In The News | NAMI

Mother of Former Miss USA turns pain into purpose

Posted on May 22, 2024


April Simpkins is the mother of the late Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst. Kryst battled persistent, depressive disorder for years and unfortunately died by suicide on January 30th, 2022 at the age of 30. The final chapter of (her new) book includes notes from April Simpkins. She details the pain she felt from the moment she realized her daughter was no longer with her but also how she is managing her grief and helping others to do the same. Simpkins is a national ambassador for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Health.


Congress (Finally) Talks Black Male Mental Health

Posted on May 13, 2024

The Sacramento Observer

What’s not shown is the pressure many players feel at carrying their entire families, their neighborhoods and, to some extent, the wider community on their backs and shoulders. Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) asked Marcus Smith II, a first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, to discuss the toll that comes with success for many African American athletes. Other participants included Arthur Evans, CEO of the American Psychological Association; Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association; Daniel Gillison Jr., CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness; veteran Rep. Danny Davis; and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Steven Horsford.


Watch CBS Mornings: Cheslie Kryst’s book debuts posthumously

Posted on April 22, 2024

Former Miss USA and Extra correspondent Cheslie Kryst shared her excitement about writing her first book, finishing the manuscript shortly before she died by suicide in 2022, at age 30. Her family says she battled severe depression for years. Now, her mother, April Simpkins, is honoring her daughter's wish by publishing her book. It's called "By the Time You Read This: The Space Between Cheslie's Smile and Mental Illness." April Simpkins joins us first on "CBS Mornings." For more information on Cheslie Kryst go to


Suicide Is On The Rise For Young Americans, With No Clear Answers

Posted on April 11, 2024


In December 2021, the US surgeon general issued a rare public health advisory on the rising number of youth attempting suicide, singling out social media and the pandemic, which had "exacerbated the unprecedented stresses young people already faced". The Covid pandemic could be a contributing factor, says Dr Christine Crawford, a psychiatrist and associate medical director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. "It caused this significant hit on our young people in terms of acquiring the social skills and tools that they need," she says. "They were at home, they were disconnected from their peers and from the elements that are so critical for healthy development in a young person."


Schizophrenia Stages: What to Know About Progression

Posted on January 5, 2024


For many people, a key point in the progression of schizophrenia is known as the first episode of psychosis and tends to occur between ages 16 and 30. While the episode may trigger medical intervention and a psychiatric evaluation, an early-in-life psychotic episode does not always merit a diagnosis on its own, according to Christine Crawford, MD, MPH, NAMI associate medical director. “Prodromal symptoms can occur way before a person starts to develop the typical (active stage) symptoms that we tend to talk about when it comes to schizophrenia,” says Dr. Crawford. During this period, people tend to experience what are referred to as “negative” symptoms of schizophrenia. They become more withdrawn socially, wanting to spend more time alone, or they are unmotivated to do things that they typically enjoy, says Dr. Crawford. They may tend to be less vocal or not speak as much, or not express emotions in the same way as they typically would, or they seem more emotionally flat, she says.


How to Find a Great Therapist You Can Actually Afford

Posted on January 3, 2024

It shouldn’t have to be so hard, but there are things you can do to make it a little easier. Explore your insurer’s directory of in-network therapists first, then browse online databases. You can check your insurance company’s online directory to start or call them directly to ask for a list of in-network therapists in your area. “Tell them exactly what you need,” Ken Duckworth, MD, NAMI CMO, tells SELF. “You’re paying them, and [helping you find a provider] is part of their obligation.” Some providers operate on a sliding scale with some of their clients. This means that the amount they charge varies based on factors like a person’s income, Dr. Duckworth explains, although how much of a discount they offer is totally up to them. So, if you’re drawn to someone you believe is an especially good choice for you, but they’re not covered by your insurance, this may be an option.


Proposal expands Medicaid coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatment

Posted on January 3, 2024


As cities from coast-to-coast grapple with addiction and homelessness, there is now a push in Congress to expand access to mental health treatment for low-income people. “We hear from families everyday who have a loved one who’s in a mental health crisis and there’s no bed available,” said Hannah Wesolowski, NAMI CAO. “There’s no place for them to get in-patient care.” That’s in large part because of a 1965 law that banned federal money from paying for mental health treatment in a hospital with more than 16 beds. “If somebody is in crisis, they go to an ER. There’s no bed available. Often, they’re discharged back on to the street. How is that helping the person and how is that improving the community?” said Wesolowski. Last month, the House overwhelmingly passed a measure to change the nearly 60-year-old rule. A similar measure is being considered in the Senate. “It’s the only piece of Medicaid law that restricts the type of care based on a person’s illness,” said Wesolowski


What Every Guy Should Know About Bipolar I Disorder

Posted on December 18, 2023


In fact, biologically men are less likely than women to be diagnosed with any mental illness, including bipolar disorder, says Ken Duckworth, M.D., NAMI CMO, and author of You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health. He believes that this has less to do with bipolar disorder and more to do with cultural expectations of gender. “Women have more social permission to seek mental health treatment than men,” says Dr. Duckworth. “And the fact that men are less likely to seek help, this really complicates making sense of their mental health history.” Men are much more likely to turn to substances as a method of coping, according to Dr. Duckworth. “Substance abuse adds to the complexity of bipolar disease in males,” Dr. Duckworth adds. “Imagine you have a depressive episode. Then, during a manic episode, you drink heavily. You go into detox, and the next time you see the psychiatrist in six months you’re back to being depressed. So, the psychiatrist gets it wrong and says you have an addiction and depression.”


Mental health funding is fast becoming “the bipartisan issue of our time”

Posted on December 13, 2023

Route Fifty

It’s widely acknowledged that there’s a desperate need for improved and expanded mental health services across the country—so much so that this is one of the few issues that appears to be gaining traction in both red and blue states. Significant investments have been made in recent months in bright red Montana and Texas and in deep blue California and New York. “We’re seeing record breaking investments across multiple states. Mental health is the bipartisan issue of our time,” says Stephanie Pasternak, director of state affairs at NAMI. “We review mental health legislation each year and the majority of them are bipartisan.” “I think we’re seeing the most innovation in crisis care,” says Pasternak. “It’s how communities across the country are rethinking how they respond to people in a mental health crisis. For so long, we’ve treated them as a public safety issue when it’s really a health care issue.”


On the Job With Bipolar I Disorder

Posted on December 12, 2023


Living and working with bipolar is an “art, not a science,” says Ken Duckworth, M.D., NAMI CMO. That means, it takes time and creativity to figure out the right combination of medical interventions, including medications and regular therapy sessions, that will help you to live and work successfully with this disorder. Regardless of your current professional status, the first order of business after a BD-I diagnosis is to find a bipolar treatment approach that works for you—because management plans differ from person to person, explains Dr. Duckworth. Today, as mental health becomes less stigmatized, workplaces that prioritize psychological well-being are more common than you’d think, says Dr. Duckworth. So, taking the time to find the right company can make all the difference.

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