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October 15, 2014
Seeds a Success!!

The 23rd Seeds Conference was held on Wednesday October 1st at the ASU West Campus in Glendale.  We had 228 participants at the conference that day from around the state and from both the criminal justice community as well as the behavioral health community.  The theme of the conference was "The Intersection of Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice".  

Welcoming participants to the event was Kristina Finnel Sabetta, Board member of Mental Health America of Arizona.  Kristina shared Robert Louis Stevenson's observation, "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."  She encouraged participants to view today's conference as an opportunity to develop partnerships to resolve issues and problems that arise for people caught in the intersection of these two systems.

The morning keynote was delivered Dr. Michael Schaefer, Director of the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy at ASU.  During his address he challenged us to respond to the dual hazards of the criminalization of mental illness and addiction. 

The morning allowed attendees to participate in two different sessions on six different topic areas ranging from the opportunities and interface for justice involved individuals under the ACA, to an overview of the criminal justice process.  

An afternoon panel included John Bellati, Mesa City Prosecutor, Aaron Bowen, Psy.D., Assistant Director Quality & Integration, ADHS/DBHS, Elizabeth Finn, Presiding Judge, Glendale City Court, Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County Attorney, Jeremy Mussman, Deputy Director, Maricopa County Public Defender's Office and Terry Stevens, CEO, Cenpatico.  They responded to questions and provided feedback as well as guidance on next steps that the community might undertake from their perspective and knowledge of the systems.  Prior to adjournment, participants divided into geographic work groups with the assignment to identify issues and next steps they could undertake in the coming weeks and months.

Presentation resources from the conference are available by following this link.
Rx Drug Epidemic

Arizona Department of Health Services in partnership with the Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative (the Initiative) has been working to develop strategies to reduce prescription drugs deaths in Arizona. One of the most effective ways to tackle the problem is to reduce the amount of drugs available.  Many people believe there are simply too many drugs in people's hands. Data from the Arizona Prescription Drug Monitoring Program showed almost 524 million painkiller pills are prescribed yearly in Arizona (almost 100 pills per person each year).  Arizona, sadly, ranked 5th highest in the country in 2011 for the use of prescribed opioids.

Several factors have contributed to prescription drug abuse, including drastic increases in the number of prescriptions written, a greater social acceptance of using medications and a belief in our culture that a pill will fix anything so we just have to ask our family doctor.  It's not simply take two aspirins and call me in the morning any longer.

How do we know when prescription drug use has become abuse of the medication?  Here are some common signs: change in sleep habits; change in energy level; change in personal hygiene; change in mood/personality; sudden change in grades; change of friends; loss of appetite; or constricted pupils.

The Initiative has been working with law enforcement, health care providers, and local coalitions or task groups or "local champions" who are responding to the Rx Drug epidemic. A variety of strategies have been developed to solve this problem. There's no one simple fix, but a host of approaches that include education, sharing of resources, and outlining best practices.  Examples of the program's efforts have included:
  • Installing 39 Rx drop boxes in the Initiative sites  and hosting Rx take-back events with almost 4 tons of unused/unneeded Rx brought in;
  •  Enrolling over 1,500 prescribers in a monitoring program that provides quarterly report cards about their prescribing practices;
  • Training 147 professionals on comprehensive Best Practice training;
  • Providing 237 Law Enforcement Officers with Rx Crimes curriculum;
  • Educating over 12,000 youth and almost 1,000 adults on the Rx360 curriculum;
  • Hosting educational community events that have reached about 54,000 individuals; and,
  • Providing public and media messages to over 360,000 people.
Want to partner on the issue?  For more information on the Arizona Drug Use and Misuse Initiative click here.
Coming Events
Are you ready for Halloween? Have your chosen your costume for this year yet?  It's time to pull out your calendar and add events to participate in during the coming month.  

