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Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of January 6, 2014

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.

NEWS FROM MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA

Mental Health America Faults Rep. Tim Murphy’s Legislation for Jeopardizing Role for Consumers and Their Recovery.

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

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

Medicare Outpatient Mental Health Parity Began January 1: As of January 1, Medicare is required to pay the same amount for mental health care treatment as it does for most medical services. In 2008, Congress enacted the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), which required a phase-out of the mental health treatment limitation over a five-year period from 2010 to 2014. Under the law, beneficiaries will now pay 20 percent for outpatient mental health services, the same percentage as other forms of outpatient services. (The New York Times, 12/27/13)

Health Care Costs Rise Modestly: National health spending grew slowly for the fourth consecutive year, increasing 3.7 percent in 2012 to $2.8 trillion, the federal government said. But officials disagreed over whether the Affordable Care Act or lingering effects of the recession were primarily responsible for the trend. As a share of the economy, health spending declined slightly, to 17.2 percent in 2012, from 17.3 percent in the prior year. It was the first time the percentage of gross domestic spending on health care has fallen since 1997. Health spending averaged about $8,900 a person in 2012, according to the annual report issued by the government. The authors of the report  said that the Affordable Care Act, adopted in March 2010, had only “a minimal impact on overall national health spending growth through 2012” and had not yet significantly reined in or accelerated its growth. They said the impact of the recession is still having an effect on health spending. But the White House said the data vindicated President Obama’s health care policies. (The New York Times, 1/6/14)

Brain Rest Helps Kids Heal Faster from Concussions—Study:  A new study provides some of the first evidence showing that "cognitive rest" helps in recovery after a concussion. Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital tracked 335 student athletes who were treated for concussions incurred on the playing field. They found that those who took the most time off from tasks that required a lot of thinking had the quickest recovery from headaches, dizziness, nausea and other concussion symptoms. A majority of those who got the most cognitive rest were symptom-free 40 days after their head injury, but it took 100 days for symptoms to resolve in the majority of those who got the least amount of rest, according to the study published in the journal Pediatrics. While the study couldn’t determine exactly how much rest was optimal, study co-author Dr. William Meehan said the results confirmed the sensibility of recommendations to avoid mental challenges right after a concussion. (Reuters, 1/6/14)

IN DEPTH

NPR looks at the Good Behavior Game.

Newsworks reports on peer specialists.

The New York Times examines “A New Focus on Depression.”

VOICES AND VIEWPOINTS

Bill Lichtenstein writes in The Huffington Post on seclusion and restraints.

Carey Goldberg writes on WBUR (Boston) on “A Phrase To Renounce For 2014: ‘The Mentally Ill.’”

In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof calls mental illness the most neglected issue in the news media.

The New York Times Sunday Dialogue looks at “Treating Mental Illness.”

Latest Research

Meditation Can Help with Anxiety, Depression: Mindfulness meditation can help ease anxiety, depression and pain, according to a new study. But scientists found little evidence that meditation helped other conditions, including substance use or sleep and attention problems. Reporting in JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers noted that may people use mindfulness or transcendental meditation to improve their lives and to cope with medical and other problems. But they said there is little clarity among healthcare providers about the value of these alternatives to standard medical care. The researchers reviewed 47 randomized clinical trials, with a total of 3,515 people, for evidence of the effects of meditation. They found low evidence or no effect or insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about meditation and attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep and weight. They found no evidence that meditation worked better than exercise or drugs. (Los Angeles Times, 1/6/14)

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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