MHA News From National: January 15, 2016 | Mental Health America

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MHA News From National: January 15, 2016

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

In this update:

MHA 2016 Annual Conference Update: Registration is Open! Take Advantage of Early Bird Rates!

Great news! Registration for Mental Health America’s 2016 Annual Conference: Media, Messaging and Mental Health is officially open! Register Today!

Held this year on June 8-10 in Alexandria, Virginia, MHA’s conference will take an in-depth look at the impact and influence of media and the entertainment industry on the complex issues of mental health and mental illness. With a particular focus on the entertainment industry, the digital landscape, and the press, we will explore the good and the bad of portrayals on the big and small screen; how the digital landscape is revolutionizing how we deal with mental health; how celebrity can be used to influence the conversation; how messaging and language can sometimes contribute to and perpetuate the destructive stigma and discrimination of people living with mental illness; and how mental health advocates can work together to change the conversation.

If your register now, you can take advantage of our Early Bird rates and save big! You’ll get the same quality content, the same quality speakers, the same quality hotel rooms and food, more time with your colleagues who do the same work as you do day in and day out. Check out the conference website.

This is going to be the most exciting, content-rich MHA conference ever. In the next few weeks, we will have several exciting announcements about our agenda—from Hollywood to Washington, from television to film to sports, our speaker line-up is going to be amazing. Trust us.

Here is what we can share now:

  • Actor and mental health advocate Ashley Judd is serving as Chair of the 2016 Annual Conference Honorary Committee; the Committee roster is growing every day—just look at the amazing people so far who are lending their name in support of MHA—Senator Christopher Murphy, Senator Michael Enzi, Senator Chuck Grassley, Representative Doris Matsui, Representative Grace Napolitano, Representative Paul Tonko, Doreen Gentzler, Angie Goff, Terrie Williams, Celinda Lake, Garen Staglin, Shari Staglin and Brandon Staglin, and Glennon Doyle Melton. 
  • We will have three compelling breakout tracks: The Power of Storytelling, Non-Fiction and Reporting, and The Word of Digital. Our Call for Proposals produced an enormous amount of dynamic, exciting content, and our team is pouring through submissions now and making decisions. Stay tuned!
  • New This Year! On Thursday, June 9 MHA will host A Night at the Movies—Exploring the World of Mental Health Through Documentary Films. The exciting evening will begin with the screening of several full-length documentaries exploring the different aspects of mental illness, addiction and recovery. The movies will be shown simultaneously in advance of our feature presentation and panel discussion.

And we’re just getting started! Be sure to look for future emails and check out for updates on speakers and topics! 

Don’t miss out, Register Today!

What's Up with Congress?

MHA and advocates continue to push for movement on mental health reform legislation. MHA continues to urge Congress 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 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. 

Indications from the Hill is that there will be mark-ups in the coming weeks in both the House and Senate committees that have jurisdiction over H.R. 2646 and S. 1945, so we anticipate a very interesting winter and spring! Stay tuned!

What We're Reading

MHA’s Chiming In: Changes to HIPAA Privacy Rule May Help Distinguish Mental Illness from Violence
MHA’s Chiming In: Getting Reasonable Accommodations at Work Before Stage 4
Politico: Doctors Can Report Some Mentally Ill Patients to FBI Under New Gun Control Rule (Paul Gionfriddo quoted)
Washington Post: Are The Mentally Ill Being Unfairly Targeted by the FBI’s Gun List? (Paul Gionfriddo quoted)
Modern Healthcare: Mental Health and Gun Violence Meet at a Bumpy Crossroad (Paul Gionfriddo quoted)
New York Times: Where Police Violence Encounters Mental Illness
Huffington Post: 9 Things People in Therapy want you to Know

Where in the World is Paul Gionfriddo?

It’s a New Year’s miracle…Paul Gionfriddo has actually been in the office for most of January! Focused primarily on federal affairs, Paul continues to pound the pavement on Capitol Hill with our advocacy staff to voice our position on mental health reform. When he hasn’t been doing that, he is being interviewied…a lot. Al Jazeera, C-SPAN, Washington Post, LA Times, Politico, Modern Health Care…everyone is talking mental health and MHA has become a go-to resource, which gives Paul an opportunity to continue to voice the need for addressing mental health Before Stage 4 and for passing comprehensive mental health legislation this year!

But there is no rest for the weary. After a quick trip to Chicago next week, Paul will be in Clearwater, FL on February 17 for the MHCA Winter Quarter Conference and in Missouri at the end of February for the Missouri Mental Health Rally at the State Capitol with MHA of Eastern Missouri.

Did You Know?

MHA is HOW old?!
MHA National is celebrating its 107th birthday on February 19th! We're compiling some of the reasons why our network celebrates MHA, our affiliates, and our history. Please share your thoughts (short and succinct are preferable) by sending them to Casey Dillon at by Friday, January 29th.

Webinar Opportunity
Parenting with a Mental Illness
Thursday January 21st, 2016
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion invites you to participate in a 1-Hour long webinar focusing on Parenting with a Mental Illness. Various factors such as discrimination, lack of supports, and high levels of stress can all lead to complications as a Parent with a Mental Illness. During the webinar the Collaborative will discuss strategies parents can use, findings from its Parenting Internet Education study, and discuss its new Parenting Online Education resource, which will allow parents from all over to get information for children under the age of 18. Visit the registration page to sign up now!

Affiliate News

Affiliates in Action Newsletter – Submissions Deadline January 22nd
MHA continues to compile information for the Affiliates in Action Library that can be used by affiliates that show the impact and measured growth a particular program or service has made or is making in various communities. The submission deadline for the winter edition is Friday, January 22. To access the online form, go to You will need your affiliate ID and Password to access this section of the MHA website. For questions, please contact MHA’s Valerie Sterns at

Feedback on NFN?

Want to see more or less of something? MHA welcomes your feedback! Please send any thoughts and suggestions to me at

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