MHA News From National: May 12, 2016 | Mental Health America

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MHA News From National: May 12, 2016

In this update:

MHA 2016 Annual Conference Update

Ice Breaker Run Kicks Off in THREE DAYS!
Have you been following the amazing collaboration MHA has with The Herren Project called the Ice Breaker RunOn May 15, six elite runners will set off from Los Angeles, California in an effort to raise awareness for mental health issues such as depression, addiction, PTSD, and more.  If you know running, then you’ll likely recognize some of the team: Charlie Engle, David Clark, Catra Corbett, Pam Rickard, Sophie Kashurba, Chris Martin and Bart Yasso. Want to follow them daily? You can even track them virtually!

They will run FOR THREE WEEKS, and will literally finish the journey on stage at MHA’s Annual Conference on June 9. One of the runners, Pam Rickard, was recently profiled in the Roanoke Times. Check it out! It’s going to be amazing, so check out the link above, consider donating to support their efforts, and then go register to see them all in person in Alexandria!  Can’t make it to the entire conference? No worries, we have a partial conference option, a one-day option, and even tickets for just the Ice Breaker hour! You don’t want to miss it!

MHA Teams Up with ITN Productions for B4Stage4: Changing the Conversation
As part of MHA’s collaboration with ITN Productions, MHA president and CEO Paul Gionfriddo had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco in search of his son Tim—who has schizophrenia—and who he hadn’t seen in 5 years. Every time Paul visits the Bay area, he goes to the places he thinks Tim will be, hoping to find and connect with his son, who has been in and out of homelessness for several years now.

The premiere of B4Stage4: Changing the Conversation will take place during MHA’s Annual Conference in just a few short weeks (June 8-10) but today you can also check out a sneak peak of the program, and of Paul’s most recent attempt to connect with his son. But you’ll have to attend the conference to see the conclusion, so register today!

Plenary Highlight: Actor Chris Wood
As part of our annual conference, we will introduce you to Chris Wood, a young actor with a hot new show on the CW…and someone with a very personal story to tell. Chris reached out to us last year because he was ready to share his story—and the story of his father. Chris is working with MHA, hoping to spread the message that we should all #fightintheopen to change the perception of mental illnesses in this country.

Recently the magazine Glamour caught up with Chris for a Q&A about the show, and about MHA. Check it out…then be sure to register to attend MHA’s Annual Conference to hear Chris in person on June 9!

Only a Few More Days Left to Secure Sponsorship or Exhibit Options!
Want to engage and interact with MHA, mental health advocates, stakeholders, and decision makers eager to learn more about mental health services, products, and options for living mentally healthier lives? Consider sponsoring, exhibiting, or advertising!

Pre-Conference Day for Affiliates Only—Don’t Miss It!
The 2016 MHA Conference will have pre-conference workshops for MHA affiliates only on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. If MHA affiliates register for the full conference, pre-conference activities are included (please remember to check yes for Affiliate Pre-Conference Day, if you are planning to attend).  All activities will be held at the Hilton Mark Center. Check out the content-packed agenda and speaker list!

What's Up with Congress?

MHA is joining other national advocacy organizations in asking the United States Senate to take up mental health reform legislation before the summer recess, and will be turning its attention back to the House in the coming week, as support grows for full Energy and Commerce Committee action on the House bill as well. While there is still work to be done and these bills—if passed—will represent just a beginning, MHA is encouraged that they have continued to include many of MHA's priorities, while softening or eliminating provisions that we have not supported.  The sponsors have continued to call on MHA for advice and input, maintaining open lines of communication with us.  

MHA continues to advocate for investment in earlier identification and intervention, integration of health and behavioral health care, the removal of barriers to services integration, the opportunity for peers to be reimbursed by insurers when they work on clinical care teams, the promotion of innovation, the strengthening of the lead federal agency dealing with mental health.

What We're Reading

Market Watch: Walgreens Wants to Make Treating Mental Health as Common as Buying Cold Medicine
Fortune: Walgreens Is Launching a New Mental Health Platform
Forbes: Walgreens Expands Access To Mental Health Services
Huffington Post: Prince Harry and FLOTUS Brilliantly Shut Down Mental Health Stereotypes
People Magazine: Kristen Bell Discusses Dealing with Anxiety and Depression

Where in the World is Paul Gionfriddo?

