We are halfway through September and this edition of the newsletter features a variety of articles and stories to help you get through the rest of the month. We lead with an article from Slate.com on the power of listening to peoples' stories in peer-support groups that normalize the discussion of suicide.
There is an exploration of the shortage of mental health workers from CalMatters, as well as an LA Times story about a federal program that assists public services workers reduce or eliminate their student loans. Time is of the essence as some key flexibilities are due to expire on October 31st.
From Mad in America, the top 10 myths about the critics of psychiatry are exposed, and the viewpoints from the critics aren't necessarily what one might assume.
We have a New York Times book review on a book that provides a first-person perspective that suggests how the stories people are told by the medical profession about their struggles can both help and harm.
Finally, there is an update on the 2022 CASRA Fall Conference, and 2 announcements about upcoming learning opportunities.
Who We Are
CASRA is a statewide organization of private, not-for-profit, public benefit corporations that serve clients of the California public mental health system.
Member agencies provide a variety of services that are designed to enhance the quality of life and community participation of youth, adults and older adults living with challenging mental health issues.
Member Agency Employment Opportunities and Information
Our member agencies are continually looking for new employees or volunteers to join their workforce.
To see current openings and find out additional information about CASRA Member Agencies, please click below.
CASRA Agency Learning Opportunities
The first session of three workshops in the CASRA Core Values Learning Series has begun. The series is desiged to further the mission of improving services and social conditions for people with psychiattric disbilities by promoting their recovery, rehabilitation and rights.
The monthly learning opportunities introduce new staff, refresh existing staff, and remind all staff of the values, principles and practices of Recovery and Psychosocial Rehabilitation.
Registration for The Core Foundation session is now closed.
Registration for the Building Effective Relationships session will open November 1st.
Registration is no cost, limited to 35 people per session to enhance the learning experience, and open only to employees of CASRA member agencies.
Building Effective Relationships
Active Listening - 1/11/23
Principle Guided Decision Making - 2/8/23
Cultural Humility and Awareness - 3/8/23
Services for Growth
An Overview of Crisis and Our Response to it - 4/12/23
Harm Reduction - 5/10/23
Employment and Other Meaningful Roles - 6/14/23
A benefit of membership in CASRA is receiving 4 hours of training for your staff. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a CASRA member agency and would like to advertise your learning opportunity, training or event for the benefit of other CASRA member agencies, please contact us at email@example.com.
There are a few guidelines:
You are a CASRA Member Agency
Your event is free of charge
and, as a reminder the Newsletter is published on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month
The California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies
3350 E. 7th Street, #509
Long Beach, CA 90804
by Marisa Russello, September 6, 2022
One winter evening in early 2019, I relaxed on a blue sofa as about six people trickled into a dimly lit room for that night’s peer support meeting, which I was leading. After greeting each other and grabbing coffee or flavored seltzer, everyone joined the circle of comfy couches and chairs.
I began the session reflecting on how when we mention our suicidal thoughts, people often see us differently. “They typically ask a checklist of questions about plans to kill ourselves, even when that’s not our intention,” I remember saying. “We’re often coerced into situations that make our lives worse, like being locked in the hospital, having belongings taken away, and being mandated to take drugs.” Read More
Unanswered cries: Why California Faces a Shortage of Mental Health Workers
by Jocelyn Weiner, September 8, 2022
The need for therapists, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists is greater than ever. Under relentless pressure from the pandemic and inflation, wildfires and gun violence, racism and war, Californians are crying out for help.
But that doesn’t mean they can get it.
In every corner of mental health right now, a similar story is being told. There simply aren’t enough providers. Read More
How Public Service Workers can Wipe Out their Student Loans in California
Advocates are scrambling to get the word out to public service workers that they could be eligible for a federal program that could wipe out or reduce student loan debt.
By Debbie Truong, September 12, 2022
Hundreds of thousands of former college students in California are eligible for a federal program that could wipe out or reduce student loan debt for those who work in public service. But few have signed up.
The basics of the program called Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, seem clear: Government and nonprofit workers who make monthly payments on their federal loans for 10 years are eligible to have the rest of their debt wiped clean. But as thousands of borrowers discovered in the years since the federal program was created in 2007, enrolling in PSLF has been extremely complicated. Read More
Top 10 Myths about the Critics of Psychiatry
From Mad in America
By Charlotte Taylor-Page, September 3, 2022
Following the publication of the review finding no evidence for the low serotonin (“chemical imbalance”) theory of depression last month, I have been increasingly aware of the strongly held and often opposing opinions on social media. There are multiple voices in this field we broadly know as “mental health,” with clinical professionals, researchers, lived experience practitioners, service users, and the mainstream media all with apparently different views.
I thought it might be useful to talk to some of the key figures in this sometimes contentious debate. From alleged associations with the far-right, to what the experiences we call “mental illness” actually are, I challenged some of the biggest voices on the broadly “critical” side of the debate to find out what they actually believe. Read More
In ‘Strangers to Ourselves,’ a Revelatory Account of Mental Illness
For her first book, the New Yorker writer Rachel Aviv probes her own and others’ lives to suggest how the stories we are told by the medical profession about our struggles can both help and harm.
By Jennifer Szalai, September 7, 2022
STRANGERS TO OURSELVES
Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us
By Rachel Aviv
Rachel Aviv was 6 years old when she was hospitalized for not eating. She was so young that she had never encountered the word “anorexia” before; it sounded to her like a kind of dinosaur.
Her doctors decided that she should be kept with the older girls with eating disorders, who taught her how to exercise obsessively and treated her like an “anorexic-in-training.” But Aviv soon started eating again and quickly lost interest in depriving herself of the food she had previously refused even to talk about (pronouncing the words had felt the same to her as consuming them). A year later, she would confide in her diary, “I had some thing that was a siknis its cald anexorea.” She explained that she had anorexia “because I want to be someone better than me.” Read More
CPRP/CFRP have New Eligibility Requirements
The Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association is happy to announce new streamlined eligibility requirements for certification!
In order to focus energy and attention to developing new learning opportunities, there will not be a 2022 CASRA Fall Conference. Look for workshops in the coming months and we will see you in the Spring.
Interim Inc. will host its annual Embracing Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery Conference on October 4, 2022, from 9:00AM-2:00PM . This year’s virtual conference will feature Julie Fast, a bestselling brain health author and researcher. Fast’s presentation is titled From Trauma to Resilience and will lead participants on a transformational day of learning how to get things done when suffering from depression, anxiety, and a lack of focus. Whether you live with a brain illness, care about someone who does, or work as a health care professional in the mental health community, you will find new, dynamic, and immediately useful information in Fast’s lively workshop. More Information and Registration
The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery is pleased to announce the 36th annual Alternatives conference, to be held virtually on Wednesday, November 2, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, November 3, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and Friday, November 4, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (All times are EDT; follow this link for a Time Zone Converter: www.thetimezoneconverter.com.) The conference will be FREE—although donations are welcome! We look forward to connecting nationally and internationally with old friends and colleagues, and to making new connections. We invite you to join us from wherever you are! Read More and Register
It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.