NAMI-Northern Virginia’s Newslog
Public comment invited on draft guidelines for priority access to CSB
The CSB wants to hear from you! The board has approved for public review and comment a set of guidelines for assigning priority access to CSB services. This process is necessary and important to ensure compliance with state and federal codes and regulations. It also helps guide decisions about how best to use local funding dollars. Guidelines for assigning priority access must take into consideration and include those individuals whose needs cannot be addressed except through a public system such as the CSB.
Please submit comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 3, 2014. Written comments can also be mailed to: CSB 12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 836, Fairfax, VA 22035.
Creigh Deeds’s son, my daughter and my fears about Virginia’s mental health system
By Cristy Gallagher (NAMI Northern Virginia member and support group leader)
From The Washington Post, November 22, 2013
I was coming home from visiting my 11-year-old daughter at a Virginia psychiatric hospital Tuesday when I heard about the stabbing of state Sen. Creigh Deeds and the suicide of his son, Austin. According to some reports, the younger Deeds had been denied admittance to a psychiatric hospital the day before. I was heartbroken. This family was let down by the same broken mental health system my family depends on.
My daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 8. When I checked her into Dominion Hospital on Nov. 15, I was grateful there was a bed available. She’d been having violent rages — punching and kicking me and her younger brother and trying to jump out her window. Although no mother ever wants to leave her child in a psychiatric hospital, I knew it was the safest place for her.
Click here to read the full story.
Virginia Senator Stabbing Highlights Mental Health System Deficiencies
Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds is recovering today from stab wounds inflicted yesterday, apparently by his son Gus, who died shortly afterwards when he committed suicide by shooting himself.
The tragedy is compounded by reports that 24-year-old Gus Deeds was brought in for an emergency mental health evaluation only one day earlier, but was released because there were no psychiatric beds available for him in Western Virginia.
Mira Signer, executive director of the National Alliance for Mental Illness in Virginia, was interviewed on NPR's Here and Now on November 20.
Click here for the full transcript.
A Closer Look At Mental Health Services
From the Kojo Nnamdi Show, November 21, 2013
In the wake of a violent episode in which Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds was reportedly stabbed by his son, who then fatally shot himself, many are asking about the efficacy of mental health treatment locally and nationally. Just a day before the incident, Deeds' son, Austin, was committed to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. Yet, Austin was released hours later when a psychiatric bed could not be found nearby. We look at how mental health services currently do and should work and consider changes coming to the system through President Barack Obama’s health care reform bill.
Click here for program information and to listen to the show.
The Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), Mental Health and You
Starting January 1, 2014, health insurance coverage will available through new Marketplaces. Under new laws, a person cannot be turned down because of pre-existing conditions, including mental illness. Plans offered through the Marketplace (“exchanges”) must include: mental health parity, Essential Benefits, and no lifetime limits. Who is eligible? Anyone may apply. If found eligible, you can then decide whether or not to enroll. Those currently on Medicare or Medicaid will stay on those plans, but there may be some benefit to applying to see if additional benefits are available. Individuals earning $11,490-$45,960 will be eligible for an advance Premium Tax Credit, which will reduce the cost of premiums. Unless Virginia moves to expand Medicaid, people making under $11,490, who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid under the ACA expansion rules, will not be eligible. These individuals and families can buy insurance on the Marketplace, but at full price. (If you would qualify under Medicaid expansion and do not buy insurance, you will not have to pay a fine for not being insured.) Click here to view the slides from our September Speaker’s Meeting, which covered the Affordable Care Act.
Health Insurance - Important Steps
and create your account in preparation for filing an application.
Through your account, fill out a simplified, 3-page application on or after October 1, 2013. (Help is available through online chat and at 1-800-318-2596)
Once you are notified about your level of qualification, choose a plan and enroll. (Be sure to ask questions if you don’t get a response!)
Health Insurance - Important Dates
Today: Visit www.healthcare.gov and create an account.
October 1, 2013: First day you can apply for healthcare coverage; use your account at www.healthcare.gov.
December 15, 2013: Last day to enroll for coverage to start on January 1, 2014.
15th of each month: Last day each month to enroll for coverage to begin on the 1st day of the next month. (For example, apply by January 15 for coverage to begin February 1.)
