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NAMI Holiday Party


									                                          National Alliance on Mental Illness

Winter 2008-09
                                            SPRINGS                   News                                Volume 25 Number 4

                                                       Photos by Don Heseltine

                                                     Guests at the Holiday Party enjoyed a turkey dinner and

NAMI Holiday Party
                                                                                                                   Photos by
                                                     sang carols led by Chaplain Christopher Keith. Santa and
                                                     his helpers handed out gift bags.                            Bob Wands

Giving the gift of one another
   Everyone present agreed that the NAMI holiday
party on Dec. 6 was once again the perfect way to
begin the season of “Peace on Earth and Good Will
to All.”
   About 120 guests from local boarding homes and
the community, as well as about 40 workers, enjoyed
the evening of wonderful food, beautiful decorations,
good fellowship, special gifts, goodie bags, and
music. Chaplain Christopher Keith set the tone for
the evening with his blessing before the meal, asking
that we be reminded in our conversations throughout
the evening of the gift we are to each other.
   One guest summarized the evening with the
words: joyous, song-full, fun, and a pleasure all the
way around. Then he added, “My family divorced
me when I was four years old and this is the only
holiday celebration I will have. It is a blessing to have NAMI share the
holidays with us.” Another person noted that the best part was “that we can
all get together.”                                                                        Legislative Update….…..Page 3
                                                                                          Holiday coping tips…….Page 4
   One of the children elves who helped serve dinner and deliver the special              President’s Letter……....Page 5
presents, including beautiful handmade afghans, captured the spirit of the                Library News …………..Page 6
evening well when she said, “What can I give away?”                                       Support Groups…….…..Page 7
                                                                   See page 2
Page 2                                                Volume 25 Number 4                              Winter 2008-09

 Santa was generous with gifts at NAMI’s Holiday Party in Colorado Springs.
 With him are Leta, left, and Ellen. In photo at right, Chuck Hardy of the
 Knights of Columbus keeps an eye on the pies.
                                                           Photos by
  … Holiday Party                                          Bob Wands
   From page 1
    Those helping with the event agreed that
  they had received much more than they had
  given. The event was a success, thanks to
  weeks of planning and organization by
  Steve Handen and Ann Hulsker and the
  army of generous hearts including:
  NAMI Colorado Springs
  Chapel of Our Saviour
  Fort Carson Thrift Shop
  Pikes Peak Tours
  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
  The Knights of Columbus
  The Reverend Dayle Casey
  Chaplain Christopher Keith
  Virginia Campbell                          Santa spreads good cheer with Laurie, left, and Karen.
  Tom Joerger
  The Kaleidoscope Singers
  Carl’s Jr.
  Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits
  Sheila Plagman
  Bravo Screen Printing
                         — Cheryl Stine

                                                National Alliance on Mental Illness
Winter 2008-09                                       Volume 25 Number 4                                                 Page 3

