For Immediate Release                                                         Jack Register, MSW – Executive Director
January 23, 2015                                                                       919.788.0801
jregister@naminc.org

The NAMI community in NC has great concern over the plan to sell the Dix property.  The history of the Dix property is significant not only to North Carolinians, but to the nation as well.  This property demonstrates the long history of public commitment to the care of those living with and in recovery from mental illness.  As a collective community, we would like to express our strong views on this topic.

We believe that a portion of the property should be set aside to honor the history of Dorothea Dix and her commitment to supporting those with mental illness.  She created a place that was a center for excellence in her time.  It should continue as a monument to that important national history, as well as a center for excellence for today that is dedicated to research and training.

We also understand the intent of the legislature to use the money from the sale for mental health services.  We agree with this sentiment, and request that strong controls be placed on the use of the money.  It should not supplant existing expenditures, and the Governor must ensure accountability for every penny to be used for new functions related to mental health.  In the past, promises have been made that have not been kept.  We ask that this legislature go down in history as the legislature who recognized this historic property and ensured that this time, money will be used for mental health needs.  To ensure that the public has input into where these public funds go, we request that a panel of consumers and family members be allowed to review and recommend possible avenues for expenditures from the sale of this property.

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For 30 years, NAMI North Carolina has provided free support groups, education programs, and advocacy efforts throughout North Carolina. NAMI NC is the state’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to promoting recovery and optimizing the quality of life for those living with mental illness. Founded in 1984, NAMI NC has become North Carolina’s voice on mental illness, serving 34 local affiliates across North Carolina, who join together to meet the NAMI mission. For more information on programs, our advocacy efforts and the 34 affiliate organizations in North Carolina, visit our website at www.naminc.org

Join us for a FREE community event featuring a full concert, networking, and recognizing stand-out 2014 NAMIWalks participants. Learn how you can become a part of the 2015 NAMIWalks movement!

Friday, January 30, 2015 | 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Networking: 5:00-5:45 p.m.
Hors d’oeuvres | Meet and greet with Brandon McSwain and the band | Photobooth
North Carolina Prince Hall Grand Lodge Building
101 East Main Street, Durham NC
(Parking available at the Church Street Parking Garage)

RSVP to Robin Kellogg at rkellogg@naminc.org or 919-788-0801.

The 2015 Legislative Breakfast on Mental Illness will be held  from 8:30 till 11:30, Saturday, January 24, 2015, at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. The topic this year will be violence and mental illness. See more information and register HERE

**If you haven’t registered yet, please do so by January 20th for their final head count.

RALEIGH, NC (January 6, 2015) – The National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina (NAMI NC), a nonprofit dedicated to providing support, education, advocacy, and public awareness so that all affected by mental illness can build better lives, has announced the selection of Jack Register, MSW, as its new executive director. Register will fill the vacancy created by Deby Dihoff’s retirement in December.

“We are very pleased to announce this appointment,” reported Mike Mayer, PhD, NAMI NC Board President. “Jack will bring leadership and creativity to NAMI NC’s programs and a deep sense of commitment to our mission. He has extensive experience in nonprofit management and program development, in addition to his work as a social worker.”

Register, a former NAMI NC board member, has a breadth experience in the direct care of those with mental illness and understands the public service sector well. He also has advocacy experience, being the former government relations director for the NC chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. There, he was the advocate and organizer who worked with NAMI and many partner organizations on system reform.

His last role was as a university professor in social work at UNC-Greensboro, where he won awards in teaching community organizing and public policy. In 2007, Social Work Today Magazine named Jack “One of Today’s Most Influential Social Workers.”

“I am humbled and deeply honored to be joining the NAMI NC team at this critical time in our state,” said Register.  “I have the privilege of working with a dedicated team to expand on our legacy of advocacy for the citizens of our state.”

For 30 years, NAMI North Carolina has provided free support groups, education programs, and advocacy efforts throughout North Carolina. NAMI NC is the state’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to promoting recovery and optimizing the quality of life for those living with mental illness. Founded in 1984, NAMI NC has become North Carolina’s voice on mental illness, serving 34 local affiliates across North Carolina, who join together to meet the NAMI mission. For more information on programs, our advocacy efforts and the 34 affiliate organizations in North Carolina, visit our website at www.naminc.org.

This January, join us on the road to physical and mental well-being with a special social media campaign. We’re using the NAMI Hearts & Minds program as a guide along this journey. Join us for wellness tips that will be posted each weekday throughout January!

Topics include: Mindfulness Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Work It Out Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday and Friday Fun!

