Photos of SARDAA’s 2013 Conference and Gala

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Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) hosted its second annual conference, “Shattering Stigma – Realizing Recovery,” on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at the Houston Marriott Energy Corridor Hotel.

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Dr. Penelope Frese, Dr. Frederick Frese, Linda Stalters

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Margery Wakefield

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Dr. Matcheri Keshavan

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Linda Stalters, Jill Moran, Carmen Hedley

The conference provided friends, families and professionals with knowledge to aid individual’s in recovery and analyzed the challenges faced by professionals, the criminal justice system, and policy makers. Keynote speakers were Dr. Penelope Frese and Dr. Frederick Frese.

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Dr. Penny Frese, Dr. Tracey Skale, Dr. Fred Frese

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Charles Steinbach, Larry Ackerman, John Paul Stevenson

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Linda Stalters & John Paul Stevenson

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Jim Cronin wins the drawing for the mystery basket – Jill Moran presents the basket

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Jim Cronin & Linda Stalters

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Dr. Keshavan

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Brittany Joiner

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Auction Items

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Auction Items

 

Press Release: SARDAA’s 2013 Conference and Gala

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Dr. Penelope Frese, Dr. Frederick Frese, Linda Stalters

Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) hosted its second annual conference, “Shattering Stigma – Realizing Recovery,” on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at the Houston Marriott Energy Corridor Hotel.

The conference provided friends, families and professionals with knowledge to aid individual’s in recovery and analyzed the challenges faced by professionals, the criminal justice system, and policy makers. Keynote speakers were Dr. Penelope Frese and Dr. Frederick Frese.

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Dr. Matcheri Keshavan

Dr. Penelope Frese drew on her experience married to an incredible husband who has schizophrenia, and as a mother of four children with severe mental illness. She spoke about how to help loved ones without enabling—a delicate balancing act she compared to walking on a tightrope. Diego Demaya, J.D. explained how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) helps people with psychiatric disorders, especially in school and work. Charles Steinbach talked about his life with schizophrenia and the moment he decided “to be the best schizophrenic I could be.” His policy of telling everyone he meets that he has schizophrenia is courageous and helps shatter the stigma of mental illness. Jeff Rice, LMFT, LPC inspired us with his story of fighting and beating cancer and his work as a school counselor, family therapist, and consultant to schools serving children with special needs. Larry Ackerman spoke about the thousands of people with mental illness who are housed in jails instead of psychiatric hospitals, living in horrible conditions and not getting the treatment they need. He gave us suggestions about how to help people with mental illness who are in jail. Dr. Marvin Swartz educated us about Psychiatric Advance Directives and how they can help people with mental illness to remain in control of their treatment even when they are too sick to make decisions for themselves, and prevent a court from ordering a guardianship. Catherine Cerulli, J.D., Ph.D., spoke about the research on whether people with mental illness have positive experiences with mandated treatment and how effective it is in improving health, wellness, and independence. Dr. Matcheri Keshavan gave an incredible talk about the current research and treatments for schizophrenia. He gave everyone hope that better treatments will be found and that people with schizophrenia will soon be able to live more functional and happy lives.

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Margery Wakefield

Margery Wakefield, MSW told us her inspiring story of recovery: she has been hospitalized for schizophrenia fifty times but was able to complete two college degrees and work as a social worker, author, and caregiver. She says, “Never give up hope for loved ones with mental illness.” SARDAA presented her with the Joanne Verbanic Award for her leadership in Schizophrenics Anonymous.

Following the exceptional conference, a fantastic gala, “Jazz On My Mind,” was enjoyed by many influential community members as well as guests from around the country.  We thank our great major corporate sponsors: Concept Searching, EHS Insight, Gimmel, Otsuka American Pharmaceutical, Lundbeck, Advantage BMW Midtown, Enaxis Consulting, Janseen (J & J), The Houston Motor Club, MediaTech Institute,  and The Smooth Jazz Cruise.

