HHS ANNOUNCES THE NATION’S NEW HEALTH PROMOTION AND DISEASE PREVENTION AGENDA

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled Healthy People 2020, the nation’s new 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention, and “myHealthyPeople,” a new challenge for technology application developers. For the past 30 years, Healthy People has been committed to improving the quality of our Nation’s health by producing a framework for public health prevention priorities and actions.

Press Release: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/12/20101202a.html

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

PATH STREET OUTREACH VIDEO SERIES

The Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) Street Outreach video series is designed to equip homelessness service providers with the skills and knowledge to do their jobs well. Rather than speaking theoretically about skills and knowledge, these training videos show providers practicing them in real-world settings. A discussion guide is also available

http://pathprogram.samhsa.gov/Resource/View.aspx?id=49497

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

CDC: SUICIDES IN NATIONAL PARKS

To describe the characteristics of and trends in suicides in national parks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Park Service analyzed reports of suicide events (suicides and attempted suicides) occurring in the parks during 2003-2009. During this 7-year span, 84 national parks reported 286 suicide events, an average of 41 events per year. Of the 286 events, 68 percent were fatal. The two most commonly used methods were firearms and falls. Consistent with national patterns, 83 percent of suicides were among males. A comprehensive, multi-component approach is recommended to prevent suicide events, including enhanced training for park employees, site-specific barriers, and collaboration with communities.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5947a2.htm?s_cid=mm5947a2_e

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

NEW APPROACH TO SMOKING CESSATION BOOSTS QUIT RATES FOR VETERANS WITH PTSD

Smoking cessation treatment that is made part of mental health care for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) improves quit rates, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs study published in the December 8, 2010 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Press Release: http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2017

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Prescribing of Controlled Medications to Teens and Young Adults Increasing

Physicians are increasingly prescribing controlled medications, such as opioids, sedatives, and stimulants, to adolescents and young adults, according to new research published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

“Overall, we found that a controlled medication was prescribed at approximately 1 out of every 6 visits by young adults and 1 out of every 9 visits by adolescents,” lead investigator Robert J. Fortuna, MD, MPH, from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York, told Medscape Medical News.

“These increasing rates were observed across multiple settings, including ambulatory offices and emergency departments, and rates have nearly doubled since 1994,” he added….

Reported by Fran Lowry
Medscape Medical News
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/733557

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

So Young and So Many Pills

Gage Martindale, who is 8 years old, has been taking a blood-pressure drug since he was a toddler. “I want to be healthy, and I don’t want things in my heart to go wrong,” he says.

And, of course, his mom is always there to check Gage’s blood pressure regularly with a home monitor, and to make sure the second-grader doesn’t skip a dose of his once-a-day enalapril.

These days, the medicine cabinet is truly a family affair. More than a quarter of U.S. kids and teens are taking a medication on a chronic basis, according to Medco Health Solutions Inc., the biggest U.S. pharmacy-benefit manager with around 65 million members. Nearly 7% are on two or more such drugs, based on the company’s database figures for 2009.

Doctors and parents warn that prescribing medications to children can be problematic. There is limited research available about many drugs’ effects in kids. And health-care providers and families need to be vigilant to assess the medicines’ impact, both intended and not. Although the effects of some medications, like cholesterol-lowering statins, have been extensively researched in adults, the consequences of using such drugs for the bulk of a patient’s lifespan are little understood.

Many medications kids take on a regular basis are well known, including treatments for asthma and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder….

Reported by Anna Wilde Mathews
The Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203731004576046073896475588.html

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

DSM-V, Healthcare Reform Will Fuel Major Changes in Addiction Psychiatry

Revision of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) (DSM-V) is inching its way toward completion, with the final version due in 2013. Healthcare reforms are also set to take effect in the next couple of years. The confluence of those major events is likely to produce significant changes in all areas of psychiatry, researchers announced here.

Changes in addiction psychiatry, in particular, are predicted, attendees at this year’s annual meeting of the American Association of Addition Psychiatry 21st Annual Meeting & Symposium heard here in a detailed session this morning. One of the most important of those is the elimination of “substance abuse and dependence,” to be replaced with “addictions and related disorders……”

Reported by Steven Fox
Medscape Medical News
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/733649

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Treatment Is Lacking for Many US Adults With Mental Illness or Substance Abuse

More than 45 million of US adults—about 1 in 5—had a mental illness in 2009, yet fewer than half received any treatment, according to the latest estimates from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These estimates suggest these disorders remain prevalent and often untreated, despite efforts to boost the accessibility of mental health care in the United States….

