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This video was made by the 2014 Mental Health Listening & Engagement Tour, which was sponsored by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. The tour involved Demi’s visiting with and speaking to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), The Jed Foundation, DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Allliance), and Mental Health America.
Here are three powerful messages every school needs to share to create an open environment for students to talk about mental health at school:
1. It’s OK to talk about mental illness
2. There is no shame in seeking help
3. There is hope after diagnosis
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3 Powerful Messages for Promoting Mental Health Awareness in Every School
Read Article on NAMI National Site
The federal budget for the U.S. government is determined yearly and outlines the amount of money that will be spent on different expenses in the upcoming year. So why is it important to know what a budget proposes to spend on programs related to mental health? Because it shows how your elected officials value investment in mental health programs, supports and research.
On March 4, the White House released President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for the federal government. It contains specific proposals for a $23 million increase for mental illness research and $130 million in additional funding for early intervention and mental health workforce development. This is a proposed budget to congress with how the president would spend the money for 2015. Congress will be working on their version of the budget as well.
Detailed below are some of the Obama Administration’s 2015 requests for mental illness research, services, supportive housing and veterans’ programs.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
The President is requesting a $23 million increase for NIMH for 2015. In addition, the President’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative would receive a $40 million boost, up to $100 million. The BRAIN Initiative is a multi-agency collaborative with a number of foundations designed to unleash new technologies and undertake basic mapping of circuits and neurons in the most complex organ in the human body.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The President is requesting $3.6 billion for SAMHSA, $63.2 million below the 2014 level. At the same time, a targeted number of mental health priorities would receive important increases. Among these are the President’s “Now is the Time” initiative for early intervention, mental health awareness and workforce development. For 2015, $130 million is being sought for the following priorities:
- $55 million for Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education), with $15 million set aside for Mental Health First Aid, which will train teachers, coaches, school counselors and others that interact with adolescents in how to recognize mental illness and refer young people to treatment.
- $50 million to train 5,000 new mental health professionals to serve students and young adults.
- $20 million for Healthy Transitions, which is a program to support young families and assist them in navigating the public mental health system.
- $5 million to support a national anti-stigma campaign.
The budget proposes the same amount of funding for the Mental Health Block Grant as 2014 which is $484 million. The Mental Health Block Grant is dedicated to building and supporting the community-based public mental health system across the country. The President is also proposing to continue the new 5 percent set aside in the Block Grant program started by Congress in 2014 for early identification and early intervention for first break psychosis. PATH (outreach and engagement for homeless individuals with mental illness) proposed funding is level at $65 million.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
There is some good news in the President’s budget for supportive housing programs that serve people with mental illness and other significant disabilities including the increases in funding outlined below.
- $34 million increase in the HUD Section 811 program with $25 million set aside for new Section 811 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PRA) units which support the lowest income people with long-term disabilities to live independently in the community.
- $301 million increase in funding for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs, which provides federal money for homeless shelter programs.
- $75 million for 10,000 additional VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) vouchers to end veteran homelessness.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Overall, the President is requesting $163.9 billion, or a 6.5 percent increase over the 2014 budget, for veteran services. The VA projects it will spend $7.2 billion for mental health treatment. In 2015, $1.6 billion is requested for programs to prevent or reduce homelessness, including:
- $500 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) to promote secure and stable housing.
- $374 million for the HUD-VASH program wherein VA provides case management services for at-risk veterans and their families and HUD provides permanent housing through its Housing Choice Voucher program.
- $253 million in grant and payments that support temporary housing provided by community-based organizations.
- $312 million is requested to address the massive VA claims backlog.
So what happens next? Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will be working on their proposed budgets. They will then come together to work out the differences in their budgets before it is sent back to the President. Sign up to receive NAMI Action Alerts to stay informed and advocate for mental health to Congress and the White House.
Read Article on NAMI National Site
By Shannon Peterson
Affordable housing with supportive services can be a foundation for recovery from mental illness. I work for a non-profit agency that provides supportive housing for adults living with mental illness and I’d like to use a graduate of the program, whom I’ll call Owen, to illustrate how a housing program can support and promote recovery from mental illness.
Owen had been homeless for several years before coming to our program, when his symptoms of schizophrenia were most severe. He was hospitalized a number of times and eventually placed on conservatorship and into a licensed residential care facility, where he was given daily care and supervision. As he received services and began to learn to manage his symptoms and recovery, he left the facility and moved into one of our shared housing homes.
