DMH Connections

A publication of the 

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health

April 2017   


  26 April written by hand on a white background Celebrating Administrative Professionals
On April 26 DMH will join the rest of the nation in celebrating Administrative Professionals Day. Administrative assistants, receptionists, and other administrative support staff serve key roles in keeping offices, and the agency as a whole functioning efficiently. In many cases, they function as the right hands of busy executives. 
"As I ride home at the end of the day I like to reflect back on the day's events, and feel good that my energy and time has been well spent. That I have done my best to make everyone's days better not worse, that I have had a positive, helpful impact and not a negative, hurtful impact for them during our interaction because one never knows what their situation is; where they are coming from; or, how they may need help. I like the satisfaction in thinking that this is what I get to do every day for my job."

-Martha D. Wheeler, Administrative Support, Western MA Area  
In addition to keeping offices operating seamlessly, administrative professionals are often the first point of contact for an individual contacting DMH for the first time. A positive attitudes and willingness to assist are crucial to the experience, and the outcome received by the individual. Administrative professionals often assist executives in keeping office morale high and positive for the office staff. With the support of the Area Director Susan Wing, the Northeast Area Office created a group of administrative support staff to enhance the work environment in hopes to inspire an ongoing positive atmosphere.  Recently the group provided valentine treats to staff with the intention to create smiles and brighten their days.
Amy Barrett, program coordinator in the Worcester Site Office maintains her momentum, in part, from the relationships she has built while working at DMH: "I have worked for DMH for 23 years now, and I can honestly say throughout those years I have met people who have changed my life for the better. Inspiring other employees or the individuals we serve is what fuels me to be the best I can be for DMH. Serving others and helping to make their day a better day has created purpose and fulfillment in my life. Even more rewarding, is seeing the positive change it has created in so many lives around me!" 
The Department of Mental Health thanks our administrative professionals for the organization, commitment, and compassion that you bring to your work every day! 
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In This Issue

DMH Office of Communications and Community Engagement

Questions or suggestions?

Contact Michelle
Communications Coordinator 
(617) 626-8118

Contribute to the next DMH Connections


Submission Deadline is the 15th or the month prior to when you would like your article or event published


Please send all materials to 

 Michelle Cormier Tallman


Click here for Submission Guidelines

ReachHire offers young adults and anyone seeking a wealth of tools, advice, and resources designed to help you reach your dreams - for building a career, getting an education, and supporting yourself financially.  
With a positive attitude and the right support, you can make it a fun and fulfilling experience.
Get Started Today at:
Walk for your Health and Support Two Great Causes During May! 
NAMI Walks Banner #JoinTheMovement
Please join the NAMI GBCAN team for this year's NAMIWalks event on May 13, 2017  at Artesani Park in Brighton. Check in begins at 9 a.m., followed by the walk at 11 a.m.  We are walking to raise awareness of mental illness and to raise funds for the important work of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness!  Please walk with NAMI Greater Boston Consumer Advocacy Network (GBCAN) and support peer-run programming!

If you want to participate, or learn about additional ways to support, please visit the NAMI GBCAN team page

21st Annual Mothers Day Walk for Peace 4-14-2017
The DMH Peace Keepers are a team of DMH staff, family and friends who are walking for peace! We are inviting you to join us on Sunday May 14, 2017. The program begins at 8 a.m., followed by the walk  at 8:30 a.m. We will begin our walk at Fields Corner in Dorchester, and will walk by Roxbury Crossing (2nd point of entry) on the way to Boston City Hall. The total distance from Fields Corner to City Hall is 4.5 miles, and from Roxbury Crossing is 3 miles. 
If you want to participate, or learn about additional ways to support, please contact 
[email protected] or visit the 
team page
Conferences and Events 
April 24, 2017
MassPRA Annual Meeting
Advocacy in a Time of Uncertainty: Using Psych Rehab to Impact Public Policy 
10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Arrive at 9 a.m. for Netwroking and Continental Breakfast
College of the Holy Cross
1 College St.
Hogan Campus Center
Worcester, MA 01610

Click here to Register 

May 19, 2017
PPAL 7th Annual Conference
Building our Hopes and Dreams 

May 25, 2017
Express Yourself Presents "SOUL"
7 p.m.
Wang Theatre at the Boch Center
Visit: for more information. 


