In This Issue
NAMI Idaho's New Website
Crisis Intervention Hotlines
NAMI Anonymous Support Options
Project Semicclon
Idaho Affiliates
Contact Us
The Key to Confidence and Significance for Caregivers.
Help Support the Health Idaho Plan
NAMI Idaho Northern Conference
Mental Illness & Faith in Schools
Back-to-school blues?
Close the Gap
Affiliate News
Voice Awards
NAMI Idaho's New Website
To better serve you, NAMI Idaho has updated our webpage and created a new email account. Our website can be found at idahonami.org.  

We welcome any comments you have on this webpage.  You may send them to our new email address at  idahonami@gmail.com
Crisis Intervention

Anxiety Disorder

Panic Disorder

Runaway Hotline

Suicide Hotline


NAMI Anonymous Support Options
By Joni Agronin

Editor's note: For everyone who can't make it to their local support groups these online options offer a way to connect with folks for support and help.

You are not Alone

An online story-sharing hub for individuals to post their experiuences with mental illness. Whether the person has been diagnosed with a mental health condition or is simply a friend or family member, he or she can find and share information and support.  Visit notalone.nami.org to follow.


An online story-sharing hub for young people to vent, ask for help and share success stories on the topic of mental health. Visit www.OK2Talk.org to follow.


A new free smartphone support app through which individuals living with mental illness abnd their family members or loved ones can share their thoughts and feelings while connecting with and supporting their peers.  Visit nami.org/Find-Support/Air-App for more information or go to the App store to download.

Discussion Groups

NAMI.org contains discussion groups on various topics where people can ask questions, share thoughts and connect with others.  Visit nami.org/Find-Support/Discussion-Groups to get involved.

From: NAMI Advocate
Spring 2015

Project Semicolon
If you or anyone you know has struggled with suicide, check out this life-affirming group.

Idaho Affiliates
Contact Information

NAMI Boise  

Jennifer Stairs, Office Manager  

4696 Overland Rd., Ste. 272    

Boise, ID 83705                  




Educational Programs: F2F, FSG, Basics, Connection, P2P, IOOV


NAMI Coeur d'Alene  

Susie Fischer, President   

P.O. Box 2068               

Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816 



Educational Programs: F2F, FSG, Basics, Connection, IOOV         


NAMI Far North (Sandpoint)

Amber Snoddy, President  


P.O. Box 2415 

Sandpoint, ID 83864  




Educational Programs: F2F, FSG,

Basics, Connection, IOOV


NAMI Latah  (Moscow)

Jane Pritchett, President


P.O. Box 8654 

Moscow, ID 8384 


Educational Programs:  F2F, FSG 


NAMI Lewis/Clark Valley (Lewiston)

Barbara Kauffman, President


3336 16th St.

Lewiston, ID 83501




NAMI-Quad (Payette)

Lee Kroeker, President


108 W. Park Ave.

New Plymouth, ID 83655



NAMI Southeast Idaho (Pocatello)

Zina Magee, President


P.O. Box 6066

Pocatello, ID 83205


Educational Programs: F2F, FSG, IOOV


NAMI Upper Valley Idaho (Idaho Falls)

Jane Roberts, President


P.O. Box 2452 

Idaho Falls, ID 83401




Educational Programs: F2F, FSG,

Basics, Connection


NAMI Wood River Valley (Hailey)

Gail Miller Wray, President


P.O. Box 95

Hailey, ID 83333 




Educational Programs: F2F, Basics, Connection, P2P


Contact NAMI Idaho:
Email us at:


Visit our webpage at:


Awareness: The Key to Confidence and Significance for Caregivers

Aug. 13, 2015

Whether you are an experienced caregiver or not, there is always the potential to fall into the daunting and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and insignificance. As the passionate caregiver aims to help make a change for the better in someone's life, sometimes this seems impossible and can lead to a loss of motivation and a lack of attention to detail. Here are some simple tips that can help a struggling caregiver regain the feelings of ability and usefulness that are necessary in order to give high quality care in any setting.

Looking Out For Others: Awareness Of Your Surroundings

Within the caregiving environment there is a high probability for unsafe situations, whether they are accidental or purposeful. Being fully aware of your surroundings and all potential outcomes can allow you to prevent a harmful situation.

Family Or Other Caregivers
 Be aware of the behavior of those involved with giving care.

