SAMHSA releases trauma-informed care tip sheet

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People who have experienced trauma—especially chronic or repeated trauma—are at an elevated risk for substance use disorders, mental illness, and physical disorders and conditions. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 57, Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services, provides evidence-based and best practice information for behavioral health practitioners and administrators working with people who have experienced trauma.

Using key trauma-informed principles, TIP 57 addresses trauma-related prevention, screening, assessment, intervention, and treatment issues and strategies. It includes key information to help practitioners and administrators become trauma aware and informed, and implement science-informed intervention strategies across settings and modalities in behavioral health services.

IACP releases summit report on juvenile justice reform

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The International Association of Chiefs of Police is pleased to announce the release of the report from the National Summit on Law Enforcement Leadership in Juvenile Justice. The report, Law Enforcement’s Leadership Role in Juvenile Justice Reform: Actionable Recommendations for Practice & Policy, is the culmination of tireless dedication and commitment from professionals who believe law enforcement can make a significant impact in improving outcomes for young people.

The summit report makes 33 recommendations for concrete actions that law enforcement leaders can take in collaboration with partners at the local, state, and national levels.  The recommendations are divided into eight thematic areas:

  • Making Juvenile Justice a Priority within Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Building Partnerships Among Law Enforcement, Youth, and Their Families
  • Collaboration and Information Sharing
  • Promoting Alternatives to Arrest, Court Referral, and Detention
  • Data Collection and Expanding Evidence-Based and Promising Initiatives
  • Pathways to School Completion
  • Responding to Youth with Behavioral Health Conditions and Trauma Histories
  • Amplifying Law Enforcement’s Advocacy on Juvenile Justice Reform

Download the report here

SAMHSA seeking comment on strategic plan for 2015-2018

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Okay Network faithful, we've got your reading assignment for the weekend. SAMHSA is seeking public comment on its Strategic Plan for 2015-2018. It is most important that advocates take the time to read the strategic plan and share your thoughts. We will be providing commentary but you need to do so as well!

Here is the description from the SAMHSA announcement:

  • This strategic plan outlines work to increase the awareness and improve understanding about mental and substance use disorders, promote emotional health and wellness, and the prevention of substance abuse and mental illness, increase access to effective treatment, and support recovery. An important component of the plan is the prioritization of six Strategic Initiatives and the linkages between these initiatives and SAMHSA’s policy, programmatic, and financial planning. At its core, this plan offers a framework for planning around common categories of initiatives that enable cross-collaboration and organization of SAMHSA’s work.
  • The public comment period is open until April 18th.
  • Download Leading Change 2.0
  • After reading the document, be sure to provide your comments here.

SAMHSA Chief Medical Officer encourages increased Hepatitis C screening & testing for behavioral health clients

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Network faithful are encouraged to read the "Dear Colleague" letter below, from Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer, SAMHSA, which discusses the need for hepatitis C screening and testing in those with substance use and mental disorders. This letter describes the rationale for testing in the behavioral health population, discusses the recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force endorsement of hepatitis C screening, and provides contact information for state viral hepatitis prevention coordinators who can assist with the implementation of screening and testing programs.

NASHP webinar on using comparative effectiveness research to inform decision-making

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Join NASHP for a webinar introducing a new tool for state policymakers: A Roadmap for State Policymakers to Use Comparative Effectiveness and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research to Inform Decision Making (coming August 5, 2014). With support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), NASHP created this guide to assist states in making evidence-based policy decisions. This webinar will provide an overview of the Roadmap and discuss how policymakers can—and are—using research to inform their work. 

  • The Road to Evidence-Based Decision Making: Steps for Using Research to Inform State Policy 
  • Thursday, August 14, 2:00-3:30pm Eastern 
  • Register here 

Murphy challenges Congress to confront its own ‘denial’ about serious mental illness

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It has been a busy week for those both for and against HR 3717, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013." We are featuring calls to action both for and against to stay consistent with our approach of giving all sides an opportunity to express their opinion on the CMHNetwork website. As always Network faithful, explore all sides, do your homework, and make informed decisions.

