MHA News From National: October 8, 2015 | Mental Health America

You are here

MHA News From National: October 8, 2015

News From National: October 8, 2015
By: Erin Wallace, MHA Senior Director of Communications and Marketing

Welcome to October, Mental Health Advocates! In my house, the countdown is on to Halloween.  In addition to ghosts and goblins, we are all about super heroes this year, with my two little boys channeling on a daily basis Batman and Spiderman. Totally appropriate and fun, but I’m struck by the need to share with them stories of some real super heroes—like those of you who are working every day to make the lives of people with mental illness better. Seriously—you may not wear a cape or be able to always save the day, but it’s the advocates like you behind the scenes, fighting for what’s right, that is making a difference in the lives of others. So keep it up!

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” —Christopher Reeve

In this update:

  • What's Up with Congress?

  • MHA’s State of Mental Health Report

  • What We Are Reading

  • Where in the World is Paul Gionfriddo?

  • Did You Know?

  • Affiliate News and Updates

What’s Up with Congress?

MHA has been working hard to advocate for mental health reform, and it appears as if those on Capitol Hill are in agreement that the time to (finally) do something is now. MHA joined the National Council for Behavioral Health and singer Demi Lovato this week for its Hill Day, and it was a huge success. MHA leadership and staff have also been meeting with leadership in the House and Senate and urging them to act. MHA is hopeful the House legislation (H.R. 2646) will be marked up within the next month, and that we’ll see similar movement on the Senate side.

MHA has not endorsed either H.R. 2646 or S. 1945, but sees both pieces of legislation as a solid start in addressing what many consider to be a broken system.  MHA issued statements outlining its opinion on the bills; you can read about them here:  H.R. 2646 and S. 1945.

MHA’s State of Mental Health Report

MHA released last week its annual State of Mental Health in America report, with startling numbers of how many Americans are not receiving the necessary treatments for mental health and substance use issues. Of particular concern is that even among our most severely depressed youth, only 22 percent are receiving adequate treatment for their mental health problems.  

Once again the report provided overall rankings for all 50 states and the District of Columbia evaluating both the prevalence of mental health issues and access to mental health care in America.  Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Connecticut rank as the top three states for mental health, while Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon were at the bottom in this year’s rankings. This year, MHA partnered with the data visual developers at HealthGrove to produce online interactive heat maps that allow visitors to explore how the 50 states compare to one another as well as the visual representation of changes in the data over time.

The report provides a snapshot of mental health status among youth and adults for policy and program planning, analysis, and evaluation; tracks changes in prevalence of mental health issues and access to mental health care; and analyzes how changes in national data reflect the impact of legislation like the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is MHA’s hope that the report will increase dialogue and improve outcomes for individuals and families with mental health needs. 

What We’re Reading

MHA Blog Chiming in: Stigma or Discrimination? Language Matters
MHA-CAMH Press Release: First-Ever U.S. Study on Workplace Wellness Finds 80 Percent of People Would Rather Work Alone Because of Unhelpful or Hostile Work Environments 
MHA-HealthGrove Press Release: 42 CFR Part 2 Updates Would Improve Access to Care Without Compromising Patient Privacy
The Hill: Senator Sees Momentum for Mental Health Reform
WSLS: Mental Health Advocates Flood Capitol Hill Demanding Major Overhaul (Paul Gionfriddo quoted)
U.S. News and World Report: White House Claims Medicaid Expansion Would Curb Gun Violence (Paul Gionfriddo quoted)
USA Today: Groups Call on Congress to Reform Mental Health System
Washington Post: How News Coverage of Violent Rampages Stigmatizes People with Mental Illness
UPI: Demi Lovato Advocates for Mental Health on the Hill
Forbes: 60 Minutes: Patrick Kennedy Breaks The Silence On Mental Health And Addiction
PR Newswire: FDA Approves New Injectable Schizophrenia Drug

Where in the World is Paul Gionfriddo?

Over the next two days, Paul is keynoting three (!) separate events. Today, Paul is in Georgia speaking at a symposium by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. He then will hop a plane to Connecticut where he will keynote tonight the Rushford Center 40th Anniversary Celebration in Middletown. Rushford is one of Connecticut's leading providers of addiction and mental health treatment programs for children, teens and adults. Paul is then back in the Washington area tomorrow to speak at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Centennial event in Baltimore, Maryland. Busy guy!

