Bike to Work in April!

March 24th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

In support of April being bike to work month, ADHS staff is encouraging staff and community participation.

Exercise, such as cycling, has long shown to provide physical and behavioral health benefits.

Results of the studies continue to support a growing literature suggesting that exercise, physical activity and physical-activity interventions have beneficial effects across several physical and mental-health outcomes. Generally, participants engaging in regular physical activity display more desirable health outcomes across a variety of physical conditions. Similarly, participants in randomized clinical trials of physical-activity interventions show better health outcomes, including better general and health-related quality of life, better functional capacity and better mood states. Source.

For more information about signing up, visit Share the Ride. 

One Third of Arizona College Students Binge Drink

March 23rd, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

college studentsBased on 2014 survey data collected by the Arizona Institutions of Higher Education (AZIHE) Network, 32.7% of Arizona college and university students report drinking 5 or more drinks in one sitting at least once in the past two weeks.

Additionally, 6.1% of Arizona college and university students reported illicit use of pain killers, 3.6% reported illicit use of sedatives, and 8.5% reported illicit use of stimulants in the past 12 months. Taking these data together, the AZIHE Network acknowledges that evidence-based strategies must be implemented on campuses to curb negative outcomes associated with high-risk alcohol use and illicit prescription drug use.

The University of Arizona was awarded SPF-PFS grant funds to foster collaboration between The University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson, Pima Community College (PCC) in Tucson and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Prescott. The partnerships established among these three universities have allowed for the creation of alcohol and other drug (AOD) prevention strategic plans, sharing of resources, and trainings for campus professionals to establish evidence-based programs at each participating campus.

One major success of the grant so far was the inaugural Raising the Bar College Student Leadership Conference, held September 13th, 2014. Raising the Bar was attended by 38 students from across the state and featured educational sessions on marijuana, creating a social norms campaign, alcohol education, sexual violence prevention, and peer education.

The conference will be held annually moving forward, and it stands as a strong example of collaboration among colleges and universities in the state.

For more information, email:

Watch for Signs of Trauma

March 18th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care has opened a dedicated crisis line for anyone experiencing trauma after the shootings in Mesa earlier today. The number is: 1-800-203-CARE (2273). Trauma may influence first responders, friends, family, and those not directly involved.

Common reactions to trauma may include:

  • Fear, anxiety or depression
  • Nausea, dizziness, changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Withdrawal from daily activities
  • Symptoms of avoidance, including staying away from places related to the trauma or feeling detached
  • Emotional outbursts or being easily startled
  • Mood shifts or confusion
  • Lack of concentration, not feeling like “yourself”

To ease these feelings, behavioral health officials recommend:

  • Understand that these reactions are normal, especially soon after the traumatic event
  • Keep up your usual routine
  • Be with other people. Don’t isolate yourself
  • Exercise, try to relax and be kind to yourself
  • Allow yourself to feel bad, but recognize that some things are beyond your control
  • Try to face your fears and try not to shy away from situations, people and places that may remind you of the trauma
  • Reach out to family, friends and your faith community for support. Talk about your feelings and what you’re experiencing
  • Seek trained help if you feel you need it by reaching out to a crisis line or mental health center

The crisis line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additional information can be found here:

Read the Director’s Blog about Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care’s response here:

Flagstaff Youth Fight for Smoke-Free Parks

March 18th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

A group of Flagstaff youth are advocating for Flagstaff parks to be tobacco-free. The students, participating in Native American for Community Action (NACA) Native Youth Coalition, attend Flagstaff High School.

The group has volunteered picking up cigarette butts in Thorpe, Bushmaster and Wheeler parks – an experience that left them wanting bigger change. Working with community partners, the students are trying to pass city policy preventing the use of any tobacco product in city parks.

Fewer than 10 parks in Arizona are tobacco free, while it is estimated there are 1,000 nationally. The group met with city parks and recreation officials and hope to present to Flagstaff City Council.

Enforcement would not including policing or fines. Instead, the group would like to hand out information to park users, train park staff, and a change in signage. The Flagstaff Parks and Recreation officials reportedly are concerned how these changes will be funded.

The youth hope to change the public opinion about socialization and smoking – reminding those that if they can smell tobacco smoke, they are putting themselves at risk.

For more information about NACA, visit:




Campus Walk To Raise Funds for Suicide Prevention

March 17th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

On March 21st, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will host the fourth annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk at Arizona State University’s Tempe Campus. The event will include speakers and a commemorative ceremony on Hayden Lawn, followed by a 2.5 mile walk.

Funds raised from the walk will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s research and education programs. Some 40,000 Americans died by suicide last year.

The event begins at 8 am with a resource fair. To register, visit:


What’s In Your Medicine Cabinet?

March 12th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

This week is national Patient Safety Awareness Week. As such, officials from American Recall Center are asking Americans to take inventory of their medicine cabinets.

The Medicine Cabinet Clean-Out Challenge asks all Americans do to three things:

  1.      Know your medications
    – Do you take your prescriptions as prescribed?
    – Do you understand all possible side effects?
    2.    Secure your medications
    – Are your medicines stored in a secured location?
    – How do you monitor the amount left in each medicine bottle?
    3.    Dispose your medications
    – Do you know how/where to safely dispose of any unused or expired medications?
    – Have you checked to see if any medications are recalled

Last year, more than 750 Arizonans died by accidental poisoning.

