Top Stories at NAMI

Current headlines and links from the National NAMI organization:

Study Reveals More Effective Way to Treat Schizophrenia
New evidence shows that early intervention can make a huge difference. Read More »

Tips for Managing the Holiday Blues (Infographic)
Does the holiday season make you feel down? Here are some tips to avoid the holiday blues. Read More »

He’s a Kennedy, What Does He Have to Be Depressed About?
In A Common Struggle, Patrick Kennedy details the history of both the mental health system as well as his own mental health journey. Read More »

When We Listen and Engage, We Begin to See Change
The way we engage individuals to get them treatment will determine the success they. Read More »

Practicing What I Preach: #IAmStigmaFree
The professor asked the class if anyone had experience in a talk therapy setting. I needed to show that there was no reason to be ashamed. I raised my hand. Read More »

With Your Help, We Can Make a Difference in Mental Health
Thank you to all of our members and supporters. Together, we can improve the lives of Americans affected by mental illness. Read More »

Learning to Survive When It’s Your Job to Witness Tragedies
Former highway patrol officer, Andy O’ Hara, opens up about PTSD and his efforts to prevent law enforcement suicide. Read More »

How You Can Get the Right Mental Health Treatment (Infographic)
We created some tips and reminders to guide you through the process of finding the help you need. Read More »

Drawing from American Indian Heritage to Spread a Message of Hope
Observe Native American Heritage Month by starting the conversation about suicide prevention. Read More »

NAMI Homefront: Helping Families and Supporting Service Members
Having a family member serve in the military can be difficult, but there is support available. Read More »

Bipolar Disorder and Stigma
While there will always be good days and bad days for me, the stigma against speaking out about mental illness is causing me more harm than the mental illness itself. Read More »

Attention on the Murphy Bill

Today, the New York Times posted an article by Norman Ornstein, titled “How to Help Save the Mentally Ill from Themselves,” about the Murphy Bill (HR 2646). Yesterday, on 60 Minutes speaker Paul Ryan spoke in favor of the Murphy Bill. From October 29 through November 12 the Murphy Bill made headlines in The Oklahoman, Grants Pass Oregon’s Daily Courier, The Fresno Bee, and The Huffington Post, among others. On November 5th, on CNN, Congressman Murphy said:

“It is absurd that when a parent is trying to find out why their son or daughter just committed suicide, or why they are having problems, and doctors cannot even engage in any compassionate communication to tell family members what happened. We have closed the doors so much under this perverted guise that somehow the best a person can ever be is what they are and that the family member cannot help. It’s gone too far. All we are asking for is the ability to have compassionate communication between a doctor and a known caregiver when that person with serious mental illness is in this downward spiral of decay. Can’t we find some way to bring the family into the care team?”

Is the bill perfect? Some think not. But the attention it has received, and many of its provisions, are viewed as a large step in the right direction. According to the New York Times article:

The bill is not perfect. But it does many things to improve the financing, treatment and delivery of services across the range of mental illnesses, and in particular it has provisions aimed directly at helping those like my son…

The bill, which will soon be taken up by the full Energy and Commerce Committee, has broad support — but not broad enough. A majority of the Democrats on the committee oppose the changes to Samhsa and vigorously oppose any move to assisted outpatient treatment. Their concerns are focused on civil liberties and are sincere but they come from failure to grasp the deeper traumas that can destroy lives.

NAMI has submitted a letter of support to Representatives Murphy and Johnson indicating its appreciation of their leadership and NAMI’s commitment to work with them to pass comprehensive mental health legislation. Following is an excerpt from the June 17, 2015 NAMI article, An Opportunity for Comprehensive Mental Health Reform, by Mary Giliberti:

HR 2646 has many positive aspects, including provisions to improve integration of mental healthcare and physical healthcare in Medicaid, spur early intervention in the treatment of psychosis, improve the use of health information technology in mental health care and provide resources for suicide prevention. HR 2646 also contains provisions designed to improve data collection and outcomes measurement and expand the availability of evidence-based services. It contains provisions to remove discriminatory barriers to acute inpatient treatment in Medicaid and Medicare and it advances enforcement of the mental health insurance parity law as well.

HR 2646 also addresses issues that have generated much discussion within NAMI and other organizations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and access to information for caregivers, the role of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Protection and Advocacy System and Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT).

