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In This Issue


Board of Directors 
Michael Shafer, Ph.D. Chair  
Joshua Mozell, J.D., Vice Chair  
Kristina Sabetta, MSW, APSW, Secretary  
Jason Bernstein, C.P.A., Treasurer

Jack Beveridge
Max Dine, M.D.

Sheri George
Charles Goldstein, M.D
Laurie Goldstein

Emily Jenkins, J.D.
Marcus Johnson, M.P.H.
Barbara Lang, M.A., L.P.C., LISAC, CCSOTS

Karen Pitico, M.P.H.
Mohamed Ramadan, M.D. 
Clarke Romans
Coming Events

Suicide Prevention in the Construction Industry,
Thursday, April 7th from 1PM - 5 PM
Country Club, 2901 N. 7th St., Phoenix, presented by  Construction Financial Management Assn., for free tickets click here 

A Light Beneath Their Feet
stars 2016 SAG Award-winning actress Taryn Manning (Orange Is the New Black), Harkins Scottsdale 101, 3 showings, April 8, 9 & 10. Contact:

Regional Behavioral Health Authority Calendars: 
Cenpatico Community Events
Mercy Maricopa Community Events 
Health Choice Integrated Care Community Events 
AZ Center for Applied Behavioral Health, Upcoming 

Arizona Trauma Institute Trainings 
Family Involvement Center Calendar

NAMI AZ Calendar

Recovery Empowerment Network, Here 
Mental Health First Aid trainings
Pima County,Or Contact at Steve Nagle,

Maricopa County Or Contact Lyle Mazer at

Arizona Coalition for Military Families

March 15th, 2016
This Year's Annual SEEDS Conference

May is Mental Health Month.  Please join us on May 20th and 21st for our annual conference, "B4Stage4:  Starting the Conversation".  Our Keynote Speaker is Paul Gionfriddo,  President & CEO of Mental Health America, and author of the critically acclaimed book, Losing Tim:   How Our Educational and Health Systems Failed My Son with Schizophrenia.

This is an opportunity to join with individuals, parents and family members who  share the experience of living with mental illness, health care providers, and other mental health partners in public safety, education, and faith communities, who will be there to discuss the early detection and prevention of mental illness.  Attendees will learn how to recognize the early signs and symptoms of a mental health condition; to navigate community resources including crisis services; get information on innovative programs and services; and how to engage and mobilize with other community members.

During the two-day conference there will be 20 sessions, providing hands-on practical information to help participants. 

A few of the topics include:  
* Ins & Outs of Involuntary Hospitalization
* Psychiatric Advanced Directives
* Mental Health First Aid
* Working with Your Primary Care Physician to Maximize Coordination with your Mental Health Provider

Costs: $59 two day, $39 one day for family members and people with lived experience.  A limited number of scholarships are available for community participants.  Mental health and social service professionals are asked to pay $109 two days; $79 one day. A total of 10 CEUs will be granted.

Location for the event will be the Salvation Army's Citadel Corps at 628 N. 3rd Avenue, Phoenix.  Sessions will start at 9 am each day and conclude at 4 pm.

There are sponsorship opportunities that you can explore with Vicki Staples via e-mail at It'll give your organization exposure as a leader in your field.  You'll have the opportunity to exhibit at the conference, network with attendees, and share your expertise with participants.

For more information visit MHA-AZ's website or you may register  here.

At this time of year the debate and speculation is about when the legislature will complete its task and whether there'll be victories to celebrate, or wounds to lick because bad policy choices were made affecting the behavioral health community.  
This year the 100th day of session is April 19th, but speculation continues that there's a desire to be done sooner because it is an election year.  That rush to finish has perhaps been intensified following the recent retirement announcement by Congressman Matt Salmon.  Many are expected to jump on the 'replacement' campaign band wagon, and to fill the seats of those who will run for Salmon's seat. 

