News & Announcements

LGBT Health Awareness Week is March 26 to 30

Posted: March 26, 2012

March 26-30, 2012 marks the 10th Annual LGBT Health Awareness Week and is a call to action (pdf) for community members, advocates, service providers, and governmental officials to recognize health and wellness as an essential part of the social justice movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, families and the wider community. The 2012 observance advances the core health principle of "Culturally Competent Services," among others. The American Psychological Association's (APA) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns Office provides a range of information and resources for increasing psychologists' and others' cultural competence:

Access more resources on the APA website. Visit the National Coalition for LGBT Health website.

Faith Communities now Offering or Hosting Recovery Programs

Posted: March 26, 2012

Faith communities have known there were plenty of people trapped in addiction sitting in the pews, afraid to suffer the shame that would come from sharing their problems. But some places of worship are now offering or hosting recovery programs, minimizing the stigma. While Celebrate Recovery programs have started in a variety of Christian churches, many houses of faith have long been supporters of 12-step recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Some faith groups have developed programs to teach clergy and laity about addiction and treatment. 

Annette Harper directs addiction ministries for the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church, which offers an education program and support group. The church started its Summer School on Chemical Dependency 30 years ago after an addict confided in a pastor and found the spiritual leader did not have the resources to help. "It was one layperson who went to his pastor to seek help and did not receive it because the pastor did not know what to do," Harper said. "That layperson took it upon himself to find what needed to be done." The 12-day education program is open to anyone who has been sober for two years. It serves as a opportunity to learn about the addictive mind, the spiritual dynamics of addiction and how substance abuse impacts faith communities. 

The United Methodist Church also supports Faith Partners, a program creating teams in churches to help people deal with addiction. "On a Faith Partner team, you may have a person in long-term recovery that the pastor can call on to take somebody to a 12-step meeting that day, immediately," Harper said. 

Rabbi Barry Cohen of Temple B'nai Israel in Oklahoma City said Jewish faith communities address addiction in a straightforward manner, most often working directly with clergy. He said the stigma has decreased, providing Jewish leaders a greater opportunity to help within a congregational setting rather than members seeking assistance outside the Jewish community. 

Read more from this Tulsa World article.

Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Hotline Reaches Out to Seniors

Posted: March 23, 2012

The California Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line, a suicide prevention and mental health hotline specifically for seniors, provides ongoing support for elders facing anxiety, depression or other issues. Last year, the Friendship Line made 40,000 outgoing calls to offer emotional support, to remind elders to take their medication, or to connect them with services. (The line also received 18,000 incoming calls). Patrick Abore, who started the Friendship Line in 1973, would like to reach more older men with the service. “Older men feel a lot of shame and embarrassment when they need help,” said Arbore. “We have to teach men how to connect in an emotional way and get them to talk about it.” Arbore has recently received funding from the California Mental Health Services Authority to expand the Friendship Line’s visibility throughout the state.

Read more on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center website. Learn more about the Friendship Line.

NNEDLearn 2012 a Big Success: Congratulations to all Participants!

Posted: March 22, 2012

On behalf of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED), congratulations to all the NNEDLearn 2012 participants who joined us on-site at the Tamaya Hyatt in Santa Ana Pueblo! We also want to thank our co-sponsor, the National Latino Behavioral Health Association, for their generous hospitality and support of NNEDLearn 2012.

The NNED selected over 120 participants from 35 NNED Partner Organizations to participate in its second annual training opportunity, NNEDLearn 2012. Based on input from the NNED, SIX training tracks were offered to build skills in evidence-supported and culturally appropriate clinical, consumer, and organizational practices. The training also included a Plenary Session on Understanding Trauma and Trauma Informed Care by Dr. Sandra Bloom from the Drexel University Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice. The Lieutenant Governor of the Santa Ana Pueblo offered an opening invocation in the Pueblo tradition and dialect on Day 1 to welcome NNEDLearn participants.

Read more about NNEDLearn 2012. Read more about the training tracks. NNEDLearn participants - access the discussion forum.

After Jail, Former Inmates Face Higher Risk of Death from Drug Overdose, Suicide

Posted: March 21, 2012

People released from New York City jails face an increased risk of death from drug overdose, homicide or suicide -- especially in the first couple weeks of freedom, city health officials say. In a study of more than 155,000 people released from city jails over five years, researchers found that former inmates were twice as likely as other city residents to die of a drug overdose or homicide. Those risks were especially high in the first two weeks after release -- when they were five- to eight-times greater compared with other New Yorkers' risks during the same two-week period. Some former inmates also had elevated risks of suicide, including whites and people who had been homeless before going to jail.

The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Epidemiology, are not exactly surprising. They are in line with studies from other parts of the U.S., write the researchers, led by Sungwoo Lim of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. But the findings, they say, underscore a need for more programs -- including mental health counseling and drug abuse treatment -- to be offered in jail, and then continued in the community, after inmates are released.

It's been estimated that more than half of Americans behind bars have symptoms of some type of psychiatric disorder, ranging from schizophrenia to major depression. And most of them also meet the definition of drug or alcohol dependence. But only about a quarter of prison inmates, and seven percent of those in jail, receive mental health treatment while incarcerated.

Read more on the Medline Plus website. Read the abstract of the study.


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