Federal Grant Funds Now Available to Launch New AOT Programs!

They said it couldn’t happen! As a result of our dedicated advocacy and your support, the federal government has – for the first time ever – allocated $15 million for assisted outpatient treatment (AOT).
SAMHSA posted a grant announcement earlier this week inviting state and local authorities to apply for up to four years of federal support of NEW AOT PROGRAMS.

Message From Family & Friends Coordinator Mary Ross


I’ve been involved lately in the annual ‘walk’ of our ally, NAMI (Greater Milwaukee chapter).  With respect to our ‘partnership’, given all that I have learned and benefited from SARDAA’s influence and commitment, I put forth an effort via team ‘SZ the DAY!, SZ of course referring to  Schizophrenia (and related disorders).  This serves to draw attention to the challenges encountered by those diagnosed and their support partners, as well as successes.  SARDAA receives many referrals from NAMI and we in turn emphasize NAMI as a helpful resource to our callers and support groups.  There is strength in numbers, thus it is important given that we share a common goal of education, support and advocacy. Some decades ago these resources didn’t exist, or did minimally, so it is good to look back and appreciate the valuable progress we have made.

Message From SA Administrator Brian Donahue

Brian Donahue

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Here in Torrington, Connecticut, we will celebrate tomorrow evening with a Candlelight Vigil.  At this Vigil, persons in recovery will read their personal stories of recovery.

On May 21ST, we are holding a one-day Workshop on SA.  You must register before May 16TH, so we know how much food to order.  Come to hear everything about SA; from its beginnings in Detroit to its expansion across the country and around the world.  There is a $5 registration fee.  If you cannot afford the fee scholarships are available.

We are always looking for new SA group leaders.  If there is no SA group in your area, seriously consider starting one yourself.  If you have a friend to help you that will make it even easier.  Contact SARDAA and you will receive all the help you need.  You can call SARDAA at: 1-240-423-9432.

For the month of May, attend your local celebration of Mental Health Month, start a SA group, join our SA calls on Thursday, Friday, or Sunday nights, and most of all plan to attend our SA Workshop on May 21ST.

Unlocking the Black Box of Schizophrenia – 7 myths about schizophrenia

Few mental disorders are as misunderstood as schizophrenia. When we turn on the television, we’re saturated with images of unpredictable “psychotic” villains. The word “schizo” is an insult that might be heard in a high school hallway. People with schizophrenia are often discriminated against, in part because most of the public doesn’t understand what schizophrenia really is.

Click here to read the seven commonly held myths about schizophrenia and the facts that prove them wrong.


Make your SARDAA Health Storylines app your own

Sardaa Health Storylines

Did you know that you can customize your SARDAA Health Storylines app to best meet your wellness needs? You can personalize your app with the tools that you need to optimize your care and wellbeing.

Simply go to the tool library on the left-sidebar of your app, and browse through many categories to find the tools that will best help you. Please let us know if you need any assistance, and don’t be shy to contact us at (844) 475-4637. We are here to help you!

Click here to know more about the SARDAA Health Storylines App.

Unbelievable: Colorado Debates Holding People in a Psychiatric Crisis in Jail

In another outrageous and devastating example of our national psychiatric bed shortage, Colorado state lawmakers are debating legislation that would place people in the middle of a psychotic episode in jail – even though they haven’t committed a crime. The bill has already passed in the Senate and is now in the House.

How is this even happening? Colorado only has 23 percent of the beds necessary to meet the needs of its population with severe mental illness. Law enforcement says they need to put people with severe mental illness somewhere and often there are no beds available. Holding someone in jail during a psychotic episode is NOT the solution. People with severe mental illness deserve #aBedInstead of jail.

To read further, please click here visit the Treatment Advocacy Center blog.


