NAMI Family-to-Family Program at CVMC!
The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program is a FREE 12-week course structured to help families and friends of individuals with mental illness understand and support their loved ones while maintaining their own well-being. Class begins on March 30th and will meet in a Central Vermont Medical Center Conference Room. There is limited seating, so register today!
Who Should Attend: The course is designed specifically for parents, siblings, spouses, teenage and adult children and significant others of persons with mental illness. Many family members describe the impact of this program as life changing.
Please share this information with anyone you think would benefit from taking this course.
Trained family members of individuals with mental illness teach the course.
All instruction and course materials are free to class participants.
Evidence-based curriculum draws on the most current scientific research.
Over 300,000 family members have graduated from this national program.
To register, call NAMI Vermont at 802-876-7949 or visit:
Executive Director Corner:
It’s been a busy year for VCPI as we continue to discover the many ways we can have a positive impact on the Vermont system of care. Our membership is increasing and, with bigger numbers, the benefits also grow. Our collaborative participation allows us to add to our initiatives and the opportunities for members to participate in professional development opportunities at no cost. If you and/or your organization are not VCPI members yet, visit the Membership area of the VCPI website where you can learn more about the membership process and access a listing of current members. Any of us are happy to talk with you further and you are welcome to call the VCPI office, as well.
To be specific regarding initiatives, we are very excited to announce that we have published our first module in the series called Core Orientation for Direct Service Providers, which is considered an essential offering for our members and seems very appropriate to start with the module that focuses on the values, principles and beliefs that we share as the Vermont System of Care. The module is designed to give new staff the opportunity to hear about the importance of these concepts directly from those who have participated in supports and services. In addition to the on-line module, there are supporting materials to assist in integrating the information into practice. We will provide regular updates on our progress with module 2, but for those who would like to play a more active role in development, we are currently looking for new project advisory committee members who are willing to participate in the process of development and review progress along the way. If you’d like to talk more about this, please contact Amy Stonoha at email@example.com or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, we kicked off the second iteration of the successful Co-Occurring Competency E-Learning Community Project, piloted in 2016-2017.
Please feel welcome to keep in touch and share your thoughts and ideas about VCPI and the places we are headed. Maybe you’d like to submit a commentary for the newsletter, or join a work group or just chat about some things. Call or e-mail anytime: (802) 503-2857 email@example.com. Also, we welcome you to join us for our upcoming Steering Committee Meeting, March 12th from 9:30 a.m. to Noon with lunch following at the Waterbury State Office Complex. Please contact me for details and email us to be added to the invite list!
Flourishing/ Self-Healing Communities
The Vermont Cooperative for Practice Improvement and Innovation, VCPI, is quickly gaining recognition as being an aptly named organization. As you will see throughout this newsletter, there are multiple initiatives underway that support the opportunity for Vermonters to work together in innovative ways to improve the practices and services we are able to offer across multiple settings and modalities of care. The model allows for exponential increases in skills and knowledge, while being cost effective and efficient. Importantly, the directions are informed by those with lived experience and/or in the role of representing advocacy organizations.
As outlined in the project descriptions here and on our website, there are several ways that VCPI plays a role in the success of the initiatives with which we are involved. One of the approaches that has been particularly successful is the development of Learning Communities. Sometimes also called Learning Collaboratives, this method of improving practice is not new. It is a well-researched way of efficiently and effectively producing results. When multiple sites across Vermont are focusing improvement efforts in the same topic area, the opportunity to have a regular and facilitated process for connecting with one another is invaluable. VCPI provides the groups with access to national experts in particular subject areas, and adeptly manages the logistics of coordinating and organizing the process. With those ingredients in place, the participants can focus on the important opportunities to grow and learn and on building a supportive community that will sustain that focus over time. For all of those reasons, VCPI will continue to seek out opportunities to develop learning communities.
One such potential new initiative presented itself just this past week and I’d like to tell you about it. First of all, did you know that there is a county in Washington State that has reduced youth suicides and suicide attempts by 98% in the last 15 years? We all know that here in Vermont and most other states, the suicide rate among adolescents is growing at an alarming rate. Were you aware that similar statistics are popping up in many communities which have chosen to tackle issues such as high school dropout rates, substance use, and arrests?
Have you heard the newest findings in neurobiology, especially as related to early-trauma, and how they are quickly increasing our ability to develop effective interventions? Or that the field of Epigenetics is revolutionizing our understanding of health, well-being and resilience? Perhaps you’re just finding out that Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression (active versus inactive genes) that does not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence — a change in phenotype without a change in genotype — which in turn affects how cells read the genes.