Below are Congressman Murphy's remarks on the House floor Thursday, July 24, along with video of his speech:

For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 24, 2014
Contact: Brad Grantz, 202.225.2301

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Calling on Congress to confront its own ‘denial’ about serious mental illness, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy urged passage of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 3717) during an impassioned speech before his House of Representatives colleagues today. On Monday, researchers released a groundbreaking study showing schizophrenia is tied to 100 different genes. Dr. Murphy, who is a clinical psychologist, said the research underscores the need to approach serious mental illness as a medical condition. The text of his speech is as follows:

Congressman Tim Murphy - Remarks on the House Floor - Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 3717

  • Mr. Speaker, this week the largest-ever study of schizophrenia reported that the condition is tied to more than 100 genes.

    This discovery is more evidence that schizophrenia is a clinical condition, just like other medical conditions. Severe schizophrenia, therefore, must be treated with a medical approach using evidence-based therapies that work.

    We know fifty percent of persons with schizophrenia suffer from a neurological impairment that makes them incapable of understanding they are ill. This lack of awareness, termed Anosognosia, is the leading cause of noncompliance with psychiatric treatment. This neurological problem helps to explain why forty percent of Americans with a serious mental illness do not receive treatment, and it explains how our system fails to help those most in need.

    Anosognosia occurs most frequently when schizophrenia or bipolar disorder affects portions of the frontal lobe resulting in impaired executive function. The patient is neurologically unable to comprehend that their delusions or hallucinations are not real. This is different than denial; this is a change in the wiring of the brain.

    These individuals don’t recognize they are ill, and when they don’t meet the 200-year old definition of being an imminent danger to harm themselves or others, their friends and families are powerless to help them. Uninformed observers wrongly believe that because the patients can look at them and talk to them, they must be fully functional and aware. But they are not.

    Much like if they had Alzheimer’s Disease or were in a coma, these individuals with schizophrenia can't voluntarily request treatment on their own. We would never deny care to a stroke victim or a senior with Alzheimer’s simply because he or she couldn’t articulate their need for treatment. Yet, in cases of serious brain disorders, we allow millions to suffer because the chaotic of patchwork of state and federal laws that says we can’t act even when we know that we must.

    Further, when a patient is discharged from a hospital with anything from a minor cut to a heart transplant, there must be a written treatment plan. And that plan is readily shared with family members who will assist with follow-up. But not so with serious mental illness. Again, we would not do this to someone with Alzheimer's. We would not say, "I can't treat your grandmother until she is well enough to tell me to treat her, but I can't tell you about her treatment until she gives you permission."

    These mentally ill men and women, who are in need of medical attention, end up sitting in jails, sleeping behind dumpsters, or sedated and chained to hospital gurneys in emergency rooms. They cycle in out and of prison, the ER, and shelters. That is the lifestyle we have relegated 3.6 million Americans to.

    We deny people the right to treatment. We deny them the right to get better. How cruel is that? And as a result, one million Americans last year attempted suicide, 40,000 people died from suicide, there are 300,000 homeless, 500,000 in jail, and 700,000 in other prisons. The mentally ill are also more likely to be robbed, physically assaulted, raped, and sexual assaulted. So while several states and counties have taken bold action to help those who have been cast aside in our current system, the federal government sits oblivious to the problem, and in some cases, actually creates barriers to treatment for those who need help the most.

    Serious mental illness is more detrimental to your long term health than being a heavy smoker and increases you risks for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It reduces your lifespan by some 25 years.

    There is also a financial toll.

    A study conducted by Duke University determined that Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) saves taxpayers $50,000 per patient. It also increases medication compliance, and decreases incarceration, hospitalization, and homelessness. The problem is that four states still prohibit the use of this medical model and most county health systems haven’t implemented it. And, studies have shown that each time an individual with a mental illness experiences a break from reality, their brain actually suffers some permanent injury.