Did You Know?

Webinar: A Peer Driven Solution to Isolation and Social Exclusion: Part II
October 20, 2015 at 2 p.m. ET
 "A Peer Driven Solution to Isolation and Social Exclusion: Part II” is the second of three training webinars on MHA's highly innovative and successful It’s My Life: Social Self Directed Care program.

Webinar participants will learn more about the skills and training of our Peer Life Coaches, including peer support, professional life coaching, motivational interviewing and psychiatric rehabilitation. Register for this free webinar:

Webinar: Creating Sustainable Funding For Your Mental Health Organization
October 23, 2015 at 3 p.m. ET
Please join Terry Axelrod, Founder and CEO, Benevon and Susan Crain Lewis, President and CEO, Mental Health America of the Heartland, for a free webinar on how to create sustainable funding for your mental health organization.  

By the end of this session, you will have learned:

  • A tested system to identify and cultivate donors who love your mission—donors who will give for operations, capital, and endowment

  • How to engage your community in your organization’s mission and to inspire giving

  • How to get started right away to implement mission-focused, permission-based fundraising

Space is limited. Register today:  Who Should Attend? Key organizational leadership, including board members, executive director or CEO, development director and volunteers.

Questions: Contact Bianca Galam at 206-428-2150 or or Valerie Sterns at 703-797-2594 or

Affiliate News and Updates
Mental Health Connecticut and DIFD Power to the Purple Awareness Ride
On September 25th Mental Health Connecticut hosted a kick-off assembly for the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier’s DIFD Power to the Purple Awareness Bike Ride for youth mental health and suicide prevention at Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, CT. The student assembly featured Hilary Bryant who shared her personal story of struggling with extreme emotional distress as a teenager, her contemplation of suicide, and how she achieved recovery.

In addition, Marcel “Fable” Price, also known as Fable the Poet, used spoken word poetry to empower youth to discuss their mental health and wellness in a safe environment. The event concluded with the bike riders starting off on their awareness ride. Four days and 230 miles later, the team concluded their biking journey in Binghamton, NY. Fable the Poet performed at MHA of Dutchess County’s Gala event before joining the team in Binghamton to perform. This after-school event was a collaborative effort by the Promise Zone and the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier and hosted close to 100 students.  

The DIFD Power to the Purple Awareness Ride was sponsored through the generous support of Mental Health America of Dutchess County, NY.  DIFD is a youth-driven initiative to encourage those important conversations, raise awareness and transform youth mental health. More information is available at If you’d like to bring DIFD and the Power to the Purple to your community, please contact MHAST's Keith Leahey at

Mental Health Association of East Tennessee Receives APA’s Psychiatric Achievement Award
Today, the American Psychiatric Association will present its Psychiatric Achievement Award to the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee at the Institute on Psychiatric Services Conference in New York City. MHAET will receive this distinguished award (and cash prize) for its Integrating School Based Outreach: Mental Health 101 & Typical or Troubled? programs which have effectively improved student recognition of mental health problems, reduced suicidal behaviors, reduced suicide attempts, and reduced completed suicides, while increasing teacher referrals of students for mental health care.

Importantly, the integrated approach also resulted in a 453 percent increase in treatment engaged youth in Knox County, the county with the most Mental Health 101 schools and most teachers trained in the “Typical or Troubled?” program and follow up in-services.  Since 2008, 116,000 students have received Mental Health 101, 3,000 teachers have been trained resulting in 57 percent fewer high school youth suicide attempts and zero teen suicides in Knox County, TN in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Delivering this integrated early intervention model in schools ensures youth are identified earlier and enter treatment earlier instead of waiting until Stage4. For more information, please contact Ben Harrington at or 865-584-9125.

Feedback on NFN?

Want to see more or less of something? MHA welcomes your feedback! Please email thoughts and suggestions to Erin Wallace at

500 Montgomery Street, Suite 820
 Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone (703) 684.7722

Toll Free (800) 969.6642

Fax (703) 684.5968

Web Sponsor

Text Resize

-A +A

The links on this page may contain document data that requires additional software to open: