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DBSA e-Update November 2008: Events & Programs
For You—Conference Notes & Holiday Gifts
DBSA is pleased to announce that we now have available for you online summaries of the notes and comments made during the Power of Peers Roundtables at the 2008 National Conference. Share in the wisdom of your peers and see what they had to say on each of the following roundtable topics at www.DBSAlliance.org/paperless08:
- Communities of Support
- Helping Others Help Us
Strategies for Bipolar Disorder
- Strategies for Depression
- Strategies for Co-Occurring Conditions
And stay tuned for more conference-related materials available next month … just in time for the holidays! Give someone the gift of the “power of peers” this season with one of these special items:
- DVDs of DBSA 2008 National Conference keynote speakers and select presenters ($20.00/each)
- Limited-time online viewing of Crazy for Life, the award-winning show by Victoria Maxwell ($8.50)
- Digital download of the finalists in the Facing Us 2008 Music Contest ($12.00)
Watch for these items—and more—in a special e-mail promotion from DBSA in December!
The New Parity Law—How Will It Work in 2010?
The recently-passed Mental Health Parity legislation ensures that individuals living with a mental illness receive the same level of insurance coverage as those with a physical illness. Although the new law limits coverage to those who work for companies with 50 or more employees that already offer health insurance, it is a step in the right direction. It’s estimated that the new law will improve benefits for up to 113 million people. Below are answers to many of the questions our advocates are asking:
What will the new parity law do?
The Paul Wellstone-Domenici Parity Act will ensure that the coverage provided for mental illness is the same as it is for physical illness. This will apply to all financial requirements such as lifetime and annual dollar limits, co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses. It will also apply to treatment limitations like frequency of visits, number of visits, days of coverage, etc. For example, if your co-pay is $20 to see your primary care physician, your co-pay to see your therapist or psychiatrist would also be $20.
When will the law go into effect?
Beginning January 1, 2010. Over this coming year, 2009, companies will have the time they need to redesign their insurance coverage to be sure it complies with the new regulations.
Which health plans will have to comply with the new law?
All group health plans with 50 or more employees that provide mental health or substance use benefits—whether they are self-funded (under Employee Retirement Income Security Act, ERISA) or fully insured. About 97 percent of these plans provide some mental health or substance use benefits. The new law doesn’t apply to the individual health insurance market or Medicare benefits.
Does it mandate or require a plan to offer mental health coverage?
No. It simply requires that a plan already offering mental health coverage treats that coverage in a way similar to its physical health coverage.
Will it take away my state-mandated mental health coverage?
No. State laws that require plans to provide mental health coverage will remain in effect. This protects those states that already have a strong parity law in place. The main difference is that these plans will now have to treat your mental health coverage the same as your physical health coverage.
Will the law result in a cost to my employer?
Businesses that argued against parity said that the new law would substantially increase their costs. But the Congressional Budget Office projected that parity actually will result in a less-than-one-percent (1%) increase in costs for employers.
Will it affect my coverage under Medicare or Medicaid?
Yes and no. Medicare is not affected. But Medicaid-managed care, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and some state local health plans will be affected.
Will the law protect my out-of-network mental health coverage?
Yes, the bill requires that plans offering out-of-network mental health coverage provide parity for that coverage. This way, out-of-network mental health coverage is treated the same as out-of-network physical health coverage. But the bill does not require a plan to offer out-of-network mental health coverage, even if the plan does offer-out-of-network coverage for physical health.
Can companies and insurance providers opt out of providing parity?
Yes, but only if they can show that their actual costs for providing parity increased their overall cost by two percent (2%) during the first year. If that’s the case, they can choose to opt out for one year, but they must comply with the parity requirements the following year. Experts predict that companies won’t try to opt out, because providing the required documents, staff time and other information to show that two-percent increase would be incredibly time-consuming.
Illinois Awards DBSA Grant to Help Veterans
Working with Vet-Net of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, DBSA will be able to help hundreds of Illinois veterans, thanks to a $100,000 “Veteran’s Cash” grant from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA). “Veteran’s Cash” is the first Illinois Lottery ticket to give 100 percent of its net proceeds to support the state’s veterans. The IDVA awards the proceeds as grants to nonprofits that help provide a wide range of services to the state’s veterans.
