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March 8, 2012 Volume 3, Issue 9
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The RTP quarterly e-newsletters keep you posted on our efforts to bring recovery into everyday clinical practice. A variety of personal stories and columns reflect how we are promoting the vision, values, and principles of recovery for behavioral health practitioners and consumers. To view previous issues, please visit If you would like to contribute to the e-newsletter, please email

A Brief History of City Voices: A Project With a Life of Its Own
by Dan Frey, Will Jiang, MLS, and Franklyn Robb
City Voices began with the late Kenneth Steele, a nationally recognized mental health advocate. In 1991, he visited the Brooklyn, New York, Park Slope Center for Mental Health to begin the healing process. Kenneth met the center's director, Dr. Rita Seiden, who would help him win his 30-year battle with schizophrenia. She also helped him organize a small newsletter that eventually became the longest running peer-directed mental health newspaper based in New York City.

Ken wanted to increase the newsletter's readership and publicize the Mental Health Voter Empowerment Project. The first issue of City Voices was published in November 1995. It spotlighted the political elections that were held at the time, keeping consumers abreast of legislative issues—such as mental health parity—that directly affected their lives. From the very first edition, Ken included personal stories because he considered self-disclosure a "necessary step toward successfully addressing the stigma associated with being mentally ill." He also thought such stories were important for City Voices because they "help consumers to find common ground, share information, and empathize."

After receiving numerous calls from readers who needed assistance with advocacy, housing, employment, and other services, Ken created a classifieds section. During his 5 years at the helm, the newspaper became well known throughout New York's mental health community.

Demographics for the City Voices Web site show its reach extends far beyond New York City. The publication is a global phenomenon, with readers from 64 countries throughout the world. Most visit via Google, totaling well over 600,000 hits per year. According to a survey, the majority of readers are mental health consumers. The second largest group of visitors includes family of people with mental illnesses, and the smallest group consists of mental health professionals. Most visitors are between 22 and 30 years old, while people between 31 and 40, 41 and 50, and 51 and 60 have equal showing. The largest single group of visitors has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. As many family members and friends of consumers visit the site as those diagnosed with schizophrenia. The next largest group of readers has depression, followed by bipolar disorder. The least represented group of readers includes those with schizoaffective or other mental health conditions.

Two insightful and powerful testimonials are products of the City Voices project: Kenneth Steele's The Day the Voices Stopped, and longtime contributor William Jiang’s A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, a Story of Hope.

Today, City Voices provides news to inspire hope, heal, empower, educate, and rehabilitate mental health consumers. The paper also educates consumers' families, mental health providers, and the general public. Article submissions are always welcome, as well as new funding avenues that will enable City Voices to expand and improve its content. We are in the planning stages of creating a Spanish language edition to serve the more than 2 million Spanish speakers in New York City. Including visits to its Web site, City Voices has more than 30 million Spanish-speaking readers throughout the U.S.

Dan Frey is the Editor in Chief of City Voices, Will Jiang is the Chief Information Officer, and Franklyn Robb is a contributing writer. To submit a personal recovery story or mental health news piece, please email

Register Now

Open Registration for
"Understanding and Building on Culture and Spirituality in Recovery-Oriented Practice"
The next RTP Webinar will describe three components of culture and spirituality in recovery-oriented care: cultural and spiritual assessments, culturally appropriate interventions, and ways in which spirituality and culture can shape an individual's recovery journey. Our presenters will introduce a range of strategies that ensure care is responsive to a person's cultural identity and discuss approaches for fostering cultural strengths and spirituality in care planning and recovery practices. An important facet of culture and spirituality in recovery-oriented care addresses the aging process—how can practitioners be cognizant of person- and family-centered culturally specific needs?

April 4, 2012

3–4:30 p.m. EST

Three multidisciplinary specialists will share their perspectives. Reverend Laura Mancuso, M.S., CRC/CPRP, will describe practical tools for making assessment culturally and spiritually oriented. Dee Bigfoot, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, will discuss recovery-oriented interventions that have spiritual and cultural components. Finally, National Association of Peer Specialists President Gladys Christian will address how spirituality and culture have affected her recovery journey.

