Health Coverage Open Enrollment Starts Nov. 15

Make Your Vote Count

Today’s candidates will become tomorrow’s elected officials, with the power to make important decisions. As voters concerned about mental health care, it is critical that you learn about issues, educate candidates about the importance of mental health, and use your vote to elect representatives that will help improve mental health care in this country.

Ask the important questions. 

Know what your voting rights and options are.

Educate the candidates that mental health is a priority.

Tell your candidates that “Mental Health Care Gets My Vote!”

Health Coverage Open Enrollment Starts Nov. 15  

It’s that time again! Open enrollment for health coverage is Nov. 15 through Feb. 15, 2015. New affordable plans are available, so if you do not have insurance or you need to re-enroll check out to see your options.

Things to keep in mind when choosing your health plan. Make sure:

  1. Your mental health provider is in your network.
  2. Your mental health medications are covered by your plan.
  3. That your plan is affordable, which can mean low co-pays, low co-insurance and low deductibles.

Learn more about the cross section of mental health care and the health insurance marketplace.

Bonus Read: Learn about how the Affordable Care Act is impacting the Criminal Justice System.

Medicare Part D 2015 Open Enrollment Has Begun  

Medicare Part D is a crucial program if you or a loved one is a Medicare recipient who takes medication to treat your mental illness. The new 2015 guide for Medicare Prescription Drug Annual Enrollment is now available from Medicare Access for Patients Rx (MAPRx). Compare plan choices and find the plan that best meets your prescription medication needs. All Part D plans are changing in 2015. Use the guide to get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Read the guide.

Find out if you need to make a change.

Use Medicare’s plan finder.

Enrollment for Medicare prescription drug coverage is open until Dec. 7, 2014.

Finding Ways to Help People Who Are Homeless

Reducing long-term homelessness is a priority for NAMI in our new strategic plan for 2015 through 2017. Homelessness among people with mental illness is a tragic outcome of a broken mental health system. Addressing the needs of long-term homeless individuals, many of whom live with serious mental illness and substance use disorders, requires blending mental health services with supportive housing. Two new reports have been released which provide information about emerging best practices for blending resources to address chronic homelessness.

You can help address chronic homelessness in your state by sharing these reports with the agencies responsible for Medicaid and housing in your state and urging them to implement the best practices highlighted in these reports.

Read the reports.

Bright Spot: NAMI Policy Team Takes on Twitter

Two NAMI Policy Team leaders have joined the Twitter-verse and are actively tweeting about #MentalHealth policy! Follow them at @NAMIPolicyWonk and @DarcyGrutt to stay up to date! Below are some tweets from the last week.

You can also follow NAMI on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for your advocacy!


Myths about the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 3717)


Myths about the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 3717)

Groups representing high functioning individuals with a ‘lived-experience’ and other recipients of SAMHSA funds have made numerous claims about The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 3717) that are inconsistent with the facts. The following compares the claims with the facts. Prepared by Mental Illness Policy Org.

PDF Version



HR3717 greatly promotes stigma and discrimination by its unfounded and damaging connection between mental illness and violence.”

HR 3717 does not make any claim that persons with mental illness are more violent. However, provisions of the bill have been proven to reduce violence by those with untreated serious mental illness. It is violence by this minority that stigmatizes the majority, so it can be expected HR 3717 will reduce stigma.

HR3717 virtually eliminates the main system of legal representation for Americans with psychiatric disabilities

The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program was founded to improve the quality of care received by the most seriously ill. It now focuses on ‘freeing’ them from treatment and lobbying states to oppose policies that can help the most seriously ill (ex preservation of hospitals for those who need them. HR 3717 returns PAIMI to its original mission and reigns in their ability to use funds to lobby against treatment needed by some of the seriously ill.
The bill would amend HIPAA and erode privacy rights for people who have a mental health diagnosis and strip away privacy rights for Americans with psychiatric disabilities HIPAA and FERPA require doctors to keep parents in the dark absent a specific waiver by the mentally ill individual. Mentally ill individuals who “know” the FBI planted a transmitter in their head are unlikely to sign the waiver. Parents who are caregivers need the information about the diagnosis, treatment plan, medications and pending appointments of mentally ill loved ones so they can ensure they have prescriptions filled and transportation to appointments. HR 3717 writes very limited exclusions into HIPAA that allow parents who provide care out of love to get the same information paid caretakers already receive.

Incentivize needless hospitalization and civil rights violations

The Institutes for Mental Disease (IMD) provision of Medicaid prevents states from receiving reimbursement for persons with mental illness who need care in a state psychiatric hospital. So states kick the seriously mentally ill out of hospitals. Many wind up incarcerated. Patrick Kennedy called the IMD Exclusion federally funded discrimination against the mentally ill since Medicaid reimburses for hospital care when the illness is any organ other than the brain. HR3717 makes small revisions in Medicaid so those who need hospital care are more likely to receive it. It does not require anyone to be hospitalized or gives states an incentive to hospitalize.