    All of this happens at a time when we know more about the brain than we ever have. We tell families that federal laws prohibit you from knowing why your loved one is in a mental health crisis, and doctors tell the family your son is only a little dangerous right now, but please bring them back when they become truly violent and then they can be treated. How absurd.

    Can you imagine if we told someone with diabetes, your blood sugar is too low but we are going to wait until you are in diabetic shock before we give you insulin? The doctor would be fired, the hospital would be sued, and we would ensure that it never happens again. Yet, for families in a mental health crisis, this scenario plays out every single day and not a word is spoken about it.

    The reason is that people don’t understand the neurological basis of mental illness. What we need to do is have a Congress that is able to confront its own denial and change the laws that need to be changed.

    We can fix the mental health system, but not if Congress does not act.

    We must pass H.R. 3717, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, because ignoring this problem will not make it go away and where there is no help, there is no hope at all. 
  • Watch the full floor speech below:

National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery says no to HR 3717

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It has been a busy week for those both for and against HR 3717, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013." We are featuring calls to action both for and against to stay consistent with our approach of giving all sides an opportunity to express their opinion on the CMHNetwork website. As always Network faithful, explore all sides, do your homework, and make informed decisions.

Below is the Action Alert from the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery:

ACTION ALERT: Stop the Murphy Bill National Call-in Weeks, July 21 - August 1  


  • H.R. 3717, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013,” is “shockingly regressive” mental health legislation that would reverse some of the most significant advances of the last 30 years in mental health services and supports. It would exchange low-cost services that have positive outcomes, for higher-cost yet ineffective interventions.

    Among the problematic provisions of Rep. Murphy’s bill is the establishment of a grants program to expand Assisted Outpatient Commitment (AOT), under which someone diagnosed with a serious mental illness is court-mandated to follow a specific treatment plan, usually requiring medication. Yet the facts show that AOT is not effective, involves high costs with minimal returns, breeds mistrust within families, and is not likely to reduce violence. There are more effective alternatives.

    Rep. Murphy’s bill also attacks the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy programs, which are the primary provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

    The Murphy Bill continues to gain co-sponsors and we need your help to stop this. For the next two weeks, please contact your Representatives to tell them NO on H.R. 3717! 

What you can do:

  • Find out if any of your Representatives are co-sponsors.
  • If any of your Representatives are co-sponsoring, you should respectfully request that they remove their co-sponsorship.
  • Those who are not co-sponsoring should be thanked and encouraged to stay off the bill. Let them know there is strong opposition/controversy within the cross-disability community on this bill.

Talking points 

  • Call and email your representatives TODAY with the following points:
    • The AOT interventions proposed in the bill are costly, ineffective and drive people away from seeking support.
    • The bill’s provisions run counter to Olmstead v. LC (1999), which calls for persons with disabilities to receive services in the “most integrated setting.”
    • The bill would slash innovative and promising programs and services developed by persons in mental health recovery and their families to help prevent and address crisis in our communities.
    • The bill would amend HIPAA to erode privacy rights for people who have a mental health diagnosis.

DC office contacts

  • Call the DC offices of your state’s House Members and ask which staff assists that Congressperson on mental health issues.
  • Speak with the staff if you can or leave a detailed voice message and ask them to call you back.
  •  Talk about the bill in general – e.g. while more needs to be done on mental health, the billʼs approach is counterproductive – then explain further by focusing on specific examples if possible, using your talking points as a guide.
  • Describe the important mental health and legal services you would lose if the bill became law, and the problems imposing involuntary and facility-based treatment.
  • Stress that people with mental health disabilities are routinely subject to abuse, neglect and discrimination, and lack access to voluntary services and supports we need to be successful and thrive in the community; and that we must self direct our care to move toward recovery and self-sufficiency.
  • While the public is concerned with safety in the wake of mass shootings, targeting people with serious mental health diagnoses won’t address the problem. People with these diagnoses are only responsible for 4% of violent crimes committed in the US, and are more likely to be the victim of a crime than the perpetrator.

