Need for Peer Support Groups in Jail Diversion Programs (AOT)

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CYNTHIA CASTANEDA: “As a peer/consumer who was once involved in the justice system, I know the importance of gaining treatment… I had a few encounters with the justice system until I was forced into treatment. Going to treatment gave me the tools necessary to achieve recovery. Without those tools, I may have remained trapped in a cycle of contact with the justice system. My conclusion was that recovery was not possible without treatment. I am living proof of the results.

The GAINS Center estimates approximately 800,000 persons with mental health issues are admitted annually to U.S. jails. Among these admissions, 72% also meet criteria for co-occurring substance use disorders. I was part of those statistics a few years back, so I would like to emphasize the importance of including peer support services in jail diversion programs as a form of treatment. A peer in recovery can be more easily accepted by the criminal justice population. The consumer is more likely to listen and better connect to a peer. The results of treatment are more effective. Aside from the benefit of having lived experience, peers have the gift of being able to understand firsthand what a consumer is going through. Peer support played a role in my recovery and made it possible for me to look up to someone in a similar situation and believe that I could overcome any mental health issues and stay in recovery as they had.

by Cynthia Castaneda, ATCC West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department Peer Representative.

Forty-eight Percent of American Christians Believe That Serious Mental Illness Can be Overcome Through Prayer and Bible Study Alone

I read a heartbreaking statistic the other day. Forty-eight percent of American Christians believe that serious mental illness can be overcome through prayer and Bible study alone. The people who hold this conviction know very little about mental illness. And worst of all, these believers inadvertently impose on the mentally ill undeserved guilt and shame.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Mental illness is not psychosomatic. The clinically depressed cannot just “cheer up.” People with obsessive-compulsive disorder are not able to “snap out of it.” Schizophrenics are not able to force themselves to live in the reality of a normal person. Mental illness is just as real and varied as cancer and heart disease. We wouldn’t tell people with physical diseases that they could be whole if they prayed more or were more diligent in their study of Scripture, would we? I hope not.

Unfortunately, we know less about the brain than we do the body’s other vital organs. Even though psychiatry has come light years recently, there is a sense in which psychology is still a pre-science. Developmentally, it is where chemistry was when it was alchemy. There are still many missing pieces. So when you pray for a cure for cancer, pray also for breakthroughs in our understanding of the brain. And be compassionate toward those who struggle with mental illness.

–“Jim’s Daily Awakenings” are short daily e-mail messages from Jim Jackson. These morning messages are based on Jim’s very successful radio spots heard daily on Houston’s 94.5, the BUZZ.

Jim’s Website

For the Mentally Ill, It’s Worse

Last week, one of the landmark nonfiction books of the last 50 years was reissued by Vintage Books. “Is There No Place on Earth for Me?” by Susan Sheehan began in 1981 as a four-part series in The New Yorker; in 1982, it came out as a book, winning the Pulitzer Prize.

“Is There No Place on Earth for Me?” is about a woman who suffers from severe schizophrenia. In the book, Sheehan calls her “Sylvia Frumkin,” a pseudonym meant to protect her privacy; her real name was Maxine Mason, which Sheehan divulged after Mason died, at the age of 46, in 1994. She was overweight and overbearing, a difficult person even in the best of times, but also, Sheehan told me recently, “bright and articulate” — when she wasn’t delusional. The book’s title was a question Mason “had first asked her mother in an ambulance transporting her from one hospital to another in 1964,” as Sheehan wrote in an essay published after Mason’s death. (It is included as a postscript to the new edition.) Mason was 16 at the time.

