News & Announcements
Houston Chronicle Reports on Asian American Mental Illness (posted 1/17)
Posted: January 17, 2011
Early this month the Houston Chronicle reported on the growing mental health needs of Asian Americans. The article highlights Asian American Family Services, the first social service agency in the Houston area to offer mental health services targeted to Asians. According to a Ford Foundation report from 2003, Asian-American women have the highest rate of suicide among women 65 and older and the second-highest rate for women between 15 and 24. Additionally, Chinese immigrants have a depression prevalence rate of 34 percent, compared with 9 percent in the general population, based on a 2006 study by Asian American Family Services. Yet, Asians are less likely than the general population to seek treatment for mental illness, studies show. The Houston Chronicle article states:
Cultural and language barriers are major factors that keep Asians from getting help. Add the lack of available and accessible mental health resources and the result is a woefully underserved community, mental experts said. "We have been grappling with the issues since day one," said Kim Szeto, a founder and director of Asian American Family Services, which began providing services in 1998.
"There is a misconception about mental illness in the community," said Dr. Venus Tsui, assistant director of Asian American Family Services. "Some Asian cultures associate mental illness with something bad a person did in a past life, like Karma. Public education is very important."
Read the full news article on the Houston Chronicle website.
New IOM Report Calls for National Strategy to Measure the Public’s Health (posted 1/17)
Posted: January 17, 2011
A new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) - commissioned Institute of Medicine (IOM) report reinforces the urgency to address health not just in the doctor’s office but where it starts — in our homes, schools, jobs and communities. The report, For the Public’s Health: The Role of Measurement in Action and Accountability, argues that one reason Americans live shorter, sicker lives than people in many other countries is this country’s lack of national coordination when it comes to gathering, analyzing and communicating health information that focuses on the underlying factors that contribute to poor health.
For more information visit the RWJF website.
CDC Releases First Ever Disparities Report (posted 1/14)
Posted: January 14, 2011
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released their first ever report analyzing health disparities on a broad array of health issues. The publication is the first in a series of periodic reports aimed at increasing awareness about disparities and developing strategies to eliminate disparities. The report complements the work of the National Plan for Action out of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Minority Health as well as Healthy People 2020. It also complements the annual National Healthcare Disparities Report and the periodic reports related to Healthy People 2010.
CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report - United States, 2011 provides analysis and reporting of the recent trends and ongoing variations in health disparities and inequalities in selected social and health indicators, both of which are important steps in encouraging actions and facilitating accountability to reduce modifiable disparities by using interventions that are effective and scalable. The report includes sections on Social Determinants of Health, suicide, and substance abuse.
The New York Times reports:
The agency did not delve into why suffering is so disproportionate, other than to note the obvious: that the poor, the uninsured and the less educated tend to live shorter, sicker lives. (Some illnesses were also broken down by income level, region, age or sex, but the main focus was on racial differences.) “Some of the figures, like the suicide rate for young American Indians, are just heartbreaking,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the C.D.C. director, who ordered the report compiled.
To read the full article visit the New York Times website.
Suicide Prevention Targets At-Risk Groups (posted 1/13)
Posted: January 13, 2011
In late December the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a public-private partnership launched in September by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tasked with decreasing the number of attempted and completed suicides, added three new task forces to address suicide prevention efforts within American Indians/Alaska Natives, youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and military service members and veterans. The United Press International reports:
"I am heartened that we are focusing attention on communities hardest hit by suicide," alliance co-chair Gordon Smith said in a statement. "By shining a light on their struggles I am optimistic we can help them identify solutions and bring hope for a better tomorrow."
New SAMHSA Publications Focus On Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (posted 1/3)
Posted: January 03, 2011
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration's National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare has announced the release of two new publications for professionals in child welfare services, substance abuse treatment services, and family court services.
The purpose of co-locating substance abuse specialists is to ensure that parents are assessed as quickly as possible, to improve parent engagement and retention in treatment, to streamline entry into treatment, and to provide consultation to child welfare and dependency court workers.
Helps guide child welfare agency policymakers in developing practice and policy protocols regarding the use of drug testing in child welfare and addresses the practice and policy issues that policymakers must consider to effectively use drug testing in the comprehensive assessment and monitoring that child welfare agencies provide.