 I've too often seen inappropriate behavior in the form of verbal and physical abuse. By recognizing signs and symptoms of abuse you can actively become a solution to the problem. If any sort of abuse is recognized take action immediately. Voicing your disapproval of the abuse can usually solve this. In a serious case it may take immediate and direct intervention to resolve the situation, including calling 911.


Awareness also comes in the form of foresight. Always be aware of hazardous objects and substances. Someone might reach for a hot stove or accidentally grab the wrong end of a sharp utensil. Be aware of the potential outcomes, so that you may be the one to prevent an accident or injury. Another way to prevent injury is by being aware of the condition of medical equipment and devices. Notice if there are any broken or weak points that might give out or cause the device to fail.


On another note, be aware of the widespread problem of medical fraud. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, "Every year we lose tens of billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid funds to fraud.

Those billions represent healthcare dollars that could be spent on medicine, elder care, or emergency room visits, but instead are wasted on greed." That adds up to between 3% and 10% of total health care expenditures across the country. This crisis is much less visible (though it does occur), but it is always worth it to voice a concern rather than let your suspicions subside.

Cultivating situational awareness will allow the caregiver to recognize when danger is apparent as opposed to letting fears and worries run rampant. At the very least, knowing what types of dangers you are keeping people from will create a positive impact on the person you are caring for.

Looking Out For Yourself: Awareness Of Self-Expression

The ways in which you carry and express yourself are quite influential and important. In this regard, an incredibly effective practice for improving the overall atmosphere of a caretaking setting is noting your levels of kindness. To show that you genuinely care for the wellbeing of another person can sometimes be enough in itself to enact change. This is also true for showing kindness towards others involved with the caregiving. Having a kind relationship with all who are involved helps enforce a healthy and functional environment all around.

Personal Health

Additionally, your own health is very important when it comes to being an effective caregiver. Coming to work feeling positive and refreshed, getting enough sleep and exercise, maintaining a healthy intake (moderation is the key to everything!) and being a healthy person overall will be a positive influence on the person under your care.

Training And Education

Lastly, training and education are extremely important tools. You can protect yourself from injury and maybe even save someone's life. Learning about proper body mechanics can prevent back injuries when you need to help someone in and out of bed. Knowing more about the illness of the person you are caring for is very important. Being CPR certified at all times is crucial (you have to renew certification every two years) especially because the rules of certification continue to change. Being aware of all proper technique and training opportunities will boost your confidence when you have another human  being's life in your hands.

Confidence is all about being equipped with the proper skills and knowledge in order to be proficient at your job. It may take time to become an expert, but with a positive outlook and a foundation of skills to improve upon, you will have confidence that your presence makes a significantly positive difference in someone's wellbeing.

Volume 4, Issue 2
                  Summer 2015 
Help Support the Healthy Idaho Plan

By: Close the Gap Idaho

While Medicaid provides coverage for many of the poorest Americans and those with disabilities, and the national health care law provides tax credits for many uninsured residents to purchase policies, estimates from 2014 indicate that 78,000 Idahoans have been left out. They earn too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid and too little to qualify for insurance on the Your Health Idaho insurance exchange.

The coverage gap is a huge obstacle to achieving good mental health for Idahoans. Some 41,000 Idahoans are seriously impaired by their mental illness, but Medicaid currently covers only 9,000 of them. The Healthy Idaho Plan is a home-grown solution to the coverage gap, crafted by the Governor's Medicaid Redesign Workgroup. It's a public-private alternative to traditional Medicaid expansion that utilizes both managed care and the state's health insurance exchange to close the coverage gap.

With the Healthy Idaho Plan, people living with mental illness would have access to essential community-based mental health services to keep our residents healthy and supported.  Action is needed in Idaho in 2016 to pass the Healthy Idaho Plan. Mental health allies and advocates will be a crucial part of a successful effort to close the coverage gap in Idaho.

The Close the Gap Idaho Network is a coalition of over 120 organizations and individuals in Idaho committed to supporting the Healthy Idaho Plan.  We encourage NAMI members to join our Network list by emailing Christine Tiddens at: ctiddens@ccidaho.org.

NAMI members can further help support the Healthy Idaho Plan by:

1)     Attending our Close the Gap Network Workshops, the first of which takes place on Friday, August 28 from 10:30-12:30 at the Downtown Boise Public Library.  More opportunities for trainings, including on-line webinars, will be offered throughout the fall.

