MHA News From National: March 30, 2017 | Mental Health America

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MHA News From National: March 30, 2017

MHA News From National: March 30, 2017

By: Mallory PernellAssociate Director of Communications and Marketing

In this update:


2017 Annual Conference Update

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

New Speakers Announcement!

P Kennedy Amy Kennedy

We have not one, not two, but THREE new speakers lined up for you!

MHA is pleased to announce that former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and his wife Amy Kennedy, The Kennedy Forum’s Education Director, will be speaking together as part of our opening session on June 14th. NBC4’s Doreen Gentzler will emcee the Media Awards Luncheon on June 15th.

About the speakers:

Patrick Kennedy is considered one of the nation’s leading political voice on mental illness, addiction, and other brain diseases. While representing Rhode Island in Congress, he fought a national battle to end medical and societal discrimination against these illnesses. Since leaving Congress to devote himself to brain advocacy, he founded The Kennedy Forum, which provides leadership in the mental health community, and co-founded One Mind, a global leader in open science. He co-authored A Common Struggle, which outlines both his personal story and a bold plan for mental health in America. Representative Kennedy received MHA’s 2016 Media Award for A Common Struggle.

Amy Kennedy is the Education Director for The Kennedy Forum, providing consultation services that emphasizes evidence-based research and programming to facilitate policy change in the areas of education and mental health. She also sits on the Board of Directors of MHA. A New Jersey native, Amy has a lifelong interest in education policy, practice and politics. An educator by training, Amy has over 15 years of experience working in public schools in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and utilizes her experiences as a parent to promote the importance of social and emotional learning in the development of mental wellness for children and adolescents. Amy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University, and a Master of Science in Environmental Education from Nova Southeastern University. As part of her training, Amy has also obtained certification as an instructor in the subjects of Science, English and History.

Amy and Patrick are the proud parents of four children and live in southern New Jersey.

Doreen Gentzler anchors News4 at 6 and News4 for the Washington, D.C. NBC affiliate (NBC4). She also serves as the station’s medical reporter, filing cutting-edge health reports for all of the station’s newscasts. For more than 25 years, Gentzler has anchored with Jim Vance, making them one of the longest-tenured anchor teams in the country. She spent several years honing her reporting and anchoring skills in Chattanooga, Charlotte, Cleveland, and finally Philadelphia at WCAU before joining NBC4 in 1989. Gentzler is also the spokesperson for the station's health-related community outreach activities such as the annual NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo. Gentzler has won three local Emmy awards for reporting and anchoring as well as three other Emmy awards for news writing and reporting while in Cleveland. Doreen will be the Emcee at the 2017 Media Awards Luncheon on June 15th.

Make sure to register now to get the Early Bird Rate!

Last Call for Awards Nominations

Tomorrow is the last day to submit an awards nomination! We are asking for nominations for the following awards: Innovation in Programming Award, mPower Award, George Goodman and Ruth P. Brudney Social Work Award, Clifford W. Beers Award, and the Media Awards.  

View the nomination guidelines and award descriptions here and submit your nominations here.

Self-nominations are welcome, and you may submit multiple nominations. Please note the 2017 Legislator Awards are awarded under a separate process. The deadline for all submissions is tomorrow, March 31, 2017.

Exhibits and Sponsorship

Want to promote your organization and be seen by hundreds of mental health advocates, clinicians, and consumers? Considering sponsoring or exhibiting at the conference. Learn more here.

For more information on MHA’s 2017 Annual Conference, check out MHA’s 2017 conference website at

What's Up with Congress?

It’s been a busy month! The House GOP released a new healthcare bill to makes changes to the ACA (Obamacare) called American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA). MHA encouraged Representatives to vote no on the current draft on the bill, as it would reduce access to mental health services. On Friday, the House was poised to take a vote on the bill, but thanks to advocates like YOU who contacted their Representatives, the bill was pulled by Speaker Ryan before a vote could be taken. Click here to read more about what happened and what it means for future mental health policy.

What We're Reading

Features Paul Gionfriddo:

Huffington Post: Mental Health Patients Worry They Won’t Survive Paul Ryan’s War On Medicaid

From Around the Web:

U.S. News: Plan to End Children's Mental Health Program Faces Pushback

Washington Post: When we thought mental illness could be cured with architecture

Forbes: How Trauma In One's Teens Can Affect Mental Health In Mid-Life 

Vocativ: Suicide Rates On The Rise In U.S., Especially In Rural Areas — CDC

Where in the World is Paul Gionfriddo?

Paul joined business and nonprofit leaders at a two-day meeting at Yale University to learn about the soon-to-be-published results of a 20,000-worker survey on mental health and emotional intelligence in the workplace. We hope to be able to link their work, which is sponsored by the Faas Foundation, with our own workplace mental health work. Next up - an April 5th trip to Palm Beach, FL, where former MHA board member and current Clifford Beers Society member Margaret Donnelley will be honored at a black-tie event.

Did You Know?  

Nation’s First National Peer Support Certification Launched March 15th


After years of development, MHA announced this month the creation of the MHA National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) credential. This groundbreaking national advanced certification lets peers – individuals who share the experience of living with a psychiatric disorder and/or addiction – show they have the highest levels of knowledge and experience to create new opportunities in public and private settings.

Peer-initiated and conceived, the MHA NCPS credential recognizes peers with the lived experience, training, and job experience to work alongside healthcare teams. The expansion of peer support into the private sector will open new career paths and opportunities, which have been previously unexplored, for thousands of peer supporters. Learn more about the certification here.

