Spring Newsletter I
In this issue:


Greetings to our NAMI Central Virginia family!

As we approach completing three months of our new board term for 2015, I am happy to report that we have full participation with 18 board members. With regular collaboration on a monthly basis (and many times in-between on the phone and email) we are in almost perfect sync. I do not want to leave out our office staff, Kathy & Jeff, whom have been instrumental and diligent in driving the day to day operations. Kathy and Jeff work many nights and weekends to help guide us newbies in figuring things out.

Recently, I was fortunate to personally meet several key folks from NAMI Virginia. We discussed many of our affiliate concerns and challenges. They were very respectful, receptive and exhibited a sincere interest in continuing our dialogue and have committed to meet on a regular basis to keep our discussions flowing.

On a departing note, I want to share some wonderful experiences I had with the students participating at Deep Run High School in their Dance Marathon fundraiser!

The first event was a Deep Run Marathon Dance (DRMD) spaghetti dinner fundraiser. The “Dance Marathon” students participated as hosts, waiters, waitresses, servers, and bussers. The food greatly exceeded my expectations and the conversations were enlightening. At the dinner, I was introduced to Mrs. Kathleen Kern, the Marathon Dance Director (a very knowledgeable, energetic and enthusiastic person).

The second DRMD event was a “Meet and Greet” that served two purposes; first, it was a great opportunity to meet the wonderful student committee and get to know them better. Second, it was their way to film very important components that were included in the opening and closing videos of the actual dance marathon. The video shoot was an opportunity for our organization to send a brief ‘thank you’ to the students for all they have done. From what I understand, the video was edited and shown to all the dancers during the closing ceremonies.

See you all next month,
Vince​ Cammarata

2nd Annual NAMI CVA Awards Banquet 

Featuring Dr. Kenneth Kendler

Save the date! The 2nd Annual NAMI-CVA Awards Banquet will be held on April 16, 2015 at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center on Monument Avenue, starting at 7:00 PM. This event was a huge success last year with wonderful food and over 120 attendees in the room! 

This year, the Keynote Speaker will be Dr. Kenneth Kendler. Dr. Kendler is a world-renowned psychiatrist best known for pioneering research in psychiatric genetics. Dr. Kendler has published a tremendous amount of research regarding mental health, substance abuse, and their genetic roots. He also continues to play an instrumental role in the development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). His biography can be found here

The NAMI-CVA Annual Awards Banquet is free and dinner is provided at no charge but an RSVP is required in order to ensure adequate space and food. Please RSVP by calling the office at 804-285-1749 or email info@namicentralvirginia.org 

Nominate Someone for an Award!

NAMI-CVA is currently accepting nominations for awards. Awards will be presented at the 2015 Annual Awards Banquet. Click on the link below to download the nomination form. Awards will be presented for the following categories: 

·         Distinguished Community Partner Award
·         CIT Officer of the Year Award
·         NAMI-CVA Members Choice Award
·         NAMI-CVA Mental Health Service Award
·         NAMI-CVA Outstanding Contribution Award
·         NAMI-CVA Volunteer Champion Recognition Award


Announcing the 2015 NAMI-CVA

Annual Golf Tournament

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Central Virginia would like to announce the upcoming Annual Golf Tournament!  

When: Monday, May 18th, 2015
Where: The Country Club at the Highlands
8136 Highland Glen Drive, Chesterfield, VA 23838

Captain's Choice Format
11:30 AM registration
1:00 PM tee time

Golf Tournament Registration:
$1000 Gold Sponsorship includes: Team of four, tee sign, and premier recognition.
$600 Silver Sponsorship includes: Team of four, tee sign, and recognition
$750 Dinner Sponsor
$500 Lunch Sponsor
$110 per golfer includes lunch, dinner, and beverages

Tee Sponsorship Signs (does not include players' fees) are available for $175. 
Small Honor Signs, in honor or memory of a loved one, are available for $35.

Come join us for a great day of fun that supports a good cause!  For more information about the golf tournament, sponsorship, or golfer registration, contact 804-285-1749 or email info@namicentralvirginia.org. You can download the registration form here.

For the last several months, NAMI-CVA has been sharing information about Deep Run High School's Marathon Dance. The Marathon Dance is a huge fundraiser that selects twelve charities to receive the proceeds, one of which is NAMI Central Virginia. Members of NAMI-CVA have participated in numerous lead-up events such as fundraisers at Chipotle & Buffalo Wild Wings, spaghetti/pancake dinners, bowling, video shoots, and a handful of others. These fundraisers all lead up to the main event: a continuous 24-hour dance-off, followed by the Finale.

        The Deep Run Dance Marathon Finale was truly a sight to see. Included above and in the header are some action shots highlighting the Marathon Dance and the high spirits at the school. Even after ‘shaking a leg’ for one entire day, the Finale saw no lapse in energy. At the end of the night, the announcement was made that this year’s Marathon Dance raised over $216,000!