Participants in The Flourishing Communities Summit, held December 1st & 2nd at Lake Morey, now know a great deal more about all of this and are gearing up to find ways to spread their knowledge and collaborate to develop exciting ideas for using the knowledge to support improvement in our Vermont communities. Approximately 300 people, representing all geographic areas, professional roles, ages, personal histories and experience with the topic of trauma, spent two days together in an environment carefully orchestrated to actively engage them in the process of learning and planning together. Some of you were there for this experience. The summit featured Laura Porter and a particular framework called Self-Healing Communities. You can learn more about Laura and this approach at http://www.aceinterface.com/index.html
I’m sharing this with you for a couple of reason. When 300 people in our small state get excited about something, you’re likely to hear about it within your own work and will have some foundational understanding of what the buzz is about when it comes your way. My other motive is to begin to think together about the potential role for VCPI in moving this work forward. The summit provided an opportunity for regional groups to begin to build a collaborative process for using the Self-Healing Communities Framework to address challenging issues in their own communities. We didn’t just talk about how that should happen- we actually met in regional groups and planned initial action steps. Momentum in building. Seems to me there will be ways that the Co-op can support these important efforts.
If this topic and potential VCPI focus area is of interest, we would love to hear from you. We can establish an e-mail group to keep us all up to date as the statewide conversation begins to take shape, and then we can morph into some specific planning meetings. Just drop me a line or give me a call!Connect with Karen Crowley!
Culture of Wellness Project
VCPI is supporting the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) in a collaborative effort to focus on the issue of wellness. Mental health and physical health are fundamentally linked and a focus on overall wellness is becoming commonplace in practices that have traditionally treated either physical or mental health—but not both. With an increased understanding of the fact that people living with a serious mental illness are at higher risk of experiencing a wide range of chronic physical conditions, now mental health practices, as well as the doctor’s office and hospitals, are being called upon to focus in more holistic and integrated ways. Similarly, we have gained in our understanding of the importance of attending to both the physical and mental well-being of those who work in helping professions. Health challenges can impact a staff member’s abilities in their work and sometimes the challenges of the work can impact the health of the staff member.
The Culture of Wellness project is designed to assist practices in addressing both of these issues, while maintaining the flexibility to allow each participating provider to focus their efforts in their individual priority areas. The initiative is using an array of strategies including the use of a national consultant who focuses specifically on developing and supporting initiatives to address these complex issues. Participants will also have the opportunity to share emerging best practices with one another, and the benefit of VDH’s significant experience in supporting behavioral change to improve health.
Lastly, we are using proven technology for maximizing the potential of sustainable cultural change in these settings, such as beginning this work with a group of change champions from participating organizations who will play an important role in integrating the new efforts.
We look forward to keeping you updated about the progress of this new project and welcome your questions and ideas.
Read about SAMHSA’s Block Grant Funding surrounding FEP
Serious Mental Illness: A New Block Grant Priority
Mental health treatment practitioners have, over the years, observed that most individuals who have a serious mental illness (such as bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia) typically experience the first signs of illness during adolescence or early adulthood. Yet there are often long intervals between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis, referral, and treatment. In response, Congress has directed SAMHSA to require that states set aside 10 percent of their Community Mental Health Services Block Grant to address these needs.
First Episode Psychosis Project- Washington State Department of Social and Health ServicesVisit Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
First Episode Psychosis: An Information Guide
The purpose of this information guide is to provide information about a first episode of psychosis, its treatment and recovery. It has been written for people experiencing a first episode of psychosis and their family members, to help them gain a better understanding of this illness. Increased awareness of the signs, symptoms and treatment may improve the outcome for people with a first episode of psychosis.
RAISE Early Treatment Program Manuals and Program Resources
NAVIGATE is a Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) treatment model developed by the RAISE Early Treatment Program (ETP). See available NAVIGATE resources on the ETP project site including Director Manual, Family Intervention Manual, Individual Resiliency Training (IRT) Complete Manual, Psychopharmacology Manual, Supported Employment and Education (SEE) Manual, and Team Guide Manual.
RAISE Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis Manuals
Developed by the RAISE Connection Program research team, this is a series of manuals focused on Outreach and Recruitment (Manual I) and Implementation (Manual II).
Manual I: Outreach and Recruitment summarizes key concepts, principles, and processes involved in community outreach and developing and maintaining referral networks. The manual includes sample brochures, contact forms, screening packets, and an overview of how to establish outreach and referral tracking system.
Manual II: Implementation provides a concise overview of administrative, training, and supervision activities needed to start an FEP treatment program. The manual provides a ‘Getting Started Checklist,’ sample program inclusion/exclusion criteria, job descriptions, resources/references for background reading, and discussion of how to monitor program fidelity.
Download Manual I: Outreach and Recruitment Download Manual II: Implementation
Components of Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis Webinars
Components of Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis Webinars
Webinars were created for state mental health program directors in order to provide further guidance related to the development of CSC programs for FEP. These webinars were held on:
Can We Prevent Disability from Serious Mental Illnesses? Examining Outcomes of New Youth Psychosis Treatments
Read the blog post