  Progress on mental health issues
      Wow! What an amazing               patients assessed individually and          to push for this landmark legislation.
 quarter for activities at the local,    any exemptions granted for a period         The advocacy voice of people living
 state and national level for those      of a year. There is still a prior           with mental illness and their
 with mental illness and their           authorization process required, with        families made a tremendous
 families.                               72-hour emergency medication                difference in securing this long-
      Locally: The NAMI CS Walk          relief. These recommendations will          sought victory.
 was held on Sept. 13. There were        come out as proposed rules with 30               NAMI also salutes the
 200 attendees. We received 4            days for                                                          leadership of the
 minutes of radio coverage and a         comment.                                                          sponsors of
 couple of minutes of TV coverage             Also, the             Legislative Update                     parity in
 with KRDO. We also jointly              Colorado                                                          Congress
 sponsored a Candidate Forum on          Healthcare Task Force is meeting to         including Sens. Pete Domenici (R-
 Sept. 18, with 13 political             determine whether to create a Type          NM), Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA),
 candidates and 75 attendees from        1 health care commission. Type 1            Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Christopher
 the community. This also had some       indicates power and rule making             Dodd (D-CT) and Representatives
 live coverage for TV, since news        authority. There will probably be           Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Jim
 anchor Eric Singer was the              five to seven legislative sponsors          Ramstad (R-MN). Today NAMI
 moderator. These two events             and a substantial fiscal                    also remembers the contributions of
 contributed significantly to our        note. Finally, the 2009 Legislative         the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-
 goals of education, advocacy and        Calendar was sent to members with           MN) in bringing parity forward.
 support for those with mental illness   important dates related to the              After nearly 20 years, their efforts
 and their families.                     legislative session.                        have resulted in mental illness
      State: At the Democratic                National: Victory on Parity!           treatment no longer being subject to
 National Convention, U.S. Rep.          By a vote of 263-171, the House on          second-class status in our health
 Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) held a well      Oct. 3 gave final approval to the           care system.
 attended recovery caucus and            Paul Wellstone-Pete Domenici                     President Bush signed HR 1424
 discussed the parity issue. NAMI        Mental Health Parity and Addiction          very quickly in order to restore
 CO had “wellness and recovery”          Equity Act of 2008 as part of the           confidence in sagging credit
 rooms at the Convention Center and      Emergency Economic Stabilization            markets. The parity law becomes
 Pepsi Center, where support group       Act (HR 1424). This victory in the          effective one year after enactment of
 and 12-step meetings were held          House ends a nearly 20-year effort          the bill. This will mean that group
 daily. Many out of state visitors       to require group health plans to            health plans will no longer be able
 dropped in.                             cover treatment for mental illness on       to impose limits on inpatient days or
      Next, the Health Care and          the same terms and conditions as all        outpatient visits or require higher
 Public Finance Department is still      other illnesses.                            deductibles or cost sharing for
 recommending implementation of               NAMI is extremely grateful for         mental illness or addiction treatment
 the PDL for psychotropic and anti-      the tireless work of advocates from         that are not also applied to all other
 convulsion medications for people       all over the nation that contacted          medical-surgical coverage. (NAMI
 with mental illness. They want          their Senators and House members            National Web site)
                                                                                                           — Bill Rohlman
                                                                                          “Believe, even when it
                                                                                          is unreasonable to do
                                                                                               — Carson Collection
                                               National Alliance on Mental Illness
Page 4                                       Volume 25 Number 4                  Winter 2008-09

                       Tips for coping with the holidays
         Stay close to family and friends who understand your illness.
         Take medications as prescribed.
         Celebrate the holidays in a way that is comfortable for you.
         The holiday season does not stop feelings of sadness and loneliness. Give
         yourself permission to work through these feelings.
         Don’t compare this season with previous ones. Enjoy the little things you have
         Talk about the stress you feel with family and friends.
         Keep expectations manageable. Plan your work and work your plan.
         Set a budget and stick with it. Many items that you can give do not cost
         money. A phone call to a friend may mean
         Do something nice for someone else.
         Put away holiday cards.
         Stay out of department stores.
         Play favorite non-holiday music.

         For the New Year, celebrate in a way that
         is comfortable for you:
                  • Stay away from large parties if you
                    feel that the celebration is false.
                  • Surround yourself with close friends who understand your feelings
                    about the New Year.
                  • Try to reflect on positive thoughts from the previous year. Try to
                    build on them.
                  • Do not dwell on the negative.

           Remember that the holiday season does not banish all reasons for
           feeling sad and lonely.
           Do not dwell on past losses.
           Work through unresolved grief.
           Work on contrast between the past and present.
           Try not to feel disappointment with how you are feeling. There is a contrast
              between the holiday image and the reality of one’s life.
           Don’t accept the role of victim. Get out of the house. Enjoy the sunshine
              and fresh air.
           Remember, celebrations are what you make them and make them
              comfortable for you.

                        Source: NAMI Connection – Recovery Support Program

                                       National Alliance on Mental Illness
Winter 2008-09                                     Volume 25 Number 4                                           Page 5

 Without any warning sign,                                              Does someone you love have a
 a teenager takes his life                                                     mental illness?
                                                                           Get Educated. Become
    We lost Jake.
    Our 15-year-old grandson shot himself Nov. 9. There                         Empowered.
 were no warning signs; no mental illness; it was a
 complete shock.
    In the memories from school friends, Jake was the one
 who tried to make others smile. He was the one who                           FAMILY-TO-FAMILY
 talked to the new kid in class, so the new kid would have a                 EDUCATION PROGRAM
 friend. He had career goals and plans for the next week,                 offered by the National Alliance on
 and even the next day.
    He left a note telling his parents not to blame                       Mental Illness in Colorado Springs
 themselves, that they “rocked.” He said that he had been                             (NAMI-CS)
 abused and he couldn’t                                                 Classes cover the major mental
 deal with the pain                 LETTER FROM                         illnesses (schizophrenia, bipolar
 anymore. He didn’t say
 what kind of abuse,
                                  THE PRESIDENT                        disorder, schizoaffective disorder,
 when it happened, or             SHARON SIGNORELLI                      anxiety disorder, and obsessive
 who did it.                                                              compulsive disorder); review
    A 15-year-old’s mind and emotions are not mature, and
 there are thoughts that can go through anyone’s mind that                 medications; teach self-care,
 are actually LIES. I believe that Jake started believing                empathy, problem solving, and
 lies, such as:                                                           communication skills; discuss
 • What happened to me is so awful I can never feel
  better. [A lie]                                                            recovery and advocacy.
 • This pain will always be this intense and it will always
  be with me. [A lie]                                                 Classes begin the second week
 • I can’t tell my parents what happened. [A lie]
 • I can’t ask anyone for help. [A lie]                                      of February 2009
   The pastor who gave the message at Jake’s funeral stated            Meeting once a week for 12
 that he too had been abused as a child and didn’t tell
 anyone for 21 years. He said that he felt a great freedom            weeks (on either Tues. or Wed.)
 from the pain when he finally told someone and got help.                   from 6:30 – 9 p.m.
 It was like a great weight was lifted off of him.
    Yes, bad things can and do happen to people. Don’t                    Registration deadline:
 believe the lies – there is help available and you can heal                    Feb. 2, 2009
 from the pain.
     So far, since Jake’s funeral, two people have told their          For information or to register, call
 family that they were struggling and were having suicidal
 thoughts. They are now getting help. It doesn’t bring
                                                                             NAMI-CS at 473-8477
 back Jake, but it helps to know that others were prevented
 from taking their lives.
    Find help, and if you need assistance, please call the
 NAMI CS office at 719-473-8477 and ask the volunteer to             Quotable
 point you to the resources that are available in the                “When someone acts unkindly, they
 community.                                                          are usually afraid.”
    Give all your family and friends an extra hug from me.
 Life is precious.                                                                        — C.S. Dowagiac
                                             National Alliance on Mental Illness
Page 6                                             Volume 25 Number 4                                  Winter 2008-09

