The House of Representatives passed the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646)!


The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646) was passed with an overwhelming majority (422-2).

“Comprehensive mental health reform is urgently needed in our country, and this bipartisan legislation helps address this critical need,” said APA President Maria A. Oquendo, M.D.  Today’s vote sends a message that America needs change in the mental health system.

SARDAA would like to thank Rep. Tim Murphy and all of you who have worked many hours, educating others and urging your representatives!
“What has made this work are…the thousands and thousands and thousands of letters and phone calls to members of Congress saying that we’ve got to do something about mental health.” Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA).
Your voice makes a difference.
Your voice could be a life saver!
A vote will now take place in the Senate, please contact your Senator today.  Let them know the mental health system is broken and needs to be fixed!

The Effects of Deployment

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When it comes to deployment, service members may experience both stress and excitement at the same time. This is also true for family members left behind. Parents, a significant other, and children can feel overwhelmed with a variety of emotions during the duration of deployment for their loved one and excitement upon returning home. But what happens after the service member returns home?
       Although there haven’t been enough studies to really explain the experiences and outcomes of service members and their families following a deployment, a book titled Risk and Resilience in Military and Veteran Families briefly discuss this topic in the chapter titled War and Family Life. It is more specifically discussing a sample of 1,046 veterans who were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom. To read more, click here.
    An article by the American Academy of Pediatrics titled Mental Health Diagnoses Rise Significantly for Military Children studied approximately 1.6 million children that received care from 2001 – 2015. It concluded over the past 15 years, there has been a 4% increase each year in the number of children being diagnosed with mental health conditions such as anxiety and ADHD. Throughout this period of time, the amount of visits from children regarding mental health conditions doubled. It further explains that the largest increase found includes children who have had thoughts of suicide which increased 22%.  To read more of this article, please click here.
    It’s important to know there are resources for service members and family members post deployment. One of these include Fleet and Family Support Center, to learn more about how they can help, please visit their website by clicking here. For more information after deployment and mental health you can also visit: The aftermath of deployment should not be placed on a time table, meaning different stressors or mental health conditions do not always appear right away. If you are having any concerns with a loved one’s mental health or your own, you can also contact your nearest VA health care facility.

Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646)

In a historic moment for people with severe mental illness and their families, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646) passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee markup this morning with all provisions intact to help people with a severe psychiatric disease; now the bill advances to the House floor.

TODAY’s unanimous, bipartisan vote by the Energy and Commerce Committee is a tremendous victory for the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act and for people with severe mental illness and their families.

Together we can continue the pressure to get this bill to the floor.  It is time for the nearly million Americans with schizophrenia and bipolar brain disorders to have access and opportunity to be treated NOT punished and for their carers to help them succeed.

What is an #UNselfie?

It can be YOUR way of “giving.”  Take a picture of yourself with an explanation of why you give to SARDAA.  You can use SARDAA’s #givingtuesday template (Click here for the template), a blank piece of scrap paper, or add a frame to your pictures.

Why do you give?  It can be that you give through your volunteer efforts, cash, or a non-cash donation.
Here are a few reasons people give to SARDAA:
  • I give to SARDAA because I want to help individuals diagnosed with a schizophrenia-related brain illnesses.
  • I give to SARDAA because people deserve to be treated not punished.
After you have taken the picture, post the picture to your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and tag SARDAA (with Facebook tag the picture, with Twitter use @sardaa_org) using the hashtags #givingtuesday #unselfie

You can also email your unselfie to and we will post it for you!  Help us to spread the word about SARDAA.

Thank you for your support!


SARDAA Founder at IMHRO Music Festival for Brain Health

Linda Stalters, SARDAA Executive Director & founder and her husband, Russ Stalters, SARDAA volunteer, traveled to the Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford, CA to support the One Mind Institute (IMHRO) 21st Music Festival for Brain Health fundraiser. Linda stated “I feel so strongly about the importance of  cutting-edge research to better diagnose, treat, prevent, and, ultimately, cure severe brain disorders that my husband and I are willing to personally donate to this important cause. This research is vital and complimentary to the work SARDAA is doing to support those diagnosed and their families and to increase awareness.”

