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NAMI Applauds Confirmation Of Elinore McCance-Katz As New Federal Leader On Mental Health And Substance Use Disorders

namini : August 12, 2017 6:17 am : Breaking News

 Aug 07 2017

Arlington, Va., August 7, 2017 – On August 3, 2017, the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D., as the first ever Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. This new federal leadership position was created by Congress as part of the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016.

Dr. McCance-Katz, a psychiatrist, has an extensive background as a treatment provider and administrator of mental health and substance use disorder services.  She served in the past as Medical Director at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and most recently has served as Chief Medical Officer for the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.

“NAMI is pleased that the Senate has confirmed Dr. McCance-Katz,” stated NAMI’s Chief Executive Officer, Mary Giliberti.   “Dr. McCance-Katz has both federal and local experience and a history of working closely with people with mental illness and their families in implementing policies. And, as an Assistant Secretary who reports directly to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Price, she will be well positioned to coordinate the priorities and actions of all of HHS agencies that touch the lives of people who live with mental illnesses.”

In her confirmation hearing last week, Dr. McCance-Katz spoke about the importance of finding proper balance between intervening early in treating emerging mental health conditions while also ensuring that services are available for those most at risk of experiencing hospitalizations, homelessness, incarceration and other consequences of lack of treatment.  She also discussed the importance of working creatively to address workforce shortages in mental health, through strategies such as payment reforms, utilization of allied mental health professionals, increasing tele-mental health services, and peer supports.  Dr. McCance-Katz emphasized the important role that families and caregivers play in support and recovery and the need to achieve appropriate balance in protecting privacy while ensuring that caregivers have access to the information and support they need.

“NAMI looks forward to working closely with Dr. McCance-Katz in carrying out her important responsibilities,” Giliberti stated. “We will do all we can to support her efforts by bringing the lived experience of individuals and their families to the table as she seeks to increase access to critical mental health services and supports.”

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NAMI Members Protect Mental Health Coverage

namini : August 2, 2017 12:28 pm : Breaking News

NAMI’s six-month fight to defend mental health and substance use coverage is over and, together, we stand victorious.

 

In the early hours of Friday morning, the Senate’s “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act came to an extraordinary end. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joined Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)—and their Democratic colleagues—to reject the Senate bill by a vote of 51-49.

Just seven months ago, NAMI celebrated the 21st Century Cures Act being signed into law. Today, we celebrate another win for mental health care.

You spoke up and Congress listened. They heard your stories. Because of you, they know that mental illness affects 1 in 5 of their constituents. Because of you, they know that stripping Medicaid funding would result in millions of Americans losing access to mental health and substance use services. And because of you, they know that taking a step back from insurance protections would harm people with mental illness.

Your voices made a difference. You sent 122,539 emails to members of Congress. Advocates 1,066 strong marched to Capitol Hill during our National Convention and spoke face-to-face with elected officials. You called, you tweeted, you posted on Facebook. You told Congress to work for bipartisan solutions that fix the insurance marketplace, not strip Medicaid and mental health coverage.

Thank you. You not only triumphed, you helped make mental health care a focal point of the debate.

Take a moment to congratulate yourself for being an integral part of NAMI’s movement to champion better care and better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Thank your Senators who voted “no.” And urge your Senators who voted “yes” to work with their colleagues for quality, affordable mental health coverage for all.

Contact your Senators

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NAMI Statement on the Better Care Reconciliation Act

namini : June 25, 2017 7:26 am : Breaking News

ARLINGTON, Va., June 22, 2017 – NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is deeply disappointed that the Senate health care bill unveiled today, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, will slash Medicaid benefits for critical mental health services millions of Americans need to lead productive lives.

While the Better Care Reconciliation Act has yet to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office, NAMI remains alarmed at the deep cuts to the Medicaid program that are in the Senate bill.

Medicaid is the largest source of funding for public mental health services in our nation. One-third of people covered by Medicaid expansion lives with a mental health or substance use condition and Medicaid serves as a lifeline for people with mental illness who typically fall through the cracks. It provides critical coverage so people have access and receive the mental health treatment they need to finish school, get back to work and contribute to their communities.