March 15, 2014: First enrollment period ends.
FAQ: How do I know if I should apply?
Anyone can apply, whether you have insurance now or not, whether you think you qualify or not. Even if you are found to not qualify right now, it is important to apply. Why? 1) If you don’t have insurance now, applying may ensure that you don’t get charged a penalty. 2) The more information available about those who apply and don’t get coverage, the more information will be available to improve the system and to provide coverage for more people in the future. And share your stories!
Click here to see a video entitled "What Virginia's New Health Insurance Marketplace Means for You." This video was produced by The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis. The video succinctly explains the Marketplace and how consumers can shop for coverage.
Twenty-Five Years of Progress: The View from NIMH and NINDS
By Thomas R. Insel and Story C. Landis
From Neuron, Volume 80, Issue 3, 561-567, 30 October 2013
As directors of two NIH institutes supporting neuroscience research, we explore the gap between 25 years of stunning progress in fundamental neuroscience and the persistent needs of those with brain disorders. We conclude that closing this gap will require a more detailed comprehension of brain function, a rethinking of how we approach translational science, a focus on human neurobiology, and a continuing commitment to build a diverse, innovative neuroscience workforce. In contrast to many other areas of medicine, we lack basic knowledge about our organ of interest. The next phase of progress on brain disorders will require a significantly deeper understanding of fundamental neurobiology.
Click here to see the full publication.
Getting Treatment for Mental Illness
From The Diane Rehm Show, October 15, 2013
We spend $140 billion on public mental health services in this country, but at any given time, approximately half of all seriously mentally ill people receive no treatment at all. Lack of public understanding is part of the problem: many still believe severe mental illness is psychological rather than biological. Federal programs conceived half a century ago to replace much maligned state institutions were poorly conceived, never adequately coordinated and, by all accounts, woefully inadequate. Today, family members, police officers and the courts find themselves on the front lines of this crisis. Diane and her guests discuss the challenges of getting help for people with severe mental illness.
Dr. E. Fuller Torrey president, Treatment Advocacy Center
Dr. Liza Gold clinical professor of psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical Center and vice president, American Academy of Psychiatry & The Law
Michael Biasotti police chief, New Windsor, N.Y. and past president, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police
Congressman Tim Murphy congressman, (R-Penn, 18th)
Click here to listen to the full program.
Kevin Breel: Confessions of a depressed comic
Kevin Breel didn't look like a depressed kid: team captain, funny, smart and confident. But he tells the story of the night he realized that -- to save his own life -- he needed to say four simple words. Writer, comic and mental health activist Kevin Breel speaks up about depression.
Click here to watch this Ted Talk.
The Navy Yard Tragedy: Mental Health Concerns
Michael J. Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released the following statement concerning about the tragedy at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
"NAMI shares the anguish and anger of the nation at the Navy Yard tragedy in which 12 military and civilian people died and several others were wounded. We extend our sympathy to their families.
Facts still are emerging, with the news media reporting some from unnamed sources. Mental health problems may be a factor in the rampage by the gunman; however, it is important not to speculate on medical diagnoses.
Several established facts and issues are relevant to public investigations surrounding the tragedy.
First, it has long been known that the strongest predictor of violence is past violence. With a criminal history that included two charges involving discharged firearms and disorderly conduct, questions immediately arise as to whether the gunman was ever entered into the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) database and how he was able to purchase the gun used in the tragedy-as well as how he was able to be granted a security clearance. On that basis alone, the tragedy might have been prevented.
Reports are also indicating that the gunman, a former Navy reservist, had sought help for mental health problems from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Although the likelihood of violence from people with mental illness is small, when violence does occur it is often a signal that something has gone terribly wrong in the mental health care system. There are important issues in this case that public authorities and the news media need to answer deliberately and accurately.
What was the full medical history?
Was there an actual diagnosis?
Where was a person seen and treated? When? By whom? How often?
Was treatment coordinated among different professionals?
Did the gunman ever seek treatment, but get delayed or denied?
Was the gunman taking any medication? Was he supposed to? If he was supposed to but wasn't, then why not?
Was there substance abuse?
What events may have triggered a psychiatric crisis?
Did family members ever receive education and support for coping and helping him?