For more information on drug recalls, visit:

safeTALK Training Open to Public

March 12th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

SafeTALK – a best practice half-day alertness workshop that teaches how to recognize direct and indirect signs of those who may be considering suicide, is being offered to community members. The training provides an opportunity to learn how to talk about suicide, and connect with an appropriate intervention. Participants become “suicide-alert helpers.”

Most thinking of suicide are struggling with the pain and do not want to die. safeTALK-trained helpers can recognize language that should draw action, possibly including life-saving intervention resources.

The event will take place at 8:30 am – noon, April 7th at EMPACT La Frontera Suicide Prevention Center, located at: 618 S. Madison Drive, Tempe, 85281.

The registration fee is $25 and includes participant materials and continental breakfast.

To enroll, visit:

For more information about safeTALK, visit:


Survivors of Suicide Conference May 2

March 11th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

La Frontera-EMPACT officials are hosting the 16th annual Arizona Survivors of Suicide Conference at 8:30 am – 3:30 pm, Saturday, May 2 at the Black Canyon Conference Center in Phoenix.

The conference focuses on hope and healing for those who have lost a family member or friend to suicide. The keynote speaker, Frank Campbell, PhD, LCSW, is the past president of the American Association of Suicidology.  He will speak about assisting those dealing with survivor grief.

To register, visit:

Black Canyon Conference Center is located at: 9440 N. 25th Ave, Phoenix, 85021.

For more information, email Sandra McNally:


Guadalupe Cultural Event Thursday

March 3rd, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

Youth in the town of Guadalupe are helping host a series of workshops concerning traditional Yaqui language and history. The Yoeme Maachiria series will also include an art project for the community.

The first event, open for all, is 6 pm, Thursday March 5 a the Itom Hiapsi Tribal Building, 9405 S. Avenida del Yaqui in Guadalupe. Participants will learn, among other things, the traditional Yaqui greeting.

For more information:



Office of Human Rights Advocates for Arizonans

February 24th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

Voice and choice are essential for individuals on the path of recovery.  Yet for some of our most vulnerable members, those unable to independently understand, protect and exercise their rights due to mental illness or cognitive impairment, self-determination is insurmountable without assistance.

The Arizona Department of Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services (ADHS/DBHS), has an established Office of Human Rights (OHR) to provide advocacy for such individuals.  The focus of OHR is to provide advocacy to individuals determined to have a serious mental illness (SMI) to help them understand, protect and exercise their rights, facilitate self-advocacy through education and obtain access to behavioral health services in the publicly funded behavioral health system in Arizona.

OHR primarily represents individuals with a SMI and in need of Special Assistance- that is, individuals who are unable to independently express their goals and preferences and protect their rights — in service and discharge planning and in the grievance and appeal processes. Currently in the state of Arizona there are over 1,100 clients that have been identified to be in need of Special Assistance of whom OHR provides direct advocacy to more than 400. The remaining Special Assistance population receives advocacy and assistance from others, such as their friends, family members or guardians. OHR also provides technical assistance, information and guidance to friends, family members and guardians when requested to support their advocacy efforts.

OHR works with members to understand their treatment needs and preferences, and to works collaboratively work with other entities to ensure that members’ needs are met, that their rights are protected and that desired services can be accessed without barriers.

To accomplish this, OHR interfaces with several other entities including, but not limited to adult probation, the public defenders’ office, the public fiduciary’s’ offices, other advocacy agencies, and peer run organizations. Last month, OHR had nearly 600 encounters with clients, stakeholders, and providers in the field to accomplish our work! The value in this collaborative approach is essential to achieve the best outcomes for this vulnerable population.

In addition to the provision of individual advocacy, OHR also identifies and addresses systemic issues. Systemic issues can be identified through themes from multiple cases, or through our representation on a single case when, for example, a policy or practice is problematic and has the potential to impact others besides our client. Further, OHR serves as the front line reporters for DBHS to identify potential problems in the system to allow for early intervention and correction.

The past few months have been both exciting and challenging for the behavioral health system. The transition of Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) and delivery models in Maricopa County not only brings the promise of integrated care and improved outcomes, it carries the growing pains associated with operational and programmatic changes. In these times, advocacy becomes even more essential for those individuals who might otherwise fall through the cracks.

OHR looks forward to the new challenge on the horizon beginning October 2015 as we transition the model and RBHAs for Greater Arizona. Clearly, advocacy is an integral part of an ever evolving behavioral health system.  It is an honor for OHR to be a part of the members’ voices and choices to improve the care for the individual member, as well as the system as a whole.


Dana Hearn is the Office Chief at the Office of Human Rights and has been in the mental health field for over 12 years, serving a wide variety of populations. Dana is a graduate of Arizona State University.  During Dana’s time in the mental health field she has worked as a behavioral consultant for both inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as within the regional behavioral health clinics and residential facilities in both the DDD and behavioral health systems.  Most of Dana’s work as a behavioral consultant was geared toward individuals dually diagnosed with SMI and DD.  Through behavioral consultation Dana wrote many functional behavioral assessments and behavior plans assisting clients to greater independence and furtherance of their skills.  From July 2011 to March 2014 she served as the Lead Advocate for the Office of Human Rights prior to becoming Office Chief.