Guests were totally enthralled by Dr. Frederick Freses’ entertaining keynote address. Dr. Frese is an internationally acclaimed expert and speaker on schizophrenia. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia during the Vietnam War while he was an officer in the Marine Corps. He went on to become an accomplished psychologist, professor, author, and leader in the mental health field. Dr. Frese received SARDAA’s “Shattering Stigma – Realizing Recovery” award for actively engaging in a personal recovery journey with severe mental illness, advocating for and educating the public about mental illness.

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Dr. Penny Frese, Dr. Tracey Skale, Dr. Fred Frese

John Paul Stevenson, voice of the Houston Rockets, was an incredible emcee. Guests couldn’t resist dancing to the amazing sounds of Tom Braxton. An internationally acclaimed saxophonist, Tom Braxton performs around the world and is a featured performer on the Smooth Jazz Cruise.

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Linda Stalters, Jill Moran, Carmen Hedley

This conference and benefit would not have happened without the many volunteer hours donated by some outstanding people. Our “Volunteer of the Year Award” went to Carmen Hedley for her unbelievable work, doing everything from coordinating volunteers, planning the conference, and helping with administrative jobs.

The conference and gala raised thousands of dollars in support of improving lives affected by schizophrenia-related disorders.

Conference and Gala Hosts were SARDAA Founders Mr. & Mrs. Russell Stalters of Houston, TX. SARDAA would not exist without their extraordinary commitment and contributions.

 

Catherine Cerulli Helps SARDAA Understand: Is Required Treatment Coercive or Does it Help Individuals Regain Independence?

Catherine Cerulli photoOn October 26, 2013 Catherine Cerulli, J.D., Ph.D. discussed her research, at SARDAA’s second annual conference, on the effectiveness and perception of assisted outpatient treatment. Court-ordered psychiatric treatment is intended to benefit the person with mental illness, their family, and society at large. It is usually the result of an individual breaking the law due to their psychiatric illness. Legally mandated treatment includes mental health courts, drug courts, mandated outpatient treatment programs, conditional release programs, probation, parole, and forensic assertive community treatment.

Research concluded that some people felt coerced into treatment (because they would have to go to jail if they didn’t agree to the treatment program), but many of them felt it was their choice. Furthermore, individuals who initially resented the treatment program usually changed their minds once their mental illness stabilized, and if they had a positive experience with the providers.

Catherine Cerulli, J.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Director, Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization, University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York and newly appointed director of the University’s Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership.

Dr. Cerulli an educator, advocate, research investigator and entrepreneur authored numerous articles. She is dedicated to help those afflicted with schizophrenia and their families and improving access to information and support, Dr. Cerulli is also a practicing attorney with expertise in providing consultation to individuals involved in the criminal and civil court systems.  Her particular area of interest is family violence and conflict.

Larry Ackerman Talks About the Worst Psychiatric Hospitals: Jails and Prisons

Larry AckermanUnfortunately, two of the largest mental health providers in the country today are Cook County and Los Angeles County jails. Between two and four hundred thousand or more persons with mental illness are confined in U.S. jails and prisons. On October 26, 2013 at SARDAA’s second annual conference, Larry Ackerman talked about how individuals and their loved ones can cope during incarceration. He also told us that many churches have programs that help people who are in jail, and that you can help by volunteering with them. You can also be a pen-pal to prisoners. The mentally ill are very isolated and lonely in jail–often living in solitary confinement for years–and talking to people who care dramatically improves their mental health. Tips on writing a letter to a prisoner

Larry Ackerman is the Office and Consumer Programs Coordinator for NAMI Michigan. Mr. Ackerman lives with a schizophrenia-related disorder and has been in treatment since 1977—thirty-five years. Larry endured the ravages of the older generation anti-psychotic medications for thirteen years and was unable to work until the newer medications emerged and he was able to live a more productive life. He studied counseling in graduate school, lectured in psychopathology, counseled men in domestic violence classes, lectured regarding the Recovery Paradigm and earned a 3.81 Grade Point Average. He is an outstanding national speaker, advocate for the psychiatrically ill, especially for the imprisoned, an author and artist. Certified Peer Support Specialist.

