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Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of December 2, 2013

Week of December 2, 2013


Mental Health in the Headlines is a weekly newsletter providing the latest developments at Mental Health America and summaries of news, views and research in the mental health field. Coverage of news items in this publication does not represent Mental Health America’s support for or opposition to the stories summarized or the views they express.

TODAY’S HEADLINE

Outpatient visits resulting in mental health diagnoses increased significantly in the U.S., especially in children and adolescents …more

NEWS FROM MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA

December 3 is Giving Tuesday: Support our Work to Help All Americans Live Mentally Healthier Lives.

Debbie Plotnick, Senior Director of State Policy, writes on CNN.com on “How to make mental health care work.”

Debbie Plotnick appeared on Fox 5 in Washington, DC, on Making Mental Health Care a Priority.

Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace: Mental Health America has released a toolkit with a wealth of information and resources.

Mental Health America Produces Comprehensive, Objective Resource Describing Principal Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Mental Health Conditions.

The MHA Career Center matches the best employers with the best talent in the mental health field.  Find your employment match at http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/mhacareercenter.

NEWS FOR THE FIELD

DECEMBER 5—Text, Talk, Act to Improve Mental Health-A Text-Enabled National Creating Community Solutions Dialogue: On December 5, Creating Community Solutions is holding a nationwide discussion on mental health…through cell phones.  All over the country that day, people will get together in small groups for one-hour discussions on mental health. The process is simple: join 3-4 of your friends, family, classmates, students, and/or colleagues and text “start” to 89800. Your group will then receive polling questions, discussion questions, and process suggestions via text messaging. Text, Talk, Act on Mental Health” is designed to engage high school and college students in particular, using technology that is ubiquitous in their lives. Results from the live polling questions will be tabulated almost instantly, so that people will be able to see how participants across the country responded. The discussion questions will provide a safe space for candid dialogue on mental health, one of the most critical and misunderstood public issues we face. The process will also provide an opportunity for participants to discuss actions they can take to strengthen mental health on their campuses and in their communities. More information is available at http://creatingcommunitysolutions.org/texttalkact#sthash.KN0qd9vl.dpuf

SAMHSA Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Toolkit: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has released a training resource toolkit, developed through the Enrollment Coalitions Initiative, entitled “Getting Ready for the Health Insurance Marketplace.”  The toolkit will assist organizations with outreach, education and enrollment of individuals in the Health Insurance Marketplace. It is composed of three sections: A description of the health care law, how it works, and why it is important for uninsured individuals with behavioral health conditions; An explanation of how the Health Insurance Marketplace works, how to apply for health coverage and where to get help; and Numerous communication ideas and materials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that can be used to raise awareness and encourage uninsured individuals to enroll. The toolkit has been developed in six slightly different 30-minute, interactive formats, each of which can be accessed and viewed online: http://tiny.cc/GettingReady (General information); http://tiny.cc/CommunityPrevention; http://tiny.cc/ConsumerPeerFamily; http://tiny.cc/HomelessServices; http://tiny.cc/CriminalJustice; http://tiny.cc/TreatmentProviders.

Become a Champion for Coverage: Help make sure all Americans can get the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford. Go to http://marketplace.cms.gov/help-us/champion.html.

IN THE NEWS

HealthCare.gov Meets Deadline for Fixes, White House Says:  Administration officials announced Sunday that they had met their Saturday deadline for improving HealthCare.gov after completing a series of hardware upgrades and software fixes to the troubled Web site. A progress report released Sunday morning by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said: "While we strive to innovate and improve our outreach and systems for reaching consumers, we believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users." (The Washington Post, 12/1/13)

Rate Of Mental Health Treatment Increasing Faster for Kids Than Adults —Study: Outpatient visits resulting in mental health diagnoses increased significantly in the U.S., especially in children and adolescents , a new study finds. The researchers looked at doctor visits by children, adolescents and adults between 1995 and 2010, and found that at the end of the study period, for every 100 youths (age 20 or younger) who visited the doctor, there were 15 visits that resulted in a mental disorder diagnosis, up from eight visits in 1995, according to the study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. The study authors say the increase may be due to greater public acceptance of mental health treatment for children. For adults, the rates of getting diagnosed with a mental disorder also increased, but at a much slower pace. In 2010, about 28 visits out of all visits made by every 100 people resulted in receiving a diagnosis, compared to 23 visits in 1995.For both adults and youths, doctor visits that resulted in a medication prescription increased as well. Both groups were about twice as likely to receive medication for mental health issues in 2010 compared to 1995. The researchers also found that prescriptions made by non-psychiatrist physicians, such as pediatricians and general practitioners, grew very rapidly during the study period. (MedPage Today, 11/27/13)

Deeds Expresses Anger at Mental Health Agency: Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, who is recuperating at home after his son attacked him with a knife before taking his own life last week, blamed a local mental health agency for the tragedy in an interview with a Bath County newspaper. Deeds told the Recorder newspaper that the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, which administers mental health and substance use services, is "responsible" for his son’s death. But Deeds said it was too soon to talk in detail. He vowed to help other families in crisis receive the help they need, the Recorder reported. (The Washington Post, 11/25/13)

IN DEPTH

USA Today looks at how the immune system may play crucial role in mental health.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette examines how poverty causes lasting general and mental health problems in children.

Politico looks at mental health initiatives in the states.

Latest Research

MRI Technique Might Aid Diagnosis, Treatment of ADHD: A new MRI method can detect low iron levels in the brains of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), researchers report. The method could help doctors and parents make better informed decisions about medication, they say. Drugs used to treat ADHD affect levels of the brain chemical dopamine. Because iron is required to process dopamine, using MRI to assess iron levels in the brain may provide a noninvasive, indirect measure of the chemical. If the findings are confirmed in larger studies, this technique might help improve ADHD diagnosis and treatment. The method might allow researchers to measure dopamine levels without injecting the patient with a substance that enhances imaging. Researchers used an MRI technique called magnetic field correlation imaging to measure iron levels in the brains of 22 children and teens with ADHD and another group of 27 children and teens without the disorder. The scans revealed that the 12 ADHD patients who'd never been treated with drugs had lower brain iron levels than those who'd received the drugs and those in the control group. The lower iron levels in the ADHD patients who'd never taken stimulant drugs appeared to normalize after they took the medicines. No significant differences in patients' brain iron levels were detected through blood tests or a more conventional method of measuring brain iron called MRI relaxation rates, the researchers noted. (HealthDay News, 12/2/13)

MORE NEWS AND VIEWS

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Mental Health in the Headlines is produced weekly by Mental Health America. Staff: Steve Vetzner, senior director, Media Relations.

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