 Volunteers drive Resource Center
    An active and highly energetic couple — Ken and      and receive their
 Jill Micklich — have been helping the NAMI Resource quarterly newsletter.
 Center these past months. Their energy and enthusiasm        Hope to see you soon
 has given all of us a joyful boost and encouragement to at the Stella Colby
 work more diligently at helping our community           Resource Center to
 become educated, spreading words of hope and healing check out our new
 to families and friends of people with mental illness.  DVD's, videos and
    Ken and Jill made 20 copies of 51 informational      books.
 sheets downloaded from NAMI's website on everything
 from anxiety, to FDA alerts, to PTSD to                    Recovery Support
 Risperdal. While Ken gave many hours to front-desk Group
 work and helping input library data, Jill helped order     The Recovery Inc.
 11 new books and gave us two DVD's (Overcoming          Support Group meets every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at
 Grief), and a new video and                                                     the NAMI CS Office. (See
 book, both titled Girl,                                                         Support Groups, page 7.) The
 Interrupted.                            L    IBRARY EWS         N               New York Times printed an
      Other new book titles include          VICTORIA DZWONS                     article "Self-help Group With a
 the following: My Mother's                                                      Method Fights Mental Illness" by
 Bipolar, So What Am I?; The                                                     Jane E. Brody (Jan. 1, 1997) in
 Mystery of the Mind; Competent to Counsel; Karl         which she described this consumer-run group.
 Menninger's Whatever Became of Sin?; The                "Participants include ordinary people whose lives are
 Mysterious Matter of Mind; Psychology as Religion;      impaired by anxiety, depression, panic attacks,
 The Permissive Society; The Human Psyche; Basic         excessive stress and nervousness who may never have
 Principles of Biblical Counseling; A System of Biblical consulted a mental health professional, as well as
 Psychology. We also have an updated version of A        patients currently or formerly in treatment for serious
 Manual for ACT Start-Up: Based on the PACT Model emotional problems."
 of Community Treatment for Persons with Severe and         Recovery Inc. began 71 years ago by a Chicago
 Persistent Mental Illnesses and a 2006 copy of NAMI's psychiatrist, Dr. Abraham A. Low, to help the
 Grading the States: A Report on America's Health        chronically nervous get well and patients with mental
 Care System for Serious Mental Illness.                 illness to stay well. Dr. Low uses many techniques of
      A great big THANK YOU to Ken and Jill, and to      cognitive behavioral therapy. People identify thoughts
 Sally Heseltine for ordering books online and helping which set off crippling emotional symptoms. They can
 Ken with calls on overdue materials. What would we then modify how they think and react to things that
 do without our volunteers? We can always use more       cannot be changed or controlled.
 help, so give us a call at 473-8477 if you would enjoy     If self-defeating and illness-promoting thoughts are
 working in the library or the office.                   identified and changed to self-endorsing and wellness-
      For those readers who would like to inform your    promoting thoughts, more control over and
 churches, houses of worship, Bible study groups, etc.   responsibility for the good and bad aspects of life can
 about mental illness, Pathways to Promise: Interfaith   be instilled. "With the encouragement and help of
 Ministries and Mental Health has a resource order form group members, we do things to get well ... We don't
 for brochures, bulletin inserts, pamphlets, books, or   wait to get well to do things."
 magazines reaching Christian and Jewish faiths. You        Anyone can benefit from these techniques, but it's
 can access their website for a complete description of  especially helpful for people struggling with mental
 their resources at You        disorders. The group can be an alternative to traditional
 can also write to them at: Pathways to Promise, 5400    treatment for those with lesser emotional problems and,
 Arsenal St., St. Louis, MO 63139, Attn. Vicki; or call with medications, greatly help those with more severe
 314-877-6489 to get your name on their mailing list     problems.

                                             National Alliance on Mental Illness
Winter 2008-09                                      Volume 25 Number 4                                                  Page 7