Along with the House-passed American Health Care Act, this legislation includes a misguided proposal to convert the Medicaid program to a “Per Capita Cap” for the states.  This will result in devastating cuts to mental health services.  In fact, the Senate bill includes an even lower annual adjustment to the cap than is in the House bill.

NAMI opposes this effort to decimate our nation’s already struggling mental health system. The Senate needs to focus on how we can improve mental health care for all Americans, including stabilizing the small group and individual insurance market in many states – not make structural reforms to Medicaid that will lead to massive cuts and loss of services for people living with mental illness.

NAMI is deeply concerned that the Better Care Reconciliation Act will force people with mental illness out of the health care coverage they need and on to the streets and into costly emergency rooms, hospitals and jails. We encourage Senators to reject this harmful bill, and instead, ensure that Americans have receive the mental health care they need to lead healthy and productive lives.

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President’s FY2018 Budget Request Slashes Support for People with Mental Illness

namini : May 25, 2017 5:16 am : Breaking News

NAMI is dismayed by the President’s FY2018 Budget, which would slash funding for programs that deeply affect the lives of people with mental illness.

“The President’s Budget request is the single biggest threat to Medicaid and mental health care in decades,” said Mary Giliberti, CEO of NAMI. It slashes more than $600 billion from Medicaid over ten years. “Mental health care is an issue with strong bipartisan support, so we’re shocked that the President’s Budget would ravage Medicaid, the cornerstone of our public mental health system. This will devastate mental health services, especially for children and adults with the most severe mental illnesses.”

The President’s Budget carves $356 million from the National Institute on Mental Health, significantly halting life-changing research into the brain and mental illnesses. It strips nearly $400 million from mental health and substance use programs at SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, including a $116 million cut from the mental health services block grant alone. The Budget also makes significant reductions to critical housing programs, including a $25 million cut to the HUD Section 811 program, which would leave the program short of funds to renew existing rent subsidies and place current tenants at imminent risk of homelessness.  The Budget would eliminate funding for new Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers for homeless veterans. The Budget also strips millions from the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act and other programs that serve people with mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system.

“This budget will put more people with mental illness out of work, on the streets, and in our jails and emergency rooms. The cost will shift to local communities and law enforcement and put untold hardship on America’s families,” said Giliberti. “We call on Congress to reject this budget and work to improve, not dismantle, our nation’s mental health care.”

 

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NAMI Puts out a call for community artists.

namini : May 13, 2017 8:25 am : Breaking News

We hope everyone will helps us promote this wonderful opportunity for individuals living right here in our community.  Thanks

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

namini : April 28, 2017 8:08 am : Breaking News

“Early diagnosis and intervention are key to addressing mental illness.”

May 2017 is Mental Health Awareness Week 

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family. Take action today to help others as we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. 

Throughout May, NAMI and participants across the country are raising awareness for the importance of mental health. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger. Help us spread the word, through the many awareness, support and advocacy activities below by showing you’re #IntoMentalHealth. 

 

Celebrate Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

May 3-9, 2017

NAMI joins communities around the country in raising awareness about the mental health needs of America’s   youngest citizens. It is a week to focus on children and youth living with mental illness and to come together to advocate for a full array of effective services and supports for children affected by mental illness.

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Mayoral Candidate for Rockford, IL Address Mental Illness

namini : March 11, 2017 6:58 am : Breaking News
        Your Vote CountsTuesday, April 4th
The new Mayor of Rockford will face unaddressed behavioral health problems that can have a negative effect on Rockford’s economy. Increased costs include emergency and social services, special education, services for homelessness, law enforcement, criminal justice and more.
As mayor of Rockford you will have a unique role in shaping the perception of mental illness.  Our next Mayor can choose to promote recovery, reduce the impact of behavioral health problems that occur and ensure that needed treatments and service are available.
On behalf of all our members, health care professionals, advocates and the citizens of Rockford we asked the four mayoral candidates to address mental illness and to specifically address the following questions.
  • What is your position and plan for training law enforcement about mental illness?
  • Will you back any future endeavors to fund local mental health services?
  • What is your position about early identification and prevention on mental illness especially in city funded (head start) programs?
NAMI wishes to thank you for your responses and as promised we are publishing them on our NAMI Northern Illinois facebook page,   in Changing Minds, a quarterly newsletter,  and here in our online newsletter “NAMI Mail”.
We want to thank all four of you for your sincere efforts to work on making Rockford a great community to live in and raise our families.
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NAMI members, we hope you go to the polls feeling informed about your choice for the next mayor of Rockford.  This is a unique election with four candidates vying for mayor.
Every Vote Counts on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
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Brian Leggano 
Republican Mayoral Candidate for Rockford, IL 
I would first like to thank you and everyone at NAMI for all that out you do for mental illness in our community.  I do agree the problem is at a crisis level and something has to be done.  Ignoring a problem never makes it get better.
I am pleased to present my responses to your questions:
 