With this grant, DBSA and Vet-Net will be able to offer the following services by August 2009:
- At least 20 new veteran support groups, confidential and free of charge, for veterans living with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)
- Peer support facilitation training for leaders from diverse veteran groups
- A website clearinghouse and print listing of veteran-run activities and services to help veterans find services that fit their unique needs
Last month in Chicago, IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth, herself a veteran who lost her legs serving in Iraq, launched the “Veteran’s Cash” newest lottery ticket, “Coin Craze.” Fellow veterans and grant recipients attended the launch ceremony. To read the press release on Veteran’s Cash grant awardees, including DBSA, click here.
The photo at the left, courtesy of Illinois Information Service (IIS), features IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth (seated); DBSA Director of Peer Services Lisa Goodale (second from left); veteran and DBSA peer specialist Gregory Fayne (center); and veteran and DBSA peer specialist David Rogers of Vet-Net (second from right, back row).
December 8-12: DBSA Peer Specialist Training in Chicago
Are you a consumer living in recovery who would like to share your experience and help others along the way to wellness? Don’t miss this chance to learn the skills you need to bring hope, help and support to your peers as a DBSA peer specialist. DBSA is a national leader in training people living with mental illnesses to use their experiences to work with others as peer specialists. Our nationally-developed curriculum will orient you to a recovery philosophy and prepare you to use peer-delivered services to enhance wellness and treatment strategies. After the training, you are eligible to complete a written peer specialist examination on the principles of peer support and recovery and receive a training certificate.
APPLY NOW (download PDF)
DBSA Peer Specialist Training
December 8-12, 2008
$950 per individual registrant
December 9, 2008, Online Trauma Course for Peer Specialists
Register now for DBSA’s next live Peer Specialist Continuing Education (CE) webinar on Tuesday, December 9: “Trauma-Informed Care: What the Peer Specialist Needs to Know.” “Trauma-informed care” recognizes that the symptoms experienced by survivors of war and disasters, crime, sexual abuse and domestic violence are directly related to their traumatic experiences and often cause mental health and substance use concerns. Join presenter Elizabeth G. Vermilyea, MA, of Traumatic Stress Recovery Consulting, to learn about
- The need for self-care and protection from vicarious traumatization (and strategies to that effect).
- The ways that trauma presents in individual and group interactions.
- How to assist trauma survivors in peer support settings.
- How to integrate trauma-informed strategies into the peer specialist’s wide variety of activities.
"Trauma-Informed Care: What the Peer Specialist Needs to Know”
December 9, 2008
2:00-3:30 p.m., Central Standard Time (CST)
$75 per individual registrant
*1.5 Continuing Education (CE) credits are available to all course participants who successfully complete the post- course examination.
DBSA Facilitator Training--Going Online in 2009
To help reach out to all support group facilitators, no matter where they are, work is already underway at DBSA to launch a series of real-time facilitator training webinars in the spring of 2009. Our support group facilitators say that training helps them understand all the different, unique ways there are to moderate an effective group while maintaining a support and recovery focus. Thanks to the support of a private foundation, over the past two years DBSA has offered 12 in-person seminars around the country, training about 300 facilitators! Led by DBSA board members and national office staff, these trainings are open to both current and prospective DBSA support group facilitators.
These in-person DBSA facilitator trainings begin with basic facilitation principles and skills, while allowing plenty of opportunities for participants to share ideas and concerns. The focus then turns to the importance of working recovery components into support groups, so that the gatherings don’t become a “pity party.” Participants also enjoy the challenge of practicing their facilitation skills during group role-play activities. “[The practice sessions] helped relieve the fear and anxiety of our new facilitators who were dreading facilitating for the first time.”
We’re very excited to make a similar training available online in 2009! The training webinars will be recorded and made available at www.DBSAlliance.org for those who cannot participate during the scheduled session. The trainings will focus on the basic structure and function of DBSA support groups, as well as practical examples of how to incorporate recovery principles. There will also be a video library available of commonly asked questions from facilitators. These questions will address dealing with difficult participants, handling crises during support groups, discussing tricky topics and many more.
