017

It’s Mental Health Month! We have already had over 10,500 downloads of the May is Mental Health Month toolkit.

As you may know, this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month is Risky Business. MHA calls on all communities to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or are signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, recreational drug use, internet/gaming addiction, excessive spending, or disordered eating can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.

Want to know how to participate in Mental Health Month this year? Here are some things you can do to increase mental health awareness!

Make sure you download the 2017 May is Mental Health Month toolkit by visiting The toolkit has images and info to help spread our message and printables to post in the places you learn, work and play.

Are you following us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? You should! Follow our social media pages to get the latest updates and exclusive content for Mental Health Month.

Share Mental Health Month content! Use the images and sample posts in the 2017 May is Mental Health Month toolkit to spread awareness about mental health and how risky behaviors are related to mental illness. You can also share MHA’s social media posts to help others learn more about prescription drug misuse, risky sex, internet addiction, exercise extremes, and other topics.

Check out MHA’s blog! We have been adding some great guest posts from authors who know all about risky behaviors. Check out Fast Girl: Suzy's Story, Are You At Risk for an Eating Disorder?, The Risks of Exercise: Too Little and Too Much May Affect Psychological Health, Three Keys to Safe Prescription Drug Use, and stay tuned for more!

Take a screen to assess your mental health. Since we’re talking about action Before Stage 4 (B4Stage4), it’s always good to check up on your mental health! Encourage your friends and family to do the same – there is no shame is caring for yourself.

Visit to download the toolkit today!

MHA Featured in Mediaplanet’s Mental Health Awareness Campaign                    


MHA recently participated in Mediaplanet’s Mental Health Awareness campaign where we united with likeminded industry leaders to raise awareness for mental health issues and advocate to make mental health care a priority. The campaign was distributed through USA TODAY on May 18th, 2017 and is published online. For the full campaign, visit:

MHA Partners with CinemaSins to Raise Awareness
 Are you a movie buff? CinemaSins, a YouTube channel that reviews films through comedic commentary, is partnering with MHA to raise awareness of mental health issues for Mental Health Month through outreach and education. CinemaSins created a special t-shirt in their shop, and 100% of $15 from a sale of the shirt will be donated to MHA from May 1 - 31! Check out the video they created to announce the partnership here, and read more about the partnership here.

MHA Named As Beneficiary of Janssen’s Real People. Real Stories Campaign
It’s Mental Health Month! As part of our efforts to address the needs of all individuals living with a mental illness, Janssen Pharmaceuticals has selected MHA as a beneficiary of a special campaign on individuals living with schizophrenia. By sharing the journeys of Tanara and Justin, others may see that they are not alone. The difference you make begins with this video. For every video you watch on, Janssen is giving back to MHA to support mental health awareness and connect those living with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses to important resources, like peer support, helping everyone make an even bigger difference.  

From May 1, 2017 through July 31, 2017, for every unique video view on, Janssen is donating $1 to MHA, with a minimum contribution of $10,000 and a maximum contribution of $30,000. MHA does not endorse specific medication and MHA’s participation is not an endorsement of any Janssen product or service.

MHA to host SAMHSA-Sponsored Webinar May 30th                       

SAMHSA webinar

Webinar: Technology-Based Early Identification and Crisis Supports
    Tuesday, May 30, 2017
    1:00 PM ET

Please register here:

Technology has offered us the opportunity to provide people with far reaching, easy to access, and anonymous mental health supports. The use of such technology opens the door to understand how to best support people who are coming to the internet or getting on the phone to receive critical care – especially when the care is related to early identification or crisis. Technology based support started with the phone and now reaches into our computers and mobile phones. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Crisis Text Line, and MHA Screening will discuss how their services work and questions often asked, including “How do you support someone through serious thoughts of self-harm? How do you provide support when it’s not face to face? Is there follow up and what kind?” “How can warm and empathetic crisis counseling be conveyed via these mediums?”

Remember to bring your own questions!