We have carefully reviewed the bill and believe it takes a more thoughtful approach to these complex issues. However, we have heard from many of you and are very aware that there are strong, diverse opinions about these issues and some questions about the new provisions. For example, members and leaders have asked questions about the scope of the Protection and Advocacy systems’ jurisdiction under the new “abuse and neglect” standard and whether that includes advocacy for housing and recovery supports, which is an important question that we will seek to clarify as the bill moves forward.

Learn about the Murphy Bill and let your voice be heard.


November 15: SHARE! Recovery Awards Honors Paul Stansbury and Others

Congratulations to SHARE! Recovery Awards honorees:

  • Patricia Meyers, Sobriety Champion, Promises
  • Allen Berger, 12-step advocate
  • Paul Stansbury, NAMI
  • Leonard Lee Buschel, Reel Recovery
  • Adi Jaffe, Alternatives Addiction Treatment
  • Valerie Garrett, Recovery International
  • Helen Jackson, Women of color breast cancer advocate
  • Steve & Regina Weller, 12th Step ambassadors

Sunday November 15, 2015, 6 p.m.

Silent Auction & Dinner
6161 West Centinela Avenue
Culver City, California 90230

To attend please register immediately online at


General Meeting Monday November 16 — 4th District Mental Health Policies

Mr. Richard Espinosa, the Health Deputy for Supervisor Don Knabe of the County of Los Angeles Fourth District, will speak at the 7:30 p.m. General Meeting of NAMI South Bay. Mr. Espinosa reviews policy recommendations and serves as the 4th District’s liaison on health related matters regarding Los Angeles County. He will provide a review of the state of mental health issues and he will hear from the NAMI South Bay members of our concerns regarding mental health. This meeting is a great opportunity to become educated and to advocate on mental health issues.

Mr. Espinosa joined Supervisor Knabe’s staff after spending 17 years with the County Department of Health Services in a number of administrative capacities. He is a graduate of Pomona College and the University of Southern California’s School of Public Administration. He is also the founder and one-time chairman of an interdepartmental task force responsible for creating the County’s Office of Small Business. On October 14, 1998 he was the recipient of the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Award.

First Lutheran ChurchThe general meeting will be preceded by the 6 p.m. Caring and Sharing Support Group–a support group for family members to discuss anything pertaining to the care, management or treatment of their loved ones, as well as the family members’ and caretakers’ own well being.

The Caring and Sharing Support Group and the Speaker Meeting will both be held in Faith Hall at the First Lutheran Church 2900 Carson in Torrance.

Parking is available in the parking lot off of Carson Street and on Carson Street and Flower Avenue.

Support Groups Update

New Support Group in Westchester

A new support group meets 6:30 PM at the Visitation Church Parish Center 2nd floor, 6561 W. 88th Street, Westchester on the first Monday of the month. Anna and Bob London and Mercedes Garcia are the facilitators.

Beach Cities Health District Support Group

The Beach Cities Health Support Group meets at 7 PM the last Tuesday of the month at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd at 21100 Victor in Torrance. Please contact Cathie English at 310-938-8413 for more information.

Japanese Speaking Support Group

The Japanese Speaking Support Group meets on the second Monday of the month from 2 to 4 PM in the Wellness Center at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. Contact Chiaki Ueki at 310-372-0981 for more information.

Spanish Speaking Support Group

The Spanish Speaking Support Group meets every Tuesday in Building D5 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. Contact Rick Pulido at 310-513-1178 for more information.

A Psychiatrist Discusses Hearing Voices

Mind You

By Dr David Laing Dawson

In the winter of 1968 I finished a 24-hour shift in the emergency department of a major Toronto Hospital, changed quickly, and walked out into the still dark morning to catch the trolley on Bathurst St. I heard my name called, over and over. I looked for the source. It seemed to come from the electrical wires strung high above the street. I got on the uptown trolley. I looked at my fellow passengers. They were each oblivious, each locked in their own private early morning thoughts within their heavy winter coats.

Sleep deprivation and stress.

I don’t remember the particular stress of that 7 AM to 7 AM shift, but in 24 hours it must have included some bleeding, screaming, and dying, some vomit and rage and insanity, some crying and bewilderment, some failure.

I have no doubt that it is a simple slippage…

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