21 IMHRO Music Festival Scientific SymposiumThe day started off with a Scientific Symposium featuring rock-star neuroscientists presenting updates on the state of brain health research and discussing paths for prevention and cures for brain disorders followed by a Q&A session with the experts.

In this short video below Linda was able to catch up with Brandon Staglin to thank him for all the work he has done as Board member of One Mind Institute (IMHRO) and as a member of the SARDAA Consumer Advisory Council.

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SARDAA Volunteers Recognized at Tom Braxton CD Launch Party

A CD Launch Party for Tom Braxton was held at the home of SARDAA executive Director, Linda Stalters & Russ Stalters and was co-hosted by Dr. Jim and Sandy Anderson. Tom Braxton and Gianna, the vocalist has performed at the last two SARDAA Gala’s, Jazz On My Mind.  Tom Braxton and his wife, Sharon, are great supporters of SARDAA. There were over 100 guests at the event asking for more.  Just wait for something super special to evolve.

SARDAA volunteers were recognized for their great contributions to help with the SARDAA mission.

Tom playing from the “bridge”
Tom playing from the “bridge”


Tom with Vocalist Gianna
Tom with Vocalist Gianna












Pictured in the long line:  Rickey Ford, Jim Anderson, Sandy Mayfield Anderson, Tom Braxton, Sharon Braxton, Linda Stalters, Darren Giles-Bey.
Pictured in the long line: Rickey Ford, Jim Anderson, Sandy Mayfield Anderson, Tom Braxton, Sharon Braxton, Linda Stalters, Darren Giles-Bey.
Tom playing from the “bridge”
Tom playing from the “bridge”
Tom, Linda S, Rosalva Gutierrez
Tom, Linda Stalters, Rosalva Gutierrez

I Have A Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. and Lance’s Mom

January 21, 2013

Today is Martin Luther King Day and I wanted to honor Dr. King’s memory and talk a bit about an ordinary Mom’s dreams, a Mom who wants to change the world – to educate people about addiction and mental illness. Twenty-nine years ago, my dream came true and I gave birth to Lance, a beautiful baby boy.  He had ten fingers, ten toes and seemed perfect in every way.  Fast forward to about 2002, a family of four boys and a journey through the world of drug addiction and mental illness.  My dreams turned to nightmares. I never dreamed we would enter into a world I knew nothing about: addiction and later, mental illness….  Without a known family history of addiction and mental illness, these issues were not in my realm of consciousness.  Be that as it may, I vowed to do anything I could to save my firstborn son who was smart, athletic, popular, the one everyone looked up to and idolized – until our world crumbled.  Today, my dreams are different than they were 29 years ago but I am happy to say they are filled with gratitude, faith and pride. My son’s mental disorder is stable and he is about to celebrate three years of recovery from substance abuse, a true miracle.   I encourage you to hold on to your dreams and although they may materialize differently than imagined, we can still find gratitude, peace and serenity. It may not be easy but if I can do it, anyone can!

In memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all those who have dreams, keep dreaming and never give up until the miracle happens.