Transforming Mental Health Care

Reference: Report from Medscape

Starting With Change Around the Edges

As nurses, we hold an ethical imperative to care for all who are ill. We aspire to be forces for social good. And we are educated in holistic and humanistic theories of “caring.” Yet most of us work in health care systems that operate from the medical model. Health care delivery is divided by specialty care that is intent on disease intervention and focuses on reductionist reasoning for many of the tasks we undertake daily. From this dominant paradigm, health professionals have a shared view that approaches the treatment of a person by separating mental and physical illness. In practice, maintaining this paradoxical distinction in our work as caregivers can be straining and can impede our efforts to do what is right for our patients, families, and communities. To be sure, the Affordable Care Act expanded mental health parity for all Americans by making it one of the essential health benefits. But the implementation of this parity is far from complete. One need only follow the many stories presented by the media regarding mental health issues to form a picture of a bleak, complex, and broken system. There is some accuracy in the dark side of this picture, but there is also hope. Parts of the system are innovating and changing how we care for the whole person. Some of this innovation and change rests on a vision of a more comprehensive health care system that will also support mental health integration. Two steps toward fulfilling this vision are underway: Treating the patient at the point of care where she or he is most comfortable and using teams of health care providers that can address social, economic, and culture differences to truly deliver a patient-centered approach to treatment and prevention. This type of good news seldom receives the same level of media attention. Thus, it is essential for those of us who work in health professions to recognize the good work individuals and organizations are doing to improve the delivery of mental health services in communities across the country.

To read a pdf of the complete report, please click here.

Schizophrenia Awareness Week: 17 – 23 May 2016

Schizophrenia is an illness, a medical condition. It affects the normal functioning of the brain, interfering with a person’s ability to think, feel and act. Some do recover completely, and, with time, most find that their symptoms improve. However, for many, it is a prolonged illness, which can involve years of distressing symptoms and disability.

People affected by schizophrenia have one ‘personality,’ just like everyone else. It is a myth and totally untrue that those affected have a so-called ‘split personality’.

To get more information about Schizophrenia, please click here to visit The Psych Professionals Blog.

Unlocking the Black Box of Schizophrenia

Researchers identify schizophrenia’s strongest genetic link

(Source: Sovereign Health Group)

The Sovereign Health Group is pleased to release the first part of its editorial campaign “Unlocking the Black Box of Schizophrenia.” This series will explore the biological origins, symptoms and stigma associated with schizophrenia. This month-long campaign is designed to promote schizophrenia awareness during the month of May, which is designated as Mental Health Month, and in observance of Schizophrenia Awareness Week from May 17 through May 23. Coverage includes investigative reporting, educational articles, infographics and interactive elements such as slideshows.

This first installment introduces exciting new research from Harvard Medical School about the genetic origins behind schizophrenia. Researchers have found a gene that appears to be significantly involved in the development of psychosis. So far, this marks the most conclusive evidence of schizophrenia’s biological origins thus far. “This study marks a crucial turning point in the fight against mental illness. It changes the game,” explained the acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Bruce Cuthbert, Ph.D.

Check out the first installment of the series,Researchers identify schizophrenia’s strongest genetic link.” This article includes a slideshow and infographic for readers.

Significant Treatment Effect of Adjunct Music Therapy to Standard Treatment on the Positive, Negative, and Mood Symptoms of Schizophrenic Patients

Background: Music therapy (MT) has been used as adjunct therapy for schizophrenia for decades. However, its role is still inconclusive. A recent meta-analysis demonstrated that MT for schizophrenic patients only significantly benefits negative symptoms and mood symptoms rather than positive symptoms. In addition, the association between specific characteristics of MT and the treatment effect remains unclear. The aim of this study was to update the published data and to explore the role of music therapy in adjunct treatment in schizophrenia with a thorough meta-analysis.

Methods: We compared the treatment effect in schizophrenic patients with standard treatment who did and did not receive adjunct MT through a meta-analysis, and investigated the clinical characteristics of MT through meta-regression.

Results: The main finding was that the treatment effect was significantly better in the patients who received adjunct MT than in those who did not, in negative symptoms, mood symptoms, and also positive symptoms (all p < 0.05). This significance did not change after dividing the patients into subgroups of different total duration of MT, amounts of sessions, or frequency of MT. Besides, the treatment effect on the general symptoms was significantly positively associated with the whole duration of illness, indicating that MT would be beneficial for schizophrenic patients with a chronic course.

Conclusions: Our meta-analysis highlights a significantly better treatment effect in schizophrenic patients who received MT than in those who did not, especially in those with a chronic course, regardless of the duration, frequency, or amounts of sessions of MT. These findings provide evidence that clinicians should apply MT for schizophrenic patients to alleviate disease severity.

To read the article further, please click here to visit the Medscape website.