From the Director
First let me say “SAVE THE DATE!” The NCMHR Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept. 30th at the Residence Inn by Marriott, 11931 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, CA (next door to the Hyatt Regency where Alternatives 2010 is being held). A light dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m., followed by the business meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
It has been a full and exciting summer for us at NCMHR. On July 14, we celebrated Bastille Day/International Mental Patients’ Human Rights Day by having a special ceremony at SAMHSA dedicated to the opening of the Consumer/Survivor History Exhibit at the SAMHSA headquarters in Rockville, MD. This was a very special day for many people who have been involved in this project from its beginning. Updates on the exhibit will be provided on our website and e-news. To watch a six-minute video of highlights from the opening ceremony, click here.
Also on July 13-14, I along with NCMHR Steering Committee members Daniel Fisher and Effie Smith, and numerous other consumer/survivors participated in a special meeting entitled “Past, Present, and Future: SAMHSA Efforts to Promote Consumer Inclusion.” At this meeting, 18 of 19 consumer/survivor leaders in attendance (speaking as individuals, not on behalf of the federal government) signed a statement calling for the “urgent necessity for more non-drug alternatives in mental health care." To read the statement, click here.
Attendees of the July 13-14 SAMHSA gathering (Photo Credit: Leah Harris)
July 26 marked the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act; an awesome opportunity to reflect on how far we have come as a cross-disability movement, and to set our sights on greater accomplishments for the future. The National Coalition was present in Washington for many of the weeklong festivities. One of the highlights was a march to the Capitol on July 21, sponsored by the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). To read President Obama’s remarks on the anniversary of the ADA, click here.
Puppet of the late cross-disability leader, Justin Dart (Photo Credit: Leah Harris)
Finally, some good news from Senate Appropriations. Funding for key programs like the Consumers Technical Assistance Centers and the Statewide Consumer/Family Network Grants were not cut and would remain at their FY2010 levels, as with the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Block Grants. It is GOOD that there were no cuts to consumer-run programs...but that is not good enough for us. I will continue to advocate for more funding, particularly for statewide network grantees. Currently 30 states are funded, the NCMHR goal is every state + DC.
To that end, I need your help. To better educate Congress, I really need bullet points on how you have effectively used:
1. Statewide network grantee money (for those who have these grants) and/or
2. Funding for other consumer/survivor-run projects in your state
PLEASE state clearly when you are responding to #1 and when you are responding to #2. I want to be able to speak accurately about how #1 money is used versus OTHER (#2) c/s projects in your state.
If you were talking to an elected official, what would you tell them about how effective these projects are, and why should congress fund more consumer/survivor-run projects? Please email me with your bullet points and let me know if you have questions. Thank you so much.