In the supported housing program, Owen had a private bedroom and shared the common areas with other adults recovering from mental illness. The homes are independent settings with no staff present day-to-day, but there are regular meetings between staff and the residents to provide support and guidance. Residents are expected to engage in structured activity outside the house 20 hours each week or more; these activities can include any combination of work, school, volunteering, clubhouse or Wellness Center participation, appointments, 12-step meetings, religious services, or any activity that helps the individual maintain a schedule and use time productively. During his stay at the house, Owen formed mutually supportive relationships with peers in the house, and soon found employment with his new stability and self-confidence.
After several years at the supportive housing, Owen moved into one of the subsidized apartments, where he paid one-third of his income for rent. The apartments feature on-site support services seven days a week, and Owen dropped in briefly several times a week to discuss his day and often to seek reassurance. Although he had substantially recovered from his illness, he continued to experience mild to moderate paranoia and he found it helpful to “check out” his daily experiences and perceptions with someone he trusted. Owen also formed friendships with other residents in the building and participated in social and recreational activities arranged by the agency.
Eventually, Owen began to seek relationships and activities in the community more often. He started taking classes at a nearby community college, and became involved in a romantic relationship. As he continued to recover, he learned that his application for Section 8 had reached the top of the waiting list, and he decided to move out into a mainstream apartment not far from the from the subsidized and supported apartments.
Owen has now been living independently outside the supportive housing program for seven years, and he continues to develop his skills and improve in different areas of his life. Owen remains in contact with program staff and peers and enthusiastically participates in the annual camp offered for adults with mental illness.
Owen’s progress has been assisted at every stage by affordable and appropriate housing with support services. He considers himself lucky to have had access to a variety of settings that met his changing requirements. Owen’s story illustrates the benefits of housing for people who battle mental illnesses; it shows the importance of the role of housing in the recovery of the individual. Furthermore, it highlights the need for housing options, including both shared and private living arrangements, with on-site services when needed and completely independent housing when ready. Suitable housing supports recovery!
Shannon Peterson is a NAMI California board member and the NAMI California Consumer Council representative.
Proposed Rule by CMS Would Wipe Out Critical Protections in Medicare Part D for People Living With Serious Mental Illness
Read Article on NAMI National Site
On January 6, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled a proposed rule revising prior agency policy that required Part D plans to include on their formularies “all or substantially all” drugs within six classes: antidepressants, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, immunosuppressants, antiretrovirals, and antineoplastics. This policy, known as the “six protected classes” policy, has been in effect since the inception of Part D and has enjoyed strong bipartisan support in Congress. The Affordable Care Act strengthened this policy in 2010 by codifying it in federal statute, while granting CMS the authority to specify what criteria it would use to identify protected classes.
In last week’s proposed rule, CMS laid out its new criteria for deciding whether a class of drugs should have protected status:
failure to receive the drug would result in the patient’s hospitalization, disability or death within 7 days (the timeframe for the current exceptions and appeals process); and
medications in that class are not interchangeable.
The new criteria excludes antidepressants and immunosuppresants from protected status beginning in 2015. Antipsychotics would lose protected status in 2016. CMS argued that many of the drugs within these classes are interchangeable and will not cause hospitalization if patients do not immediately take them upon receiving a prescription.
CMS determined that antipsychotics also fail to meet the new criteria; however, they will not immediately be excluded from protected status. CMS is soliciting comments on whether a transitional policy for antipsychotics is needed.
NAMI has long supported the six protected classes policy and preserving open access to all FDA-approved medications. The public comment period is open through March 7, 2014. NAMI will be submitting comments. NAMI will also circulate sample comments to state and local NAMI affiliates and others who wish to submit their own comments about this important policy issue in the Medicare Part D program.
- 05/29/2017 6:15 pmFamily Support GroupThis support group is for adults who have family members/friends with mental illness. No registration required.
- 05/29/2017 6:15 pmConnection Support GroupThis support group is for adults with a diagnosed mental illness such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective, schizophrenia, OCD, bord...
- 06/01/2017 6:30 pmFamily-to-Family CourseThis course consists of a series of 12 classes for families of persons with psychiatric disorders. The course balances basic education about the diso...