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In This Issue


February  15, 2015


Paws for Mental Health

Mental Health America of Arizona is sponsoring its first Dog Show on Saturday, March 14th at the Tempe Sports Complex at 8403 S. Hardy Drive in Tempe.  The event is from 10 am to 2 pm.  You can register from free at this link.

You can bring your dog, but please keep your dog on a leash.  You can walk around to the exhibits and displays that we'll have that day.  Enjoy a nice spring day with your friends or colleagues and your family dog.

Other Tail Waggin' Activities during the day will be a Paws Pageant.  Bring your dog's favorite outfit.  You just know that your dog is the fabulous Miss M in a cute pink tutu who could win the contest paws down.  In addition, there'll be a Pet and Owner Look-a-like Contest with audience voting. 

PSA Art Awakening's Drum performers will be at the event, and Matt Kennedy will serve as the DJ for the day, so we'll have music to enjoy.  We'll have a face painting booth for the kids.   

We chose a dog show because we know your family dog is a constant companion for you and the family.  Dogs encourage you to get out of the house for a walk or to throw the ball for them.  Your dog is always happy to see you and lets you know it.  I know when I curl up for a movie on the family room couch my dogs curl up on my lap making a 2-dog blanket for cuddles. 

Come out for the day.  If you're a provider, dog welfare group or other community service agency, be an exhibitor and share your information.  We are still accepting sponsorships for the event.  Reach us about being an exhibitor or sponsor by contacting us at or calling 480-982-5305.
Where Are We Now?

Over 1,200 bills have been introduced so far this session with no more in sight (remember there are always ways to introduce a bill if necessary).  We do know that the week of February 16th is the final week for bills to be heard in committee in their house of origin (that means Senate bills have to be heard in the Senate by at least one committee; the same for House bills in the House).  Any bill that has not been heard is effectively "dead" for the session (veteran Capitol-watchers know nothing is ever truly dead until the "Fat Lady Sings Sine Die", meaning that the legislature is out of Session). March 20th is the final day that bills can be heard in committee without special permission from the Speaker of the House or President of the Senate.  The reality is that most bills are never heard in committee, because there are many roadblocks in the process.  To find out more about the introduced bills, check out this link.

The more interesting aspects of the bills in play and how they will impact our lives are found in the policies being debated.  

MHA-AZ's first and second priorities for the 2015 session are to assure that the AHCCCS restoration and expansion are preserved, and to maintain current state funding for non-AHCCCS members.  So far, no changes have been proposed by the Governor's or the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) budgets.  Fingers crossed that in the coming weeks no changes will disrupt those plans.

The headlines about the planned transfer of the behavioral health system to AHCCCS by July 2016 have kept many on pins and needles.  Rumors last week about a bill being introduced to do just that have now been confirmed, but no specific bill has yet been revealed.  It's necessary to stay focused and  see how the community input process will work, since there are numerous moving pieces to the puzzle that is known as the public behavioral health system.  

Another priority for MHA-AZ is to ban solitary confinement in jail or prison for nonviolent mentally ill persons.  In light of the recent successful ACLU lawsuit addressing some of our concerns on this front, we were hopeful that it would be possible to actually ban the practice through legislation.  The only ray of hope on this front is HB 2498 which would require the Department of Corrections to provide a quarterly report about the practice as it applied to prisoners with a mental illness.  The bill is struggling to get out of Committee this week.  We will need further debate and discussion as this proposal moves along.

With the growth in our state's population and expansion of health coverage, advocates are supporting bills that would expand a state primary loan program that helps health professionals pay off student loans if they practice in rural or high-need shortage areas.  The bill will now include behavioral health professionals in the program.  The bills that MHA-AZ supports are HB 2495 and SB 1194.

