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September 15, 2011 Volume 2, Issue 34
Please share the Recovery to Practice (RTP) Weekly Highlights with your
colleagues, clients, friends, and family!

To access RTP's Weekly Highlights, quarterly e-newsletters, Webinar recordings,
and PowerPoint presentations,
please visit http://www.dsgonline.com/rtp/resources.html.

Letter to Friends*
by William Stride
*Based on a letter written to attendees of Peer Education Training Day at Vinfen Corporation in Boston, Mass., March 2007

Dear Peer Educators:

Our meeting today has been uplifting and inspiring. There has been much love, laughter, and even tears of joy. We have come together to celebrate success in helping ourselves and others. We have reaffirmed our commitment to those who need help and guidance.

At different times in our lives we have all suffered trials and tribulations, but we are not crazy—it is the world that drives people mad. We were brought into this world knowing only the warmth of our mother's womb. Our souls were born to give and receive love, and with that we became victims of pain. The meanness and cruelty of the world hurt us. What we saw shocked and confused us. It fragmented our psyches and emotional selves.

Those who found friendship and love early on were the lucky ones. They built islands of safe haven where they could withstand the storms that came and went. They found nurturing relationships with others. Whether or not these became lasting relationships, they had a powerful and indelible influence.

Let us no longer reference "mentally ill" or "not mentally ill," but speak solely of the human condition, which includes everyone—even our caregivers. Human beings seek love, safety, security, happiness, wealth, and meaning in their lives. When these are fulfilled, one might say a person's life is also fulfilled. Peer Education teaches group members how to achieve these things. Our mission, in part, is to help group members create the fullest, richest lives possible.

We were born knowing certain things to be true, but what we witnessed made us question that truth. Because of this, we slipped into despair and shut our eyes to forget the conflict. In our inner world we clung to our truths, never letting them be seen due to the hostility of the world. When we gather in numbers, as we have today, these truths can come to life and be shared for the joy of everyone present.

Help our group members celebrate their triumphs. Let us take the lead by emphasizing the good things we have accomplished and what we have overcome. Let others know the good in their actions. Make sure the many who have been wronged in life know it is through no fault of their own, and not to blame themselves.

William Stride began Peer Education Training March 12, 2007, and completed training August 18, 2011. Contact Mr. Stride with questions at wrstride@aol.com or visit www.williamstride.com.

The RTP Resource Center Announces
Its Final Webinar in a Four-Step Series:
Step 4 in the Recovery-Oriented Care Continuum:
Thursday, October 6, 2011

3–4:30 p.m. ET

In the final Webinar of a series on the continuum of recovery-oriented care, we focus on a relatively new but important concept: an individual's "graduation" from formal services, which often involves a transition to less formal, community-based supports.

At one time, the mental health field believed most people would not recover from serious mental illness. Their lifelong dependency on formal treatment was expected, as was their chronic and deteriorating course. People did recover (in large numbers), though their exit from care was unplanned, unpredictable, and often unaddressed at the system level.

As a result, routine outpatient services typically have no-show rates around 50 percent, and the average age of individuals receiving publicly funded mental health services is about 40. People have "voted with their feet" and left care despite our best efforts. But we now know one of the reasons for this exodus: many individuals learn to manage their condition and want to return to their lives.

If people can recover from or learn to cope with serious mental illnesses, how can mental health professionals plan for this transition from the very beginning of treatment? Please join us and our presenters, Antonio Lambert, CPS, RTP Specialist for the National Association of Peer Specialists, Wes Sowers, M.D., Director of the Center for Public Service Psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and Lauren Spiro, Director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, to discuss how we can help people graduate from care when it may no longer be needed. We will address options and alternatives for individuals who wish to move on from formal services and—more importantly—how we can help ensure that those who have optimally benefited from treatment have a meaningful life to return to.

To Register

Please share this announcement with friends and colleagues who may be interested in learning more about recovery-oriented practice in behavioral health services. For more information on SAMHSA's Recovery to Practice project, contact the RTP Technical Assistance Center at recoverytopractice@dsgonline.com or 877.584.8535.

Mental Health in the Headlines
Week of September 12, 2011
Half of U.S. Adults Will Develop Mental Illness
About half of U.S. adults will develop a mental illness during their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study also finds that anxiety disorders are as common as depression and as debilitating, in terms of their effects on mental and overall health. There are "unacceptably high levels of mental illness in the United States," said Ileana Arias, CDC's Principal Deputy Director. The report estimated costs associated with mental illness were about $300 billion in 2002. "We know that mental illness is an important public health problem in itself and is also associated with chronic medical diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer," said Arias in a statement. "The report's findings indicate that we need to expand surveillance activities that monitor levels of mental illness in the United States in order to strengthen our prevention efforts." To read the full article, visit

Most Medical Schools Offer Poor Mental Health Coverage
Research suggests most U.S. medical schools do not offer students adequate health insurance to treat mental health and substance use disorders. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that less than 22 percent of 115 medical schools completely covered students' mental health and substance use treatment (without copays or coinsurance). Medical students face intense stress resulting from their work, but many don't reach out for help. "Research shows out-of-pocket costs discourage patients from getting mental health and substance abuse treatment," said the report's lead author Dr. Rachel Nardin, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Chief of Neurology at Cambridge Health Alliance. Read the complete article at http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2011/09/med-students-psych-care.

Mental Health in the Headlines is a weekly newsletter produced by Mental Health America (MHA) that highlights recent developments at MHA and summarizes news, views, and research in the mental health field. News covered in this publication does not represent MHA's support for or opposition to the stories summarized or views expressed. To subscribe to Mental Health in the Headlines, visit http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/action/subscribe.

The RTP Resource Center Wants to Hear From
Recovery-Oriented Practitioners!
We invite practitioners to submit personal stories that describe how they became involved in recovery-
oriented work and how it has changed the way they practice.
The RTP Resource Center Wants to Hear From You, Too!
We invite you to submit personal stories that describe recovery experiences. To submit stories or other
recovery resources, please contact Stephanie Bernstein, MSW, at 877.584.8535,
or email recoverytopractice@dsgonline.com.

We welcome your views, comments, suggestions, and inquiries.
For more information on this topic or any other recovery topics,
please contact the RTP Resource Center at
877.584.8535, or email recoverytopractice@dsgonline.com.

The views, opinions, and content of this Weekly Highlight are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect
the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.