Upcoming Events at The Bridge Training Institute  
Continuing Education for Mental Health Professionals - See our training calendar at
Our day-long trainings are held at the Courtyard Marriott in Marlborough, MA. If accommodations are needed, please contact Stephen Murphy at [email protected] 
or 508-755-0333

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Suicide Prevention Training Calendar
Please click on the link below to register.
When registering for a workshop, please note that each event has tabs titled with information regarding the workshop, available CEs and cost.   
Space is very limited for each workshop and fills up quickly, please register early.
Upcoming Workshops at the Center for Professional Innovation 
(formerly Community Program Innovations) 
 CPI offers continuing education for mental health and healthcare professionals and educators, holding day-long workshops throughout Massachusetts on clinical and management topics. Trainings are held in Billerica, Foxborough and Springfield. To view the complete schedule and to register visit  
All facilities are wheelchair accessible. If accommodations such as ASL interpreters or visual aids are needed, email: [email protected] 
 or call 339-883-2118.
 Click here for the Transformation Center website and all the latest information and events happening throughout the mental health community.   
Please send your event information to
by the 15th of each month for publication in
DMH Connections
Seats Still Available!

Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) of Boston Presents:

"Foundations Workshop in Facilitating Peer Support Groups"

Sunday, April 30, 2017
9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Francis de Marneffe Building, Rm 132 McLean Hospital, 115 Mill Street
Belmont, MA

This workshop is a comprehensive overview, providing the building blocks of effective peer-support group facilitation to people interested in becoming a facilitator. This training, for many, is the first step in learning how to facilitate a support group.
People attending this training need not have any experience facilitating a group, only the desire and interest to learn.

Registration Deadline:
Wednesday, April 26, at 7 p.m.
Pre-Registration is required. No "walk-in" registrations will be allowed.

Contact: [email protected], or call DBSA-Boston office staff at 617-855-2795

To register, download Foundations Training Registration Form (PDF) or complete a registration form while visiting a DBSA-Boston support group at McLean Hospital.

Click here for a printable flyer with complete details.
Save the Date

Department of Mental Health
Mental Illness/Problematic Sexual Behavior Annual Conference

Friday May 26, 2017
Worcester Recovery Center & Hospital
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Keynote Address on Treating Sex Offenders using Safe Offender Strategies
by Dr. Jill Stinson
Author of "Treating Sex Offenders: An Evidence-Based Manual" (2013)    
Conference will include: a presentation by Dr. Renee Sorrentino on pharmacologic treatment for problematic sexual behavior and a review of objective testing measures; a presentation by Kevin Creeden, MA on pornography use and treatment issues for adolescents with sexual behavior problems; and a panel discussion about new developments and trending topics in our MI/PSB work
More information to follow, but meantime save the date!
Send questions to: [email protected] 
WellMass GIC LogoHealth and Wellness 

A reminder that the Health Questionnaire (HQ)is still open until June 30, 2017
.  The HQ $40 gift card incentive ended on January 31, 2017, but participants will still earn points for completing the HQ and other targeted activities for the remaining FitBit raffles.

Take the HQ at
DMH Connections Celebrates
Thank You
for your readership as we proudly celebrate 
8 years of continuous publication!