 Developing a strategic                                                         SUPPORT GROUPS
 roadmap for NAMI                                                           NAMI SUPPORT GROUPS
                                                                              NAMI Colorado Springs
    On Oct. 25 the NAMI-Colorado Springs board
 spent a productive afternoon developing a strategic                     Family to Family Support Group
 plan for NAMI-CS. Bill Rohlman, who works as a               Free ongoing support for families and friends of persons
 consultant, donated his time sharing his knowledge           with major mental illness. Newcomers always welcome.
 and experience with the NAMI board in preparing               Join with others who have had similar experiences and
 for this event and then acting as the facilitator.                   can give you counsel and moral support.
    The group reviewed the current mission statement              First and third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m.
 of NAMI-CS against the state and national mission                 NAMI CS office, 510 E. Willamette (corner of
 statements. Then a SWOT analysis identified the                                 Willamette & Royer)
 Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats                         Bob Longgrear 232-9278 (cell)
 of NAMI-CS. Finally goals and vision for the future
 were explored.                                                   NAMI Connections (Consumer Support Group)
    The purpose of the strategic planning was to                             Every Tuesday at 9 a.m.
 clarify where we are as an organization, where we                  Pikes Peak Mental Health, 875 W. Moreno
 want to go in the future, and how we plan to get                   Michael Thomas and JD Powell, facilitators
 there. Strategic planning is the first step in the                      Contact Jim Horvat at 538-4462
 process of board development and long-range
 fundraising planning the NAMI-CS board has                            OTHER SUPPORT GROUPS in the area
 embarked upon.
    This process has been funded by a grant awarded                 DBSA (Depression/Bipolar Support Alliance)
 to NAMI-CS by the Pikes Peak Community                            Initiatives groups for consumers and for families.
 Foundation. The next step will be to hire a                        Call 477-1515 for specific times and locations.
 consultant to work with NAMI-CS to make
 recommendations for board development and                         EMPOWER Colorado Springs Support Group
 fundraising.                                                        For parents of children with mental illness.
    One of the highlights of the strategic planning                   Second Saturday of the month at 9 a.m.
 session was identifying many strengths within                                   Mosaic Foundation
 NAMI-CS including: the dedication, loyalty, and                         1785 N. Academy Blvd., Ste. 127
 quality of volunteers and members; positive impact                            Contact: Jane Mallory
 of Family to Family groups; visibility and                    
 involvement in the community; involvement in
 Crisis Intervention Training for police officers;                Recovery Inc. – Consumer Run Support Group
 resource library; high level of professional and                          Every Thursday 5:30 – 7 p.m.
 personal experience, wisdom, and knowledge in                     NAMI CS office, 510 E. Willamette (corner of
 members and volunteers; common bonds of                                       Willamette & Royer)
 suffering and sense of purpose shared by members;                      Contacts: Peter Fecteau 393-5316
 and the compassion and energy of members and                             Charlotte Mckenzie 227-0924
 volunteers to respond to others in need.
    The strategic planning, board development and                   Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD/BDD)
 long-range fundraising planning will put NAMI-CS                                Support Group
                                                                       Free weekly support group for people suffering
 on solid ground to continue our dedication to
                                                                         with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
 improving the quality of life, and promoting                             and/or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
 recovery for individuals and families who are                                  Every Thursday from 7-8 p.m.
 affected by mental illness.                                               All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
                                          — Cheryl Stine                730 N. Tejon St. (Back Entrance/Ring Bell)
                                              National Alliance on Mental Illness
Page 8                                                Volume 25 Number 4                                     Winter 2008-09