“Why should NAMI Northern Illinois members vote for You?”
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NAMI members should vote for me because I care greatly about Rockford and mental illness here in Rockford and nationally.  I will work very hard for Rockford.  I am the best candidate to make Rockford a much better and safer place.
What is your position and plan for training law enforcement about mental illness?
I support the training of all law enforcement about mental illness.  Law enforcement is on the front line and the first responders when there is a disturbance and mental health crisis.   I support the implementation of a CIT – Crisis Intervention Team to help solve this problem.    We must lessen the amount of people with mental illness occupying our jail and get them the help they need.  It costs more to house an inmate with mental illness in the jail rather than in treatment facility.
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Will you back any future endeavors to fund local mental health services?
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Yes.  I support the implementation of a 708 Board in Winnebago County and feel it will be as successful as it is in other countries where it has been implemented.  I was disappointed to see that the 708 board did not get approved by the County Board when it came up.  A lot of worry is placed on the stress it will have on property taxes.  We can find funding for the 708 board.  Winnebago County has 86 units of government and many of those entities do not need to exist. We have a township that cares for 11 miles or road and receives property taxes.  There are a lot of cuts and savings that could be made that can fund the 708 board.  Most of all it costs more to house a mentally ill person in jail than a mental health facility.   The mentally ill will get more help in a mental health facility than a jail cell that is for sure.  That fact in itself will save the County money and taxpayer dollars.
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What is your position about early identification and prevention on mental illness especially in city funded (head start) programs?
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I support Head Start a federally funded program that helps our youth.  Early identification and prevention is crucial in solving the mental illness crises in our city.  We need to always encourage our youth to make the right decisions instead of bad decisions.   Getting our youth the help they need early in life helps tremendously.
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 Ron Manns  
Independent Mayoral Candidate for Rockford, IL
ADDRESSING THE MENTAL ILLNESS IMPACT ON ROCKFORD
Q:  Position and plan for training law enforcement about mental illness?
A:  As a Marine veteran of law enforcement for 9 plus years and Training Officer for the entire department, I believe that it is paramount that we train all of our first responders to include fire fighters and EMT’s to be able to recognize possible mental illness.  Being a volunteer for the Civilian Medical Records Network which specializes in the prevention of veteran and active duty suicides, I am very much aware of how not owning any disorder can quickly allow that disorder to own you.  Each of these first responder groups should have an avenue to get that person immediate help.   I believe this should be part of the processing of prisoners prior to incarceration so that we do not continue to jail those who need mental health services instead of being behind bars.
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Q: Will you back any future endeavors to fund mental health services?
A:  Yes but I will go further by picking up the tab for mental health services for all residents who lacks the resources and insurance by paying the provider directly.
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Q:  What is your position about early identification and prevention on mental illness especially in city funded (head start) programs?
A:  From my understanding there is already something called the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation or ECMHC which is reported to work great at this.  We would incorporate this program in all early childhood facilities and Boston Children’s Hospital had a program called Family Connection Project which may also be of benefit in this regard.
THE REST OF THE STORY
I began this campaign for mayor with a 10 step economic plan for this city but after meeting quite a few people and listening to each of their concerns it has grown from 10 to now a 12 pack.  The item now listed and will be campaigned upon to finally fix in this city is The Mental Health Initiative.  It will read as offering those who wish to choose mental health counseling free community college education to begin their journey and if they decide to further and become clinical operators in this industry as well as agree to dedicate 2 years upon graduation right here in Rockford, the city will cover half of the cost for those who can afford it and all for those who can’t.
We know that it currently cost around $23,400 a year to incarcerate and we know that many are only there because their mental illness was never discovered or properly diagnosed.  We know that $2,000 per year for mental health services and we know that prior to 2006 there were approximately 500,000 hospital beds but after that it dropped to 100,000.  We know that now those incarcerated and found to have a mental illness is given some services which we already pay for and we know that mental illness is a wide ranging disorder that affects mood, thinking and behavior.  We know that it cannot be cured and we know that the number one reason it appears to be an epidemic is the stigma associated with having a mental illness which leads to being ashamed or embarrassed.  We know that the Affordable Care Act requires health exchanges to provide equal mental and physical services but with the threat of it being repelled and replaced by another unknown system those offering services may no longer have to and we know that this must change.
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  1. I am offering a change to the current way we do business and the Mental Health Initiative is that change.  When an entire city speaks up and out about this maybe then other cities may tap into our courage and begin to do more to combat this menace than just refusing to address it.  I believe that using the abandoned Singer Mental Health Center on North Main Street for the severe cases of mental illness and the Rock River Academy on Elmwood for the minor cases would be ideal since these structures already exist and were built so exactly this or something quite similar.  Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia used to do this very thing but since the decline of mental health professionals and the current climate of ignoring this mounting menace, I am not sure if they still do.  We can and must do better and we shall, take it from someone who currently suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has written a book on it.
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Tom McNamara 
 Democratic Mayoral Candidate for Rockford, IL  
I want to thank NAMI Northern Illinois for their dedication to improving the quality of life for individuals with mental illness, as well as their families through support and advocacy.   Often mental health services are seen as something a municipality funds only after they take care of citizens most basic needs, or when all the flashy projects are complete.  As Mayor I promise to be a staunch advocate, as I have on Council, for those with a mental illness.  The fact that the Illinois Department of Corrections is our State’s largest mental health provider is appalling.   An Individual’s mental health is a basic necessity and as Mayor I will advocate for more funding.
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As Third Ward Alderman, I publicly advocated for the opening of the Rosecrance Ware Center on North Main Street a proposal that faced stiff opposition in the community and from several council members.  I worked with Alderman Beach to support and pass emergency funding to keep the Rosecrance Mulberry Center open when State funds never came through.  I also served on the Exploration Committee to create a 708 Board chaired by Mike Bacon.    I was honored to receive the elected official NAMI award in 2015 and promise to continue to fight for more funding, a change in culture, and to close the treatment gaps.
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This past month, I introduced a City Budget which doubled our funds directed at police officer training. As Mayor, I will advocate for more training dollars to be used to train and educate officers about mental illness and domestic violence. Today we have a limited number of CIT officers (Crisis Intervention Training- the nationally accepted course model) but we need to have all officers trained in CIT.   I believe our Head Start teachers also need to be trained in early identification and prevention so they can truly be more holistic in their approach to serving our youth.
Lastly, I strongly support the creation of a 708 Board.   I believe every candidate supports the creation of a 708 Board, but I am the only candidate running for office with the proven experience and track record of working with other government agencies to pass legislation that benefits all of our citizens.
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With the help of NAMI and proven leadership in the Mayor’s office I believe we can create a 708 board, which will be instrumental in providing necessary services to all of our citizens.
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Rudy Valdez   
Independent Mayoral Candidate for Rockford, IL 
Mental Health – Training
 