Click here to register.

NEW! RTP Resource
Essential Principles of Wellness in a Mental Health System
From the influence of Clifford W. Beers to the voices of the consumer/survivor movement, the evolution of a viable mental health system continues. But a fully operational wellness system of care has yet to emerge on a comprehensive scale.

According to Eric D. Zuñiga, TPP, there are many aspects to consider in establishing a universal wellness system of care and bringing forth an array of complementary practices that share a common language of good health. Long-term benefits of building a truly innovative health care system could include a worldwide transformative shift: a system where wellness is the core from which hope and recovery are engaged and sustained.

Fully investing in the development of a mental health system has vast implications for effective systems of care. However, it involves a new way of delivering support.

Read the article.

Mental Health and the Economy
More than two-thirds of U.S. women who were interviewed for an American Psychiatric Association (ApA) survey said the Nation’s sagging economy has negatively affected their lives and the lives of their loved ones. The survey findings also indicated women may be neglecting their personal needs while focusing on other concerns.

ApA offers the following tips for maintaining a healthy mind:

Balance your needs
Mental health is essential to overall health. Recognize that stress affects your entire body. Physical activity, diet, sleep, and stress management all play a part in having a healthy mind and a healthy life.

Surround yourself with supportive people
Look to family and friends for support when facing an emotionally stressful situation.

Focus on the positive
Avoid activities that cause you to dwell on why you’re stressed.

Socialize and have fun
Inexpensive social activities can keep you and your family focused on the positive.

Know when to get additional support
Stay in tune with how you're feeling. If stress is interfering with your daily life, turn to your family doctor, religious or spiritual advisor, or mental health professional for support.

Read more about maintaining good mental health.

Working Together to Treat Co-Occurring Disorders
The behavioral health field is forever changing. South Carolina (SC) SHARE’s new workbook and curriculum, Co-Occurring Disorders Integrated Treatment 101, makes sense of the confusion consumers face. According to Carol Crabtree, a Community Support Coordinator at SC SHARE, integrated treatment should focus on preventing anxiety rather than creating it, and recovery should be a constant goal for professionals. "A new world will open up for clients if they are aware that recovery is obtainable," said Carol, in an article about co-occurring disorders. "[In] my personal experience, I could not think past my emotional pain and mental illness. Recovery and what it means was never in my vocabulary."

Learn more about SC SHARE.

Welcome, NAADAC!
The National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) is the sixth professional organization to join SAMHSA’s Recovery to Practice Project. As the Nation's largest organization of addiction-focused professionals dedicated to health and recovery, NAADAC's mission is to lead, unify, and empower addiction specialists to achieve excellence through education, advocacy, knowledge, standards of practice, ethics, professional development, and research.

NAADAC staff will begin engaging professionals and peers to participate in and lead RTP curriculum development, starting with research on the extent to which recovery exists within alcohol and drug abuse counseling. They will develop a Situational Analysis that synthesizes the research and assessment findings, followed by a training outline and ultimately a comprehensive training manual, which will be delivered throughout the country. Abt Associates will work with NAADAC during the early phases of the project.

The RTP Resource Center Wants to Hear From
Recovery-Oriented Practitioners!
We invite practitioners to submit personal stories that describe how they became involved in
recovery-oriented work and how it has changed the way they practice.
The RTP Resource Center Wants to Hear From You, Too!
We invite you to submit personal stories that describe recovery experiences. To submit stories or
other recovery resources, please contact Cheryl Tutt, MSW, at 877.584.8535,
or email

We welcome your views, comments, suggestions, and inquiries.
For more information on this topic or any other recovery topics,
please contact the RTP Resource Center at
877.584.8535, or email

The views, opinions, and content of this Weekly Highlight are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect
the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.