Each of these questions is important not just in diagnosing potential causes of the Navy Yard tragedy, but in working to strengthen the mental health care system for anyone who needs help-regardless of any propensity toward violence.
NAMI represents millions of Americans whose lives have been affected by mental illness. As always, we call on the President, Congress and state leaders to strengthen the mental health care system and will continue to support such efforts. In the past two years, before this latest tragedy occurred, the need for action has been especially evident."
'Peers' may ease mental health worker shortage under Obamacare
By Christine Vestal, Pew/Stateline Staff Writer
Published September 11, 2013 in USA Today
When he was 44, Ben Achord recently recalled, he was "the picture of success." Married with three kids, he was a manager at a Charlotte, N.C., manufacturing company and owned a handsome four-bedroom house.
What he didn't know was he was suffering from schizoaffective disorder, a serious mental illness that can cause severe depression, delusions and hallucinations. Unaware of his condition, he self-medicated with alcohol, and before his 45th birthday he had lost everything—his family, his job and his house. He lived on the streets, twice attempted suicide and spent several months in a mental hospital in Georgia.
Click here to read the full article.
Suicide kills twice as many people as murder each year in the United States, and rates in the military recently surpassed those among civilians. But while scientists have identified some risk factors for suicide—being white, being male, substance abuse, mental illness—they still have little idea what spurs people to take their own lives.
Check out this discussion on NPR's Science Friday.
Coping Strategies for Anxious Kids, Ages 8-17 - What Parents Need to Know
Thursday, October 10, 2013, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Presenter: Erin D. Berman, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist, NIMH
Free and Open to the Public. Call to register by October 4: (301) 402-8225 or, email: email@example.com.
Topics Include: How to indentify an anxious child; How to change anxious thinking; The science and biological roots of anxiety in children; How computer technology is transforming the understanding of anxiety; Current treatment options (medications & CBT: cognitive behavioral therapy).
Seminar Location: Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, A&R Building, Room106/8/10 9601 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850 Enter Campus via Broschart Road.
Click here for more information.
In June 2013, NAMI Northern Virginia received a grant from The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia's "Loudoun Impact Fund" to expand programming for parents of young children living with mental illness. The grant will allow us to offer 'NAMI Basics' and a Family Support Group for parents of young children in Loudoun County.
Basics is a series of six, 2.5 hour classes offering support and education for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents living with behavioral, mental or emotional challenges. In addition, a new Family Support Group in Loudoun, for parents of young children living with mental illness, will be launched in the coming months.
Please check back for exact dates and more information, or email us at NAMINorthernVA@gmail.com to sign up for our email list and receive the latest program announcements. Information on other programs in Northern Virginia can be found at www.nami-northernvirginia.org.
Click here to see The Community Foundation's press release.
Many thanks to The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and the Loudoun Impact Fund for supporting this work!
Together on the Pathway to Wellness
An event for individuals with mental health issues or co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders, and for professionals and others who are interested in the topic of wellness and recovery.
Friday, October 11, 2013
8:45 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.
Ernst Community Cultural Center, Northern Virginia Community College – Annandale Campus
8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003
Cost: $20 (limited scholarships available)
Click here for a flyer. For more information, visit www.pathwaytowellness.vpweb.com.
Questions? Just fill out the quick “Contact Us” form on the website at http://pathwaytowellness.vpweb.com/Contact-Us.html and a planning committee member will get back to you promptly.
Addiction Recovery Month Community Celebration
September 25, 2013, 4:00-7:00 p.m.
Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria, VA
Join the City of Alexandria, Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria, Friends of Alexandria Mental Health Center and Alexandria's Mental Health HOPE Program. Keynote Speaker: Senator George Barker. There will be live music, barbeque, door prizes and much more.
This will be an free, exciting and fun-filled event for those in recovery, seeking recovery and family members. We are hoping to engage all treatment facilities, centers and programs. Click here for a flyer.
The Fairfax Re-entry Council invites you to its inaugural seminar on September 19th, “Re-entry: Building a Safer Community.”