Click here to find out more about NAMI Hearts & Minds.

Click here to follow the campaign on Facebook.

Deby Difhoff, Executive Director of NAMI NC, received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award on December 17 at her retirement party. This award is given to those with a minimum of thirty years, significant community service and demonstrated excellence in service. It is among the most sought after and valued awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina. The Award was presented by Dave Richard, Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Services.

North Carolina falling behind

RALEIGH, NC (December 10, 2014) – Momentum for reform of the nation’s mental health care system slowed in 2014 as a result of failure by Congress to enact comprehensive mental health care legislation and a decrease in the number of states strengthening investment in mental health services, including North Carolina, according to a report released today by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The report, State Mental Health Legislation 2014 stands in contrast to one issued in 2013 which described a dramatic response by many states following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012.

From 2009 to 2012, states cut mental health budgets by $4.35 billion. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia began to restore funding in 2013 in the wake of heightened public awareness of mental health needs.

North Carolina is listed as one of the six states that decreased mental health spending in 2013 and 2014. According to the report, “In recent years some states―in a shortsighted attempt at achieving short-term cost savings―have imposed sharp restrictions on access to psychiatric medications in their Medicaid programs…North Carolina imposed a restrictive preferred drug list and prior authorization protocol for mental health drugs as part of an effort to save Medicaid costs.”

The General Assembly wrote into the budget that the Division of Health and Human Services was responsible for $12 million annualized in cuts to mental health medications but specified it might come from rebates In order to achieve these savings, DHHS is making changes to their preferred drug list (PDL) for Medicaid and Healthchoice. NAMI NC believes this to be short sighted and will result in fact in increased costs.

The Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) released the revised PDL for public comment mid-September, and many NAMI NC members and affiliates submitted comments about their concerns. NAMI NC’s position has always been to keep access open to medications, one of the few tools people have for recovery.  NAMI North Carolina was at the public meeting along with family members, individuals with mental illness, and advocates to fight to keep access open, with l7 speakers addressing the general issue of open access and the antipsychotic drug listing. The PDL panel held a public meeting on November 4, 2015.  One change was made:  instead of two “fail first” provisions before the individual can get the drug of their choice, there is one fail first for a particular long acting antipsychotic medication, as well as movement of this one drug back to the preferred list.

DHHS will post the finalized PDL to go into effect on January 2, 2015. At this time, the final PDL has not been posted.

NAMI NC supports exempting doctors in the LME-MCO system from these requirements,  an idea which came up at the hearing, which will also maintain open access for all of the patients they serve in the public system.  According to Executive Director Deby Dihoff:  “We remain hopeful after conversations with the Deputy Secretary just this week that we can revisit this issue and find other ways for the Department to realize their savings while letting people stay on medications that have worked for them. It just makes no sense to have people go through this change after what is often ten years of trial and error to find the right medication.”  NAMI NC will continue to advocate for keeping medications available to those with severe mental illnesses.  We also don’t need for doctors to have extra paperwork requirements just to get their patients on the medications that work for them.

For 30 years, NAMI North Carolina has provided free support groups, education programs, and advocacy efforts throughout North Carolina. NAMI NC is the state’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to promoting recovery and optimizing the quality of life for those living with mental illness. Founded in 1984, NAMI NC has become North Carolina’s voice on mental illness, serving 34 local affiliates across North Carolina, who join together to meet the NAMI mission. For more information on programs, our advocacy efforts and the 34 affiliate organizations in North Carolina, visit our website at www.naminc.org.

Click here for the press release from NAMI.

Our Latino Outreach Specialist, Rocio Anderson, was featured on the FOX50 show HOLA on December 7 and December 14 to talk about NAMI resources and programs for the Hispanic community. The show is bilingual. Click here for more information about HOLA.

(The NAMI NC segment starts at 14:00)

(The NAMI NC segment starts at 9:50)

Be a Part of Giving Tuesday!

Give the gift of MEMBERSHIP…

This Giving Tuesday, please consider donating a membership to someone YOU know who can benefit. Or, donate $35 to NAMI North Carolina and they will use your kind donation to cover the cost of membership for someone affected by mental illness, so they too can see, they are not alone.

NAMI North Carolina provides support, education, advocacy, and public awareness so that all affected by mental illness can build better lives.

Membership to NAMI is three tiered.  Members join at the national, state and affiliate level.  To join click here.

On November 12, Time Warner Cable News show Capital Tonight focused on veterans and mental health and featured NAMI NC Executive Director, Deby Dihoff, and NAMI NC Board Member and veteran, Mike McMichael.

Watch the show here.

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