Psychotropic Prescriptions to Young Children Decline

Psychotropic prescriptions to young children decreased approximately 50 percent, but increased among boys, Caucasian children, and those without private health insurance. In addition, the likelihood of receiving a behavioral diagnosis increased from 2006 to 2009, but was not accompanied by an increase in psychotropic prescriptions. The authors speculated that the overall decrease for prescriptions is likely due to numerous warnings for health risks associated with psychotropic use.

–Psychiatric News Alert

Full Article

Equal Coverage for the Mentally Ill

A struggle over decades to force insurers to cover mental health and addiction services on the same basis as medical and surgical costs is headed for success under new rules issued on Friday by the Obama administration. The rules will cover most Americans with health insurance, including those in many employer-sponsored plans, in other group plans, in some but not all Medicaid plans, and in policies bought on the individual markets.

The rules strengthen a 2008 law that required parity in coverage — but only when an insurer actually offered mental health and addiction benefits. It did not require such benefits. The new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, does require coverage for mental health and substance abuse as 1 of 10 essential benefits in any new health plans. Combined, the two complete the job of offering both parity and coverage.

What the new rule would mean in practice is that limits on the amount of co-payments and the number of doctor visits or hospital days cannot be less generous than those that apply to most medical and surgical benefits. The same would be true of other rules, like those requiring prior authorization.

The New York Times

Full Article

Americans with Disabilities Act: Diego Demaya Tells Us That We Have Rights

Diego DemayaIndividuals with severe mental illness often have their rights taken away–when they are hospitalized involuntarily, discriminated against at work, and not given accommodations that they need in order to do well in school. How can their needs met be when their illness makes it so difficult to get through school, get a job, and keep a job? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities–including psychiatric disabilities–and helps people get the accommodations and fair treatment that they need. On October 26, 2013 at SARDAA’s second annual conference, Diego Demaya, J.D. explained the ADA and how it protects people with psychiatric disabilities. For more information go to www.ada.gov

Diego Demaya, J.D. is a human resources educator and legal specialist for the Southwest Region of the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center, a program of the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. He is a member of the Houston Commission on Disabilities and past president of the Houston Council of the Blind Inc. He is also a member of the Society of Human Resource Management and Texas State Bar Disability Issues Committee. Demaya received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a law degree from the City University of New York School of Law.

Southwest ADA Center

Dr. Marvin Swartz Tells SARDAA About Psychiatric Advance Directives

Marvin SwartzOn October 26th, 2013 at SARDAA’s second annual conference, Dr. Marvin Swartz gave us valuable information about Psychiatric Advance Directives (PAD’s) and how they help people with mental illness. Although most people associate advance directives with giving control of their care away to someone else, they actually allow a person to remain in control of their treatment even when they are very sick. A psychiatric advance directive allows a person to decide, when they are in a healthy state of mind, how they want to be treated when they are too sick to make decisions for themselves. This is much better than waiting until one is very ill and then having a court appoint a guardian or conservator to make decisions about psychiatric care. A PAD allows a person to say “I consent to X,” “I prohibit Y,” “send me to this hospital.” It appoints a healthcare power of attorney to stand in for them when they are too sick to make decisions. It takes effect when a doctor diagnoses a patient and says they are “incapacitated.” It is not decided by a judge, in contrast to guardianship.

Unfortunately, only 25 states have stand-alone psychiatric advance directives. They can be written into a general advance directive, though. For more information on psychiatric advance directives, click here.

