News & Announcements

Suicide a risk in retirement, nursing communities (posted 6/10)

Posted: June 10, 2010

Reuters reports that seniors moving into assisted living and long-term care facilities are often at risk for suicide, but few residential facilities have suicide prevention policies in place, according to a new study entitled "Suicide Prevention for Older Adults in Residential Communities: Implications for Policy and Practice" published in the journal, Public Library of Science Medicine. Lead study author Carol Podgorski of the University of Rochester in New York notes that many elders transitioning to a residential community are coping with stressful events, such as the death of a spouse or decline in physical function, that may increase their risk for suicide:

"According to Alliance for Aging Research, by 2030 almost one out of every five Americans, or 72 million people, will be 65 or older, and about 80 percent of seniors have at least one chronic health condition. Currently, adults over 65 make up 12.4 percent of the U.S. population, yet they account for 14 percent of all suicides, the team reported. Suicides are highest among white men over 85. Methods vary by gender. Women are more likely to use suffocation or poisoning, including prescription drugs, while men are more likely to use firearms, Podgorski said."

To read the full Reuters article click here. To read the study click here.

Public health systems and residential communities can counter suicidal behavior in residential communities by:

  • Identifying at risk seniors who are depressed;
  • Increasing access to mental health and substance abuse services;
  • Treating medical conditions and chronic pain;
  • Promoting social networks and support;
  • Decreasing access to firearms, drugs and other lethal means of suicide.

National HIV Testing Day June 27

Posted: June 10, 2010

The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) started National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) in 1995. Every year, on June 27th, local organizations across the nation engage with communities to promote early diagnosis and HIV-testing. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 250,000 of the one million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States are unaware of their status. NAPWA realizes that lack of access to treatment and care along with social stigma can make living with HIV difficult. With early diagnosis, uncertain individuals will know their HIV-status and should be placed in appropriate treatment and care. During NHTD, we work with our partners, which include thousands of community-based organizations, businesses, health departments, elected officials, media, and individuals to encourage routine HIV-testing and to promote culturally-apt messages for those affected by and living with HIV/AIDS.

To read a statement from the President made on June 27th click here.

To read a statement from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made on June 27th click here.

What you can do:

Learn about HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaigns in the U.S.:

  • CDC's Act Against AIDS campaign aims to combat complacency about the HIV/AIDS crisis. Its “i know” social media effort provides new channels for African-American young adults to talk openly and often about HIV, both online and off.
  • The Greater Than AIDS initiative responds to the AIDS epidemic especially among Black Americans.
  • Get Yourself Tested Week: Get Yourself Tested and Greater Than AIDS are joining forces to promote HIV and STD testing as part of a special promotion in 10 cities in the week leading up to NHTD. Click here for promotional resources and more information.
  • Our Church Lights the Way! mobilizes faith communities, especially those serving African Americans, to speak loudly to educate and encourage every person in their congregation and community to get tested for HIV.

Puerto Ricans More Likely to Need Treatment for Illicit Drug Use (posted 6/10)

Posted: June 10, 2010

A subset of data from SAMHSA's Drug and Alcohol Services Information System (DASIS) shows that while alcohol was the most common substance of abuse among other Hispanic admissions (36.9 percent), heroin was the most common primary substance of abuse among Puerto Rican substance abuse treatment admissions (43.5 percent). SAMHSA's Office of Applied Studies (OAS) recently released a Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) Report entitled "Puerto Rican Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment" that highlights and discusses this data. The TEDS collects information on the race/ethnicity of substance abuse treatment admissions, and on the ethnic origin of those who report that they are Hispanic. Using 2007 data from TEDS (including admissions in 44 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico), this report examines the characteristics of Puerto Rican admissions and compares these with all other Hispanic admissions not identified as Puerto Rican:

  • In 2007, heroin was the most common primary substance of abuse among Puerto Rican substance abuse treatment admissions (43.5 percent), while alcohol was the most common substance of abuse among other Hispanic admissions (36.9 percent)
  • Among Puerto Rican admissions reporting primary abuse of heroin, more than two thirds reported secondary or tertiary abuse of other substances (68.6 percent), including 47.0 percent that reported secondary or tertiary abuse of cocaine
  • Most Puerto Rican admissions to treatment (70.5 percent) had at least one prior treatment episode, but most other Hispanic admissions (41.7 percent) did not

To download the TEDS report click here.

Mental Health Apps: Like A ‘Therapist In Your Pocket’ (posted 6/8)

Posted: June 08, 2010

New mobile technologies are allowing smart phone users to track their moods and experience throughout the day, week and month, NPR reports. These new technologies can serve as supplemental tools for psychiatrists and psychologists:

"'It gives me an additional source of rich information of what the patient's life is like between sessions,' says University of Pennsylvania researcher Dimitri Perivoliotis, who treats patients with schizophrenia. 'It's almost like an electronic therapist, in a way, or a therapist in your pocket.' Here's how one of the apps, called 'Mobile Therapy,' works: Throughout the day at random times, a "mood map" pops up on a user's cell phone screen. 'People drag a little red dot around that screen with their finger to indicate their current mood,' says Dr. Margaret Morris, a clinical psychologist working at Intel Corp. and the app's designer. Users also can chart their energy levels, sleep patterns, activities, foods eaten and more, she says."

To read the full NPR report click here.


Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month 2010 (posted 6/7)

Posted: June 07, 2010

On May 28, 2010 President Barack Obama issued a proclamation celebrating Gay Pride Day, and Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month in June. Celebration of this month became official in June of 2000 when former President Bill Clinton proclaimed June as Gay Pride Month. LGBT Pride Month is celebrated in June to honor the anniversary of the Stonewall riots that took place in Manhattan in 1969 and are commonly recognized by many as the beginning of the gay and lesbian pride movement in the United States. In his proclamation, President Obama highlighted the policies and programs that his organization has implemented to enhance the lives of LGBT individuals:

"My Administration has advanced our journey by signing into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which strengthens Federal protections against crimes based on gender identity or sexual orientation.  We renewed the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides life saving medical services and support to Americans living with HIV/AIDS, and finally eliminated the HIV entry ban.  I also signed a Presidential Memorandum directing hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to give LGBT patients the compassion and security they deserve in their time of need, including the ability to choose someone other than an immediate family member to visit them and make medical decisions.

In other areas, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a series of proposals to ensure core housing programs are open to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  HUD also announced the first ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing.  Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services has created a National Resource Center for LGBT Elders." To read the full proclomation click here.


LGBT Behavioral Health Resources:

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