I have no idea what moved Vintage Books to republish “Is There No Place on Earth for Me?” but I’m glad it did. The story Sheehan tells is a terribly sad one, and not just because of the flashes Mason shows of what she might have become if she had not suffered from mental illness. It is also appalling to see what she goes through as a mental patient: the hospitals that overmedicate; the misdiagnoses by doctors after the briefest of examinations; the lack of any kind of safety net when she is not hospitalized. But here’s the worst part: Even though the story Sheehan tells is more than 30 years old, there is only one real difference between then and now for the mentally ill. It’s worse today.

by Joe Nocera, The New York Times

Full Article

3 More Days to Comment on TrustCircle’s Nomination! Lets Get to 100 Comments!

Trust Circle logo
Innovator’s Name: 
Sachin Chaudhry, CEO, TrustCircle
Innovation Title: 
Peer-centered mental health network for consumers, caregivers and healthcare providers improving accessibility, affordability and quality of mental healthcare globally
Project Description: 
According to the World Health Organization, there are over 450 million patients (peers/consumers) and over a billion family members (caregivers) affected by mental health issues globally. All seek solutions to two core problems: 1) trustworthy community support and 2) access to scarce mental healthcare professionals. TrustCircle, the world’s first peer-centered mental health network for consumers, caregivers, and healthcare providers, offers a solution. Sign-up is free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Users build their “Circle of Trust” to learn, be inspired, and take action. Users will also access professionals/facilities in a HIPPA compliant way. Currently, 150 peers and healthcare providers around the globe have signed up for private launch. Our target is to have 30,000 peers and caregivers and 500 healthcare providers by end 2014. TrustCircle’s goal is to simplify life for all those impacted by mental health issues by improving accessibility, affordability, and quality of mental healthcare.
Creativity and Innovation: 
TrustCircle’s innovation is recognized by the World Health Organization and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s Centre of Global Mental Health, which have included TrustCircle in the Mental Health Innovation Network that premiered at the World Health Innovation Summit 2013.     We know what it means when you or a family member is diagnosed with a mental illness. The founder’s brother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 1994, and since then his family has struggled to find quality care and community support. Peers/caregivers were central to the development of TrustCircle. The team gathered input from over 200 peers/caregivers and over 100 mental healthcare providers across the globe by conducting personal interviews, email exchanges, surveys, and by attending all major mental health conferences in the United States. A supportive network of peers and professionals is vital for people with mental illness, and TrustCircle provides a unique service by creating these connections.
Leadership:
TrustCircle is creating ripples in the healthcare industry, as the venture is backed by revered medical experts and consumers in the field of mental health including Dr. Keris Myrick, Board Chair of NAMI and President/CEO of Project Return Peer Support Network, and Dr.Matcheri Keshavan, Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry and Vice Chair of Public Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. TrustCircle encourages leadership and action among users by enabling users to:

  • Find Peers to build their “circle of trust” with those who are facing similar challenges, get inspired, and take action.
  • Share & Learn by commenting, uploading videos and photos, etc.
  • Search & Add Providers they would like others to know about.
  • Ask Questions of the experienced community members.

In later stages of development, TrustCircle will enable members to track their health in a HIPAA-compliant secure online environment, book appointments, and conduct telepsychiatry sessions.