Since 2010, Rockford police officers have participated in training on how to deal with people with mental health issues. Both Chief Epperson and Chief O’Shea have strong relationships with the mental health providers in the area including Rosecrance/Janet Wattles.  These are important relationships to establish and maintain and as Mayor, I would require our police department to not only continue this practice, but to continue to partner on methods and methodologies that give officers the practical tools and resources to better manage the mental health crisis they encounter.
The National Council for Behavioral Health recommends a program called Mental Health First Aide, which brings a practical, demonstrated approach to build mental health literacy and help identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness.   The current mental health training our police officers experience is similar in structure and design to this national program.  This type of training should be a part of the training curriculum for every newly hired police officer and recertification should be required every two years.
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We also need to explore some of the natural partnerships with mental health providers that are already in place.  Our department has a Domestic Violence Unit.  This unit partners with the Winnebago County Domestic Violence Assistance Center, PHASE/WAVE and other groups.  I would like to take these partnerships one step further and integrate staff or volunteers into our three stations so that our officers and our victims have immediate access to support and assistance. Bringing these resources into our stations would provide our officers and the community immediate access to professionals training in recognizing and providing solutions for those in a mental health crisis that can lead to or be a result of domestic violence.
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When we discuss a safe, healthy community, we must make mental health solutions a part of that discussion.  Integrating mental health literacy and the best practices in managing those issues needs to be an integral part of our police department training.
Mental Health – Funding
 
