Transforming Mental Health Care

Reference: Report from Medscape

Starting With Change Around the Edges

As nurses, we hold an ethical imperative to care for all who are ill. We aspire to be forces for social good. And we are educated in holistic and humanistic theories of “caring.” Yet most of us work in health care systems that operate from the medical model. Health care delivery is divided by specialty care that is intent on disease intervention and focuses on reductionist reasoning for many of the tasks we undertake daily. From this dominant paradigm, health professionals have a shared view that approaches the treatment of a person by separating mental and physical illness. In practice, maintaining this paradoxical distinction in our work as caregivers can be straining and can impede our efforts to do what is right for our patients, families, and communities. To be sure, the Affordable Care Act expanded mental health parity for all Americans by making it one of the essential health benefits. But the implementation of this parity is far from complete. One need only follow the many stories presented by the media regarding mental health issues to form a picture of a bleak, complex, and broken system. There is some accuracy in the dark side of this picture, but there is also hope. Parts of the system are innovating and changing how we care for the whole person. Some of this innovation and change rests on a vision of a more comprehensive health care system that will also support mental health integration. Two steps toward fulfilling this vision are underway: Treating the patient at the point of care where she or he is most comfortable and using teams of health care providers that can address social, economic, and culture differences to truly deliver a patient-centered approach to treatment and prevention. This type of good news seldom receives the same level of media attention. Thus, it is essential for those of us who work in health professions to recognize the good work individuals and organizations are doing to improve the delivery of mental health services in communities across the country.

To read a pdf of the complete report, please click here.

Schizophrenia Awareness Week: 17 – 23 May 2016

Schizophrenia is an illness, a medical condition. It affects the normal functioning of the brain, interfering with a person’s ability to think, feel and act. Some do recover completely, and, with time, most find that their symptoms improve. However, for many, it is a prolonged illness, which can involve years of distressing symptoms and disability.

People affected by schizophrenia have one ‘personality,’ just like everyone else. It is a myth and totally untrue that those affected have a so-called ‘split personality’.

To get more information about Schizophrenia, please click here to visit The Psych Professionals Blog.


World Bipolar Day logoWorld Bipolar Day is celebrated annually on March 30, the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who is believed to have had bipolar disorder. World Bipolar Day is a day to remember that those who have bipolar disorder are capable of achieving great things and to remind them that they are not alone, for the general public to learn more about the disorder from people who live with it, and to learn the importance of fighting the stigma associated with bipolar disorder.  –

See more at:

SARDAA Health Storylines – The polls are in!!!

The polls are in

Have you seen the new polling feature now available to you on your SARDAA Health Storylines app? Located on the left sidebar in your app, you can now participate in community polls and see how others like you are doing.

If you need any assistance, whether it be with the new polls, another app feature, or just someone to talk to, don’t be shy to contact us at (844) 475-4637. We are here to help you make the most out of your SARDAA Health Storylines app!

Experimental Combination Surprises with Anti-HIV Effectiveness

A compound developed to protect the nervous system from HIV surprised researchers by augmenting the effectiveness of an investigational antiretroviral drug beyond anything expected. The potency of the combination treatment, tested so far in mice, suggests that it would be possible to rid the body of HIV for months, reducing the frequency with which patients must take these medications from daily to several times a year.

Even when people with HIV infection take antiretroviral drugs, more than 50 percent have HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), which can result in any of a variety of symptoms, including confusion and problems with memory. NIH-supported scientists led by Harris A. Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry developed the compound URMC-099 to protect against HIV-associated neurologic damage. This and similar compounds would always be administered with an antiretroviral medication; the objective of this research was to test URMC-099 as such an adjunct.

Click here to read the complete article on National Institute of Mental Health website.

Support SARDAA on Amazon Smile

Emergency Department Visits Related to Schizophrenia Among Adults Aged 18–64: United States, 2009–2011

A new NCHS report describes the rate and characteristics of emergency department (ED) visits related to schizophrenia among adults aged 18–64.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • During 2009–2011, an estimated 382,000 ED visits related to schizophrenia occurred each year among adults aged 18–64, with an overall ED visit rate of 20.1 per 10,000 adults.
  • The overall rate for ED visits related to schizophrenia for men (26.5 per 10,000) was approximately double the rate for women (13.8 per 10,000).
  • Public insurance (Medicaid, Medicare, or dual Medicare and Medicaid) was used more frequently at ED visits related to schizophrenia compared with ED visits not related to schizophrenia.
  • About one-half of ED visits related to schizophrenia led to either a hospital admission (32.7%) or a transfer to a psychiatric hospital (16.7%); these percentages were higher than for ED visits not related to schizophrenia.

Click here to view the full report.


Schizophrenia Treatment: How does your state rank?

Clozapine is an antipsychotic medication used to treat the 20 to 30 percent of Schizophrenic patients who do not respond to other medications. This medication is referred to as the “gold standard” of Schizophrenia medications and, according to an expert on Schizophrenia, should be prescribed to at least 10% of people with Schizophrenia. A report by the Treatment Advocacy Center’s Office of Research & Public Affairs  shows how each state in the U.S. ranks for Clozapine subscriptions. States with the highest percentage of prescriptions for Clozapine include South Dakota, Connecticut, and Colorado, while the states with the lowest percentages include Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona. The report suggests that the reason psychiatrists are not prescribing the medication is due to the blood tests and monitoring required with use of the drug. Similarly, patients are reluctant to agree to ongoing blood tests and monitoring associated with the drug. Compared to the recommended 10%, less than half of US States prescribe Clozapine 10% of the time or more.

How does your state rank? Click here to view the full report.

Can playing video games improve your health?

A new study posted in Psychiatric Services has linked playing video games to better health. In the study patients with Schizophrenia participated in a 12 week program where they exercised for 1 hour, three times a week. The study found that the patients, who were given multiple choices of aerobic exercise options, chose active-play video games more than any other option. The study also reported that patients’ heart rates while playing the games was similar to other aerobic exercises. The patients reported that they enjoyed the games and were willing to recommend them to others. People with Schizophrenia are more likely to be sedentary than most of the population. The study shows promising evidence that active-play video games, such as Xbox 360 with Kinect are a good way to get schizophrenic patients to be more active and may improve neurocognition.

To learn more, click here to read the study.

What Does Schizophrenia Feel Like?

“Olfactory hallucinations have to do with smelling things that aren’t there. I frequently smell things my husband can’t smell and if it is a chemical smell I will develop some paranoia about it. I may even think I have accidently eaten it and that I am dying.”

What is it like to experience the symptoms of Schizophrenia? What is it like to experience visual and auditory hallucinations? What is psychosis like? Read about what Schizophrenia looks like in a blog by “A Journey with You,” a person living with Schizophrenia.

To read the rest of the blog click here