Redirect federal funds from effective, voluntary community services to high-cost, involuntary treatment, including outpatient commitment

HR3717 does not redirect funds away from voluntary community services. It does give states an incentive to help people who were offered voluntary services and refused to accept them. For example, Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is for people who fail on voluntary treatment. It is often the last off ramp before hospitalization or incarceration. By replacing hospitalization and incarceration with community treatment, it cuts costs in half.

Destroys SAMHSA

HR3717 creates an Assistant Secretary of Mental Health to distribute funds previously distributed by SAMHSA and directs the Assistant Secretary to fund evidence-based programs that help the most seriously ill. SAMHSA has refused to do either.

The AOT interventions proposed in the bill are not proven to work, are costly and drive people away from seeking support.

Six months of mandated and monitored treatment has been shown to reduce homelessness 74%; hospitalization 77%; arrest 83%; incarceration 87%, physical harm to others 47%; property destruction 46%; suicide attempts 55%; and substance abuse (48%). 80% of those in AOT–as opposed to those who purport to speak for them-said it helped them get well and stay well. Those in AOT had lower perceived stigma than others. AOT does allow judges to order the mental health system to provide care which likely accounts for some objections. It limits a programs ability to cherry pick the highest functioning for admission.  

The bill’s provisions run counter to Olmstead v. LC (1999), which calls for persons to receive services in the “most integrated setting.”

By funding AOT, HR3717 reduces the use of both hospitalization and incarceration thereby furthering the mandate in Olmstead to help persons with mental illness live in the most integrated setting.

The bill would slash innovative and promising programs developed by persons in mental health recovery

HR 3717 takes steps to ensure that programs that get funded are evidence-based. Other programs could apply to NIMH for research to determine if they work.  Many “innovative” programs are being funded absent research showing they work. Numerous recent studies show that some programs that use peers to replace professionals in service delivery have not been proven effective in improving meaningful outcomes (reduced suicide, homelessness, arrest, incarceration) in people with serious mental illness.

The information on Mental Illness Policy Org.

The Florida Certification Board

The Florida Certification Board, through funding from the Florida Department of Children and Families, Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (Contract #LH278) is…





This scholarship program is open now through June 30, 2016.  Interested persons need to complete the FCB Scholarship Request Form to request financial assistance for application, certification examination, reinstatement and/or renewal fees.  All applicants will be notified of the award of financial assistance within five (5) business days after receipt of the Request Form. This can be downloaded from the FCB website at

LaShanda Farmer, MBA

Florida Certification Board/Center for Prevention Workforce Development

Special Projects Manager

1715 S. Gadsden Street

Tallahassee, Florida 32301

(850)222-6314 or (850)222-6005 Phone

(850)222-6247 Fax

“Believe in yourself. You gain strength courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face…You must do that which you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt



Kind regards,


Margie Armstrong

Certified Peer Specialist, Health Services



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Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) and Officer Safety

Affiliates, Affiliate Presidents, Executive Directors: Please share this excellent article by Donald Turnbaugh as you see fit. Donald is a past president of NAMI Pinellas and is very active with CIT training.


Carol Weber, M.S.
Program Director, NAMI Florida
P. O. Box 961,Tallahassee, FL 32302
671-4445 <> 850-671-5272 Fax
cweber (at)


Chato HERE: I downloaded the article here: There is a dowanload at the bottom of the page too.  🙂


cite as requested per permission to use on the site:

Donald Turnbaugh, “Unlock the Mystery of Mental Illness with CIT – A Community Approach to Officer Safety,” The Police Chief 81 (September 2014): web-only article.



The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) published the attached 2,500-word treatise on Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) and Officer Safety on their website ( in conjunction with the September 2014 edition of Police Chief magazine featuring mental health issues with the cover reading: Mental Health’s Impact on Policing.

Donald Turnbaugh based the article, Unlock the Mystery of Mental Illness with CIT – A Community Approach to Officer Safety, on the interconnected themes of CIT and Officer Safety that was inspired by a Webcast conducted by the IACP featuring their Center for Officer Safety and Wellness

You may view the article on-line at: ; then click-on Resources & Publications; then click-on Police Chief Magazine; then click-on the magazine’s cover; then click-on Website Articles; then click-on the article.

The IACP is comprised of thousands of Police Chiefs, other ranking law enforcement officers and supporters. IACP is celebrating its 121st Anniversary in Orlando, FL, during their October 25-28, 2014 Convention.

CIT … more than just training.


Posted by:
NAMI Charlotte County
Consumer Ambassador
Chato Stewart


Content Approved By Karen Clark NAMI Charlotte County




NAMI Charlotte County

National Alliance on Mental Illness is a non-profit organization whose membership is dedicated to the welfare of persons with serious mental illness.  Our mission is to promote recovery from mental illness and to improve the quality of life for those who suffer from no-fault brain diseases by providing support, education and advocacy for individuals with mental illness and their families.


We want to thank the following for support help:

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