The journey back home from incarceration is fraught with obstacles that, without support, can result in re-offenses and re-incarceration for some. It takes a coordinated, committed community response to help individuals successfully navigate these challenges and return to make positive contributions to the community. Join representatives from local government, nonprofit human service organizations, faith groups, area businesses, law enforcement and housing providers as we learn how other jurisdictions assist returning citizens to find jobs, homes and stable lives; and dialogue about what we can do to facilitate positive re-entry outcomes in Fairfax County.
Click here for a seminar flyer.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for the seminar, which will be held at the Fairfax County Government Center Board Auditorium from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2013 Miles for Mental Health Hike - Friends of Loudoun Mental Health
Saturday, October 5, 2013
On-site registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Event from 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Franklin Park -- Rotary Pavillion, 17501 Franklin Park Dr., Purcellville, VA 20132
This annual event creates awareness about mental health and helps end the stigma associated with mental illness. Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential.
This Hike is also a fund raiser. Proceeds from the Hike will help prevent homelessness among Loudoun residents disabled by mental illness.
Click here for more information. Click here to register!
Join PRS for Shaping the Future – A Celebration of Hope & Recovery
Saturday, October 5, 6:30 p.m.
Gannett/USA Today Atrium
7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22107
Click here for a flyer.
For more information, visit www.prsinc.org/fifty.
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Policy and Management Team, the Board charged by the Code of Virginia to manage local implementation of the Comprehensive Services Act for At-Risk Youth and Families (CSA) is seeking parent representatives who meet some or all of the following criteria:
• Parents of youth with behavioral health issues and/or intellectual disabilities who are or were involved in public child serving systems;
• Parents associated with a parent advocacy/support group with whom they can liaison in fulfilling their parent representative role;
• Parents with knowledge of the CSA system;
• Parents who reflect the cultural and racial diversity of families and youth in the Fairfax-Falls Church community.
The CPMT meets monthly for three hours, generally on the fourth Friday of the month, nine to twelve times a year. The meetings are 1:00 to 4:00. Parent representatives receive a stipend of $100 per meeting. CPMT members are also encouraged to participate in the annual Northern Virginia CSA Symposium, usually held on the first Wednesday in March. If members are assigned to subcommittees or workgroups their availability will be considered in scheduling meetings, and no more than one additional meeting per month would be required.
Parents interested in being considered for membership in the CPMT should apply by Friday, September 6.
Click here for a full description of the position and application process.
Eleanor Longden: The voices in my head
To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn't know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.
Click here to listen to this TED Talk.
Cuccinelli, McAuliffe address mental health
By Laura Vozzella
Printed in The Washington Post, August 5, 2013
RICHMOND — Ken Cuccinelli II touted tax cuts and preschool vouchers while Terry McAuliffe embraced Medicaid expansion Monday night as the candidates for Virginia governor laid out different visions for improving mental health in Virginia.
The rivals to succeed Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) appeared at a candidate forum for mental-health advocates and families affected by mental illness. Sponsored by a coalition of mental health organizations, the event drew several hundred people to an auditorium at Collegiate School in suburban Richmond.
Click here to read the full article.
The Quest For Meaning After Suicide Loss: Conversation & Collage
Saturday, September 28, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., Towson, MD
Workshop presented by Sharon Strouse (a survivor of suicide loss, art therapist, and author of the new book Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing) and Franklin Cook
This workshop is designed to be a safe, supportive day of healing shared by a small group of survivors of suicide loss. Click here for a workshop flyer and registration form.
If you have a mental health challenge or co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder, if you provide professional services to people with these challenges, or if you are simply interested in the topic of wellness and recovery, don’t miss the upcoming conference “Together on the Pathway to Wellness,” on October 11 at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus. Learn about resources and supports available in Fairfax County, and have “hands-on” fun learning mindfulness techniques and physical approaches to wellness. Register now, as space is limited. Cost is $20, and limited scholarships are available. Conference sponsors and supporters include the Northern Virginia Mental Health Foundation, the Northern Virginia Community College – Office of Student Mental Health and Behavior, the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, the Wellness and Recovery Committee, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit the Wellness and Recovery Committee website for more information.
Click here to read Forging a Path Home, a housing needs report from Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board.
Teen Support Programs Expanding To Address Growing Needs
From Leesburg Today, written by Danielle Nadler, July 19, 2013
Just six months ago Emily May was a different person, she would tell you.