 Medication                                                                                Conference
 for depression                                       ASK THE DOCTOR                       emphasizes
                                                            ROY ROSENTHAL
 can ‘poop out’                                                                            hope, recovery
   Q. What do you advise a patient            and/or lithium. The success rate with          The Pueblo Chieftain
 who has taken various anti-                  these is rather low in my experience and        Hope. Recovery. The
 depressants for many years but               improvement tends to be mild. Some           first is essential to the
 finds that these medications no                                                           second.
                                              doctors try adding a stimulant, such as
 longer work? After 20 years on                                                               But neither is a common
 anti-depressants, switching to
                                              the meds used to treat ADHD, but I find
                                              that the mood elevating effect of these      theme or goal at many
 more effective medications sev-
 eral times, I've hit a road-                 is fleeting for most people.                 mental-health institutions,
 block. I've tried several different             Another approach has come into use        especially those such as the
 anti-depressants in the past few             recently. With the introduction of quite     state hospital in Pueblo,
 years, and none gives me relief.             a few new mood stabilizing medications       where a majority of the
 I've read that this can be caused                                                         patients are committed by
 by tolerance for the medications
                                              for the treatment of Bipolar Disorder,
                                              several are thought to have the potential    the courts after committing
 that used to work and that it pro-
                                              to boost antidepressant effectiveness.       a crime.
 duces a "dull" effect, one that
 produces a lack of motivation and            These include Lamictal, Geodon, Sero-          Hope and recovery
 energy. This condition has been              quel, Zyprexa and Abilify. The manu-         comprise the theme of a
 assigned the unpronounceable                 facturer of Abilify recently got approval    workshop hosted in
 term "tachyphylaxis," according              to market Abilify as an antidepressant       October by the Colorado
 to what I've read.                                                                        Mental Health Institute at
                                              booster while the others seem effective
                                              for some people but haven’t been for-        Pueblo (CMHIP). The
    A: Antidepressants are effective long     merly approved to be marketed for that       event was for mental health
 term for many people but it is unfortu-      use. Of course, each of these meds has       professionals as well as
 nately not rare for effectiveness to be      its own potential side effects.              patients, family members
 lost. The term Tachyphylaxis tends to                                                     and advocates.
                                                 One more approach is to try an older
 be applied to fairly rapid loss but can be                                                  (Several NAMI CS
                                              and now infrequently used type of anti-
 applied to more gradual loss of effec-                                                    members and
                                              depressant called a monoamine oxidase
 tiveness as well. An easier to pronounce                                                  representatives of other
                                              inhibitor (or MAOI), either by itself or
 term is “antidepressant poop out.” This                                                   Colorado Springs-area
                                              in combination with another antidepres-
 was first commonly applied to Prozac,                                                     mental health organizations
                                              sant. This must be done cautiously be-
 probably because it was the first very                                                    attended this conference.)
                                              cause of the risk of attacks of high
 widely used SSRI antidepressant.                                                             Dr. John DeQuardo,
                                              blood pressure.
    The “dull” effect that you refer to can                                                CMHIP superintendent, set
                                                 A new product, Deplin, can help anti-     the tone for "A Walk of
 be a long term side effect of an antide-     depressants by boosting the nutrient
 pressant, more common with some than                                                      Hope — the Road to
                                              Folate in the brain for people who have      Recovery" in his welcome
 others, or can be a symptom of chronic       a genetic defect that interferes with nor-
 depression that can become more                                                           address. The state hospital
                                              mal folate metabolism.                       launched its own "recovery
 prominent when an antidepressant is
                                                 Another new approach, magnetic            journey" in 2003 as a joint
 only partially effective.
                                              brain stimulation, has recently been ap-     effort between staff
    There are multiple strategies that are    proved for use in the U.S. but it is not     representatives, a patient
 used to combat poop out. You have al-        yet readily available and its effective-     group and the hospital's
 ready tried switching meds. The next         ness in general use is not yet known.        Patient/Family Advisory
 step is to try to augment (or boost) ef-
                                                 Clearly, you may have to put up with      Council, DeQuardo said.
 fectiveness by adding another type of
                                              a lot of trial and error to find the ap-     "It was a bold move for a
 medication. Older augmentation strate-
                                              proach that works best for you.                                See page 10
 gies included adding thyroid hormone
                                                National Alliance on Mental Illness
Winter 2008-09                                   Volume 25 Number 4                                                        Page 9

 State director an ‘unsung hero’
   In celebration of its 150th birthday on Nov. 22, the City and
 County of Denver selected 150 of its citizens, from hundreds
 of nominations, to honor as “unsung heroes” – ordinary
 people who have done extraordinary things to help make
 Denver a better city for this and future generations.
   Nominees had to reside or work in Denver, their work had
 to be transformational and they had to be someone who had
 not been widely recognized or rewarded in the past.
   Congratulations to Lacey Berumen, executive director of
 NAMI Colorado, for being selected as one of Denver’s 150.
 Lacey and the other 149 honorees were recognized at a
 special ceremony at the Colorado History Museum by John
 Hickenlooper, mayor of Denver.
   “What is the city but the people?” asked William
 Shakespeare, and Denver etched it into its municipal building.
   Thank you, Lacey, for your dedication and hard work not
 only for NAMI Colorado but for all the Colorado affiliates
 composed of families, friends, and consumers.                                                  Photo by Mark Manger for Westword
                                                                           Lacey Berumen