To learn more about support group facilitator training, read the testimonials below, call (800) 826-3632 or e-mail chapters@DBSAlliance.org.
“It was great. I liked that it was clear that DBSA is not rigid, that each group has the scope to modify and reword rules and be creative, as long as the basic principles of DBSA are adhered to. DBSA is both a solid base and a strong springboard.”
“The most exciting part was the nerve-wracking virtual facilitation exercises at the end!”
“[The training] was a great motivator and helped us to focus on where we need to be
and keep attention on hope and recovery.”
“I've always been a decent listener, but I never really knew how to actively listen.
I've always appreciated when others used the techniques on the 'Tips' page of the
pocket guide but never really knew them or used them myself.”
New Online Support Group for Parents
In late September, DBSA introduced a new online support group for parents of children with mood disorders. This group joins DBSA's four existing online groups, offering hope, help, and support to nearly 860 active users. The DBSA online support groups function just like our 1,000 face-to-face groups across the country, making peer-to-peer support available to people who either don't have access to a support group in their community or are unable or unwilling to attend one.
"Depression and bipolar disorder are felt not only by those with the disorder but also throughout the family," notes one of group's facilitators. "Frequently, we parents have no one to turn to for support as we struggle to support our child." The group welcomes parents of children in any age group, from childhood through adulthood.
"Getting support ourselves can be the key to offering good support to others," says Elizabeth Siegel, the online support group coordinator. "Our new online group for parents is a place not just to find information and hope; it's also a place for parents with many years of experience to offer their know-how and support. That's true of our existing family and friends’ group too."
All of DBSA's online support groups are free, although registration is required. For more information, please visit www.DBSAlliance.org/OSG.
New Chapters in October
DBSA West Phoenix (Ariz.)
DBSA Gunnison Valley (Colo.)
DBSA Council Bluffs (Iowa)
DBSA Central Kentucky (Ky.)
DBSA Acadiana (La.)
DBSA Northeast Louisiana (La.)
DBSA Grand Blanc (Mich.)
DBSA Manistee (Mich.)
DBSA Mayo (Minn.)
DBSA St. Louis Christian Community (Mo.)
DBSA Putnam County (N.Y.)
DBSA Rock County (Wis.)
Spark Your Imagination in New Online Creativity Center
Grab a piece of sidewalk chalk, and learn how to use your own creativity as a wellness tool! Find out who won the Facing Us 2008 Music Contest…and find your creative outlet in the Dave’s Spark Creativity Center,* the newest addition to the Facing Us Clubhouse! This part of the Clubhouse celebrates the creative spark and the important role it plays in living a full and meaningful life.
In the Creativity Center, you can
- “Eavesdrop” on musicians, authors, researchers, artists and other experts as they talk about the creative process in our podcasts.
- Participate in workshops like “Sparking Creativity in Healing: Expressing Yourself on Paper,” a 50-minute video on how journaling, blogging and/or creative writing can help ease emotional trauma and depressive symptoms.
- Take an online course on creativity as a recovery tool. We hope to have this self-paced course available in time to ring in 2009…incorporating creativity into your wellness plan is a great New Year’s resolution.
- Listen to the Facing Us Radio. Tune in to the winning songs that were voted finalists in our 2008 Music Contest.
- Create a playlist of your favorites, and listen to them while you visit other rooms in the Clubhouse.
- Be inspired in the Art Gallery, featuring art created by peers that have found strength and purpose through their drawing, painting and photography.
- Create a personal playlist, or buy a digital album, of the ’08 Music Contest winning entries. You’ll find love songs, personal stories and musings that run the gamut of musical styles—rock, bluegrass, instrumental, folk, experimental, country, alternative, hip hop, contemporary piano.
Visit the Creativity Center at www.FacingUs.org and spark your imagination!
*The Dave's Spark: Start Something fund was established in 2006 by the friends and family of musician and father of three, Dave Kaplan, in conjunction with DBSA; its mission is to provide support to families who are confronted with bipolar disorder.
