STAR Center In Action!

We are thrilled to offer the June issue of the STAR Center e-newsletter! The STAR Center was in New Mexico this month! I was honored and privileged to witness the 2016 Summer Gathering of the Peers of the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico’s Statewide Peer Network, led and facilitated by Larry Lee, Wendy Linebrook-Allison, Beaver Northcloud, Gilberto Romero, Jeff Silago, Shela Silverman and Fidel Talache.   

The New Mexico PLE Formation Group gathered a diverse community of advocates from across New Mexico that included historic leadership and representation from Native American and Latino communities. The strong level of engagement and participation from everyone involved had a lot to do with the beautiful way the gathering was kicked off and facilitated - from visible and rotating leadership across communities to room design and the demonstrated commitment to a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. 

The room was set up in a circle of 25 chairs. In the center of the circle were two empty chairs, with their backs to each other. I thought they were left over as we were arranging the room, so just as everyone was seated and ready to begin, I got up to move them away. Gilberto Romero, who was opening the gathering, motioned for me to leave the chairs where they were but gave us no explanation for their purpose. Everyone was immediately curious as he stood and started to talk. Gilberto explained that the two chairs represented the opposing worldviews that often get in the way of community. He picked up the chairs and turned them so they faced each other. He eloquently explained how each chair’s view is different from the other. When seated in one chair, what a person could see was limited to where they were facing and that we needed to find ways to see each other’s perspectives by sharing them. In order to move beyond our limited sight, we would need to see and listen to each other with our hearts.

As he spoke in his soft, slow and sometimes halting voice, I remember wanting to take out my camera and begin recording what he was saying. I didn’t want to lose the chance to capture the consciousness he was raising within me, within us. I wanted to share it with others who weren’t there to hear it. I hesitated, and decided to return to my heart and just be present with everyone else, and with my heart. I wondered how we all seemed to know how to stay with our hearts as he spoke.  

Gilberto was holding a heart shaped drum and introduced Steven Toya Sr., medicine man, performer and drum master from the Pueblo of Zia, who played the drum and sang a memorial song to create the healing environment that would sustain us. He also shared some beautiful words that I wish I could share with you. Instead, please get a glimpse of what he offered us through his Youtube clip on the Power of the Drum

The tone was set for our talking circle as Beaver Northcloud, explained the way of the talking stick. Some members initially struggled with the idea of lack of not having a time limit for sharing, however, eventually resolved to trust each other to share time well, without an arbitrary time limit, and make sure everyone had a chance to speak from the heart.

As you will see from the pictures, the 2016 PLE Summer Gathering was a great success. The incredible diversity of lived experience in New Mexico now has a home for their collective voice and power to emerge together. We are definitely going to continue sharing their community building and organizational development journey so we can all learn and celebrate it together. Enjoy! 



Want to learn more about the STAR Center and all that we do? Check out the STAR Center’s website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to find out where we are headed next!

STAR of the Month

The STAR Center will feature young people every month from across the country who are making a difference in their communities and demonstrating extraordinary leadership that you need to know about! Help us make sure young people in your community are recognized and valued by nominating someone today!

This month the STAR Center recognizes Chris Salinas from Aberdeen, WA . Check out his story and watch his video!

Featured Youth Leadership Resources


Strengthening Our Future: Key Elements to Developing a TRAUMA-INFORMED Juvenile Justice Diversion Program for Youth with Behavioral Health Conditions

This publication was produced by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research Associates, Inc., and the Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. as a part of the 2014-15 Policy Academy-Action Network Initiative. This

effort was sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Featured Organizational  Resource

Considerations for Conducting Evaluation Using a Culturally Responsive and Racial Equity Lens

Public Policy Associates spent more than three years developing a new approach to evaluation that is culturally responsive and addresses racial equity issues.  This guide provides practical insights on how to build teams and establish practices that yield greater insights and seek to ensure that programs are fair and equitable.

Research Updates

Psychiatric Medication Discontinuation/Reduction Study (PMDR)

The goal of this project is to understand the process of coming off psychiatric medications.   What helps or prevents people from stopping their psychiatric medications?

Sometimes people who take psychiatric medications choose to stop taking it. When people choose to come off medications, they may struggle to find the information or support they need. Providers who want to help often lack evidence to guide people. Your responses to this survey will help better support people coming off psychiatric medications. We will share the results in public reports and presentations, as well as academic journals.


Who can participate?

Adults ages 18+ in the United States who meet the following criteria:

  • Labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis, such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, psychosis NOS, bipolar disorder I, bipolar disorder II, bipolar disorder NOS, major depressive disorder. 
  • In the last five years, took prescribed psychiatric medications for at least nine months before trying to come off them.
  • Had a goal to completely stop taking one or two medications in the past five years.

If you would like to participate:
Take the Survey Now!

