News & Announcements

Govt. Report Finds 2.3% of Americans Gay or Bisexual: Report Serious Anxiety More Often than Others

Posted: July 17, 2014

U.S. government data released on Tuesday showed that 2.3 percent of American adults are either gay or bisexual and that these men and women more often reported serious anxiety and having self-destructive habits than their straight peers.

This year's National Health Interview Survey was the first to ask about sexual orientation in addition to health habits in its 57-year history, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Bisexual women were twice as likely to experience serious anxiety while bisexual men were more likely to indulge in binge drinking than others, according to the survey.

In the survey of more than 34,500 Americans age 18 and above, 1.6 percent reported that they were gay and 0.7 percent reported that they were bisexual. A total of 96.6 percent reported being straight and 1.1 percent either said they were "something else," did not know or declined to answer.

Roughly twice as many women than men identified as bisexual, with 0.9 percent of female respondents saying they were attracted to both sexes. Bisexual women were twice as likely to report having serious anxiety than any other group, with almost 11 percent saying they had been distressed in the past month.

Among bisexual men, almost 52 percent said they had five drinks or more in a night during the past year compared with only 31 percent of straight men.

Gays and bisexuals fared as well or better than their straight peers in some areas, like exercising, taking HIV tests and receiving flu vaccines.

Read more on News.MSN.com.



Significant Need, Interest in Mental Health Services among Racial, Ethnic Minorities

Posted: July 16, 2014

There is significant interest and need in mental health services among people who identify as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority, data from Mental Health America’s new online screening site show.

Responses of individuals from racial and ethnic minorities indicate that they are more likely than whites to report that they would monitor their health by taking screens regularly. And they are also more likely to want a way to privately contact a peer to discuss results.

In April, Mental Health America launched an expanded online screening site (www.mhascreening.org) that provides simple, straightforward and completely confidential tools that people can use to assess their own mental health needs. If an individual needs help, they can get a referral to an MHA affiliate in their area to assist in finding appropriate services.

Mental Health America is releasing the data to coincide with the July observance of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and to raise awareness of disparities that exist for racial and ethnic minorities.

Since the launch of the site, 11,869 individuals from racial and ethnic minorities have taken a screening. The initial results show:

  • 29.6 percent wanted additional information about where to go to start getting mental health help and 27.9 wanted online, self-help application or tools to help with their health. Both these rates are virtually identical to white respondents.
  • Asian Americans were most likely to take the Depression Screen; Native Americans were most likely to take the Anxiety Screen; African Americans were most likely to take the Bipolar Screen; and Native Americans were most likely to take the PTSD Screen.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities were more likely than whites to report that they would monitor their health by taking screens regularly (7.2 percent versus 5.9 percent) and take another screen immediately (16.9 percent versus 13.7 percent). They were also more likely to want a way to privately contact a peer to discuss results and next steps (16.9 percent versus 13.8 percent).
  • Individuals who identified as Biracial were most likely to score as having “Severe Depression” (40.6 percent), “Severe Anxiety” (46.6 percent), and “Positive for Bipolar” (59.9) percent.
  • Native Americans were mostly likely to screen “Positive for PTSD” (81.3 percent).

“This screening site underscores our commitment to breaking down long-standing barriers and promoting early identification and early intervention,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America. “That—not just waiting for a crisis to occur— is the key to protecting and preserving mental health and finding effective treatment.

Read more on MentalHealthAmerica.net.



New Draft Quality Measure on Antipsychotics Available for Comment

Posted: July 15, 2014

A draft quality measure to assess the safe use of antipsychotics in children has been released for public comment on AHRQ’s United States Health Information Knowledgebase (USHIK) website. The measure, “Use of Multiple Concurrent Antipsychotics in Children,” was released on the website by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), along with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). It was developed under the CMS/ONC Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act Project.

All feedback is sent to CMS and ONC for review. USHIK is an online, publicly accessible registry and repository of health care-related data, metadata and standards. USHIK is funded and directed by AHRQ with management support and partnership from CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

Read more on Children's Mental Health Network website. Submit comment.



Kentucky Set to License Pastoral Counselors to Provide Faith-Based Mental Health Services

Posted: July 14, 2014

For nearly 20 years, Glenn D. Williams has been a professional Christian mental health counselor, helping people with problems such as marital difficulties, addictions and depression. Beginning Tuesday, the state will start licensing Williams and the 30 or so other professional mental and behavioral health counselors in Kentucky who also are pastors. They will be called Kentucky licensed pastoral counselors, and their work will be covered by insurance policies for those who desire faith-based mental health services.

"It's an opportunity for better mental health counseling," said state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington. "This will help Kentucky's shortage of mental and behavioral health service providers, which has been augmented by the federal Affordable Care Act's requirement that Medicaid and insurance companies on the health exchange offer mental and behavioral health benefits."

Kerr successfully spearheaded legislation in this year's Kentucky General Assembly to allow the licensing of professional faith-based counselors. The legislation, Senate Bill 61, and more than 100 other new laws approved by state lawmakers and Gov. Steve Beshear take effect Tuesday. Under SB 61, pastoral counselors must hold a master of pastoral counseling degree, in addition to the same qualifications as other licensed counselors, Kerr said. Those requirements include a master's degree in counseling, 1,375 hours of supervised practice, and 250 hours of clinical work and supervision. They also must pass a written board exam.

Read more on Kentucky.com.



Online Courses on Reducing Underage Drinking Available

Posted: July 11, 2014

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center (UDETC) is offering online distance learning courses on best practices and strategies for enforcement of underage drinking laws and efforts to reduce underage drinking. These free courses are designed to help states, territories, and local communities reduce youth access to alcohol. Topics include reducing alcohol sales to minors through compliance check operations, effective environmental prevention strategies to address underage drinking, preventing and safely dispersing underage drinking parties, and more. Participants can receive a certificate upon completion of each course.

Read more about the courses (pdf).



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