Next month we'll review the status of legislation that supports criminal justice diversion programs at all stages, including establishing mental health courts meant to reduce the number of people with mental health needs being sent to jail or prison.  Outcomes, at this point in the session, are mixed.  Debate around the Governor's request for additional 3,000 private prison beds has focused attention on the issue.
Meet Josh Mozell
Josh Mozell became a member of the MHA-Arizona Board of Directors in the fall of 2014. His journey to the Board began years before his appointment, during a conversation with a friend. The friend described her job as a case manager, working for something called "the RBHA." She explained how each and every day she was able to go out and help those with a serious mental illness, how she worked with the homeless shelters, at the psych hospitals, and with the various benefit agencies. Her job was to empower those with schizophrenia, mood disorders, and other Axis I diagnoses. Because of his family's history with mental illness, Josh was riveted by the stories she told. Without a second thought, he changed his major from Business to Psychology.

After graduating from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor's in Psychology, Josh went to work for the same RBHA his friend talked about, which was Value Options at the time. He performed a variety of jobs at the direct-care clinics over the next few years. While it was the most rewarding work he had ever done, it was also the hardest and most frustrating. After about four years, he began to feel like it was time to do something different.  

That something different was law school. A year into the law school experience, Josh was not sure what direction he would go after graduation. However, he set up a lunch with Chick Arnold, well-known mental health attorney in Phoenix. After that meeting, he no longer had any doubts. He wanted to use the tools he gained in law school to advocate for those who do not have a voice in our community.

During his final two years of law school, while working nights at the Maricopa Crisis Line, Josh was able to extern for Mr. Arnold. After graduation from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law in 2013, Mr. Arnold hired Josh as an associate at Frazer, Ryan, Goldberg & Arnold. There, Josh practices in estate planning and mental health law, and is able to use his legal tools for advocacy.

Josh learned more about Mental Health America of Arizona in several meetings with executive consultant Eddie Sissons. After hearing an explanation of the organization's past and its vision moving forward, Josh asked if he could be involved. That request resulted in his nomination and election to the Board of Directors. Josh is excited to be a part of the revitalization of MHA-AZ, and looks forward to what the future holds.
Coming Events
Below are upcoming events that may be fun or foster your professional or personal development.
  • SBIRT Training on Friday, February 20th from 9 am to Noon at the ASU School of Social Work-Tortolita Bldg., 340 N. Commerce Park Loop, Ste. 250, Tucson.  Register.  Cost is $59.
  • SBIRT Training on Tuesday, February 24th from 1 - 4 pm the ASU Downtown Campus, NHI 1, Room 442, 500 N. 3rd St., Phoenix.  Cost is $59. Register
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment Symposium will be offered in Flagstaff, designed to provide an overview of medication-assisted therapy. Participants will receive up-to-date information related to operations and provision of ongoing services as well as an increased understanding of medicated-assisted treatments.  The symposium is Friday, February 27th from 1-5 pm at McGee Auditorium, Flagstaff.  No cost, please register
  •  Lego Kids Fest brings all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building.  An entertainment-packed family event for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests. For more information go here. Prices vary by age of attendee.  Dates are Friday, February 27th from 4-8:30 pm, Saturday, February 28th from 9 am - 1 pm or 3-7:30 pm, Sunday, March 1 from 9 am to 1:30 pm or 3-7:30 pm.  The event is at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
  • Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care Training Institute is offering a 2-hour continuing education session on Integrated Care Overview on Saturday, March 7th from 10-12:30 pm at Native Health's office at 4041 N. Central Ave., Bldg. C, Phoenix.  RSVP by calling 602-453-8385 or
  • Landlord/Tenant Act and the Fair Housing Act training on Wednesday, March 11th from 8:30 to 11:30 am at the CPSA Training Center at Plaza Arboleda, 2502 N Dodge Blvd., Tucson.  Register.
  • Wednesday, March 11th from 1:30 to 4:30 pm CPSA will host a session "Foundations and Frameworks of Vocational Services in Behavioral Health" at the Training Center at Plaza Arboleda, 2502 N. Dodge Blvd., Tucson.  Register here.

Mental Health America of Arizona wants to again acknowledge the support of Janssen Pharmeutical Company for our activities.  Corporate support is key to assuring there's a voice in the community. 

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 | | |