Funding Opportunity

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
Administration for Community Living
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program: Health Service Delivery Models
Funding Opportunity Number:

Deadline: August 8, 2016

The purpose of DRRPs, which are funded through the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act by developing methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technologies that advance a wide range of independent living and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most significant disabilities. There is a need for systematic information about new and emerging health service delivery models that can be used to improve health outcomes for people with disabilities. This project will meet the following objectives: (a) generate new knowledge about emerging service delivery models that support successful health outcomes for individuals with disabilities; (b) identify promising health service delivery model components that are associated with desired health outcomes for individuals with disabilities; and (c) generate new knowledge of the effectiveness of promising health service delivery model components through the implementation and testing of those practices.


Upcoming Webinars


SAMHSA Webinar: Using the Cultural Formulation Interview to Support Recovery
Date: June 21
Time: 1-2 p.m. EDT

Culture influences every aspect of care in behavioral health practice. Cultural context frames communication from how individuals describe their situation and what they expect from treatment to how practitioners understand and interpret the stories of the people they see. This webinar will introduce participants to the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI), an evidence-based tool used to guide practitioners in understanding the worldviews of people seeking services. The presenters will describe the origins of the CFI and how it is used with individuals and families to create a culturally rich mutual understanding of concerns. Scenarios will illustrate how use of this structured tool increases practitioner skills in recovery-oriented practices, including the ability to engage people in personally meaningful, collaborative plans that identify and enhance cultural strengths and are embedded in the person’s or family’s unique worldview.

Chacku Mathai, CPRP,
Director, NAMI STAR Center
Dr. Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, MD 
Oscar Jiménez-Solomon, MPH


Invasion or Innovation: Peers in the Workforce
Tuesday, June 28th
Time: 11am PST/ 2pm EST
In this webinar the presenters will share what they have learned – both the positive and the areas that still need work – as well as the best way to address the part of the process that gets in the way of a successful utilization of the peer workforce.  They have seen the power of welcoming peers as a powerful innovation that serves to empower individuals in reclaiming their lives as well as the problems that occur when clinical staff see peer specialists as unwanted invaders.  They will detail and address issues that need to be recognized and addressed in order to embrace the peer specialist into the recovery-based work environment in a manner that allows a mutually supportive workforce.
Rita Cronise
Patty McCarthy Metcalf, Faces and Voices of Recovery



Recovery After Incarceration: Peer Supports as a
Critical Re-Entry Service

 Date: Thursday, June 30, 2016
Time: 2:00-3:30pm ET(1:00pm CT, 12:00pm MT, 11:00am PT)

This webinar will review emerging evidence about the value of peer specialists and recovery coaches in supporting individuals transitioning from incarceration. It will highlight effective approaches to help individuals develop and advance towards their recovery and wellness goals, access services, navigate systems, and achieve successful community integration.

Ayesha Delany-Brumsey, Senior Associate, Vera Institute of Justice
Mike Jones, Founder/Executive Director, Breaking The Cycle Inc.
Mishelle O'Shasky, Wisconsin Statewide Network Coordinator, Grassroots Empowerment Project

Upcoming Events


Mad Pride Month


HEALINGVOICES’ ONENIGHT,ONEVOICE was a tremendous success with more than 130 screenings in eight countries!


Do you know about Mad Pride Month in July? HEALINGVOICES invites and encourages you to organize a movie screening in July as a part of Mad Pride Month. Help people around the world celebrate "mad diversity" by organizing a town hall style screening in your community. If interested please contact Oryx Cohen directly at


2016 National Peer Support Conference
(August 26-28) & Summer Institutes (August 22-25)

 Join the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) in Philadelphia on August 26-28, for the 10th Annual National Peer Support Conference. With nationally-recognized featured presenters and over 60 advanced level workshops, the conference promises enhanced skills and leading examples of innovations in peer support services. Prior to the conference, between August 22-25, a series of Summer Institutes will be held in and around Philadelphia, independently organized and offered by some of the leading training providers and peer practitioners, to those who will be in Philadelphia at that time. To learn more about the Conference and the Summer Institutes, visit:




San Diego, California  / September 19-23, 2016


Alternatives Conference 2016


Register Now!


From the Field Spotlight


Chacku Mathai, director of the STAR Center, draws from his professional expertise and personal experience as an adolescent struggling with mental health and substance use conditions to propose a whole family framework that builds trust and honors diversity‬.

Honoring Diverse Families
By Chacku Mathai

SAMHSA Recovery To Practice June Newsletter

Have a resource to share?
Please do!
We encourage you or your organization to submit a resource for the STAR Center to share. The STAR Center fosters a community of people and organizations interested in sharing information and resources to build a thriving leadership network. Please email your suggested resource(s) by including an attached document or link to Please consider sharing your resource with the STAR Center community today!
This material was developed [in part] under grant SM062551 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS. 

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
STAR Center · 3803 N. Fairfax Drive · Suite 100 · Arlington, Va 22203 · USA