The task that must be done is the state budget.  In last month's newsletter we provided a high level review of the budget as submitted by Governor Doug Ducey, identifying items or issues not addressed.  We know that the legislature has "spare change" that they'll want to provide for agencies or programs.  We're all waiting to see what the Governor's tax cut proposal will be this year and how it will affect the struggle to fund items on the wish list.

On the policy front, MHA-AZ has identified a few key proposals that we're supporting and we hope that when the legislature adjourns sine die, these issues will be addressed.

One of the main priorities is the elimination of the enrollment cap on KidsCare.  There are two bills in the legislature, HB 2309 and SB 1385, which would resolve this issue and allow an estimated 30,000 children to enroll in the program.  HB 2309 cleared the House Health Committee with a vote of 5 ayes and 1 absent and then cleared the full House on a vote of 47-12-1.  The fate of the bill is tied to budget negotiations.  From your advocacy perspective, you should inform your State Senator and your State Representatives of your support for this program.  In addition, it's imperative to let the Governor know of your support.  Click here to send a message to the Governor.  Arizona is the only state in the country that has not fully supported their KidsCare program.

As part of the effort to assure an improved transition program for former prisoners, SB 1439 would require the Department of Corrections to establish a mental health transition pilot program for qualified prisoners, with specific numbers targeted to be served.  The bill cleared the State Senate on 28 aye votes and 2 not voting.  Again, your advocacy is needed as this bill makes its way in the House.  The bill cleared Committee in the House on March 10th.

The other policy debate is outlined in SB 1442 which addresses the information that can be released to family, friends and others involved it the care of a patient.  The bill, as approved by the Senate on 28 aye votes and 2 not voting, would align with federal HIPAA guidelines.  As many of you know, the debate in Congress on this issue continues unabated.  The struggle is to find ways for family and friends to assist in the care without overstepping privacy boundaries.  Again, you do still have an opportunity to weigh in, so use your e-mail or phone.  Time is of the essence though.  This bill will be heard on March 15th in House Health Committee. 

In these waning days of session, it truly is speak up now or forever hold your peace. 
Updates from the National Institute of Mental Health
A new monthly feature to the MHA-AZ newsletter will be news and updates from the National Institute of Mental Health.    The Arizona State University serves as the Arizona Educational Outreach Partner to NIMH and is pleased to partner with MHA-AZ to provide these news and updates on research on the prevention and treatment of mental illness.  
In a new letter sent to governors, chief state school officers, state health officials, and state Medicaid directors, the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) recognize the critical role that healthcare coverage and health services play in ensuring all students are ready and able to learn, and recommend action steps to better coordinate health and education services for all students and their families. ED and HHS also released a new toolkit that details five high impact opportunities for states and local school districts to support stronger communities through collaboration between the education and health sectors, highlighting best practices and key research in both areas. Press Release 

This NIH Record article summarizes a lecture by Carlos Zarate, M.D., senior investigator, and chief of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch and section on neurobiology and treatment of mood disorders at NIMH. During this lecture, he reviewed progress in developing the next generation of antidepressants and described some of the challenges remaining in bringing them to market. Click Here 

Several mind and body approaches, including relaxation techniques, yoga, tai chi, and meditation may be useful for managing symptoms of stress. For some stress-related conditions, mind and body approaches are used as an adjunct to other forms of treatment. This National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Clinical Digest provides a summary of current evidence on some of these practices for stress and stress-related conditions. Click Here 

HHS has published proposed revisions to the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records regulations-42 CFR Part 2. This proposal was prompted by the need to update and modernize the regulations. The goal of the proposed changes is to ensure that patients with substance use disorders have the ability to participate in, and benefit from, new integrated healthcare models without fear of putting themselves at risk of adverse consequences. HHS welcomes public comment on this proposed rule. To be assured consideration, comments must be submitted no later than 5:00 PM ET on April 11, 2016. Click Here 

Mental Health America of Arizona wants to 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 newsletter, encourage them to simply click on the link here.  Let's share the word.  Time to get involved.
Eddie L. Sissons
Executive Consultant
Mental Health America of Arizona | | |