In 2011, Linda Rosenberg, President & CEO, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare stated in an article to raise awareness for Mental Health Week, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) find that about half of U.S. adults will develop a mental illness during their lifetime. One in four adults experiences a mental disorder in any given year, and one in 17 lives with a serious mental illness like schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. By 2020, mental and substance use disorders will surpass all physical diseases worldwide as major causes of disability.”
With these staggering statistics in mind, appropriately and fairly funded mental health programs become a smart investment.  Current funding levels, most of which are dependent on the State of Illinois, are at a crisis level and have resulted in the closing of facilities and the overcrowding of emergency rooms.  In the same article, Ms. Rosenberg points out that “A Surgeon General’s report finds that $1.00 invested in substance use treatment has a return of $7.00 in cost savings on crime and criminal justice costs alone.”
It’s important to remember that funding mental health is a regional issue and requires a regional approach.  The establishment of a 708-mental health board inclusive of Winnebago County and our surrounding communities is an absolute need.  Our neighbors in McHenry County have found success in this approach.  And, while the Community Mental Health Act mandates that the County administer and manage the board, the city of Rockford should play a major, supportive role in this process.
Mental Health – Early Identification
 
Early identification and prevention on mental illness, especially in Head Start is a good initiative. The Head Start program makes sure that children go to the dentist to assess the condition of their teeth, then why not have a mental health assessment? Many children with mental illness have gone through so much in their young lives. We need to have a program and process that helps them get the right assessments, strategies, and learning plans.
Summary
 
Public safety is a basic need that will allow Rockford to build on so it becomes a safe and prosperous community with a high quality of life for our residents. One main area that plays a large influencing role is how we address mental illness.
We need to establish access to community-based services and reduce reliance on institutional and inpatient care. We also need to protect individuals experiencing mental illness so that they can be treated in the least restrictive environment to the greatest extent possible.
In the long run, greater availability of mental health treatment would provide major savings to society and to crime victims. And a good start is the establishment of a 708-mental health board.
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Dear Congress: Don’t Forget About Americans with Mental Illness

namini : March 10, 2017 6:05 am : Breaking News

Capitol Hill is abuzz with health care debate, and NAMI is ready to go to bat for Americans with mental illness. Join our fight to protect mental health coverage for millions of Americans.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee spent more than 24 hours marking up the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which seeks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

NAMI is concerned because the bill goes much further than addressing the health insurance market. Instead, it strips funding from Medicaid, the most significant provider of mental health services for Americans with mental illness.

In a letter to House E&C Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ), NAMI CEO Mary Giliberti emphasizes the importance of preserving enrollment in Medicaid expansion.

“NAMI is deeply concerned with proposed provisions to convert Medicaid financing into a per capita cap model,” Giliberti wrote. “This would limit federal funding to a lump sum for all enrollees and, instead of providing more flexibility, would shift financial risk for health care costs including unexpected costs, such as promising new innovations in treatment, to states.”

NAMI applauds that the E&C Committee included essential insurance safeguards in the AHCA. But there is much more work to be done.

Cutting corners in health coverage will keep people from getting the treatment they need and will push people with mental illness into costly emergency rooms, hospitals and jails.

Follow @NAMIAdvocacy ‘s coverage of the AHCA on Twitter, and join in our mission to #KeepWhatWorks.

Sign up for our alerts to find out how you can stand up for mental health coverage.

– See more at: http://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/Dear-Congress-Don-t-Forget-About-Americans-with-M#sthash.KwDWzeK8.dpuf

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NAMI Ask The Doctor: Understanding and Helping Kids with Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Challenges

namini : February 6, 2017 3:54 pm : Breaking News
We are grateful for your support of NAMI, and hope you will join us for the upcoming NAMI Ask The Doctor Webinar hosted by NAMI Medical Director Dr. Ken Duckworth M.D. and featuring Dr. Ross Green, Ph.D.