Once a happy, confident teenager, she became overwhelmed with feelings of anxiousness and depression; so much so she began to wonder if life was worth living.
“It got to the point where I was so hopeless, and I didn’t see any reason to live,” said Emily, who lives in Round Hill. “I didn’t think I was good enough.”
Her mother took her to a counselor in Purcellville, who later referred Emily to an Intensive Outpatient Program for teens at Grafton Integrated Health Network’s Leesburg campus. Through group and one-on-one therapy, the after-school program helps teens manage, and overcome, their challenges brought on by a psychiatric condition.
Click here to read the full article.
On Tuesday, July 23, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) unveiled a new multiplatform public service announcement (PSA) campaign to increase understanding and awareness about mental health. To encourage conversation and let people know that help is available and effective, the “OK2Talk” campaign includes television and radio ads in English and Spanish that feature teens and young adults opening up about their experiences with mental illness.
Click here for a video of the press conference!
Ellie, a volunteer and Young Adult Peer from NAMI Northern Virginia, presented at the event. Ellie is a 24-year old who has come a long way in her recovery since she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 15. Now Ellie is a Peer Mentor for NAMI Northern Virginia's young adult Peer-to-Peer recovery education classes, helping to bring education, support, and hope to other young adults who are working towards recovery. Ellie is also a graduate student at George Washington University, working towards a Masters degree in clinical mental health counseling. Ellie is a great example of a young adult in recovery who is not afraid to tell her story in order to help encourage others to seek help and achieve wellness.
Other expected speakers and attendees included:
- NAB President/CEO and former Senator Gordon H. Smith
- The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Health and Human Services [Invited]
- Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
- Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)
- Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA)
- Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
NAM Northern Virginia has received national recognition for its pioneering work in support of young adults living with mental illness. Click here for a complete list of our current support groups, including several for young adults and for parents of children living with mental illness.
- Do you live in Arlington and care about services for those with mental illness? Consider serving on Arlington’s Community Services Board! Contact Naomi Verdugo at email@example.com.
- Fairfax residents of Mount Vernon or Sully Districts: there are openings for the Fairfax Community Services Board. If interested in serving, contact George Braunstein at George.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Alexandria City residents, your Community Services Board may have a vacancy and could benefit from your experience! Contact Naomi Verdugo at email@example.com if interested.
- Fairfax County residents who want to work with a group of others seeking to improve your county’s services for those with mental illness, please contact Lavonne Pherson to hear about Concerned Families of Fairfax County at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you want to help develop activities and services for Arlington young adults with mental illness, contact Judy Deane at email@example.com.
Family-to-Family is now included in SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices! Family-to-Family is a 12-session course for family caregivers of individuals living with serious mental illness. Visit our homepage to learn more about our current Family-to-Family classes, and click here to learn more about evidence-based practice.
Check out the new National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) website!
The redesigned NIMH website has a new look and feel but the fundamental goal remains the same: to make it easy to find health information about mental disorders, explore research activities, and get the latest news from NIMH scientists and grantees.
President Obama has called for a national conversation on mental health care. Obama sited persistent stigma, and a large number of those living with mental illness who are not receiving adequate treatment. His remarks were made at the National Conference on Mental Health. Click here to learn more.
At the National Conference on Mental Health, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the launch of a new online resource for people looking for information about mental health. This website provides information about the signs of mental illness, how individuals can seek help, and how communities can host conversations about mental health. The website also features videos from a number of individuals sharing their stories about mental illness, recovery, and hope.
Bullying Exerts Psychiatric Effects Into Adulthood
From NIMH, June 15, 2013
Once considered a childhood rite of passage, bullying lingers well into adulthood. Bullies and victims alike are at risk for psychiatric problems such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide when they become adults, reported a study partially funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that was published in the April issue of JAMA Psychiatry.
Candidate Forum (PDF File)
CSB Housing Report (PDF File)
CFFC Meeting Announcement (PDF File)
CFFC notes (PDF File)
Grief Workshop (PDF File)
Parent rep announcement (Word Document)
PRS (PDF File)
Reentry Seminar (PDF File)
Recovery Month Celebration (PDF File)
Wellness Conference (PDF File)
OCD Walk (PDF File)
ACA Slides (PDF File)