Independent Lens Names BEDLAM Documentary Feature

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Shot over five years, this critically acclaimed Sundance favorite takes viewers inside Los Angeles County’s overwhelmed and under-resourced psych ER, to a nearby jail warehousing thousands of psychiatric patients, to the homeless encampments and homes of people affected by severe mental illness – including the filmmaker’s own sister.

Directed, Produced and Written by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg
Produced and Written by Peter Miller
Co-Produced by and Director of Photography Joan Churchill, ASC
Co-Produced by and Location Sound Alan Barker
Cinematography Bob Richman, Additional Cinematography Buddy Squires, ASC
Edited by Jim Cricchi, Additional Editing by James Holland
Executive Producers Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen

HH4Y Transfers to Arizona Youth Partnership

After exciting growth, Help & Hope for YOUth, the youth mental health initiative started in 2018 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona, will now be an initiative of Arizona Youth Partnership, effective January 1, 2021. Arizona Youth Partnership will create the opportunity for statewide expansion of the initiative and provide infrastructure support for the Help & Hope for YOUth Alliance, currently with over 50 members from Pima, Pinal, Cochise and Santa Cruz Counties.

Following several months, many meetings and with your input, we mutually agree the mission of Arizona Youth Partnership aligns with the goals of Help & Hope for YOUth and the focus on prevention and youth. Help & Hope for YOUth’s mission is to reduce the stigma of mental health conditions so youth ages 10-24 get the help they need when symptoms first appear. Arizona Youth Partnership builds solid foundations for youth and families by partnering with Arizona communities to prevent and solve local issues such as substance abuse, youth homelessness, lack of educational opportunities, teen pregnancy, and challenging family dynamics. With Help & Hope for YOUth joining Arizona Youth Partnership, more community organizations and individuals will be mobilized to help young people struggling with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, especially as they cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NAMI Southern Arizona will continue to be involved in the Help & Hope for YOUth Initiative and is now providing the stigma reduction program Ending the Silence online. Ending the Silence is available for students, school staff and families to learn about the symptoms of mental illness and how to ask for help. Contact NAMI Southern Arizona at 520-622-5582 or to learn more.

As we look to 2021 and beyond, we hope you’ll join in our excitement about being a part of Arizona Youth Partnership and the future of youth mental health!

Arizona School Safety Task Force Releases Final Report and Model School Safety Plan

After over one year of Help & Hope for YOUth serving on the Arizona Department of Education School Safety Task Force, a final report and model school plan has been released.

The School Safety Task Force was formed after House Bill 2597 introduced by Representative Daniel Hernandez working with students with March for Our Lives failed to pass. In partnership with March for Our Lives, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman created the statewide School Safety Task Force which focused on school climate, prevention, mental health, and relationship building. The task force report provides recommendations intended to be the basis for Arizona to be a state where all students feel connected and safe in their schools and where family and community members have confidence in the leadership for school safety. The final report and plan can be accessed below.

School Safety Task Force Final Report

Model School Safety Plan

SAAF’s CEO Elected to TUSD Governing Board

A Letter from Dr. Ravi Grivois-Shah, November 18, 2020:

Dear SAAF Community,

I’m writing today to share good news…. As many of you may have already heard, the voters of Tucson have elected me to serve on the TUSD Governing Board!

The Tucson Unified School District, with over 40,000 students, is the largest school district in Southern Arizona, and third largest in the state. I’m humbled and honored that voters of Tucson not only put their trust in me, but also elected our first openly LBGTQ+ member of the TUSD Governing Board.

As a member of the TUSD Governing Board, I’ll help set policy and priorities that affect the education and lives of so many in our community, including my own family and three children. From my vantage point as CEO of SAAF, I’ll be able to fight for inclusive curriculum, policies that are fair for students of all backgrounds, and support for our most vulnerable youth.

We all know how important it is to have seats at the table in order to develop sound policy. I learned that first-hand when I was a member of the TUSD Family Life Curriculum (FLC, “sex ed”) Committee last year, and what it took to ensure that the FLC curriculum was not only medically accurate and comprehensive, but inclusive of LGBTQ+ students and families.

So much of what we do at SAAF is standing up for the most vulnerable in our community, especially LGBTQ+ youth. I’m excited how my role on the TUSD Governing Board will further this mission.

These past few weeks have been an amazing time for me and my family. My start at SAAF has been so amazing, thanks to you and the outpouring of support from a community that so wants SAAF to succeed. Thank you for the positivity and support these past few months. I hope I continue to earn that from you in the months and years ahead!

Here’s to working together towards a “healthy and stigma-free society”. Thank you for being a part of this critical mission.