2)     Sharing Close the Gap Idaho's hotline number for Idahoans in the gap to share their stories. With permission, stories will be used for communication with legislators, and media content. Idahoans in the gap can call: 1-844-HELP78K (1-844-435-7785) to share their stories.

3)     Working with Close the Gap Idaho to submit letters to the editor and opinion editorials about how the Healthy Idaho Plan would be good for Idahoans with mental illness. Contact Christine to get started.

Closing the gap would save lives, help Idahoans living with mental illness access affordable care, and also help build our economy and save local dollars that are currently used for indigent care.  We look forward to working with NAMI to support the Healthy Idaho Plan now and during the legislative session.

Two Major Health Bills Introduced in 
U.S. Senate
Mental Health Reform Act of 2015

Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced The Mental Health Reform Act of 2015 (S. 1945), legislation to "comprehensively overhaul and strengthen America's mental health care system."

The bill addresses many of the same issues as the "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act" (HR 2646) introduced by Representatives Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-La.) in the House of Representatives, although there are differences between the two bills as well.

S. 1945 includes proposals to:
  • Establish an Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to oversee grants and promote best practices in early diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation;
  • Create an exception to the Medicaid IMD exclusion for acute inpatient services furnished in state or private psychiatric hospitals;
  • Permit same day billing in Medicaid for mental and physical healthcare services;
  • Establish a new Mental Health Policy Laboratory within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to fund innovation grants that identify new and effective models of care and demonstration grants to bring effective models to scale for adults and children;
  • Authorize grants for states to facilitate more effective integration of physical and mental health services;
  • Improve transparency and strengthen enforcement of the federal mental health and addictions parity law;
  • Clarify the circumstances in which HIPAA permits health professionals to communicate information to family members or other caregivers, support training of health care providers about the circumstances in which information can be shared with caregivers.
  • Establish a federal Interagency Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee to foster a more coordinated approach to research, services and supports for people with serious mental illness within the federal bureaucracy;
  • Implement a new grant program to stimulate early intervention and mental health treatment for children, youth and transition age young adults.

S. 1945 does not contain any provisions restricting the activities of Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) programs. It also does not include the provision in HR 2646 authorizing 2% incentive payments through the federal Mental Health Services Block Grant for states that implement Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) programs.

It does however include a provision, also contained in HR 2646, that would extend authority to support AOT pilot programs for an additional two years through 2020. This program was first authorized in 2014 but it has not yet been implemented due to lack of funding.

NAMI supports S. 1945 as legislation that, in conjunction with HR 2646 in the House, helps advance the process of passing comprehensive mental health reform.

The Mental Health and Safe Communities Act

This week, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX.) introduced the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act, a bill which has not yet been assigned a number. The major focus of the bill is on preventing unnecessary incarceration of people with mental illness and enhanced treatment and services for individuals with mental illness while incarcerated and following release.

The bill specifies that federal resources should be used to expand programs with proven effectiveness such as:
  • Pre-trial screening and jail diversion programs
  • Mental Health Courts
  • Veterans Treatment Courts
  • Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs for law enforcement and other first responders
  • Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) programs
  • Other evidence based approaches.

The bill also directs federal resources to be used for improving mental health and substance use treatment for people who are incarcerated and for services to assist people with mental illness reentering communities.

The Mental Health and Safe Communities Act additionally proposes to amend the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) program by clarifying when mental health records should be reported for inclusion in the system and when they shouldn't. It is important to note that the bill does not propose to expand existing requirements but rather to make them clearer.

The bill would also replace the highly offensive terminology currently in the federal gun reporting law, "persons adjudicated as mentally defective" with more current and appropriate terminology, "persons adjudicated as incompetent." Over a number of years NAMI has emphasized the need to make this change.

Next Steps

The House and Senate have adjourned for August recess and will be returning to Washington after Labor Day. It is expected that both chambers will begin deliberations on several mental health bills, including the two described above, when they return. We will shortly send out an advocacy update with more detailed information about these bills as well as actions you can take during recess to advocate for passage. 

NAMI Idaho Northern Conference
Mark Your Calendars!!

On Saturday, September 25th, NAMI Idaho will be having it's Northern Conference in Coeur d'alene Idaho. These regional conferences are a great way to learn more about mental illness health care and advocacy, so keep your eye on your inbox for further information!!