        Many NAMI-CVA members came out to show appreciation for what the Marathon Dance Committee and the Deep Run students have done; Kathy Harkey, Jeff Conley, Vince and Theresa Cammarata, Sherwood Atkins, Laura Lank, Mike and Pat Francisco, Marie Parker, Doug Harkey, Allison Stanley, Cole Harkey, and the family that introduced NAMI-CVA to the DRDM, Alisa and Tom Roberts and their daughter Kali.

        It is heartwarming to know there are so many young people at Deep Run High School who are passionate about giving back - and they are our neighbors right down the street! These students truly understand the needs of NAMI-CVA and the community. So, the next time you run into a Deep Run student, be sure to show your appreciation for their support of NAMI-CVA!     

Now there is a new, hassle-free method to donate to NAMI-CVA! Pledge Direct is a great way to give the same amount every month. Your gift arrives automatically through electronic funds transfer from your checking account or credit or debit card.  Pledge Direct saves time and money with no more stamps, checks, remembering, or worries! Contact or visit the NAMI-CVA office today for information on Pledge Direct giving.  We can be reached at 804-285-1749 by phone, at info@namicentralvirginia.org by email, or by mail at the address below:

NAMI Central Virginia
P.O. Box 18086
Richmond, VA 23226-8086
On June 6th, NAMI Virginia will hold its Annual State Convention at the Crowne Plaza in Downtown Richmond. Don't miss out on a great opportunity to attend a fantastic event! ​​The Convention will feature top quality presenters on a wide range of topics, excellent networking opportunities, and a chance for NAMI members to vote on nominees for the NAMI Virginia Board.

The 2015 NAMI National Convention is right around the corner. NAMI affiliates and a variety of mental health partners from around the country will convene in San Francisco, CA the week of July 6th-9th. Some highlights of the Convention are as follows: 

  • Top-notch researchers and clinicians providing information and tools 
  • The country’s keenest minds and savviest policymakers 
  • Abundant networking opportunities 
  • Inspiration, innovation and an exhilarating four days in this wonderful city

On Saturday, March 21st, a training was held in Richmond for 'NAMI Ending the Silence,' an anti-stigma campaign for school-aged youth. This program is a 60-minute presentation that educates young people about mental health. The goal of Ending the Silence is to de-stigmatize mental health issues among youth, and teach them what to look for in terms of warning signs for themselves or others. The presentation is delivered by a team of two: a lead presenter that shares a bulk of the information, and a young-adult who shares their own personal experience during high school/college. 

Each of these volunteers is truly dedicated to 'Ending the Silence' and bringing the conversation about mental health to the forefront. Pictured above from left to right: State trainer Tamie Fennell, Imari Santiago, Susie Walek, Diana Donnelly, Katelynn Jarrells, and Amanda Long. Preparations are underway to have these presenters educate youth in our local schools. NAMI-CVA extends a huge thanks to Tamie and the volunteers who are making this possible!

Hopewell Office

NAMI Central Virginia's Hopewell Office needs volunteers. Volunteers at the Hopewell office provide patients and visitors with general information by giving out literature, answering questions about NAMI-CVA, and connecting anyone interested in NAMI-CVA programs, support groups, events, or activities with the main office in Richmond. The NAMI-CVA Hopewell office is located at John Randolph Medical Center, 411 West Randolph Road.  

If you live in the Hopewell area and are interested in volunteering at the NAMI-CVA Hopewell Office, please contact the main office at info@namicentralvirginia.org or 804-285-1749. 

Blackwell Elementary Health Fair

When: Saturday, April 25th
Times: 10:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M. 
Where: James H. Blackwell Elementary School
             1600 Everett St.
             Richmond, VA 23224

Please contact Jeff at 804-285-1749 or jeff.conley@namicentralvirginia.org if you wish to join the crew at the health fair!

Saturday, May 2nd from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
The John Marshall Ballroom, 101 N. 5th St.,
Richmond, VA 23219

Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn more about the youth MOVEment! Hear from young adult speakers, get resources and meet new friends!
*Event is FREE and lunch will be provided!
Help us grow the youth voice in Virginia!

For more information contact Amanda Long at
along@namivirginia.org or 804-285-8264 x211


NAMI of Central Virginia (NAMI-CVA) will hold a Free Family-to-Family class at John Randolph Medical Center for family members, caregivers and friends of individuals with:

Bipolar disorder
Major Depression
Co-occurring Brain and Addictive Disorders
Borderline Personality Disorder
Panic Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Schizoaffective Disorder
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Family-to-Family is a series of 12-weekly classes structured to help caregivers understand and support individuals with serious mental illness while maintaining their own well being. The course is taught by a team of trained NAMI-CVA family member volunteers who know what it’s like to have a loved one struggling with one of these brain disorders. There is no cost to participate in the NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program. All instruction and course materials are provided free to class participants. Over 300,000 people have graduated from this national program.