Social Media Action 

  • Twitter: Find your Member of Congress on Twitter and send a short message using any of the talking points above.
    Sample Tweet: @YourCongressperson Vote NO on #HR3717. It would erode our liberty and privacy rights, and will not make us safer as a nation. 
  • Facebook: Find the FB page of your Member of Congress and send a short message using any of the talking points above.

This work is not over! Congress will be home for the August recess and we will encourage you to reach out to them. Stay tuned.

New advocacy organization pushes for passage of HR 3717

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It has been a busy week for those both for and against HR 3717, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013." We are featuring calls to action both for and against to stay consistent with our approach of giving all sides an opportunity to express their opinion on the CMHNetwork website. In addition to the calls for action both for and against HR 3717, we are also making readers aware of a new organization with strong roots in the advocacy position for passage of HR 3717. As always Network faithful, explore all sides, do your homework, and make informed decisions.

Treatment Before Tragedyis a newly formed 501(c)(3) organization that represents families and their supporters seeking to improve treatment, services, research and a cure for people with serious mental illness. Sources tell us that this organization was formed in large part, to provide advocacy support for the passage of HR 3717. Regardless of the motivation for forming the organization, the focus of their efforts is much broader than the passage of one bill. Here is the description of the organization from their website:

  • In May 2014, Treatment Before Tragedy incorporated in Virginia as a nonprofit organization. Treatment Before Tragedy represents families and their supporters seeking to improve treatment, services, research and a cure for people with serious mental illness.

    The federal government defines "serious mental illness," or "SMI," as a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder that results in functional impairment when untreated. Illnesses include bipolar, schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia.  

    Because Treatment Before Tragedy’s members have personal connections and experiences similar to those amplified by recent national tragedies from Colorado to Arizona and Connecticut, they are uniquely qualified to respond to the serious gaps in accessible treatment, research and resources available today.

    ​Treatment Before Tragedy is dedicated to federal and other advocacy for better treatment and services for people with serious mental illnesses, and support for their families and caregivers. Treatment Before Tragedy seeks to alleviate societal and family tragedies, helping to bring healing to communities and our country.
  • Visit the Treatment Before Tragedy website to learn more about their efforts.

Journey to Adulthood presentation at the Georgetown Training Institutes now online

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If you weren't able to attend the Georgetown Training Institutes you can watch one of the featured plenary sessions online. "Journey to Adulthood" featured federal officials, transition-age researchers and youth advocates in an engaging talk-show format. On Thursday, July 17, the plenary session was webcast LIVE from the 2014 Georgetown University Training Institutes. The discussion explored emerging issues among young adults in transition (ages 18–25) including employment, housing, education, juvenile justice, and peer support.  

  •  KSOC-TV Webisode on “Journey to Adulthood” 
  • Featuring:
    • Raphaelle Alexander, Director, Resource and Development, Youth MOVE National
    • Brandon Ha, National Alliance for Mental Illness Santa Clara County 
    • Maryann Davis, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School 
    • Marqus Butler, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Global network focuses on human development interventions

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From our friends at the American Psychological Association ~

The Human Development Intervention Network is a global network focused on collaboration and learning in the study of human development interventions in low- and middle-income countries. This network and online platform will motivate, support and connect a diverse global group of scientists and interventionists at all stages of career development to advance human development research and interventions. Joining the network is free and open to anyone.

Using the Human Development Intervention Network, you can:

  • Create a member profile listing your affiliations, professional interests, and areas of expertise
  • Engage in social networking with others who have similar interests
  • Access relevant data and resource repositories by topic, region, or type of intervention
  • Read blog posts on current intervention work and engage in discussions on cutting-edge topics
  • Develop mentoring relationships and spur collaborations with researchers around the world

The network is guided by an Advisory Committee with members from several countries and settings, including universities as well as agencies (e.g., World Bank, UNICEF), and has been spearheaded by a number of people from Consortium-member institutions. The network grew out of a 2013 SRCD preconference.

Questions? Contact

  • Sign Up Now
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