Bridging The Gap Between Secular and Spiritual: Mental Illness & Faith

Aug. 03, 2015

"At the end of a service I ask everyone to rise if they or someone they love lives with a mental illness, and almost everyone stands," said Barbara F. Meyers, a Unitarian minister during the NAMI FaithNet panel.

Three distinguished panelists led a session at the 2015 NAMI National Convention in San Francisco discussing how to connect faith communities into the mental health space, and how spirituality can be an important aspect of the recovery process.

Rev. Meyers' ministry, the Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Freemont, Calif., focuses on mental health issues with the goal of bringing together congregations, health care providers and faith communities. She has been the leader of four initiatives in order to make this happen: Creating a program of support workshops for people living with mental illness and their families, starting a counseling program centered on spirituality integrated psychotherapy, producing Mental Health Matters, a public television program and creating a video series about people recovering from mental health issues.

Prior to becoming ordained, Rev. Meyers spent 25 years as a computer programmer. She decided to become a minister after her religion helped her through her own experience living with depression.

Rev. Meyers' initiatives are open to all faiths and attempt to bring the different congregations together.  "What keeps me going are the people whose faith is not respected during their healing process and trying to find a place that respects all faiths."

As a man living with schizoaffective disorder/bipolar type, the second panelist, Danny Gibbs, is a shining example of how faith may help someone living with a mental illness. According to him, "the most important aspect of recovery is faith. I cannot separate recovery and faith."

Having the experience of being accepted by a congregation who understood that he was struggling gave Danny the strength he needed to address his problems. "That's what the faith community does--it supports you and walks with you through your recovery."

Danny now devotes his life to helping youth living with mental illness and using his lived experience as a beacon of hope. He does this by working for the Orange County Department of Mental Health, serving as a NAMI Peer-to-Peer mentor and through his involvement with NAMI FaithNet.

The last panelist, Sr. Nancy Clare Kehoe, RSCJ, PhD, is a respected psychologist and a part-time Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. She has helped many community members living with mental illness through her efforts such as facilitating support groups and treatment programs, producing a video series entitled Conversations on Religion & Mental Illness and writing the book, Wrestling With Our Inner Angels.

Nancy explains that in order to "bridge the gap" between mental illness and faith, faith leaders must understand more about mental illness and mental health professionals must feel more comfortable in exploring a person's spirituality. "We need to bridge the gap between the secular and the spiritual within ourselves."

Visit the NAMI website for more on the role faith and spirituality may play in a person's recovery journey. Also, check the website in the fall for expanded website resources targeted to helping inspire caring, accepting faith communities.

NAMI FaithNet is a network of NAMI members and friends dedicated to promoting caring faith communities and promoting the role of faith in recovery for individuals and families affected by mental illness for whom faith is a component of their journey. 

From NAMI Blog
Back-to-school blues? 
Warning signs of depression
By Melissa Erickson

Posted Aug. 21, 2015 at 8:00 AM 

Transitioning from the freedom-filled days of summer to attention-sapping school days can make kids of all ages feel down. When a child is dragging and dreading the school year, how can parents know when it's more than just the basic blues?
Youth suicide statistics are shocking. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for ages 10-24 and the third-leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease, combined.
A child's mental health is especially important as she heads back to school or off to college, said psychotherapist Amy Morin, author of "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do."
"For kids with mental health issues, the start of the school year can be very difficult. Fears about the new school year may lead to anxiety weeks, or even months, before the first day of school," Morin said. "If the start of the school year doesn't go well, a sense of dread may set in, which can be extremely harmful to a child's mental health."
Warning signs
Parents should be concerned when a child's feelings about school begin to interfere with his daily life, she said.
"If he can't enjoy the last few days of summer or if he's frequently asking questions about what to expect from school this year, he's likely experiencing more concern than most kids," Morin said.
To see how your child is coping, take a good look at her.
"Depressed kids look a little different than depressed adults," Morin said. "Rather than sadness, depression tends to look more like irritability in kids. Unfortunately, many parents think their child's agitation stems from adolescent mood swings, and a child's depression goes undiagnosed."
Changes in behavior can be another indicator of depression. A child who stops playing sports or one who starts staying home all the time may be experiencing a mental health issue, Morin said. Sleep difficulties are also common among kids with depression. Many of them stay up all hours of the night, then have difficulty waking for school, she said.
"Parents should look for behavioral changes, like increased defiance or increased withdrawal. They should also listen to what a child says about school. Parents shouldn't ignore statements like, 'No one likes me,' or 'I'm going to get picked on,'" Morin said.
If you're concerned, "ask questions, such as, 'What do you think the best part of the school year will be?' and if a child struggles to find anything good, it could be a sign he's struggling with depression," Morin said.
 from: http://www.thedestinlog.com/article/20150821/NEWS/150819259