Sustainability: 
TrustCircle is built upon passion, vision, and personal savings. We have personally invested $25,000 to develop and exhibit the TrustCircle solution at all major mental health conferences across the nation. Our operating budget for 2014 is $1 million as detailed in our financial plan. This operating budget includes hiring employees and all expenses such as Marketing, R&D, Sales, Utilities, Infrastructure, and Legal. Our business model is strong as we plan to disrupt the in-person consultation or outpatient mental healthcare services market by introducing efficiencies through technology innovations. For example, we will be able to generate revenue via HIPPA compliant telepsychiatry services, enterprise implementation subscription model, etc. TrustCircle is seeking social impact investors who believe in our vision of creating a lasting social impact that will improve the lives of more than 1.5 billion people impacted by mental health issues globally.
Replicability: 
TrustCircle is implemented as “Software as a Service Model” and requires only an internet connection and a browser for access. It is accessible globally and sign-up is free for all. We envision a global reach, targeting 30,000 peers and caregivers by end 2014. Initial Target segment for TrustCircle is peers/caregivers impacted by Schizophrenia and related disorders in the U.S.(9+ million including 3+ million peers), then expand to Schizophrenia population globally (200+ million including 70+ million peers) and finally expand to serve all mental health issues (1.5+ billion including 450+ million peers). The TrustCircle team has partnered with key mental health organizations which are planning to pilot our product at launch including SARDAA (www.sardaa.org) and PRPSN (www.prpsn.org).  The team also has received support in their efforts from NAMI, PsychCongress, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University to expedite its goal of delivering hope to millions.
Results/Outcomes: 
TrustCircle will measure its goals with its user outreach, feedback, and the impact it will create. Our target is to have 30,000 peers and caregivers and 500 healthcare providers by end 2014. Thus far, 150 peers and healthcare providers have signed up for private launch. These users are from Africa, India, and United States. The ripples of hope are being created simply by word of mouth. Users will be an integral part of TrustCircle’s evolution because we plan on monitoring their feedback and latent needs. The machine learning algorithms we are using will analyze user behavior and predict patterns for community, based on their needs and preferences. Therefore, users will be able to easily tap meaningful information they need, resulting in efficient use of their time and money. TrustCircle will also provide its users voice via blog so as to to de-stigmatize mental health issues on a global scale.

Guide on Treating Teen Substance Abuse and Online Education for Healthcare Providers Now Available

Resources to help parents, health care providers, and substance abuse treatment specialists treat teens struggling with drug abuse, as well as identify and interact with those who might be at risk, were released today by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The release came before the start of National Drug Facts Week, an annual observance to educate teens about drug abuse. NIDA is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Adolescents’ drug use, as well as their treatment needs, differ from those of adults. Teens abuse different substances, experience different consequences, and are less likely to seek treatment on their own because they may not want or think they need help. Parents can work with health care professionals to find appropriate treatment, but they may be unaware that the teen is using drugs and needs help. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (PDF, 3MB), only 10 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds needing substance abuse treatments receive any services.

“Because critical brain circuits are still developing during the teen years, this age group is particularly susceptible to drug abuse and addiction,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “These new resources are based on recent research that has greatly advanced our understanding of the unique treatment needs of the adolescent.”

A new online publication, Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research Based Guide, describes the treatment approaches. Highlights include:

  • Thirteen principles to consider in treating adolescent substance use disorders
  • Frequently asked questions about adolescent drug use
  • Settings in which adolescent drug abuse treatment most often occurs
  • Evidence-based approaches to treating adolescent substance use disorders
  • The role of the family and medical professionals in identifying teen substance use and supporting treatment and recovery.

To increase early screening of adolescent substance abuse, the Substance Use Disorders in Adolescents: Screening and Engagement in Primary Care Settings educational module was created. The online curriculum resource for medical students and resident physicians provides videos demonstrating skills to use in screening adolescents at risk for or already struggling with substance use disorders.  Both the patient and physician perspectives are highlighted.  Although created as a training tool, the resource is also free to anyone in the public seeking information on how to interact with teens at risk for addiction. The resource was developed by the NIDA Centers of Excellence for Physician Information, in collaboration with Drexel University College of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, both in Philadelphia.

NIDA has many other resources that will be promoted during National Drug Facts Week, Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2014.  For more information on this observance, go to: http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/.

–National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Full Article

Freezing Temps Turn Deadly for an Elderly Man with Schizophrenia

The freezing temperatures that covered the United States last week turned deadly for AC Anderson, an elderly man with schizophrenia, who froze to death outside his own home in Milwaukee, reports Meg Kissinger for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (“Mentally ill man froze to death days after police were called,” Jan. 7).

Anderson had gone off his medications for schizophrenia in 2009. In the years since, his wife, Beverly Anderson, made multiple attempts to get him back on medicine “so he wouldn’t see rabbits coming out of floorboards or imagine that little men were coming through the heat vents to stab him.”

Records show she “called 911 more than 60 times trying to get help for her husband,” reports Kissinger. But “police told her that unless he threatened to hurt himself or someone else there wasn’t anything they could do.”