Warm regards,

Ravi Grivois-Shah, MD MPH MBA
Chief Executive Officer
Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation

Shattering Stigma Mural in Downtown Toledo

The second installation of the “Shattering Stigma” project was done recently – a project funded by the Greater Toledo Community Foundation (GTCF) and a collaboration between artist Gail Christofferson of Animal House Glass Studio and Zepf Center. Unique to this installation are QR codes embedded in the piece that allow viewers to get more information about mental illness and how to help someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis. Funding came from GTCF’s David C. and Lura M. Lovell Foundation Designated Fund which supports programs that seek to reduce the stigma around living with and seeking services for mental health issues.

What are the facts?

One in five adults will experience a mental illness.

  • Life expectancy for someone with a mental illness can be up to 25 years shorter than for someone without – often due to untreated medical conditions.
  • Mental illnesses are more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart Half of all cases of mental illness begin between the ages of 15-25.
  • More than 50% of all adults living in the United States will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their
  • For more information, visit Mental Health America at If you need help now, call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room.

–From 11/5/20 GTCF Facebook Post

Virtual Screening and Panel Discussion of BEDLAM 10/27/20

Arizona Public Media and NAMI Southern Arizona invite you to join us for a special virtual screening of Bedlam.

Tuesday, October 27 at 6:30 pm

Based on the critically-acclaimed book with the same title, this feature-length documentary from Independent Lens immerses us in the national crisis surrounding care of the severely mentally ill through intimate stories of patients, families, and medical providers.

We will be joined in the chat by experts in the mental health field, including:

  • Christina Bickelmann, Executive Director of NAMI Southern Arizona
  • H. Clarke Romans Former Executive Director of NAMI Southern Arizona
  • Sgt. Jason Winsky, Tucson Police Dept Mental Health Support Team

We encourage you to interact with our featured experts and other guests during the screening via the chat function. Guests will not be on camera or audio, so feel free to get comfortable!



COVID-19 Challenges for Older LGBTQ+ People – Survey Presentation 10/13/20

COVID-19 Creates Unique Challenges for Older LGBTQ+ People: UA SIROW Researchers Share Pioneering Survey Results

 After a lifetime of fighting for their basic human rights, aging LGBTQ+ people face a whole new series of social and medical challenges. We can now add COVID-19 to that list of hurdles.

Quickly recognizing unique threats the corona virus may hold for this vulnerable population, local research scientists Beth Meyerson and Sally Dodds sprang into action early in the pandemic to create and administer a survey of COVID risks and impacts for LGBTQ+ older people in Arizona–perhaps the first such study ever conducted. They will present to the public five important takeaways from their survey results on Tuesday, October 13 at the Southern Arizona Senior Pride monthly Speaker Series, held at 2pm online (via Zoom).

The program will emphasize Pima County data important to LGBTQ+ community members, their friends, family, and support networks. Key topics will include: (1) health status of older LGBTQ+ adults, (2) risk reduction and protective behaviors, (3) impact of staying home and quarantine isolation on mental health, (4) what individuals and (5) service organizations can do to help.

Dr. Sally Dodds, a retired UA professor of psychiatry and medicine with a career background in HIV/AIDS research, explains: “We believe that work like this will really build a stronger community infrastructure for LGBTQ people.” She notes that these survey results are only the prelude to a much larger critical needs assessment currently underway “to help determine the priorities for programs and policies needed by older queer adults.”

Describing herself as a “pracademic” because of her decades of public health practice and policy experience, Dr. Beth Meyerson is currently a research professor with the Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) and an affiliate with the Institute for LGBT Studies, both programs of UA. She notes: “This project was made possible by partnerships with LGBTQ organizations throughout the state. During the COVID19 ‘stay home’ order, it was almost impossible to reach people; but we could do so electronically and through their vast networks. We are grateful for the collaboration.”

Southern Arizona Senior Pride celebrates, supports, and unites Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender older adults in southern Arizona.

Beth Meyerson, , 520-626-5908

Lavina Tomer, Ex. Director, Southern Arizona Senior Pride, , 520-312-8923

Carter Center Mental Health Journalism Fellowships

Featured September 2020

“Informed journalists can have a significant impact on public understanding of mental health issues as they shape debate and trends with the words and pictures they convey.”
-Rosalynn Carter

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has been a steadfast advocate for parity and improving the lives of those living with mental health disorders. The Center’s Mental Health Program, which houses the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, works to improve access to quality behavioral health services through varied initiatives.

Supported by Mrs. Carter’s long-standing advocacy for the rights of people with mental illnesses, the Mental Health Program promotes awareness about mental health issues, informs public policy, achieves equity for mental health care comparable to other health care, and reduces stigma and discrimination against those living with mental illness.

Founded in 1996, the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism aims to increase the accuracy of behavioral health reporting, while decreasing incorrect, stereotypical content in circulation. Over the years, the Fellowship has created a cadre of better-informed professional journalists who more accurately and thoughtfully report information through media channels, creating a ripple effect of a more understanding society.

Click here to learn more.