Close the Gap - Over two-thirds of Idahoans want to Close the Gap
Over two-thirds of Idahoans want to Close the Gap

New Survey Indicates Strong Support for Closing the Gap
A recent survey found that only 16% of Idahoans want to do nothing to Close the Gap. And over two-thirds of Idahoans want to close the gap either by full federal Medicaid expansion or Governor Otter's plan. The poll was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates for Idaho Politics Weekly/Zions Bank. Important findings:
  • 35% want to accept the full federal Medicaid expansion - where the feds pay 90 percent, then their share drops to 70 percent over time.
  • 33% said adopt the Otter private-insurance plan, using federal money.
  • 16% said do nothing on Medicaid expansion.
  • 3% mentioned doing something else.
  • And 13% didn't know

Facts About Medicaid

Medicaid provides health coverage that helps low-income seniors, children, and people with disabilities get needed health care. It provides parents and other adults economic security through health coverage that protects them from medical debt and allows them to stay healthy and work. It is jointly run by the federal and state governments.

Another Fact Sheet About Medicaid and Idaho. From the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

Montana and Alaska Close their Coverage Gaps

Two more states have recently closed their coverage gaps. Will Idaho be next? Read more about why 20,000 Alaskans now have health coverage

Are You in the Gap?

Our leaders need to hear from you. Call the number below to add your voice to the discussion and help change things for the better. Within one week, a staff member from Close the Gap will call you to collect your story. 

Call 1-844-HELP78K

Our mailing address is:
Close The Gap Idaho
1607 West Jefferson Street, Boise, ID, United States
Boise, ID 83702 
 Affiliate News

NAMI Boise Presents:

Fall Classes Starting
Boise- September 14 Meridian-September 16
Caldwell- September 21

NAMI Family-to-Family is a free, 12-session educational program for family, significant others and friends of people living with mental illness. It is a designated evidenced-based program. Research shows that the program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to an individual living with a mental health condition.

NAMI Family-to-Family is taught by NAMI-trained family members who have been there, and includes presentations, discussion and interactive exercises.

To register for a class, please contact our
Office Manager, Jennifer Stairs.
(208) 376-4304

Please register by September 1st - Classes fill up fast!

Mental Health Awareness Walk

Saturday, September 26
We'll gather at the Anne Frank Memorial
at 2:30 p.m. and march to the
Idaho State Capitol steps

Teams & Donations:

Register your team and/or donate at

All donations stay local to support education
and advocacy in the Treasure Valley

Wear green for mental health!

Upper Valley

It seem like NAMI Upper Valley, Idaho has had a busy summer!

In June we hosted our annual picnic for those with mental illness and their loved ones.  250 people came to share lunch, listen to some good music and enjoy the sun.

In July we had a float in the Idaho Falls Fourth of July parade. We also had walkers distributing candy and flyers with info about NAMI and several support resources in our area.  Brandi Daw, the BHC Community Outreach Coordinator, was the driving force who pulled everything together so we had the donations to purchase T-shirts, print banners and flyers, and buy the candy.  She has been a wonderful asset to our area!

In August we helped staff a game in Rexburg at Madison Cares' Celebrate Youth event.  This year we ran the Dino Dig and displayed our affiliate sign with info for those who were interested.

Now we're getting things ready to start our Fall Family to Family classes in Rexburg and Idaho Falls on Wednesday, September 16th.  That means getting the word out to agencies and public bulletin boards, newspapers and related groups.  It's always exciting to start the Family to Family classes and see how this program helps others to understand and manage some of the many challenges of mental illness.