Families Celebrating Hope…In Chicago and Online
“Thank you for making Rebecca’s Dream a reality. Embracing mood disorders publicly for progress is an incredible mission and opportunity. Your dedication and unwavering love to take this mission on is inspiring. Motherhood with a mood disorder is a challenging place to be, and I need to identify ways to cope continually. Thank you for opening my eyes even wider.”
These words belong to a mother who lives with anxiety and depression and who was one of the 225 guests touched at the 3rd Annual Rebecca’s Dream Gala, a beautiful celebration of compassion, hope and understanding. Depression or bipolar disorder affects nearly 21 million families in America...families like the Cutlers of Chicago, who honored the memory of their beloved daughter, Rebecca, at the Gala held this month at the Chicago Cultural Center. With guests dining and dancing under the soft glow of candlelight to the music of The Glen Traeger Orchestra, the Gala also paid tribute to Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn. In recognition of his hard work supporting our veterans who struggle with illnesses like mood disorders, Quinn was presented with the Rebecca’s Dream “Legacy of Life Award.” Proceeds from the evening, which included a special silent auction, will help DBSA and Rebecca’s Dream in the coming year to foster awareness and compassionate understanding of depression and bipolar disorder as real diseases.
As one Gala guest said, the evening “struck a wonderful balance between, on the one hand, the seriousness of the illnesses … and, on the other hand, the positive atmosphere of hope and belief in the future.” Through the Gala and the programs its proceeds support, Rebecca’s Dream helps those who live with mood disorders—and their loved ones—find that hope for the future. Thanks to the funds raised at last year’s Gala, the Cutler family, Rebecca Lynn Cutler Legacy of Life Foundation and DBSA are able to offer and celebrate that hope in the new online Rebecca’s Dream Family Center, at www.DBSAlliance.org/FamilyCenter. Family support is crucial for those affected by depression or bipolar disorder, and the Family Center is a central place for a wide variety of family-focused multimedia tools.
As a family member, you’ll find resources to help you learn the facts about these illnesses, take care of yourself and let your loved one know you’re there to listen and help. And if you live yourself with a mood disorder, you’ll find strategies and tools to help you improve relationships with those closest to you—a partner, parent, sibling or child—and let them know what helps and what hurts on your recovery journey. The resources you’ll find in the Rebecca’s Dream Family Center include the following:
- An audio library: Listen to podcasts with authors, consumers, leaders in the mental health field, clinicians and researchers, each with a unique perspective for you and yours.
- A video library: Watch presentations and personal video stories, offering tips, insight and educational information.
- A reading library: Read family-focused brochures, books and personal stories.
- Information on support groups and events: Learn about face-to-face and online support groups and online discussion boards specifically for families, as well as events such as upcoming online workshops.
As Rebecca’s mom Gail says, “Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people will be so much better off because Rebecca lived … and because Rebecca’s family and friends loved her enough to carry forward with her dream and her legacy.” Visit the new Family Center and celebrate that dream and that hope.
Courage, Prevention and Rock-n-Roll
In the Facing Us Clubhouse, consumers who have found small ways to make a big difference in their recovery can share wellness tips like those listed here. Visit the Clubhouse to be inspired by your peers … and to pass on some of your own inspiration.
To share some of your “wellness wisdom,” click here!
A Note about FacingUs.org:
When you visit the Facing Us Clubhouse, you’ll notice that several "rooms,” including the room that houses wellness tips, require you to log in or create an account. Why is this necessary? Because in these sections, you are creating personal journals, books or a plan that is uniquely yours. So, we need a way to pull your unique information--like pulling your file out of a filing cabinet.
Joining the Facing Us Clubhouse is easy and FREE! We only need two things to create an account just for you—your e-mail and a password. Please be assured that we will not distribute or sell your information to anyone outside of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. The media room of the site does not require registration. The only reason we require registration for other parts of the site is so that you can create your own personal wellness tools.