DMH Cares - Think before you print logo DMH Connections is available on  the DMH's archives page of the DMH Internet.  View issues from 2008 to the present at
DMH Presents at the 30th Annual Research and Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health
Massachusetts' work to address the mental health needs of transition age youth and young adults was well represented at the 30th Annual Research and Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health in Tampa, Florida. The conference brings together researchers, evaluators, policymakers, and agencies to collaborate and learn together to better serve and address mental health needs of our communities. Members of the The Success for Transition Age Youth (STAY) and YouForward (Now is the Time- Healthy Transitions (NITT-HT) Grant teams attended.
The STAY Grant team, Heidi Holland, STAY Grant Project Director and Carter Pratt, Grant Evaluator (UMMS), and Young Adult Peer Mentors Alicia Anzaldi from the Home for Little Wanderers, and Kenneth Coleman from Community HealthLink presented on the Impact and Sustainability of Integrating Peer Mentors and Youth Voice into Services for Transition Age Youth in Massachusetts, which detailed the work of the STAY Grant and their sustainability strategiesto a well-attended and engaged audience.
Alicia and Kenneth were joined by Emmanuel Hernandez from the DMH You Forward grant in the Northeast, and other STAY Team members Joel Danforth, STAY Project Coordinator, and Julia Cardoso, DMH Young Adult Consultant to present on the Young Adult Peer Support workforce movement in the Commonwealth, and how integral the role is in behavioral health setting. The presentation titled Defining the Future of the Young Adult Peer Support Workforce in Massachusetts was shown to an audience that was impressed by the work the Commonwealth is doing; and was interested in replicating it in their communities.
Joel and Julia in Tampa Joel and Julia pictured presented a poster on the work of Speaking of Hope and the process of engaging young adults in social marketing. Joel was joined by Christine Furnari, Boston College Social Work Intern with the Children's Behavioral Health (CBH) Knowledge Center to present a poster entitled "I Need a Young Adult": How to Ensure Youth Voice is Heard and Respected, which highlighted guidelines that are being developed for young adult participation in various settings and events.
YouForward presented a three part symposium entitled "If you Build It, Will They Come?" The first section, presented by Susan Wing, Northeast Area Director and Principal Investigator, and Betsy Edes, Project Director, detailed the process of designing the YouForward program, from conceptualization to implementation. In the second section Emmanuel Hernandez, a Certified Peer Specialist, and Roberto Hernandez, young adult service recipient, discussed engaging young adults with mental health concerns who have "fallen through the cracks" of traditional supports and services. Adriana Estevez Smalls, Wraparound/Drop-in Center Director, and Betsy Edes, presented a final section on building strategic partnerships and their roles in both the service and policy components of the YouForward program. Betsy Edes presented preliminary outcomes data indicating that young adults in the YouForward program have moved towards more stable housing, employment, and achieving educational goals. Jennie Fishman, UMMS provided an introduction to the Now is the Time-Healthy Transitions Grant and Alexis Henry, UMMS Evaluation Team, discussed lessons learned and facilitated a discussion.
The YouForward team also participated in a pre-conference session hosted by SAMHSA's Technical Assist ance Center, which brought NITT-HT grantees from across the country together to share innovations and lessons learned and to discuss policy change.
In addition, Kelly English from the CBH Knowledge Center presented on the Development of the Massachusetts' In-Home Practice Profiles.
YouForward group in TampaPictured from left to right: Roberto Hernandez, Sue Wing, Betsy Edes, Alexis Henry, Ana Hernandez, Jennie Fishman, Adriana Estevez Smalls (front), Emmanuel Hernandez
Filling Your Toolbox at Success-Fest
By Carly Sebastian 
Director of Child and Adolescent Services, DMH Central MA Area
The Department of Mental Health (DMH) Central Mass Area held the Area's first annual Young Adult and Allies Success-Fest, a free convention on March 13, 2017 at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, MA.  This year's theme was "Filling Your 'Toolbox' to be Most Successful!"   Nearly 250 attendees enjoyed a day filled and dedicated to success, hope, and inspiration.  Attendees included young adults and parents, Parent/Peer Specialists, administrative and/or clinical providers, DMH Site and Area Offices, and Transition Age Youth programs.  The day-long event featured speakers who have great insight and experience with the young adult culture and parenting young adults interactive workshops, a poster session involving local experts and community providers to highlight promising practices and innovative ideas, a job fair, and awards and prizes to acknowledge the select work of committed individuals.  A live art demonstration and a massage station (which proved to be very popular among the attendees), were available all day.  And of course there were lots of give-a-ways like stress balls, glow sticks, modeling clay, candy, tote bags, phone chargers, water bottles, and more!
Success-Fest provides a forum for attendees to network, and share available resources and opportunities. Ultimately attendees are able to create a "toolbox" to enhance the transition with resource such as: expanding their peer and community network families learning how to live both together and apart; how to support each other (including peers, parents, and young adults); and what defines caring and support.
Through this annual conference, the DMH Central Massachusetts region celebrates the specialness of the transition-age families. The region honors the accomplishments of young adults and parents, motivates the community to continue supporting success, and promotes the peer roles of young adults and parents.
Keep an eye out for next year's event in early spring as the success does not stop here!
Joel Skolnick Appointed as CEO of Shattuck Hospital
Joel Skolnick Joel Skolnick, who is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Metro Boston Mental Health Units at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Shattuck Hospital. He will begin his new role on April 10, 2017.
The Department of Mental Health extends its deepest gratitude to Joel for his years of leadership including senior management at Medfield State Hospital, then Westborough State Hospital, and most recently as COO at Shattuck. Under his skilled direction, the hospital has achieved excellent reviews from the Joint Commission and has been a leader in the areas of person centered care and restraint reduction.
While we are sad to see him go, we are confident that his new position will facilitate even better collaboration between DMH and DPH in the service of our clients.
Robert Ortiz Honored with The National Council's Peer Specialist of the Year Award
"Sharing my lived experience with peers shows the commonality, it shows that we're mutual. It shows that my past and what I've overcome isn't so far from what they are experiencing," 
Robert Ortiz pictured right with Southeast Area Director Howard Baker-Smith and Commissioner Mikula. Robert was co-emcee at the DMH Southeast Area Citizens Legislative Breakfast in March
The National Council for Behavioral Health has selected Robert Ortiz, Northeast Director of Peer Recovery Services, as the recipient of its prestigious Awards of Excellence in the category of Peer Specialist of the Year.
This category recognizes one individual each year who has shown extraordinary tenacity and courage in battling a serious mental illness and/or addiction; and now utilizes his or her lived experience to assist others.
Ortiz embraces the council's values and mission through his leadership, vision, and ideals. He strongly believes that everyone has the ability to improve their lives, with access to the right supports.
Ortiz was awarded at the 2017 National Council Awards of Excellence Conference on April 4, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.
A Conversation with Massachusetts  Commissioner Mikula