 In Memoriam: Larry Beavers, former NAMI board member
   Jan. 31, 1945 – Dec. 2, 2008       Kelly Church, stepfather of two,             several very successful NAMI-CS
   Larry Beavers, husband of          grandfather of seven, friend to              annual fund-raiser literary dinners at
 Shawne Beavers and father of Brent   many, died on Dec. 2 after an                Sencha.
 Beavers (former Sencha chef) and     almost 14-year battle with prostate             I remember Larry for his
                                      cancer.                                      enthusiasm, his congeniality, and his
                                        A former Coronado High School              tremendous support of NAMI and,
                                      teacher, Larry returned to Colorado          in particular, NAMI Colorado
                                      Springs with Shawne in 2000                  Springs.
                                      following a 10-year hiatus.                     Larry, you will be missed but
                                        Larry was a former member of the           your legacy lives on in your family
                                      Board of Directors of NAMI                   and friends.
                                      Colorado Springs. Together with                                   — Ann Hulsker
                                      Shawne, he was a national trainer
                                      for the NAMI Support
                                      Group Facilitator program.
                                        He was also chairman of
                                      the NAMI-CS Membership
                                      Committee. He and
                                      Shawne underwrote the
                                      initial telephone service for
                                      our one-room office at
                                        Larry initiated
                                      discussions with his son,
                                      Brent, that culminated in
 Larry Beavers
                                           National Alliance on Mental Illness
Page 10                                             Volume 25 Number 4                                    Winter 2008-09

 … Mental health workshop promotes hope
 From page 8                             when she isn't on the speaking          recover, we have to treat all patients
 hospital whose patients are mostly circuit, had advice for the                  as though they will."
 forensic" commitments, he added,        professionals in the audience as well That means relying more on
 but the effort to operate the hospital as the consumers.                        individual and group therapy than
 on a recovery model, rather than the      Known as an outspoken critic of       on medications, she said, drawing
 traditional treatment model, is being the nation's mental-health system,        applause from a group of patients
 applied "in every area of                             Long said she is          and family members seated in the
 patient care at this                                  excited about the         center of the hospital's gym.
 institution."                                         relatively recent           It means treating patients as
   The CMHIP definition                                interest in recovery as spiritual individuals whose faith can
 of recovery involves                                  opposed to treatment, be tapped to heal their emotions and
 "helping people learn to                              and believes recovery their minds.
 live with an illness, not                             is possible if the          It means focusing more on the
 as an illness," he said.                              system can be changed solution than on the problem.
   Achievement requires                                in fundamental ways, To consumers (Long said she hates
 the belief that recovery                              "at its very core."       that term but uses it because there
 is an individual process                              Treatment must be         isn't a better one), Long said it's
 of growth that should be                              "consumer and family imperative that they demand
 driven by individual        Dr. John DeQuardo         driven" and proven        involvement in their own care and
 patients' history,                                   therapeutic practices      expect more of themselves, in and
 progress, needs and goals.              must be combined with "values-          out of the hospital.
   That's why hope is essential,         based practices . . . or it's the same-   Too many consumers don't look
 DeQuardo said. Patients whose hope old, same-old, with a different              for part-time work because they
 is allowed to take root can and do      name."                                  mistakenly believe they'll lose hard-
 heal.                                     Helping patients from misery to       won disability payments, Long said.
   But psychiatrists and other           recovery means                                                What most don't
 psychiatric treatment professionals helping them             Psychiatrists … have been realize is that
 "have been slow to embrace the          build a life         slow to embrace the ideas they can earn
 ideas of recovery and hope," and it's beyond the                                                      relatively
 time to rewrite the old definition of mental-health          of recovery and hope, and significant
 success.                                system, beyond it's time to rewrite the old                   paychecks
   "A good outcome" is more than         the diagnosis that definition of success.                     without losing
 patients staying out of the hospital    brought them                                                  disability
 or jail for extended periods,           into it, and beyond the past            payments.
 DeQuardo said. "We can expect           experiences that "made them               She said community systems need
 more. We can achieve more."             mental-health patients," Long said. to train more patient advocates to
   Nationally known patient advocate It's been proven that somewhere             help them navigate the benefits
 and trainer Amy Long, a former          between half and two-thirds of all      system and understand that they can
 mental patient who is a nurse in an mental patients "can and do recover. retain the security of disability
 outpatient mental-health setting        Since we can't predict who will         payments and still contribute to their
                                                                                 families and communities.
                                                                                   "It's up to us to become educated,
                                                                                 to push ourselves beyond our
                                                                                 comfort zones and become
                                                                                 productive members of society," she
                                                                                 — Reprinted with permission of
                                                                                 The Pueblo Chieftain