Beverly found her husband frozen to death outside their home just three days after her most recent attempt to get her husband into a hospital. She guesses that he woke up in the middle of the night, as he often did, and went outside to escape his hallucinations.

“The law limits what police can do with a patient who is not obviously in danger,” said Jim Kubicek, acting director of Milwaukee County’s Behavioral Health Division, who commented on Anderson’s death in the Journal Sentinel. “These are the standards we have to work with.”

While Wisconsin’s laws and treatment standards are better than many states, it seems they were either misunderstood or underused in this case.

–The Treatment Advocacy Center

Full Article

Mental Illness Was Kelly Thomas’s Death Sentence

Kelly Thomas was given a death sentence because he was “mentally ill, disheveled and unmedicated in public,” says Treatment Advocacy Center board member Carla Jacobs.

“The reality is that our mental health system is complicit in Kelly’s death,” she told columnist Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times about the acquittal of the police officers charged with Kelly’s beating death (“Law could be Kelly Thomas’ legacy,” Jan. 21). “It is not geared to protect those with the most serious illnesses.”

Jacobs said she hopes the legacy of Thomas – a homeless man with untreated schizophrenia – at a Fullerton, California, transit station will motivate Orange County at last to implement Laura’s Law, the state’s assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) law.

Thomas’s father, Ron Thomas, described as “distraught” by the verdict, told Lopez he would welcome the implementation of AOT in California –and more. “There should be mandatory mental health training for all peace officers.”

We agree. If more California counties implement Laura’s Law and provide training for police officers on how to respond to a psychiatric crisis, it may save those who could otherwise face a fate similar to Thomas.

“In Kelly Thomas’ memory, we owe them a better turn,” columnist Lopez concluded.

–The Treatment Advocacy Center

Full Article

TrustCircle Has Been Nominated for 25K ScatterGood Foundation Innovation Award!

Trust Circle logo

SARDAA has nominated TrustCircle for the 2013 ScatterGood Foundation Innovation Award! Out of 106 nominees, 5 finalist will be selected…. Your comment of support will help them advance to the Top 5 – just post a comment of support at this link:

http://www.scattergoodfoundation.org/innovideas/trustcircle-sardaa#.Utd6Z2RDufM

About TrustCircle

According to the World Health Organization, there are over 450 million patients (peers/consumers) and over a billion family members (caregivers) affected by mental health issues globally. All seek solutions to two core problems: 1) trustworthy community support and 2) access to scarce mental healthcare professionals. TrustCircle, the world’s first peer-centered mental health network for consumers, caregivers, and healthcare providers, offers a solution. Sign-up is free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Users build their “Circle of Trust” to learn, be inspired, and take action. Users will also access professionals/facilities in a HIPPA compliant way. Currently, 150 peers and healthcare providers around the globe have signed up for private launch. Our target is to have 30,000 peers and caregivers and 500 healthcare providers by end 2014. TrustCircle’s goal is to simplify life for all those impacted by mental health issues by improving accessibility, affordability, and quality of mental healthcare.

Creativity and Innovation: 
TrustCircle’s innovation is recognized by the World Health Organization and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s Centre of Global Mental Health, which have included TrustCircle in the Mental Health Innovation Network that premiered at the World Health Innovation Summit 2013. We know what it means when you or a family member is diagnosed with a mental illness. The founder’s brother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 1994, and since then his family has struggled to find quality care and community support. Peers/caregivers were central to the development of TrustCircle. The team gathered input from over 200 peers/caregivers and over 100 mental healthcare providers across the globe by conducting personal interviews, email exchanges, surveys, and by attending all major mental health conferences in the United States. A supportive network of peers and professionals is vital for people with mental illness, and TrustCircle provides a unique service by creating these connections.
Leadership
TrustCircle is creating ripples in the healthcare industry, as the venture is backed by revered medical experts and consumers in the field of mental health including Dr. Keris Myrick, Board Chair of NAMI and President/CEO of Project Return Peer Support Network, and DrMatcheri Keshavan, Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry and Vice Chair of Public Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. TrustCircle encourages leadership and action among users by enabling users to:

  • Find Peers to build their “circle of trust” with those who are facing similar challenges, get inspired, and take action.
  • Share & Learn by commenting, uploading videos and photos, etc.
  • Search & Add Providers they would like others to know about.
  • Ask Questions of the experienced community members.