Lance: The Long Road to Recovery

January 15th

Every day is a struggle, do I get high or do I not get high?  This entails everything I have ever worked for.  Would you throw that away to spend a night with the devil?  Ever since I got clean I have gotten back my friends and family, sanity and a few odd and end things.  With all this on my plate, every morning I choose the large cup of coffee over a bag of cocaine for the last 2 years and 11 months.  I almost threw away my clean time but by the grace of G-d I will have 3 years clean on February 11th.  Why does G-d give us a choice to make?  The answer is very simple, for every reason in the world you stay clean, but I have learned to believe the devil was the test.  G-d created her to give us options.  Do I make a left or do I make a right?  I finally chose right!  The only reason I ever got high was to self medicate, to heal my pain and sorrow, but most importantly my mental illness was what really was bothering me and drove me to the drugs.  I know that if you choose right life’s miracles will come to you.  I am not promising you the sun, the moon and stars but you will be free from your sickness a/k/a addiction, and all kinds of mental disorders that stem from the wrath of drugs.  My drug of choice was ecstasy.  I thought it was the closest feeling to heaven.  But I was wrong! G-d did not make heaven in a pill form.  It’s unfathomable today what I believe heaven is.  It could be the ultimate relief of not getting high and experiencing happiness in life, whether it is the birds chirping on a nice day, piece of mind, or a sunny day on the beach.  Materials things would include, the birth of a child, a wife, house and money.  I made the right choice today; I believe so strongly that one day a higher power will pay me back, not necessarily in luxury but in serenity and peace.  If you are struggling with schizophrenia like me, there is a better way of life. You can always count on your belief that this too shall pass but if you have a mental illness, it usually doesn’t without the proper help.  My disorder took me to places you can only imagine, but the story is true. This is part of my story and my struggle, how about yours?

Lots of love,

Lance Sheena

Menninger Clinic Grand Opening and Agenda for Psych & Neuroscience

Outstanding event with profound speakers and enthusiastic attendees.  Many heroes involved in driving brain research and treatment, especially those who are “consumers”.  We thank The Honorable Patrick Kennedy for his passionate, courageous and tenacious work to eliminate discrimination and champion research.

SARDAA is a supporter and sponsor of the Independence At Home Act

On February 3, HHS Secretary Sebelius sent a letter to the Governors suggesting ways states might reduce their spending on Medicaid. The letter and its attachment notes that “five percent of [Medicaid] beneficiaries accounted for more than half of all Medicaid spending and one percent of beneficiaries accounted for 25 percent of all expenditures” and that 15% of “dual eligibles” account for 40% of all Medicaid spending. The letter further notes that most of these high cost beneficiaries suffer from chronic and disabling conditions. The letter further show that reducing the cost of this beneficiary population by just 10% “could save $15.7 billion in total Medicaid spending and produce a significant positive impact on longer term spending trends.”

The Independence at Home program was designed expressly to address the needs of the highest cost beneficiaries suffering from multiple chronic diseases and disabilities. The IAH home-based primary care model has been proven at hundreds of locations across the country for decades and has produced savings of 23% to 60% for this high cost patient population. This experience shows that the Independence at Home program could reduce Medicaid costs by more than $30 billion a year, based on HHS’ numbers.

The letter from Secretary Sebelius states that new service delivery models that focus on the high cost chronically ill population can be implemented without a waiver under the “Health Home” provision at section 2703 of PPACA that became effective January 1, 2011 and that the new Federal Coordinated Care Office is assisting the states to develop new models for serving the “dual eligibles”. Representatives of the American Academy of Home Care Physicians and staff from the offices of Congressman Ed Markey and Ron Wyden met on January 6 with personnel from the Federal Coordinated Care Office and showed how the Independence at Home program can be implemented by states under the “Health Home” provisions in section 2703. The Independence at Home program is the only program under the health reform legislation that (A) expressly targets the highest cost patient population, (B) provides primary care tailored to the patient’s individual needs in the home, (C) coordinates care across all treatment settings, (D) requires a minimum level of savings, outcomes and patient/caregiver satisfaction and (E) significantly reduces costs—not by cutting reimbursement or coverage—but by adding a new chronic care coordination benefit that better addresses the patient’s needs.

Several states are considering the Independence at Home program because it does not require any additional expenditures and is funded entirely from savings. Please let me know if you need more information about IAH as a Medicaid health home.

Jim Pyles
on behalf of the American Academy of Home Care Physicians and
The Independence at Home Coalition
1501 M Street NW, Seventh Floor | Washington, DC 20005-1700
tel 202.466.6550 | fax 202.785.1756 |