May is Mental Health Month 2017 Toolkit Now Live

MHM 2017

MHA is excited to announce that on March 20, 2017 we launched the newest May is Mental Health Month toolkit! Already, this year’s toolkit is even bigger than before: we have had over 1,400 downloads in the past 10 days!

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental problem.

That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health MonthRisky Businessis a call 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.

This year's toolkit includes:

  • Media Materials
  • Key Messages
  • Sample Press Release
  • Drop-In Article
  • May is Mental Health Month Proclamation

Social Media and Web Components

  • Sample Facebook and Twitter Posts
  • Facebook Profile and Cover Images
  • Twitter Profile and Header Images
  • Additional Image for Sharing
  • "What's Too Far?" Quiz Call to Action Image
  • Horizontal Banner Image
  • Vertical Banner Image

Fact Sheets and Other Handouts

  • Fact Sheet - Risky Business: Marijuana
  • Fact Sheet - Risky Business: Prescription Drug Misuse
  • Fact Sheet - Risky Business: Exercise
  • Fact Sheet - Risky Business: Sex
  • Fact Sheet - Risky Business: Compulsive Buying
  • Fact Sheet - Risky Business: Internet Addiction
  • May is Mental Health Month Wellness Tips Poster
  • Worksheet: Filling the Void
  • Worksheet: A Letter to Risky Business

Check out to download the toolkit today!

New Booster Program to Raise Funds For MHA

MHA has partnered with, a free crowdfunding platform that helps organizations raise awareness and funds online through the sale of customized items to launch its first campaign to inspire individuals to FIGHT IN THE OPEN.

Booster 1

We encourage you to take part in this campaign by purchasing a FIGHT IN THE OPEN t-shirt and wearing it during Mental Health Month in May. Take a selfie with your t-shirt and tag Mental Health America on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with the hashtag #FightInTheOpen to join our community!

booster staff

Wearing a t-shirt about mental health may not seem like much, but sometimes a conversation starter is all someone needs to know they are not alone. We embrace Clifford Beers’ message of sharing our stories and experiences to help others know that they are not alone – thus creating a movement to FIGHT IN THE OPEN.

Additionally, for each t-shirt purchased through your local MHA affiliate, 30% of the proceeds will go directly to that specific affiliate.

To order, go to the FIGHT IN THE OPEN campaign here OR through your local affiliate’s customizable link that leads to the Booster campaign.

MHA Friend Amy Bleuel Passes Away

It is with great sadness that we share that MHA friend Amy Bleuel passed away on March 23rd at the age of 31. Amy was known as a and tireless advocate for mental health and suicide prevention, and was the founder of the popular campaign involving the semicolon tattoo. Our thoughts and condolences are with Amy’s friends and family. Read more from The Mighty.

WQED To Premiere New Documentary Featuring MHA and Paul Gionfriddo

Do you live in Pittsburgh? Check out the premiere of Before Stage Four: Confronting Early Psychosis, a new documentary focused on MHA’s Before Stage 4 philosophy, featuring personal stories including MHA's President & CEO Paul Gionfriddo's journey with his son, Tim. The document premieres Thursday, March 30 at 8pm on WQED-TV with encore presentations on Monday, April 3 at 7:30pm and Thursday, May 25 at 8pm. Learn more here.

Affiliate News

Welcome Mental Health Minnesota

MHA is pleased to announce that Mental Health Minnesota—the state’s first mental health advocacy and education organization—has formally affiliated with MHA. Based in St. Paul, Mental Health Minnesota’s mission is to enhance mental health, promote individual empowerment, and increase access to treatment and services for persons with mental illness. Mental Health Minnesota raises awareness of mental health issues and offer programs and resources to individuals, families, employers, and youth.  

Additional programs and services at Mental Health Minnesota include the Minnesota Warmline, a safe and secure phone line for people working on their mental health recovery across the state of Minnesota. Mental Health Minnesota’s Peer Advocacy Service empowers people living with a mental illness to develop self-advocacy skills to overcome barriers. The Mental Health Ambassador Program works to engage people with a lived mental health experience in advocacy efforts throughout Minnesota, as well as spread the message of hope, recovery and wellness. Mental Health Minnesota uses a peer-to-peer approach in all services offered. Certified Peer Specialists are hired exclusively for both the Warmline and Peer Advocacy programs. Read more here.

Webinar recording: Clinical Trials and Advocacy; Working Together for Recovery

This affiliate webinar was held on March 8, 2017, and focuses on the benefits and barriers to collaboration, examples of existing partnerships, the role of a clinical research site, safeguards for volunteers, misconceptions versus reality in clinical research, and the introduction of The STARR Coalition, a nonprofit organization bringing stakeholders together across these fields for positive change. Those affiliates that were note able to participate can watch the webinar recording here.

Mental Health America of Central Carolinas Seeks Executive Director

Mental Health America of Central Carolinas(MHACC) is seeking its next leader to serve as the face of MHACC and lead the organization through its next phase of growth in partnership with its board of directors. The Executive Director serves as chief executive of MHACC and, in partnership with the Board, is responsible for the success of MHACC. For a complete position description, clickhere. To apply, please send your resume, cover letter and professional references to

Affiliate Name Change

Mental Health Association in Talbot County changed its name to Mental Health Association of the Eastern Shore.

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