Classes Dates: April 15th – July 1st
Class date and time: Wednesday nights from 6:00 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.
Location: John Randolph Medical Center, Wellness Pavilion
411 W. Randolph Rd. Hopewell, VA 23860
Trainers: Antonio and Wilhelmina Elopre

Registration required. Classes limited to 25 persons. To register email jeff.conley@namicentralvirginia.org or call Jeff at 804-285-1749.
Adam Shurte
This month's Volunteer Spotlight is all about Adam Shurte. Adam has been volunteering at the NAMI CVA office for about a year and a half. He has a great skill set with digital media, which has helped out NAMI CVA tremendously. 

Adam has played a key role in designing and managing NAMI CVA's web presence. He has been instrumental in the design and management of www.namicentralvirginia.org. His insight has helped NAMI Central Virginia set up crowdfunding campaigns, blogger feeds, and make informed decisions on free/low-cost software.

There are several other areas where Adam has assisted NAMI CVA tremendously. He has assisted Program Coordinator Jeff Conley with shooting & editing videos for the website and events such as GiveRichmond's Amazing Raise. He also assists Jeff in tracking program data, delivering program supplies, preparing bulk mail for the membership, and of course, the occasional heavy lifting. Adam has also volunteered hours away from the office for other creative endeavors.

NAMI Central Virginia extends a huge Thank-You to Adam Shurte for all of the time and hard work he puts in each week at the CVA office!
Presented by:
Joshua K. Chandy, D.O.
PGY-4 Resident
VCU Department of Psychiatry
The Department of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University holds a series of lectures known as VCU Grand Rounds. These presentations occur throughout the year and are open to the public. Grand Rounds cover a huge array of topics related to psychology, mental health, and behavioral therapies.

The topic of the March 13th presentation was “Telepsychiatry: The Integration of Information Technology with Clinical Psychiatric Practice.” Telepsychiatry is the use of audiovisual-communication technologies to apply psychiatric care. Dr. Chandy outlined some history around this method, technological considerations, current evidence-based support, and a few ethical/legal considerations.


Telepsychiatry is one facet of what has long been referred to as ‘telemedicine.’ Telemedicine includes any means of delivering medical care when providers and patients are in two separate locations. Usage of telemedicine began in the early 1900’s when doctors would use radio to provide medical advice to scientists working in Antarctica. By the 1950’s, the practice evolved with technology to include use of telephones, stronger radio infrastructure, and very primitive forms of transferring images. The Nebraska Psychiatric Institute provided psychiatric evaluations to rural communities via telephone during this same decade.

Telemedicine, and telepsychiatry in particular, saw huge booms as further advances were made in satellite, video, and internet mediums. Efforts were made at the federal level to make telepsychiatry a more common practice in the United States. Telepsychiatry was formally endorsed by the American Psychological Association in 1998. Telepsychiatric services were utilized more than any other form of remote care by the year 2002.  

Currently, telepsychiatry is delievered either a) in a supervised setting where a patient is in a primary care facility or hospital, or b) in an unsupervised setting such as the patient’s home. These consultations occur via internet technology using a form of encrypted audiovisual-conferencing platform. Familiar applications such as Skype and Facetime are not viable platforms; they are not HIPPA compliant since the transmission goes through a third-party. Telepsychiatry has proven useful for treating patients that are unable to travel/reluctant to visit a care facility and patients that live long distances from providers.

There is a small, but growing, evidence-base to support telepsychiatry. Dr. Chandy explained one clinical trial comparing 73 patients’ visits with two different providers: one present and another via teleconference. There was very little disagreement in the disposition, recommendation, and diagnoses during these visits. He then outlined the clinical outcomes of a study comprised of about 98,000 telepsychiatric screenings between 2006 and 2010. Over time, the results showed that in this large group, psychiatric admissions decreased 24.2%, and the length of hospitalization decreased 26.2%. It was shared that several studies suggest an impressive cost-savings by using telepsychiatry for many clinical organizations.        

Ethical & Legal Considerations

A large chunk of the ethical considerations involved telepsychiatry in unsupervised settings. Being outside the reach of professional staff presents a set of challenges. If the patient is at home, he/she is responsible for setup and configuration of their equipment. The patient, a) may not know the proper setup, b) may not have an adequate internet connection which may result in poor-quality transmission & loss of information, c) may not be aware of the presence of viruses, malware, etc. If the provider and patient do not have a pre-existing relationship (which is very possible), the provider has no true way of confirming the patient’s identity, or that they are being truthful about their location. There have been a small number of cases where individuals used proxy servers, which hide a user’s actual IP address so their computer cannot be physically traced. Cases were also mentioned where other individuals were present in the teleconference but were out of sight of the provider raising concerns about privacy & confidentiality.

There is still more research and regulation needed surrounding telepsychiatry. There are many unanswered questions involving interstate-licensure and oversight. Currently, there are loose interstate agreements, but no uniform system for who provides telepsychiatric care and how. Also, regulation is needed to govern the level of appropriateness for patients to receive remote care; this largely concerns patients that are highly delusional (particularly about television), intoxicated, or are at high risk of suicide.

Even though there are still wrinkles to iron out, Telepsychiatry is available today. Please call the NAMI-CVA office at 804-285-1749 or email info@namicentralvirginia.org for more information.