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NAMI Advocate e-newsletter, August 2006

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Dear Friend of NAMI,

In this issue of the NAMI Advocate e-newsletter we take a look back at the 2006 NAMI national convention held in Washington, DC, June 28 – July 2. We also examine a new depression survey, national anti-stigma efforts, and more.

NAMI’s 2006 National Convention

NAMI welcomed its members, friends, and scores of others whose lives have been affected by serious mental illness to the nation's capital from June 28 - July 2 for the 2006 NAMI Convention.

A highlight of the opening day was the New Directions in Research session, featuring Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and Dr. Donald Vereen of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Attendees received a glance at new research efforts that hold the potential to change many lives for the better.

Another highlight of convention was the Multicultural Strategic Summit -- the first large, national gathering of leaders, researchers, practitioners, families, and individuals living with mental illnesses, who came together to address mental healthcare equality.

Day two opened with NAMI advocates receiving a debriefing on NAMI’s policy priorities, and hearing from Senator Pete Dominici. They then boarded buses for Capitol Hill, where they joined others from their states in meeting with their own senators and representatives and making their voices heard.

On day three, attendees enjoyed a private screening of the new film Canvas, starring Emmy-winner Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos) and Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Hardin (Pollock). Not yet released to the general public, the film is a bittersweet story of one family’s struggle with schizophrenia.

The convention concluded on day four as NAMI filled the Washington Hilton ballroom for the Closing Banquet. CBS-TV was honored with an outstanding media award for its primetime depression awareness campaign along with other news and creative media honorees.

To read more about NAMI’s 2006 Convention and to see photos, visit NAMI’s Web site.

National Survey Finds Depression Costs Nearly Tripled for Individuals with Limited Access to Care

National Depression Survey

Individuals with depression and limited access to treatment incurred an average of nearly three times the annual out-of-pocket costs for medication, psychotherapy, and other treatment costs than individuals with less restricted access according to results of a new survey.

Credit card debt and other negative social consequences attributable to depression further contributed more than $13,500 in out-of-pocket costs. However, results reveal that the costs of depression are not just financial, but social. Read More...

SAMHSA to Hold National Anti-Stigma Campaign Regional Meetings

National Anti-Stigma Campaign Regional MeetingsIn the war against stigma, the federal government will soon officially launch its National Anti-Stigma Campaign (NASC), with public service announcements (PSAs) developed in conjunction with the U.S. Ad Council.

Based on the recommendation of the President New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in 2003, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is organizing the campaign. The NASC aims to improve the general understanding of mental illnesses, promote recovery, and encourage help-seeking behavior across the age span. But the agency needs grassroots support from a broad coalition of mental health organizations to make it work. Read more...

Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist

Ask the Rx NAMI is pleased to be working with the College of Psychiatric and Neurological Pharmacists, who were honored at the 2006 NAMI Convention, to offer a section on the NAMI Web site where Psychiatric Pharmacists write and answer questions that they experience in the course of their work with individuals with mental illness.

I have been taking my antidepressant medication for about five months now. I feel great. All of my symptoms seem to be gone. Is it OK for me to stop taking my medication? Read More... Celebrates 10 Years! Celebrates 10 Years

Before there was Google, Hotmail, iPods or blogs, there was a home for NAMI on the Web.

NAMI launched its first site in 1996, when the Web was still in its infancy. Ten years later, the Web has become not only a mainstay of society, but also of how NAMI is achieving its mission.

Today at NAMI, more than ever, the Web is important not only as a way to provide information and support but also as a way for the thousands who visit each day to take action and make a difference in the lives of people affected by serious mental illness.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of NAMI online, we have assembled a timeline as a reminder of how far we have all come in a few short years.  Read More...

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