Wood River Valley

NAMI - Wood River Valley (NAMI-WRV) received an $18,500 grant to update our program leaders from the Wood River Women's Foundation (WRWF), a local charitable foundation offering annual grants to nonprofits in Blaine County.  With these funds, NAMI-WRV trained eight new Family-to-Family Teachers, four new Family Support Group Facilitators, and sent two Peer-to-Peer Mentors to the NAMI Training of Trainers in June 2014 to become State Trainers in that program.  In addition, NAMI-WRV sent eight individuals to the NAMI Training of Trainers in April 2015, and returned with two Family-to-Family State Trainers (bringing our affiliate's total to four), two Family Support Group State Trainers (bringing our affiliate's total to two), two Peer-to-Peer State Trainers (bringing our affiliate's total to four), and one Connection Recovery Support Group State Trainer (brining our affiliate's total to two).  The following are the impact stories provided by the individuals sent to the NAMI Training of Trainers in April 2015:
a)      Family-to-Family (F2F):
  1. i.        RACHEL COOPER: I am amazed at the number of caring and compassionate people who dedicate so many hours, VOLUNTARILY, to help educate others on the subjects of mental illness and mental health. I felt empowered with the knowledge received at NAMI's Training of Trainers. The dedicated National Trainers were wonderful and encouraging, as were fellow "classmates." I look forward to when I can train here in the Wood River Valley and, thus, multiply the efforts to raise awareness and provide support and education to those in need.
  2. ii.      MARLYS IVIE: I was encouraged to see the number of people attending the training who were dedicated to advocating for our loved ones living with a mental illness, and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. I was most impacted by my daughter's reaction to her training, and seeing her enjoying herself and expressing her excitement about what she was learning. 
b)      Peer-to-Peer (P2P):
  1. i.        AMANDA DeSHAZO (Marlys Ivie's daughter): I would like to thank NAMI-WRV for the chance to meet such amazing people in Washington, DC. I learned so much and was extremely happy with the training and the National Trainers. I am so excited to pass on all I learned, and am glad I found such a wonderful organization.
  2. ii.      CURT MAYS: My training to be a P2P State Trainer was a wonderful learning experience. There were hundreds from around the world (2 people from Italy in my group) who gathered just outside of Washington, DC, to learn up-to-date methods to help people cope with the stresses and challenges of mental illness. My National Trainers were highly professional and provided an atmosphere of learning, fun, and excitement. I made friends with many highly-skilled, well-rounded fellow trainees who are successfully recovering thanks to the teaching model and proven methods/techniques designed and offered by NAMI.
c)      Family Support Group (FSG):
  1. i.        TOM HANSON: The opportunity to meet the active, dynamic, and motivating NAMI National Trainers was such a gift. Their energy of giving from their heart and experiences were totally catching!! Connecting with others from the different states, and sharing their support skills and tools that they used helped me tremendously. The revised training sheets, cue cards, and the facilitator guides containing the four structures and three processes that we need to closely follow, mixed with the intense training we had using them, was such a confidence builder and motivator. I needed this training at this exact time in my life. Thank you all for giving me this refreshing opportunity! What a great traveling training team from our community!!
  2. ii.      ROGER OLSON: The NAMI Training of Trainers in DC reinforced in me what I say to participants in the FSG and the F2F class, "You are not alone!" There are so many dedicated people across the country who give of their time to be the best qualified leaders of NAMI's educational programs. NAMI is sincere in its efforts to train teachers, mentors, facilitators, and presenters to deliver uniform education and support using NAMI's methods (models) that are proven to be effective.
d)      Connection Recovery Support Group (CRSG):
  1. i.        LESLEE TRESHOW: The training was fantastic as were the National Trainers! It was enlightening to learn that every affiliate struggles with their programs, and the National Trainers provided additional information and tools that will help NAMI-WRV grow our CRSG meetings in the Wood River Valley. 
  2. ii.      DAWN WHITFIELD: I was impressed with all the knowledge and dedication the trainers demonstrated, and am very appreciative of the effort and time it must have taken to organize this training. I am thankful for the opportunity to become more involved in NAMI-WRV's programs, and for the WRWF for giving so generously in support of the growth of our NAMI programs offered in the Wood River Valley. There are people out there who care!
In addition, because we received the WRWF's generous grant, NAMI-WRV was able to send Carla Young to the NAMI Training of Trainers in April 2015 for a dual certification as a State Trainer in Ending the Silence (ETS) and Parents & Teachers As Allies (PTAA).  Here is Carla's impact statement:
I had some trepidation about traveling across the country with my emotional support dog, Roxy, who had broken her leg just six days before we flew to DC.  I was also a little nervous about taking part in a dual training to become certified as a State Trainer in both ETS and PTAA, and really thought I was biting off more than I could chew.  This was my fourth trip to the annual NAMI Training of Trainers, and it was the best experience ever!  The National Trainers in both programs were rock stars! The training was attended by people who had presented in only one of the programs; however, the trainers were able to not only train us as State Trainers in the program we were familiar with but also the other program that we hadn't ever seen presented.  Kudos to NAMI National for providing such a terrific training experience!  I am excited to train young adult presenters living with mental illness as well as lead presenters in Ending the Silence so we can educate and inform the middle and high school students in our community about mental health conditions and how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding a mental health diagnosis, and to train school staff/educators, parents (of those living with a mental health condition), and young adults living with a mental health condition to form teams of presenters to provide in-service training to school staff on the early diagnosis of mental health conditions in children. 
NAMI Boise recently hosted two trainings, wherein Carla Young trained seven Connection Facilitators (with special permission from NAMI to re-train one individual who missed Day 2 of the training), and Tom Hanson and Roger Olson trained four FSG Facilitators.  NAMI-WRV's State Trainers are available to train additional program leaders throughout the state of Idaho.  Please contact NAMI-WRV for additional information on scheduling a training at (208) 481-0686 or via e-mail to namiwrv@gmail.com