Nuevo en Puerto Rico--DBSA Peer Specialist Training
Last month in San Juan, Puerto Rico, despite the threat of Hurricane Omar, DBSA offered peer specialist training, for the first time, in the Spanish language…¡y fue un gran éxito! (and it was a great success!) Over 20 people in recovery registered for this training, which helps raise mental health awareness and support in an island culture that traditionally keeps such concerns within the family. Two bilingual presenters offered the training en español: Jana Spalding, a DBSA-trained peer specialist in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and David Gonzalez, founder of Recovery x-Change, a wellness management training partnership of peer specialists and providers in New York.
DBSA President Peter Ashenden also attended the training and had the opportunity to meet with Dalimarie Pérez-Arzuaga, assistant commissioner of Puerto Rico’s Mental Health and Addiction Services Administration, ASSMCA. As a result of this meeting, DBSA is proud to announce that we’ll be collaborating with ASSMCA to open six peer support centers on the island, as well as host a recovery-focused conference for both consumers and providers in 2009!
To learn more about this special Puerto Rico training,
click here for a slideshow en español, produced by, and courtesy of, David Gonzalez.
To learn more about DBSA peer specialist training,
November 22 is National Survivors of Suicide Day
On Saturday, November 22, 2008, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will sponsor its 10th Annual National Survivors of Suicide Day, reaching out to tens of thousands of people who have lost a loved one to suicide. This day of local conferences in cities throughout the U.S. and the world connects survivors of suicide loss through a 90-minute broadcast, allowing them to share their experiences. The broadcast features a panel of experienced survivors and mental health professionals and offers emotional support and information about resources for healing after the loss of a loved one to suicide.
If you don’t live near one of the conference sites or can’t attend in person, this broadcast will also be available that same day at http://www.afsp.org/ from 1:00-2:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, with a live online chat immediately following. To watch from your own computer, click here to register. After November 22, the program will be archived on the AFSP website, for viewing anytime, free of charge.
For more information and to find a conference site near you,
The Latest from SAMHSA
The following is a listing of headlines from this past month’s SAMHSA and CMHS announcements. To read more, visit the News and Announcements page of the “Peers Helping Peers” DBSA Technical Assistance Center (TAC) website at www.PeersHelpingPeers.org/news.php.
Medicare 2009 Part D Open Enrollment Period
November 15-December 31, 2008
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period for Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) and Medicare Advantage plans begins this November 15. This is the one time of the year when current beneficiaries can change their prescription drug plan (PDP) and individuals who wish to join a PDP may enroll. Many plans change year-to-year and some beneficiaries may see significant premium increases or changes, such as reduced coverage within the coverage gap, if they remain in the same PDP.
Detailed information about each plan in each state is available online at http://www.medicare.gov/ through the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder and Medicare Options Compare. For helpful fact sheets, click here.
Planning Ahead Supports Self-Determination
Mental Health Crisis Plans and legally binding Psychiatric Advance Directives (PAD) contain specific information and instructions about an individual's treatment needs and preferences during a mental health crisis or psychiatric hospitalization. For some, completing a PAD can be daunting. The UPENN Collaborative on Community Integration recently released an easy-to-use, practical tool for creating a PAD. Get a free download at www.upennrrtc.org/var/news/48-ASAP%20Announcement.pdf.
Administrator of Consumer Affairs Needed in Nebraska’s Division of Behavioral Health
For full details, visit www.das.state.ne.us/personnel/nejobs/pro.htm#admin. The position’s responsibilities include:
- Managing Nebraska’s Office of Consumer Affairs and developing plans/processes for working in close collaboration with consumers of substance use, mental health and gambling services and their families.
- Advocating for consumer views and achieving the meaningful involvement and participation of consumers as a priority in the state-funded behavioral health system. Providing comments on proposed regulations and rule changes.
- Developing with Ombudsman and others a fair and equitable consumer grievance system.
- Tracking complaints and writing reports.
- Collecting and analyzing complaint data.
- Actively supporting, expanding and developing a plan for consumer participation. Managing federal and other grant projects.
- Providing supervision and directing the work activities of assigned staff.
- Training, or managing training for, consumers to take meaningful roles throughout the behavioral health system.
- Monitoring, encouraging and developing regional consumer specialists. Encouraging relevant and useful consumer participation in behavioral health emergency system.