1. The General Election is on Tuesday, November 4th.  If you are registered, you'll be receiving your sample ballot in the mail as well as "Voter Education Guide" from the Arizona Clean Elections Commission.  Early voting began on October 9th for those on the Permeant Early Voting List.  If you do get your ballot early, don't forget to vote and return by mail no later than Friday, October 30th.  If you still have the ballot after that you should take your voted ballot to any polling place on November 4th.    

2. Arizona State Fair started on October 10th and runs through November 2nd.  The Fair is open Wednesday through Sunday. Hours for the Fair on Wednesday to Thursday are noon to 9 pm, Friday from noon to 10 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm, and Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm.  The location is 1826 E. McDowell Road.  Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children from 5 to age 13, free for children under 5 and $5 for a senior aged 55 or older.  There's a charge for parking around the fairgrounds, but there is free parking at the Capitol and shuttle buses to take you to the fairgrounds and back.  Go have the cotton candy, play those games of skill and see the sights.

3. Tempe will host Veterans Resource Clinic on Friday, October 17th from 10:00 am - 8:00 pm.  Check out the resources available to help veterans and their families at Rio Salado College 3320 S. Price Rd., Tempe.  

4. Don't forget the annual NAMI Valley Walk is planned for Saturday, October 18th beginning at 8:30 am, with start time for the walk being 9:30 am.  The location this year is the Arizona State Capitol grounds with both a 5 K and a 1.2 K walk route.  Sign up as a walker or sponsor a friend or colleague by going to NAMI

5. NAMI Flagstaff will host a Walk-a-thon on October 19th at Buffalo Park from 11 am to 3 pm.  There'll be music, dancing, food, face painting and other fun activities.  Register here.

6. Phoenix VA's National Recovery Day is on October 21st.  The Phoenix Veterans Mental Health Community will host a meeting from 9 am to 1 pm at the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) Basement at 650 E. Indian School Road.  Speakers from the VA and local Phoenix Mental Health Community will be there throughout the day to assist the veterans, family and community members.  

7. The annual Candlelight Celebration for Mental Health Awareness, Standing Together in the Light of Hope, will be held on Thursday, October 23rd at 6 pm at the Downtown Phoenix Civic Space Park, 424 N. Central.  Join us to recognize and honor people living with mental illness and help us together reduce the stigma associated with brain disorders.  RSVP here.  Complimentary parking is available at UCENT Garage at Central & Polk Street.  Entrance on Polk between 1st and Central.  Identify yourself as a participant at the Celebration.  

8. Getting in the mood for the Halloween?  You can join the annual Zombie Walk, a gathering of the undead, at the full day festival on Saturday, October 25th from 2 to 11 pm at Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix, 115 N. 6th Street.  Family friendly events include live music, makeup artists, and fortune tellers.  Lil' Zombie Zone is open from 2 to 8 pm.  The Zombies will line up for their slow-paced shuffle through downtown at dusk about 6 pm.  Bring non-perishable food items or make a cash donation to benefit St. Mary's Food Bank in exchange for a ghoulish makeover.  Need more details check it out.  Go have fun.

Please share this information and your upcoming events.  

Join Us
Mental Health America of Arizona invites you to join our Network.  It's a way for you to help promote the statewide goals of developing, empowering, informing and activating a network of people like yourself, healthcare providers and business alliances who want to advocate for sound public mental health policy in Arizona.

It's really easy to do so, go here to complete the form and make a small annual contribution.  For that contribution you'll receive our monthly newsletter and a discount for events that we sponsor.  We need your voice to help us move the agenda along.

Take that first step in building a viable community of advocates working to assure a mentally healthy Arizona, free from stigma and treatment disparities.  We can do it together!
Hats off to Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, Inc,. for their support for MHA of Arizona this year. 

We invite your participation and sharing of this newsletter by forwarding to your friends and colleagues.  If they wish to receive the free newsletter, encourage them to simply click on the link here.  Let's share the word.  Let's get involved.
Eddie L. Sissons
Executive Consultant

Mental Health America of Arizona | | |

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