News & Announcements

Study Examines Mental Health of Children With Special Health Care Needs (posted 2/1)

Posted: February 01, 2010

Study Presents Estimates on the Prevelance and Correlates of Internalzing Mental Health Symptoms among Children With Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN)

"Our findings on comorbidity [of internalizing mental health symptoms] with other physical and mental health conditions and symptoms extend what is known to a nationally representative sample of CSHCN [children
with special health care needs]," state the authors of an article published in Pediatrics online (ahead of print) on January 18, 2010.  One-fifth to one-fourth of children in the United States experience a mental disorder before age 18. Mental conditions among children and adults have been associated with co-occurring or future health and behavior problems. To date, research on mental problems among CSHCN has focused primarily on those with specific conditions or used broad measures that do not distinguish between different types of symptoms.  The article provides estimates of internalizing mental health symptoms among CSHCN with a range of physical and mental health symptoms and mental conditions and identifies significant covariates of these symptoms.

As part of the 2005-2006 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, the researchers interviewed parents or guardians of CSHCN (ages 3-17) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and used affirmative answers to either or both of the following items to identify CSHCN with internalizing mental health symptoms: (1) depression, anxiety, disordered eating, or other emotional problems at the time of the survey and (2) difficulty with feeling depressed or anxious, compared with other children of the same age. The analyses estimated the prevalence of internalizing mental health symptoms among CSHCN according to selected sociodemographic characteristics, examined the relationships between covariates of interest and internalizing mental health symptoms, and explored whether factors associated with internalizing mental health symptoms were consistent across age groups and among CSHCN with and without externalizing symptoms.

To read the abstract click here.

The authors found that

  • Almost one-third of CSHCN ages 3-17 experienced internalizing mental health symptoms.
  • Girls were 16 percent more likely than boys to experience internalizing mental health symptoms.
  • Compared with younger children (ages 3-5), older children were two to three times more likely to experience internalizing mental health symptoms.
  • Children with behavioral problems were nearly six times more likely to experience internalizing mental health symptoms and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) nearly twice as likely to experience internalizing mental health symptoms, compared with those who had neither ADHD nor behavior problems. The next-strongest condition-related association was observed for autism spectrum disorder, followed by frequent headaches or migraines.
  • CSHCN who were moderately affected by their conditions were 1.6 times more likely to experience internalizing mental health symptoms, and those whose daily activities were always or usually affected were more than twice as likely to experience internalizing mental health symptoms, compared with those who were never affected.
  • CSHCN whose care caused financial problems for the family or whose condition caused a family member to stop or to cut back on work were at increased risk for internalizing mental health symptoms.


"The identification of sociodemographic and other correlates of internalizing symptoms, which may be underidentified in CSHCN, may help clinicians and families to focus screening and prevention efforts on high-risk subgroups of this heterogeneous population, including CSHCN with preexisting externalizing symptoms and conditions with a behavioral component," conclude the authors.

Ghandour RM, Kogan MD, Blumberg SJ, et al. 2010. Prevalence and correlates of internalizing mental health symptoms among CSHCN. Pediatrics [published online ahead of print on January 18, 2010].
To read the abstract click here.



TANF Funds Available for Families Needing Short Term Behavioral Health Treatment Services

Posted: January 29, 2010

In the face of growing need for mental health and substance abuse treatment, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are notifying states about how Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds can be used to help families in their communities in need of short term mental health or substance use treatment services. 
 
The grant notification includes an explanation of how resources under the TANF Emergency Fund – a provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – can be used to support such services.
 
The TANF block grant provides states and tribes federal funds and wide flexibility to develop time-limited assistance programs, employment services for parents, and a broad array of specialized services – including mental health and substance abuse services - for struggling families in their communities. For example, a jurisdiction can use federal TANF funds to provide appropriate short-term counseling services such as mental health services.
 
“Now is a time of great stress for low-income families, putting those already vulnerable to mental health and substance abuse issues at even greater risk,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, Carmen R. Nazario. “We recognize that the challenges facing families looking for a job are complex, and we are committed to building as many partnerships as possible in providing support to Americans in crisis.”
 
“ACF and SAMHSA are working together to help ensure that TANF funds are available to states to support substance abuse and mental health services,” said SAMHSA Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.  “These funds can be used to provide relief to families coping with these disorders and trying to achieve self-sufficiency.  All too often mental and substance use disorders are overlooked and go untreated which undermines the potential for recovery.”
 
For pertinent information TANF jurisdictions can contact the Office of Family Assistance on its Welfare PeerTA website at http://www.peerta.acf.hhs.gov/. In addition, technical assistance can be obtained through the SAMHSA website at http://www.samhsa.gov/.



Unmet Mental Health Needs of Indigent, Uninsured Americans (posted 1/25)

Posted: January 25, 2010

The National Council for Community Behavioral Health Care has released a publication entitled, Unmet Mental Healthcare Needs of Indigent, Uninsured Americans.  This publication provides information about the health needs of uninsured Americans with mental illness and addictions disorders, and proposes strategies for closing the gap in unmet needs for this vulnerable population.  Additionally, the publication provides a state-by-state analysis of unmet needs and how to close this disparities gap.  To download the publication click here



Child Healthcare Quality Measures (posted 1/25)

Posted: January 25, 2010

As required by The Child Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (Public Law 111-3), an Initial Core Set of Child Healthcare Quality Measures for Medicaid and CHIP (and their providers and patients) has been posted for public comment.  To view the Measures click here.  Additionally, there is a detailed background paper that provides more information.  To view the background paper click here.

Comments are due no later than March 1, 2010.



Diversity Preparedness E-Newsletter (posted 1/21)

Posted: January 21, 2010

The National Resource Center on Advancing Emergency Preparedness for Culturally Diverse Communities out of Drexel University has released their bi-monthly newsletter.  This month's newsletter provides resources pertaining to the Haiti earthquake, updates on the H1N1 situation, and features resources for online disaster education and cultural competence.  To download the newsletter click here.  Visit the National Resource Center's website for up-to-date resources for relief workers in Haiti.



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