NAMI Montana Newsletter
January 2012
Hello!!  I, Quentin Schroeter, wish to usher in the New Year by writing  this month's newsletter. First of all, 2O11 was a banner year for NAMI Montana and  Matt and I wish to thank each and everyone of you    for your concrete support behind NAMI Montana's projects, plans, and  dreams for tomorrow. It is YOU that made it all happen.

As a person who has been involved with NAMI Montana for ten years, I have seen the cultural climate of attitudes adopted toward the acceptance, understanding, and societal integration of persons with mental disorders change radically.   As a social movement, the fight against mental illness is now recognized not only  "legitimate,"  but essential. As a  frequent In Our Own Voice Presenter, I  have  been  privy to the  change in  attitudes  indicated  by  the  questions  raised by  the  various audiences  that I speak to.  And I  have noticed the heightened level of sophication concerning the issues that  are involved among the mentally ill. This is indeed heartening to  see the expansion of awareness evolve to such an extent that when  "NAMI" is mentioned, there is an immdiate recognition of what "we are about." 

Educate: Anosognosia
Did you notice the article on Anosognosia in the 2012 Winter issue of SZ  magazine? The article emphasizes that Anosognosia is an integral part of the schizophrenic mentality and creates impediments toward achieving  progress toward wellness. 

The pervasiveness of Anosognosia (meaning: the denial of being  mentally ill or the lack of insight into one's illness and  the consequential implications, thereof) is rampant and presents a challenge to both peers and providers. Unqualified  non-judgmental acceptance of the constructs of anosognosia is imperative in the beginning but, gradually, resistant  barriers to corrective therapy do dissolve.


Advocate: Mental Health Screenings 


I would like to give you an update on U. S. Senator Baucus's praise for the military's screenings of U.S. troops for post-traumatic stress disorders(PTSD).  This was his response to "the tragic epidemic of mililitary suicides." As of September, nearly  3,500 health  care providers have been trained to provide the screenings.  Through September 1st, the Army had conducted screenings on more than 400,000 soldiers and the Air Force had sreened about  73,000 service members.  (The Navy and Marines will have their own screening plans later).


This is how the screenings progress: under the law, each service member  must sit down for individual, one-on-one private session with a trained health care provider for a mental health assessment 60 days before being sent to combat.  After returning from combat, a serviced member must receive additional assessments in 6,12 and 24 months.


This national program is based on a Montana national Guard pilot program  which  was established with the help of our very own Executive Director,  Matt  Kuntz.  Sen. Baucus cited Kuntz's inspiration as "turning  the tragedy of suicides into a service for Montanans".  And a  lot of people will be very grateful for Matt's gesture.


Tom Tarantino, senior legislative associate from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of  America, had this comment: "I, personally, believe this program is going to save more lives than all  the  F-35's and WRAP engines," referring  to a military fighter jet and mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored vehicle. 


The American Journal Psychiatry just published a study about the effectiveness of pre-deployment mental health screening which more than suggest Mr. Tarantin is right. Read it here.


Advocate: Stealing a Page From Steve Jobs

From Matt:  While there is a lot of disagreement within the mental illness community about what needs to be changed in the mental illness treatment system and how to do it, I believe that there is a real consensus that feels that we can and must do better job of providing a system that helps people recover from these brain conditions.  As NAMI's Peer-to-Peer and Family-to-Family courses teach, we're all called to be advocates.


In this search for positive change, mental illness advocates may want to take a look at Design Thinking as used by Apple and other cutting edge companies.   Design thinking is centered on innovating through the eyes of the end user and as such encourages in-the-field research that builds empathy for people, which results in deeper insights about their unmet needs. This focus helps avoid the common problem of enthusiastic "outsiders" promoting inappropriate solutions and ensures that solutions are rooted in the needs and desires of the community.  


Click here to read Tim Brown and Jocelyn Wyatt's article on "Why Social Innovators Need Design Thinking" from the Stanford Social Innovation Review.


Thank you again for all that you do to support the one-in-five Montana families affected by serious mental illness.  

Quentin Schroeter

NAMI Montana

Kevin Hines
Kevin Hines picture

If you missed the convention, please take a few minutes to learn more about our incredible speaker Kevin Hines.  Kevin's battle to recover from the mental illness that led him to leap off the Golden Gate bridge is awe inspiring.  Here's a link to his website.
NAMI Montana
Premier Sponsor
Cellular One
Book of the Month

"Buddah and the Borderline is a masterpiece." - Perry Hoffman, Ph.D, President, National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder.


You can find it here.