“The movement toward patient-centered care has fueled considerable interest in PAD’s, analogous to medical advance directives and health care proxies, as a possible remedy for loss of patient autonomy in mental healthcare decisions, patient alienation from the treatment process, and associated poor clinical outcomes. Based on the hope for these benefits, 25 U.S. legislatures have adopted PAD statutes and are encouraging the appointment of healthcare proxies, through durable power of attorney, for persons with mental illness. PAD’s may include three types of anticipatory decision-making: 1) informed consent to future treatment; 2) a forecast of personal values; 3) and the entrusting of someone to act as a proxy decision maker. The role of a healthcare agent (HCA), or proxy decision maker, is to help ensure that the patient’s previously expressed wishes are fulfilled; to further interpret what treatment the patient would wish to receive (or not receive); or to act in the patient’s best interest and protect the patient’s welfare. A recently conducted study in 5 U.S. communities found that people with mental illness should write down the type of treatment they would like to receive if they become very ill at some point in the future; 70-83% across sites wished a PAD, but only 4-13% had any form of PAD.”

Marvin S. Swartz, M.D. is Professor and Head of the Division of Social and Community Psychiatry, Director of the Duke AHEC Program and Director of the National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives. Dr. Swartz has been extensively involved in research and policy issues related to the organization and care of mentally ill individuals at the state and national level. He was a Network Member in the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Mandated Community Treatment examining use of legal tools to promote recovery mental health treatment. He co-led a North Carolina study examining the effectiveness of Psychiatric Advance Directives and the NIMH funded Clinical Antipsychotics Trials of Intervention Effectiveness study. He is currently a co-investigator of a study of the cost of criminal justice involvement of mentally ill individuals and the effectiveness of gun laws in reducing gun related deaths. Dr. Swartz was the recipient of the 2011 Public Health Association’s Carl Taube Award and the 2012 American Psychiatric Association’s Senior Scholar, Health Services Research Award for career contributions to mental health services research.

Charles Steinbach Talks to SARDAA About the Necessity of Finding Purpose When Living With Paranoid Schizophrenia

Charles SteinbachOn October 29th, Charles Steinbach spoke at SARDAA’s second annual conference, “Shattering Stigma – Realizing Recovery.” He spoke FAST–and explained that “for every thought you may have, I have four. I have rapid-fire thinking. I think fast. I speak fast.” We were delighted to have such an intelligent and articulate author give us a crash course on living with paranoid schizophrenia.

Charles Steinbach began seeing visual hallucinations at the age of eight, hearing voices at fifteen, and hearing degrading voices at seventeen. He was diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia in his early twenties. He spent more than 20 years learning to live in what he calls “both worlds” — that of schizophrenia and the world he calls “out here.” He spoke about the skills and strategies he used to reach this goal, and his experiences dealing with others and being accepted as an individual, not as a diagnosis.

Charles Steinbach speaks to doctors, lawyers, nurses, college students, police officers, and family members about his experiences with schizophrenia, and tries to help those in need. He has authored four books, and the new documentary film by Earth Country Productions, “Both Worlds,” will tell his story.

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Margery Wakefield Wows Crowd With Her Story of Recovery

Margery Wakefield“This is one of the most inspiring and heartwarming accounts of recovery from schizophrenia that I have ever heard. Like many others who battle this devastating illness, Marge Wakefield is a role model for her courage, dignity and resilience.” –Dr. Matcheri Keshavan

On October 26, Margery Wakefield, MSW spoke at SARDAA’s annual conference in Houston. She received “The Joanne Verbanic Award” for her inspiration, dedication, and leadership in SA. She gave a personal and deep account of her long battle with, and recovery from, schizophrenia. Her speech gave hope to parents, consumers, and professionals that people can recover from this difficult illness, and even find joy while living with schizophrenia.

Margery Wakefield is a social worker, author, and Schizophrenics Anonymous (SA) Leader. Ms. Wakefield has been hospitalized fifty times, more or less. She says she has “lost count.” She has two college degrees, including a master’s in social work. She has worked for many years as a social worker and caregiver. She has written six books, been to Europe five times, and now reports to be living a “generally happy life.” Margery enjoys her work and is pleased to report that she has many friends. Part of this is due to better medications. Margery says, “The voices are still there sometimes, but I have learned to ignore them. The shadow has always lurked in the background. I will probably never be completely ‘normal,’ whatever that is, but I am enjoying a happy life. And that is the best revenge.”