Bridget M. Kuehn
JAMA
Journal of the American Medical Association
JAMA. 2011;305(1):27.

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Aftermath of the Tuscon, Arizona Tragedy: Call for early intervention in serious emotional illness

HOUSTON, TX (January 10, 2011) – Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America mourns the loss of those killed during the horrendous tragedy on Saturday in Arizona. We extend our deepest sympathy to families, loved ones, friends and all who are affected by this dreadful catastrophe. Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and all those were injured for a full recovery. We are all deeply saddened by this extraordinarily horrific event.

The tragedy is another wakeup call for everyone. Details are emerging that Jared Loughner clearly had serious psychiatric difficulties dating long back, perhaps to High School. While several media reports suggest that he may have had a major mental disorder, the precise nature of what he might have had is still unclear. As details surrounding the tragedy continue to emerge, there are many potential lessons to be learned from this highly unfortunate event.

It is important to dispel several myths that exist in public perceptions of mental illnesses. Anyone can develop a mental illness. Mental illnesses are extremely common. About half of all Americans will meet the criteria for some type of mental disorder sometime in their lifetime, with first onset usually in childhood or adolescence. Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorders are not a sign of weakness, but are real diseases of the brain. Delays in their treatment lead to a snowballing of suffering and decline in function. People cannot just “snap” out of mental illness; symptoms cannot be just wished away or controlled at will. Like in other medical illnesses, effective treatments are now available, both psychological and medical. Treatments can lead to recovery, facilitating productive lives. Timely assessment and adequate services for early symptoms go a long way toward preventing later, more serious problems.

Unfortunately, efforts to get Jared Loughner help had been made but were not successful; the reasons perhaps will become clearer with time. It is time to take a serious look at the lack of public understanding of serious psychiatric illness in youth, glaring inadequacies in mental health care, as well as delays in care, often for many years. Most people with mental disorders in the United States remain either untreated or poorly treated.The mental health system in the U.S is dangerously underfinanced and its infrastructure is crumbling. Many students with emotional difficulties on college campuses tend to not seek mental health services because of stigma attached to being diagnosed with a mental illness.

Negative portrayals of mental illness in the media are one major cause of stigma. Seriously mentally ill individuals can often put themselves or others in danger especially when they are acutely ill, and not in treatment. However, studies in general show that violence is actually no more prevalent overall among individuals with treated mental illness than the general public; the mentally ill are in fact more likely to be victims of violence.

The emotional toll for the survivors of the massacre and the families of the victims is huge, and the loss is incalculable. The immediate response to provide prompt grief counseling is laudable. Counseling to deal with the grief is critically needed in order to minimize long term negative consequences of the trauma.

In the aftermath of the Arizona tragedy, it is vital we emphasize the need for improving mental health services and early intervention for school and college campuses. There is no better antidote to stigma than education. Our high schools, colleges and universities need to be better educated about the signs of, and early detection for emotional disturbances, which can be nipped in the bud before they escalate into serious disasters. Proactive steps include disseminating mental health information at school orientation as well as training programs for staff, faculty, athletes, resident assistants, counseling services, faith-based organizations, sororities and fraternities. Security personnel and university operations and maintenance staff also need to be educated. Counseling centers need to be better staffed, and networked with state of the art capabilities of psychiatric diagnosis, preventive and therapeutic services.

Matcheri S. Keshavan M.D. is the Stanley Cobb Professor and Vice-Chair for Public Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry,
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and
Massachusetts Mental Health Center,
Harvard Medical School

Linda Stalters, MSN. Is Founder and Board Chair, Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America
Contact (240) 423-9432; linda.stalters@sardaa.org

Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) works to improve the lives of people with schizophrenia and related disorders.

Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) Response to AZ Tragedy

Aftermath of the Tucson, Arizona Tragedy:

Call for early intervention in serious emotional illness

HOUSTON, TX (January 10, 2011) – Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America mourns the loss of those killed during the horrendous tragedy on Saturday in Arizona. We extend our deepest sympathy to families, loved ones, friends and all who are affected by this dreadful catastrophe. Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and all those were injured for a full recovery. We are all deeply saddened by this extraordinarily horrific event.

Read the Full Press Release