These are the nine individuals who attended NAMI's Training of Trainers in April 2015, from left to right (including front and back rows): Carla Young, Rachel Cooper, Dawn Whitfield, Leslee Treshow, Tom Hanson, Marlys Ivie, Roger Olson, Amanda DeShazo, and Curt Mays.
Book about a Teen dealing with Mental Illness Named Boston Globe-Horn Honor Book
MARCH 9, 2015

Neal Shusterman's novel Challenger Deep (HarperTeen, 14 years and up) is a swirling, surrealistic look inside the mind of one teen, Caden, who is struggling with mental illness. Chapters narrated by Caden alternate between a bizarre shipboard setting and the world we know, all viewed through the teen's sometimes impenetrable perspective. It's a very personal story for Shusterman, whose son Brendan created the book's artwork while in the depths of his own battles with mental illness.

1. What was the genesis of this book?

NS: I had the title "Challenger Deep" long before I had a story. When my eldest son was in third grade he did an ocean report and I helped him research it. We discovered that Challenger Deep is the deepest place on Earth, and I thought that would be a great title for a book, but didn't have a story to go with the title. Then, when my son was in high school, he began to show signs of mental illness. In the depths of it, when he couldn't tell the difference between what was real and what was in his mind, in a moment of despair, he said to me, "Sometimes it feels like I'm at the bottom of the ocean screaming at the top of my lungs and no one can hear me." That's when I knew what Challenger Deep had to be about. I held on to the idea for six years before I began writing it. I wanted to wait until he was in a much better place - which he is; he's been doing amazingly well for several years now. I didn't want to write a book about mental illness without his permission, and I wanted to involve him in any way that I could, so he could turn that dark time in his life into something positive to help others. The story is not about him - but aspects of what he went through are in the book.

2. What was your writing process like? Did you write each thread (realistic and shipboard) linearly? Or did you alternate, the way we're reading it?

NS: The book was written over a period of three years, and I did jump back and forth between sections. I tried to write as linearly as I could, though - since the book is nonlinear, anything I could do to create order in my own writing process helped. There are really three interwoven sections: Caden in his real life, Caden on the surrealistic ocean voyage, and Caden's observations on life. While writing, I color-coded each chapter as to which of those threads it was in. I even had a separate color to mark the shift into second-person, when Caden loses his ability to differentiate between himself and the rest of the world. Structure was key to making the story work, and I did shift sections around to give balance and to make sure that the narrative flowed. It was like piecing together a puzzle.

3. Some of the shipboard personae have clear counterparts in the real world (Hal, Callie, Carlyle). Some are harder to pin down, or they seem to shift. Did you intend for identity to be seen as fluid (pun intended)?

NS: It was important that I follow the rules of Caden's subjective logic, so the identities are fixed, not fluid. Every major and some minor characters in the hospital have a counterpart on the ship. I felt it important that his own family and friends not be represented on the ship because they are not of the hospital, but of his outside life. Also, the captain does not have a counterpart in the real world for most of the story. He's a mystery until the end. What does become fluid, however, is the line between those worlds. As Caden begins to respond to the medication and improve, he begins to integrate them, and we'll see conversations that started in the hospital end on the ship, or vice-versa.