In later stages of development, TrustCircle will enable members to track their health in a HIPAA-compliant secure online environment, book appointments, and conduct telepsychiatry sessions.

Sustainability
TrustCircle is built upon passion, vision, and personal savings. We have personally invested $25,000 to develop and exhibit the TrustCircle solution at all major mental health conferences across the nation. Our operating budget for 2014 is $1 million as detailed in our financial plan. This operating budget includes hiring employees and all expenses such as Marketing, R&D, Sales, Utilities, Infrastructure, and Legal. Our business model is strong as we plan to disrupt the in-person consultation or outpatient mental healthcare services market by introducing efficiencies through technology innovations. For example, we will be able to generate revenue via HIPPA compliant telepsychiatry services, enterprise implementation subscription model, etc. TrustCircle is seeking social impact investors who believe in our vision of creating a lasting social impact that will improve the lives of more than 1.5 billion people impacted by mental health issues globally.
Replicability
TrustCircle is implemented as “Software as a Service Model” and requires only an internet connection and a browser for access. It is accessible globally and sign-up is free for all. We envision a global reach, targeting 30,000 peers and caregivers by end 2014. Initial Target segment for TrustCircle is peers/caregivers impacted by Schizophrenia and related disorders in the U.S.(9+ million including 3+ million peers), then expand to Schizophrenia population globally (200+ million including 70+ million peers) and finally expand to serve all mental health issues (1.5+ billion including 450+ million peers). The TrustCircle team has partnered with key mental health organizations which are planning to pilot our product at launch including SARDAA (www.sardaa.org) and PRPSN (www.prpsn.org).  The team also has received support in their efforts from NAMI, PsychCongress, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University to expedite its goal of delivering hope to millions.
Results/Outcomes: 
TrustCircle will measure its goals with its user outreach, feedback, and the impact it will create. Our target is to have 30,000 peers and caregivers and 500 healthcare providers by end 2014. Thus far, 150 peers and healthcare providers have signed up for private launch. These users are from Africa, India, and United States. The ripples of hope are being created simply by word of mouth. Users will be an integral part of TrustCircle’s evolution because we plan on monitoring their feedback and latent needs. The machine learning algorithms we are using will analyze user behavior and predict patterns for community, based on their needs and preferences. Therefore, users will be able to easily tap meaningful information they need, resulting in efficient use of their time and money. TrustCircle will also provide its users voice via blog so as to to de-stigmatize mental health issues on a global scale.

Come bless your team – www.trustcircle.co

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MLK Said: “Injustice in Healthcare is the Most Shocking and Inhumane.”

For those of us diagnosed with mental illnesses and our families and loved ones, we know all to well the effects of these inequalities from personal and first hand experiences. For those of us like me, we also know of the extreme health and mental health disparities that exist within our communities of color. Within communities of color, the first introduction to mental health care is usually involuntary commitment to hospitals and/or incarceration in jails both resulting in trauma, humiliation and reducing the likelihood of voluntarily seeking services when needed.

Many people who look like me, do not have access to basic health services and worse yet, do not have access to mental health services. Our culture, is so greatly impacted by self-stigma  that we deny we have mental health issues and subsequently refuse to seek treatment.

by Keris Jän Myrick, Pete Earley Blog

Full Article 

“Both Worlds” Documentary About Charles Steinbach Now Available!

Charles Steinbach“Both Worlds: Born With Paranoid Schizophrenia” is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital download. Get it Here

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 at SARDAA’s conference (Oct. 2013) 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 also authored four books.

Charles Steinbach Website

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