News & Announcements

The Americanization of Mental Illness (posted 1/13)

Posted: January 13, 2010

The New York Times Magazine has published an article entitled, The Americanization of Mental Illness.  The article discusses how the American 'symptom repetoire' for mental illness has spread across the world and the impact this has had upon on other cultures' understanding of and engagement with mental illness.  The article states, "We’ve been changing not only the treatments but also the expression of mental illness in other cultures. Indeed, a handful of mental-health disorders — depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia among them — now appear to be spreading across cultures with the speed of contagious diseases. These symptom clusters are becoming the lingua franca of human suffering, replacing indigenous forms of mental illness."  To read the full article click here

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Health Disparities National Plan Open for Comment (posted 1/08)

Posted: January 08, 2010

The Office of Minority Health (OMH) has developed a National Plan for Action in order to achieve health equity.  The National Plan for Action is a comprehensive document that provides an overview of health disparities and inequalities in the United States, demonstrates the importance of eliminating these disparities, and outlines twenty strategies for eliminating disparities, as well as future steps for implementation of these strategies.  OMH is looking for comments on their National Plan for Action.  The document includes sections on reducing disparities within HIV/AIDS and behavioral health.  To view the document in html format click here.  To download the document from the OMH website click here and look on the right-hand side of the page.  To post comments and for more information click here.  Feedback must be submitted by February 12, 2010.

Resources on the Importance of Fatherhood (posted 1/08)

Posted: January 08, 2010

The role of fathers in the lives of their children is an increasingly important topic in communities throughout the United States.  Research about the importance of the presence of a father for successful development of their children continues to grow and demonstrates the necessity of a father in a child's life.  Because of our increasing understanding of the role of fathers there are new resources and initiatives that help to support fathers in their role in a family system.

  • On December 15th, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Attorney General Eric Holder cohosted a Fatherhood Town Hall Meeting at Morehouse College.  "More than 1.5 million American children have fathers in prison," the Attorney General noted in his address, "And we know that children of incarcerated parents suffer from the physical and emotional separation, the stigma associated with having a parent detained, the loss of financial support, and the disruption caused by introducing new caregivers into a child's life."  The Town Hall session discussed the importance of fatherhood and focused on ways in which the criminal justice system can support the reentry of incarcerated fathers back into the community.  To read the Attorney General's full remarks click here.  To learn more about the Department of Justice's support of effective offender reentry programs, click here.
  • On January 14, 2010 the Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health will be holding one of their monthly Fatherhood Initiative calls.  This month's call will feature Mr. Wallace Baker from ParentVOICE in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He will be discussing the role of African American fathers in the lives of their children. A facilitated discussion will engage participants about their local experiences in working with African American fathers.  For more information e-mail Frank Rider at
  • On March 17, 2010 the John S. Martinez Fatherhood Initiative of Conneticut is hosting a conference on father involvement entitled Stronger Fathers, Stronger Communities: Supporting Men’s Commitment to Their Children.  The conference brings together dads, service providers, social workers, health professionals, educators, state and federal representatives, and family advocates.  There is also a pre-conference session on March 16th on Native American fatherhood.  For more information on the conference click here


Public Education on Mental Health Parity Law (posted 1/04)

Posted: January 04, 2010

This January 1st the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act that enforces behavioral health parity became fully effective.  Mental Health America is calling for public education campaigns to help Americans become aware of their rights under this new law.  The law, which Congress passed in October of 2008, broadly outlaws health insurance discrimination against Americans with mental health and substance use conditions in employer-sponsored health plans. It bans employers and insurers from imposing stricter limits on coverage for mental health and substance use conditions than those set for other medical conditions. The law benefits 82 million Americans covered by self-insured plans and another 31 million in plans that are subject to state regulation. For background information on this law click here. To read Mental Health America's call for public education campaigns click here.

To watch a video of President and CEO of Mental Health America, Dr. Shern talking about mental health parity on C-SPAN click here.

National Survey on Drug Use and Health Data Available (posted 1/04)

Posted: January 04, 2010

The 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data is now available for download and analysis on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA) website. To view the data click here.

      The NSDUH series (formerly titled National Household Survey on Drug Abuse) primarily measures the prevalence and correlates of drug use in the United States. The surveys are designed to provide quarterly, as well as annual, estimates. Information is provided on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco among members of United States households aged 12 and older. Questions included age at first use as well as lifetime, annual, and past-month usage for the following drug classes: marijuana, cocaine (and crack), hallucinogens, heroin, inhalants, alcohol, tobacco, and nonmedical use of prescription drugs, including pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. SAMHDA also offers several online tools that allow users to create their own analytic tables, slides, and documents.

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