Speaker: 

Host: Ken Duckworth, M.D., Speaker: Ross Greene, Ph.D.
Dr. Duckworth serves as the medical director for NAMI.
 He is double board certified in adult and child and adolescent psychiatry. 
Dr. Greene is the originator of the innovative, empirically-supported
 approach now known as Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS),
 as described in his influential books The Explosive Child, Lost at School, Lost & Found,
 and the recently released Raising Human Beings.
Learn more about Dr. Duckworth here.
In this webinar, Dr. Greene will discuss innovative strategies from the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions model for working with behaviorally challenging kids including how to teach children skills like frustration tolerance, flexibility/adaptability and problem-solving, and how to collaborate with the child to proactively to solve problems.
Dr. Greene originated the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions. He is also the author of several influential books including the recently released, Raising Human Beings. During this webinar, Dr. Greene will share:
1.) How parents and caregivers can move away from focusing on challenging behaviors and attempting to modifying them and move towards identifying the problems that are causing the behaviors and solving the problems as the best way to change the challenging behaviors.
2.) How to achieve better results by approaching problem solving with the child in a proactive, collaborative and planned way instead of attempting to impose unilateral solutions.
3.) How to teach important, positive attributes and life skills including:
• Empathy • Appreciating how one’s behavior is affecting others
• Resolving disagreements without conflict
• Appreciating another’s perspective
• Honesty Dr. Greene’s approach is based on the empirically-supported Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model which best known for helping kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, but works well for all children.
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New Congress, What Now?

namini : January 28, 2017 12:31 pm : Breaking News

By Happy Carlock | Jan. 27, 2017

America is in a time of transition. And any major transition—whether in politics or in our personal lives—is often accompanied by a range of emotions. Just log into your Facebook or scroll through Twitter, and you’re likely to be flooded by alarming headlines and heated commentary. With a new president and members of Congress, our political landscape is shifting. New laws and regulations are being proposed and the future of health care is at the center of the action.FAQ-FB

NAMI pledges to be here every step of the way, fighting to make sure that your mental health care is protected and keeping you informed of new developments. Below are some frequently asked questions we’ve been receiving from our members and HelpLine callers. Find our answers here, and don’t forget to join the fight to protect America’s mental health.

Does NAMI support the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

NAMI is a non-partisan organization. We work across the political spectrum to build better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI opposes the repeal of the ACA. The patient protections and increased access to insurance that were included in the bill have supported millions of people living with mental health conditions in their recovery. We acknowledge that there is still more work to do to improve access and quality of services.

I’m worried I’m going to lose my health insurance. What’s happening in Congress? What’s going to happen to my insurance?

Congress is debating the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which resulted in many people getting health coverage. However, repeal of the ACA is very complicated. It’s important to remember that any changes to the ACA or Medicaid must move through Congress in a process that will take time and require negotiation. We anticipate that there will be time for people to plan before any changes in coverage take effect.

What is NAMI doing to protect mental health coverage?

Ensuring that people have the mental health coverage they need is NAMI’s number one advocacy priority. This includes protecting Medicaid. We are working every day with Republican and Democratic members of Congress and with partner organizations to preserve important insurance protections and health care coverage for people living with mental health conditions. Some of this work is very public—like our advocacy alerts and public statements—and some is behind the scenes on Capitol Hill.

Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have long supported our mental health priorities. For example, in December, a major mental health reform bill passed with strong support from both parties. We have members of Congress on record supporting our issues and we are reminding them that we must protect access to mental health care in order to keep the progress that they voted for.

How can I help protect health coverage for myself or my loved one?

  1. Sign up for NAMI’s advocacy alerts. We will email you when key votes are coming up and ask you to call or email your members of Congress.
  2. Contact Congress and tell them you support mental health coverage.
  3. Share your story about how mental health coverage has helped you get better, get back to work, get back to school or meet your goals. NAMI will share these stories with members of Congress, governors, media and others who can help us in this fight. We won’t share your name unless you give us permission.
  4. Register for NAMI’s 2017 Hill Day and National Convention, to be held June 28-July 1 in Washington, D.C.

 

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