  • Theresa Nguyen, Vice President of Policy and Programs at Mental Health America, MHA Screening 
  • Michelle Kuchuk, M.S., is Coordinator of Best Practices in Clinical Technologies at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline   
  • Bob Fiblin, Chief Data Scientist at Crisis Text Line 

MHA To Host Webinar on Major Depressive Disorder                             

mdd webinar

Webinar: Major Depressive Disorder. An Overview of Treatment Considerations
    Wednesday, May 31, 2017
    12:30 PM ET / 9:30 AM PT

Are you interested in learning more about depression? Come join us at our informational webinar and get informed. Our webinar will cover:

• What is Major Depressive Disorder?
    • Understanding Treatment
    • When Treatments Aren't Working as Expected

Register Here:          

Affiliate News

Mental Health Association Oklahoma to Present the 23rd Annual Zarrow Mental Health Symposium                                       


Mental Health Association Oklahoma is proud to present the 23rd Annual Zarrow Mental Health Symposium — Challenging Injustice and Discrimination. Registration is now open! You won't want to miss the Symposium this October 5-6 in Tulsa. With over 70 breakout sessions, the Symposium offers a forum where clinicians, case workers, law enforcement, policy makers, and others can learn how systemic injustice and discrimination impact mental health and explore solutions with other advocates. Check out the agenda, including a featured keynote by Dr. Cornel West, and register at!

Affiliate Name Change
Mental Health America of Westmoreland County has changed its name to Mental Health America of Southwestern PA (MHASWPA), to reflect the broader purpose of the agency and the areas they serve. Recognizing the increasing needs of the communities beyond Westmoreland County does not diminish their commitment to the county. Instead, according to Executive Director, Laurie Barnett Levine, LSW, “Changing our name not only emphasizes our reputation for providing quality mental health services, but also focuses on our regional capabilities.” 

For over 50 years, MHAWC has been providing mental health education, advocacy, and services primarily to Westmoreland County residents. Because of recent funding cuts across the state of Pennsylvania, the agency sees a need for increased services beyond Westmoreland County borders. Initiatives are under way to expand the agency’s focus on behavioral health and addiction. MHASWPA looks forward to continuing to provide advocacy, education, and supportive services as well as expanding their scope and strengthening their efforts in the region.

Pre-Conference Day for Affiliates Only - Register Today!
Have you registered for Pre-Conference Day for Affiliates? The time to register is now! If MHA affiliates register for the MHA Annual Conference, pre-conference activities are automatically included (please remember to check yes for Affiliate Pre-Conference Day, if you are planning to attend).  

Activities will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on June 13. Check out the content-packed agendawhich now includes a full-day of education sessions on MHA’s newly launched National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) Certification. To learn more about Pre-Conference and the confirmed speakers, click here. Those CEOs planning to attend the Affiliate CEO Dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill, should RSVP to MHA’s Valerie Sterns at by Friday, June 2.

Join MHA for Hill Day!
Don't miss joining us for the Pre-Conference Hill Day on Tuesday June 13th. MHA will be joining forces with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and kicking off the day with a Capitol Grounds rally from 8:30am - 9:00am (meet at 7:45am to march to the Hill). We'll be joined by Members of Congress and Senators to send us off. 

Whether or not you'll be joining us in DC for Hill Day, mark your calendars for an Advocacy Training Conference Call on Wednesday, June 7th at 3:00 PM Eastern Time. Please contact Debbie Plotnick at for more information.

Booster Campaign
 MHA would like to thank the following affiliates for participating in the FIGHT IN THE OPEN campaign, which raised more than $5,800:  

  • Mental Health Connecticut
  • Mental Health Minnesota
  • MHA of Arizona
  • MHA of California
  • MHA of Eastern Missouri
  • MHA of Greater Dallas
  • MHA of Los Angeles
  • MHA of Maryland
  • MHA of Middle Tennessee
  • MHA of Palm Beach County   
  • MHA of Roanoke Valley
  • MHA of South Central Kansas
  • MHA of Texas
  • MHA of Vigo County
  • MHA of Virginia   
  • MHA of Wisconsin

Affiliates that didn’t get an opportunity to participate in the Campaign can purchase t-shirts at the MHA Store during the MHA Annual Conference June 14-16. Affiliates receive a 12 percent discount on all MHA merchandise. So, leave room in your luggage and bring extra cash!  

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