4. How was it to work with your son on this intensely personal project?

NS: I have to admit I was nervous, because it does open up old wounds. I constantly checked in with Brendan to see how he felt, and he would give me notes on the drafts. Using his artwork was crucial. I wanted others to value his art as our family does, as priceless. The works of art that inspired everything that happened on the ship were created when he was in the depths of an episode, when the only way he could communicate the things in his head was through these stream-of-consciousness drawings. I wanted to find light within the darkness of what he had been through, and turn it around. I wanted him - and readers - to see that there is value even in our worst experiences, and we can use those experiences to bring about positive change in the world, and our own lives.

5. What do you want readers to take away regarding mental illness?

NS: Mental illness is by far the most misunderstood, and stigmatized, of all afflictions. Statistically, one in three families in the U.S. deals with mental illness, and yet it's rarely discussed in the open. It's time for that to change. With Challenger Deep, I wanted to offer a fresh, unflinching perspective, to help people understand, and to submerge readers in the strange, surreal depths of mental illness, seeing it from the inside out. Our hope is that empathy and understanding will make all the difference.

From the March 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

The Voice Awards: 
Part Of A Growing Movement 

Aug. 21, 2015

If you were to combine the glamour of the Academy Awards with the passion of a social movement, the result would be something like the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) annual Voice Awards. This award ceremony commemorates advocacy leaders in the entertainment industry and in the mental health community.

Actress Chandra Wilson of the ABC television show "Grey's Anatomy" hosted this year's 10th anniversary ceremony on Aug. 12 in Los Angeles, assisted by actors Lou Gusset, Jr. and Ed Asner.

"Whether they are watching a movie or television program, or listening to a personal story of recovery first-hand, it is critical to reach our audiences with messages that reinforce behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective and people recover," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. "We applaud the Voice Award winners for their honesty, leadership and courage in giving voice to millions of individuals living with mental and substance use disorders and their recovery journeys."

Special recognition awards went to actors/singers Wayne Brady and Brittany Snow. Brady's advocacy includes the 'Stronger than Stigma' campaign that encourages men to talk about their mental health and Snow is co-founder of the Jed Foundation's 'Love is Louder' campaign for suicide prevention. An award was also given to Major Sam Cochran (ret.) of the Memphis Police Department, who has led development of crisis intervention teams (CIT) nationwide.

Voice Awards for consumer peer leadership went to individuals who have personally demonstrated that recovery is possible and have led efforts to reduce discrimination and misperceptions associated with mental health conditions. They also reflect a broad representation of a growing movement.
One of the recipients was our own Bob Carolla, NAMI's Director of Media Relations, who said that the consumer/peer awards, "symbolize the hopes of thousands of people who work towards recovery every day and the faith of hundreds of people who have helped each of us in our journeys."

The other consumer/peer honorees included: 
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: DeQuincy Lezine, Ph.D., founder of Prevention Communities, LLC, who has worked on public health strategies on suicide prevention and is author of Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope Over Suicide
  • Young Leader Award: Hayley Winterberg whose recovery included involvement with NAMI Arizona; she is the founder of MY LIFE (Magellan Youth Leaders Inspiring Future Empowerment) and a consultant to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists.
  • Veronica Alston, founder of Ruth's Miracle Group Home for women who are recovering from abuse, alcohol, drug addiction and incarceration.
  • Neil Campbell, Executive Director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse
  • Cheryl Sharp, Special Advisor for Trauma Informed Services for the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
  • Dese'Rae L. Stage, a photographer, writer and suicide awareness advocate whose work includes Live through This a collection of portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors, as told by those survivors.
SAMHSA also honored Hollywood producers, directors and writers with Voice Awards for accurate, respectful portrayals of people living with mental health conditions and for including themes of recovery, which is part of a growing trend that the awards have encouraged over the past 10 years.
Entertainment Industry Leadership Award
  • Pixar for addressing the importance of children's mental health and emotional well-being in its latest film, Inside Out.
  • "Elementary" (CBS) - series award
  •  "Empire" (FOX)
  • "Madam Secretary" (CBS)
  • A Long Way Down
  • Cake
  • Infinitely Polar Bear
  • To Write Love on Her Arms
  • Welcome to Me
  • Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw
  • That Which I Love Destroys Me
From NAMI Blog

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