                                           National Alliance on Mental Illness
Winter 2008-09                                     Volume 25 Number 4                                             Page 11

 New schizophrenia drug shows promise
    In one of the first instances of targeted drug design      neurotransmitter. The study drug, MK-0777, binds to
 for psychiatric treatment, University of Pittsburgh           the alpha-2 subunit of the GABA receptor and, when
 researchers led by NARSAD Scientific Council                  GABA is present, increases the flow of ions through
 member David A. Lewis, M.D., have found an                    the receptor, in essence "turning up the volume" on
 experimental agent that shows promise in addressing           GABA signaling.
 the working memory impairments that occur in                    For the study, 15 men with schizophrenia between
 schizophrenia.                                                the ages of 18 and 50 were randomly assigned to take
   Current drugs for schizophrenia treat the symptoms          either MK-0777 or a placebo for four weeks. They
 of psychosis — the delusions and hallucinations — but         underwent neuropsychological tests at baseline, two
 do not address the serious cognitive                                                weeks and four weeks after
 effects of the disorder, such as                                                    starting the drug, as well as an
 impairment of working memory,                                                       EEG assessment while doing a
 which is the ability to keep                                                        cognitive task.
 information in mind to guide                                                          The researchers found that
 behavior.                                                                           participants who took MK-0777
    Dr. Lewis, who holds the                                                         had improvements in both working
 University of Pittsburgh Medical                                                    memory and the EEG signal that
 Center Endowed Chair in                                                             accompanies working memory.
 Translational Neuroscience in the                                                   Also, the drug was well tolerated.
 departments of psychiatry and                                                       Because the study was small, Dr.
 neuroscience, explains why the                                                      Lewis said that more trials will
 current finding, reported in the                                                    have to be run to verify the value
 December issue of the American                                                      of the experimental compound.
 Journal of Psychiatry, breaks new                                                     Dr. Lewis, a member of the
 ground in the strategy used to                                                      NARSAD Scientific Council since
 develop pharmacological                                                             1998, is the recipient of a 2008
 treatments for schizophrenia.                                                       NARSAD Distinguished
   "The drugs we use now to treat psychiatric disorders        Investigator Award and the 2005 Lieber Prize for
 are based on serendipitous discoveries made several           Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research.
 decades ago. In contrast, in this study we identified a              — This article was adapted with the permission
 faulty brain circuit in schizophrenia, found an agent                          of the University of Pittsburgh Schools
 with characteristics that affect a specific molecular                                           of the Health Sciences.
 target in that circuit, and then tested it to see what
   The effectiveness of the experimental drug on
 cognition was measured with well-established tests of
                                                                Free Medicare counseling
 working memory and with EEG, or                                  Senior Insurance Assistance, a part of the Pikes
 electroencephalogram, rather than solely with standard         Peak Area Council of Governments, provides free
 clinical assessment.                                           counseling for anyone on Medicare, Medicaid, SSI,
   Earlier research had indicated that a reduction of           SSDI, and seniors who have other forms of health
 signaling by the neurotransmitter GABA in circuits in          insurance.
 an area of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal          As a State Health Insurance Assistant Program
 cortex may be to blame for some of the cognitive               (SHIP) we are interested only in our clients, provid-
 problems in schizophrenia. To compensate for the               ing help identifying the best insurance options, and
 lower levels of GABA, it appears that a biochemical            navigating through claims and drug assistance pro-
 feedback loop increases the number of a specific type          grams. To contact us call 719-635-4891. For help in
 of GABA receptor on neurons to capture more                    Spanish (Espanol) call 1-866-665-9668.

                                             National Alliance on Mental Illness
Page 12                                     Volume 25 Number 4                                    Winter 2008-09

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