Mary Quill By Mary Quill
Research Assistant, Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center (SPARC)

The Mental Health Experienced & Years Of Understanding (MHE & YOU) Advisory Council is the mental health consumer advisory council for the Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center (SPARC) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. SPARC is a Massachusetts DMH Research Center of Excellence. The MHE & YOU Advisory Council offers the expertise of persons with lived mental health experience to inform and improve the quality of SPARC research, technical assistance, and dissemination activities.

One of our most visible efforts is our annual "May is Mental Health Awareness Month" video campaign. Each year we visit various programs funded by DMH that serve individuals with lived mental health experience such as Psychiatric Rehabilitation Clubhouse Programs, Recovery Learning Communities (RLCs), and mental health agencies to record short video statements on a specific theme relevant to people living with mental health conditions.

In 2016, our theme was Eliminating Stigma - Real Perspectives. Since DMH Commissioner Joan Mikula is one of the CEO's taking part in the NAMI Massachusetts campaign CEO's Against Stigma, my colleague Jack Grillo reached out to Commissioner Mikula to see if she'd be willing to be recorded for our video campaign. She agreed and on June 1 we traveled to the DMH Central Office in Boston. When we arrived at her office, we were warmly welcomed by the Commissioner and her staff. It was really fascinating to be in her office. While there, Commissioner Mikula talked about lost productivity in the workplace due to mental health conditions, and how a CEO can open a dialogue to have a stigma free work environment.

After recording her video statement for our annual campaign, the Commissioner was gracious enough to answer some additional questions for us. We have turned her answers to these questions into three additional videos. We call this three-part video series "A Conversation with Joan Mikula, Massachusetts DMH Commissioner." These videos can be found on the MHE & YOU Advisory Council's website. In these videos, the Commissioner talks about how she got involved in the NAMI Massachusetts' CEOs Against Stigma campaign, what she's learned from being part of that campaign, and her thoughts about fighting stigma associated with mental illness.

We left the Commissioner's office feeling excited and inspired to continue our work. Thank you to Commissioner Joan Mikula and her staff for letting us have this wonderful opportunity and experience. Please visit our website to learn more about MHE & YOU and how to participate in our 2017 May Mental Health Awareness Month campaign - this year's theme is "What Recovery Means to Me?"
YouTube logo icon DMH YouTube Spotlight 
Watch Commissioner Mikula as she talks about the House 1 budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2018 at the Legislative Breakfasts. 

Commissioner Mikula shares the FY18 House 1 Budget recommendations (5:41)
Photos of the Month 
Poster Art at the 2017 Legislative Breakfasts  
Three of the five DMH Citizens Legislative Breakfasts are held in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House. The areas each created posters which were placed at the entrance to welcome legislators and guests. This month we feature those posters, including a Phoenix from Metro Boston Area, blooming flower from the Southeast Area, and Recovery Marathon from the Northeast Area.
Events prior to 2014 are posted on the 
DMH Photo Gallery on Shutterfly and all current events are on Flickr

If you have photos of a DMH event that you would like to feature here or on DMH's Flickr site, please send them to
 Michelle Cormier Tallman.