News From National: July 14, 2016 | Mental Health America

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News From National: July 14, 2016

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

News from National has been on a hiatus for a few weeks, mainly because this tired conference planner was on vacation after an incredibly successful event (read more below).

But that doesn’t mean MHA has been slowing down. We are trying to stay cool during a DC heat wave but wow is there a lot going on to keep us busy!

In this update:

MHA 2016 Annual Conference

Phew, where do I begin? What a conference! Almost 600 people attended MHA’s pre-conference day and our 2016 Annual Conference on Media, Messaging, and Mental Health last month. A huge thank you to those who attended and supported MHA, our vendors and exhibitors, and our presenters.  

Didn’t make it? Here is a snapshot of what you missed:

  • A special video welcome from Rosalyn Carter;
  • An opening keynote from WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw, who spoke openly of her own recovery journey;
  • An amazing conversation with the world’s former #1 ranked middle-distance runner, Suzy Favor Hamilton, who talked with me about the devastating toll bipolar disorder took on her life, and on her journey back from the brink;
  • A sad and moving keynote by Sue Klebold, mother of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold;
  • An incredible finale of the Ice Breaker Run, which featured seven individuals who each completed a 3-week run across the country to raise awareness for mental health, MHA, and The Herren Project;
  • A deeply personal conversation with CW Containment star, Chris Wood, about his dad’s late diagnosis and early death from mental illness and heart disease, and the effect it had on Chris;
  • A call to action through early intervention, a focus on children, and integration of health and education, by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy;
  • A touching story of recovery after he attempted suicide by leaping from the Golden Gate Bridge by Clifford Beers Award winner Kevin Hines;
  • An honest conversation about the challenges of infusing common sense depictions of people living with mental illnesses into mainstream entertainment television with eight-time Emmy award-winning writer, Patrick Mulcahey and Entertainment Industry Council (EIC) founder Brian Dyak;
  • An incredible panel with the You Rock Foundation and the members of the rock band Neon Trees, all of whom shared their own stories of recovery; and
  • An uplifting closing conversation with the “Go-To Mom,” Kimberley Clayton Blaine, who shared her message of healing and the daily challenges of giving her young son hope in his own journey to recovery.

We also announced the dates for NEXT YEAR!

Save the Date — June 14-16, 2017 (with pre-con activities on the 13th) at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.  Stay tuned for announcements in the coming months regarding theme, calls for proposals and more!

What's Up with Congress?

A lot these days, at least when it comes to mental health. After years of advocacy efforts to strengthen mental health legislation in Congress, MHA announced last month its support of H.R. 2646 and S. 1945/2680. On July 6th H.R. 2646, The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015, passed out of the House.

We have made a lot of progress in making this legislation as strong as possible, but there is still a long way to go. Action now moves to the Senate, and MHA is encouraging all advocates to contact their Senators and urge them to vote on and pass S. 2680, The Mental Health Reform Act of 2016, as soon as possible.

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

MHA Chiming In: An Open Letter to the Peer Community (authored by Patrick Hendry, MHA Vice President of Peer Advocacy, Supports and Services)

Dallas Morning News: Should Dallas officers who survived ambush be required to undergo counseling?

Politico: Obamacare and mental health: An unfinished story

CBS News: Pediatricians urged to screen teens for suicide risks

Forbes: Five Ways Pokémon GO Is Actually Good For You

US News and World Report: A State of Emergency

Teen Vogue: Mental Health Resources for Black Teens

Where in the World is Paul Gionfriddo?

Drinking a lot of Italian wine, no doubt. Following MHA’s Annual Conference, Paul took a much deserved vacation to Italy, and finally had time to relax and enjoy some down time!

Paul will spend most of the remainder of July advocating on the Hill for mental health reform, and will get back on the road come August when he travels to Chicago on the 8th for a meeting with the National Council of State Legislators (NCSL) and its State Health Innovations Task Force.

Did You Know?

July is Minority Health Month

MHA is proud to recognize July as Minority Mental Health Month. We believe that everyone at risk for mental illnesses and related disorders should receive early and effective interventions. Historically, communities of color experience unique and considerable challenges in accessing mental health services.

MHA has updated content available online at:

Additionally, Spanish versions of the infographics developed for May is Mental Health Month will be online next week at

MHA is partnering with the Temple Collaborative and We Need Your Help!

If you are a caregiver of someone with a mental health need, please share your knowledge and experience by participating in a survey about community inclusion for people with psychiatric needs.   

MHA the Temple Collaborative for Community Inclusion (TU Collaborative) are developing a toolkit on how to increase community inclusion for people with psychiatric disabilities with help from the Caregivers Action Network (CAN). Your participation is greatly appreciated, as it will help inform the toolkit. The survey will close on July 31st

Please feel free to share the survey with others! 

Affiliate News

Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities

SAMHSA needs your suggestions for topics and speakers for their TV Series, Road to Recovery. The 2017 theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities.”

If MHA affiliates would like to participate or make recommendations for Recovery Month 2017, please complete the brief Recovery Month 2017 Survey by COB tomorrow July 15, 2016. Please suggest research and/or resources related to the theme that would be appropriate for each target audience: rural and frontier communities; community-based organizations/faith-based organizations; criminal justice, law enforcement, and first responders; and public health professionals and departments. Click here to view past “Road to Recovery” episodes.

Affiliates in Action

Want to share your successful program or best practice and be featured in the Affiliates in Action newsletter? We want to hear from you and share your success stories with the Affiliate Network!

Upload a submission at:

You will need your affiliate ID and Password to upload a submission. We invite submissions on an ongoing basis. However, the deadline for the spring edition is Friday, August 12, 2016. For questions, contact MHA’s Valerie Sterns

2016 National Zarrow Mental Health Symposium

Explore housing, clinical and recovery supports, along with innovative solutions to homelessness at the 2016 National Zarrow Mental Health Symposium: Ready for Zero — Innovative and Sustainable Solutions for Housing & Recovery, September 28 – 30, 2016 at the COX Business Center in Tulsa, Okla.

The Symposium is presented through a partnership between Community Solutions, a New York-based non-profit that has organized the national campaign Zero: 2016, and Mental Health Association Oklahoma, an Oklahoma-based non-profit that is a nationally recognized leader in permanent supportive housing and peer recovery services. This national conference is a unique opportunity to meet and connect with other like-minded attendees who are inspired to transform the lives of people impacted by mental illness and homelessness through innovative and sustainable programs and tools. Plus, you can receive valuable CEU and ethics hours. Stay up-to-date on conference updates & announcements! Visit


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