News & Announcements
During Mental Health Awareness Month, Experts Weigh in on How Stigma Hurts the Black Community
Posted: May 13, 2013
According to experts the unwillingness of black Americans to openly acknowledge and discuss mental-health issues is having a toxic impact on the entire community. But conversations with experts in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month (May) raise an even more startling possibility: that racial disparities in mental-health treatment have a direct impact on financial and educational disparities between racial groups, too. "We treat it as a badge of shame," said Terrie Williams, an African-American mental-health advocate, while white Americans "treat it as a badge of honor."
With black Americans leading the country with troubling statistics in areas like unemployment, child abuse and neglect, and domestic violence, all of which can exacerbate stress, it is perhaps not surprising that the community leads the country in mental-health struggles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, African Americans are still "more likely to experience a mental disorder than their white counterparts" but "less likely to seek treatment," though Psychology Today recently noted that there has been an increase in the number of black Americans seeking treatment for ailments such as depression over the last decade. Men are less likely to seek treatment than women, regardless of race, meaning black men are among the least likely to seek treatment overall.
One of the main reasons African Americans are less likely to seek treatment for mental-health woes is the same reason black Americans are less likely to seek treatment for other health problems: economics. More than 20 percent of black Americans are uninsured. According to the American Psychiatric Association, "For those with insurance, coverage for mental-health services and substance-use disorders is substantially lower than coverage for other medical illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes." But besides cost, one of the greatest barriers keeping black Americans from seeking treatment for mental illness may be history.
Read more on TheRoot.com.
Nurturing Change: State Strategies for Improving Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
Posted: May 12, 2013
The paper -- Nurturing Change: State Strategies for Improving Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (I-ECMH) provides actionable models for addressing common barriers to healthy social-emotional development. The policy paper, produced by Zero to Three, profiles six states: California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The authors look at strategies that states have employed to address I-ECMH access, delivery, financing, evidence-base, and systems-level issues across the promotion, prevention, and treatment continuum. They also provide recommendations for nurturing change in I-ECMH supports and services, as well as strategic questions for states to consider in planning for I-ECMH. A glossary at the end of the paper explains state- and field-specific terms found in the profiles.
Read the paper (pdf).
National Prevention Week 2013 Is May 12-18: Participate and Make a Difference in Your Community!
Posted: May 11, 2013
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) second annual National Prevention Week begins on Sunday, May 12. This national health observance, which continues through May 18, aims to increase public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. This year’s theme – Your voice. Your choice. Make a difference. – emphasizes that the choices we make each day are important and have a real effect on our health and the well-being of our families and communities. Each day of National Prevention Week 2013 has a unique focus to recognize states’ and communities’ prevention efforts and highlight multiple facets of behavioral health:
National Prevention Week 2013 offers a way for everyone to voice their support for prevention and take action to make a difference in their communities. One way to get involved is to take the Prevention Pledge and share it with colleagues, family and friends. Another way is to participate in a National Prevention Week event in your community or a community near you. Individuals also can take part in the National Prevention Week “I Choose” Project. Snap a photo of yourself or a friend with a sign saying why you choose prevention, and then send it to SAMHSA for posting in our photo gallery. Be a part of National Prevention Week 2013, and use your voice and positive choices to champion healthy living year-round.
Mandarin Speaking Students Trained to Provide Mental Health Counseling on Online Chat Service
Posted: May 10, 2013
University of Iowa students who speak Mandarin Chinese are being trained to provide confidential mental health counseling through a local online chat service, after university officials determined Chinese students are heavy users of the service. Staff members at the Crisis Center of Johnson County are training nine Chinese students to provide counseling through its Crisis Chat service. The initiative is being funded through a nearly $271,000 federal grant UI’s University Counseling Service is using to strengthen and expand its suicide prevention efforts.
Data from UCS, UI’s Threat Assessment Team and other university departments identified Chinese students as an at-risk population and showed they already were using the mental health services more often than other sectors of the student population, said Keri Neblett, the Crisis Center’s community intervention director. Chinese students account for more than half of UI’s international student population. In fall 2012, more than 2,000 Chinese attended UI, according to enrollment records.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant, through which funding will continue until July 31, 2015, will fund a number of other services at UI aimed at training students, faculty and staff members to recognize the signs of depression and suicide risk. Students, faculty and staff will be able to take a 30-minute online training session, called Kognito At-Risk, that will teach them how to approach people they believe are suicidal.
Students also can be a part of the Student Support Network, a six-session training program that helps them recognize signs of distress and respond appropriately. They also have the option to participate in a two-day mental health first aid training that’s designed to teach them to provide “first aid” in a mental health crisis, Cochran said. The grant also will be used to produce suicide prevention materials that are tailored specifically toward more vulnerable populations, such as military veterans and LBGT students.
How to get help
Read more on Press-Citizen.com.
Report: Community-Based Programs Improve the Lives of Young Adults with Mental Health Challenges
Posted: May 08, 2013
In celebration of Awareness Day, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Pamela S. Hyde announced the release of a new publication, Promoting Recovery and Independence for Older Adolescents and Young Adults Who Experience Serious Mental Health Challenges, which provides information about how community-based programs are improving the lives of youth and young adults with mental health and substance use challenges.
The report indicates that young adults (ages 18–25) taking part in community-based treatment programs achieve positive outcomes in behavioral and emotional health, daily life skills, employment, enrollment in school, and reduced homelessness. The report also shows that older adolescents and young adults who had participated in these SAMHSA-supported treatment programs reported lower levels of substance use disorders.
Twenty percent of young adults living in U.S. households had a mental health condition in the last year. Of these, more than 1.3 million had a disorder so serious that their ability to function in many aspects of everyday life was compromised. To address this need SAMHSA sponsors a wide range of programs directed toward treating many behavioral health challenges facing older adolescents and young adults including mental health conditions and co-occurring substance use disorders. In many instances they have helped older adolescents and young adults achieve recovery and move onto live full, productive lives.