Paul was in Clearwater, Florida this past Tuesday for a presentation on mental health and college athletes for the Alliance for Intercollegiate Sports Medicine, and is in Fort Wayne, Indiana today for breakfast and dinner presentations for MHA of Northeast Indiana, as well as a live TV interview with MHA- NE Indiana CEO Lisa Smith for Fort Wayne's ABC affiliate (Channel 21) show "Insight." 

He’ll travel back to Alexandria, but then will be back at it on Sunday for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) meeting in Atlanta, followed by a keynote for the Pitt Collaborative on Mental Health conference in Greenville, North Carolina. Then he is on to Phoenix, Arizona for a double keynote for MHA Arizona. Still on the docket—visits to Boston, New York, and Pennsylvania the following week.

Phew. I’m tired just think about all that. No rest for the weary during Mental Health Month!

Did You Know?

MHA Has Teamed Up With Walgreens!
Huge news this week! MHA announced on May 10th a new national collaboration with Walgreens, one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, to help connect more people with critical mental health screening tools and information. 

Working with MHA, Walgreens launched a new, dedicated mental health “answer center” on its website ( to help connect people to MHA’s Online Screening Program— free, scientifically-based online screenings for a number of conditions including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD and others. 

The new platform aims to improve health outcomes through early screening and intervention, to heighten consumer awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental illness, and to connect more people with clinical resources in their community who can help. With timely intervention so critical to early stage treatment, Walgreens and MHA together have set a goal to complete 3 million online screenings by the end of 2017. MHA believes that taking a screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. These screenings are part of our ongoing effort to address mental illness Before Stage 4.

Check out the full press release.

MHA is Partnering with The Mighty
We're thrilled to announce a new partnership that will bring MHA's resources in front of the wide-reaching readership of The Mighty! MHA will now have a growing home page on The Mighty where people can get involved with us.

The Mighty is a story-based health community focused on improving the lives of people facing disability, disease and mental illness. More than half of Americans are facing serious health conditions or medical issues. They want more than information. They want to be inspired. The Mighty publishes real stories about real people facing real challenges. 

We're focused on helping those with mental illness in their lives, and partnering with The Mighty will enable us to help even more people. We'll be reaching out into our community to get their stories in front of The Mighty's large readership.

We encourage you to submit a story to The Mighty and make your voice heard.

Here's an example of the kind of stories on The Mighty: Having a Mental Ilness Doesn't Erase Your Good.

May is Mental Health Month!

For over 65 years, MHA and our affiliates across the country have been responsible for the continuation and led the observance of the mental health advocacy community’s signature public education event; May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is - Life with a Mental Illness - and will call on individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and video by tagging their social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike (or submitting to MHA anonymously). Posts will be collected and displayed on a special page on MHA’s website.

Posting with the hashtag will allow people to speak up about their own experiences, to share their point of view with individuals who may be struggling to explain what they are going through—and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness. Sharing is the key to breaking down the discrimination and stigma surrounding mental illnesses, and to show others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.

The toolkit is available. Download it now! 

Affiliate News

Innovation Nation Deadline Approaching! Affiliates, Don’t Miss Out to Exhibit at MHA’s Annual Conference!
Friday, May 20, 2016, is the deadline for affiliates that want to take advantage of free exhibit booth space at the MHA Annual Conference, June 8-10, 2016, in Alexandria, Va. We are excited to inform you that Innovation Nation will be back again this year and MHA is dedicating 10 exhibit booths—FREE of charge—a $1,000 value, to affiliates who are interested in sharing a creative and innovative program during the Annual Conference. This year, we will award the 2016 Innovation in Programming Award winner, MHA of Georgia and its Project Healthy Moms program during Innovation Nation.

Affiliates will have an opportunity to share program ideas with their MHA peers—but on a larger scale. So you don’t just get an hour to share your amazing programs, you get exhibit space during the entire time the Exhibit Hall is open! Just think of the exposure you'll get in the company of MHA’s annual conference sponsors and exhibitors, and in front of the 500+ participants expected this year!

Space in the Exhibit Hall is limited. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to tout one of your innovative programs! To reserve your space, simply complete the attached application and submit to Valerie Sterns at by Friday, May 20, 2016.

Feedback on NFN?

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

500 Montgomery Street, Suite 820
 Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone (703) 684.7722

Toll Free (800) 969.6642

Fax (703) 684.5968

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