News & Announcements

Mental Health Screening Application Adapted for Spanish-speaking Users

Posted: August 13, 2012

The National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health has partnered with M3 to release a Spanish language version of WhatsMyM3, a quick and anonymous tool that screens for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. The release coincides with the partnership’s recognition and support of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

Henry Acosta, former NAMI Board member and executive director of the National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health (NRCHMH) says that the adapted WhatsMyM3 tool is incredibly valuable for the Latino community due to trends of misconceptions, barriers to quality care and general underutilization of mental health services within this population.

The new application, available to iPhone and Android users, will allow individuals to self-assess and receive information for free in the privacy and comfort of chosen space and may ultimately lead to earlier detection, more informed discussions with service providers and ultimately improved mental health outcomes among Latinos.

Find out more on the NRCHMH website. Read more on the National Alliance for Mental Illness website.

Young Alaska Native Men at High Risk for Suicide

Posted: August 11, 2012

Young Alaska Native men between the ages of 20 and 29 are at extremely high risk for suicide, killing themselves at a rate more than 13 times the overall national average. The study by the state Department of Health and Social Services, which tracked records from 2003 to 2008 and examined a myriad of demographic groups, said that lack of opportunity and identity issues may be among factors contributing to the phenomenon. The study is titled Characteristics of Suicide Among Alaska Native and Alaska non-Native People, 2003–2008.

The study said psychosocial factors which may contribute to the higher suicide rate include "confusion around identity and purpose resulting from perceived discordance between traditional and contemporary values, and a low sense of agency to control their own life or to fulfill their ambitions due to lack of jobs and training infrastructure in rural communities." Overall, the suicide rate in Alaska was 17.7 per 100,000 for the study period, compared with a national rate of 11.6 per 100,000 recorded in 2008, the report said. For Alaska Natives as a whole, the suicide rate during the period was nearly four times the national rate. For Alaska Native men aged 20-29, the rate was 155.3 per 100,000, according to the study.

Suicide rates for Alaska Native men were three times the rate for Alaska Native women, according to the statistics compiled in the study. Researchers believe vulnerable Native women were more likely to use suicide-prevention services, said Deborah Hull-Jilly, a public-health specialist with the department's Alaska Section of Epidemiology.

Common threads for the recorded suicides were alcohol abuse, mental health problems and geographic isolation, according to the study. Residents of small villages appeared particularly vulnerable, with suicide rates in remote villages more than twice those in larger rural hub communities. "That was eye-opening," Hull-Jilly said, adding that follow-up studies with data from more recent years were planned. One positive sign researchers found was that Native suicide rates had leveled off overall after growing dramatically in the past decades, she said.

Read more on the Reuters website. Read the complete study (pdf).

Survey: Do Outreach Strategies on the Affordable Care Act Work for the African Heritage Community?

Posted: August 10, 2012

The National Leadership Council on African American Behavioral Health is interested in learning about outreach and engagement strategies related to affordable healthcare to better inform the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They have been charged with gathering information specifically about the African Heritage community. Take a few minutes to take their survey online and help inform better practice as the healthcare machine rolls out.

Click here to take survey!

Korean Language CBT Manual: Anger Management for Substance Abuse, Mental Health Clients

Posted: August 09, 2012

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Multi-Language Initiative provides products for clients who speak languages other than English and want to learn more about specific issues regarding behavioral health. The Korean-language publications include:

A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Manual helps counselors teach anger management techniques in a group setting through a 12-week cognitive behavioral intervention. The manual describes the anger cycle, conflict resolution, assertiveness skills, and anger control plans.

The Participant Workbook provides worksheets and homework assignments using the core concepts of the 12-week cognitive behavioral group therapy intervention.

These publications are adapted to be culturally appropriate and are based on the Anger Management for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Clients therapy manual and participant workbook.

Download the Korean Language Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Manual.

Center Brings Hope to Homeless Struggling with Mental Illness by Providing Peer Support Services

Posted: August 08, 2012

Catering to mentally ill homeless individuals and staffed by workers who have struggled with the same problems, the HOPE Wellness and Recovery Center is providing a critical safety net in Baltimore. The center, which opened in February 2001, is the only facility of its kind in the state, says its executive director, Thomas Hicks. HOPE’s singular mission has helped it avoid the budget cuts that have plagued other programs in the state mental health system. The mission is clear from its name: Helping Other People through Empowerment. Hicks, 58, said the nine staff members at HOPE are not interested in forcing clients to get care. "Our purpose here is to try to get you to understand, to empower you to get a better quality of life if that’s what you want to do," Hicks said. "And if that’s not what you want to do and you still meet the criteria, you’re still perfectly welcome." Individuals must provide proof of a mental illness diagnosis in order to take part in the program. 

Staff members put clients in contact with case managers to help them find housing or therapists to help them manage their symptoms. The center also provides basic services such as laundry, showers, Internet access, meals and entertainment. But clients receive more than just clean clothes and warm food — they see a future through the eyes of others who have overcome similar obstacles. Because of their common perspectives, employees share in the process of recovery with clients, who find their way to HOPE either by referral or word-of-mouth.

Client Vernell Lewis, 58, said he suffers from psychotic depression, a condition he said has led him to attempt suicide six times. He said he has been going to HOPE since 2006, and that simply talking to peers, and being able to relax with them by playing games such as chess or cards, has helped. "We try to respect each other; that's one of the things that's important," he said. 

The employees at HOPE might be better equipped to provide that push toward recovery, said Brian M. Hepburn, executive director of the Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration. "The advantage, of course, is that there may be more trust for people who have previously had a similar life experience," Hepburn said. The center’s model sets it apart from many other programs for the mentally ill, officials said. "Peers play a critical role in service delivery in our system," Taylor added. "We find them in a lot of programs, but this is a center that provides a relaxed, comfortable environment for people to interact with peers." Hepburn said peer-to-peer support is more common in substance abuse treatment and is relatively new to the mental health community. But the advocacy group On Our Own of Maryland, which assists people diagnosed with mental illness, has made inroads with it.

Read more on the Kaiser Health News website. Visit the HOPE Wellness and Recovery Center website


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