Category Archives: Mental Health

New Report Pinpoints Substance Use and Mental Health Problems in Individual Localities Throughout the Nation

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS), Office of Applied Studies, 2008

From the press release:
Mental health and substance abuse problems affect every local community throughout America – but in unique, and sometimes surprising ways, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report offers highly detailed analyses of the substance abuse and mental health problems occurring within these smaller geographical areas.

For example, one of the smaller geographical (or substate) areas in the survey -Utah’s Salt Lake and Weber-Morgan Counties – have among the nation’s highest levels of persons aged 12 or older using painkillers for non-medical reasons. In these two counties, levels were as high as 7.92 percent. In contrast, areas of the District of Columbia had some of the nation’s lowest levels of this type of substance abuse, as low as 2.48 percent in parts of the city.

Yet the exact same communities in Utah had the among the nation’s lowest levels of underage binge alcohol use in the past month (as low as 8.72 percent of those age 12 to 20). The District of Columbia had equally low levels in some parts of the city, but other parts had some of the nation’s highest levels (as high as 39.01 percent among this age group).

Medicaid Home and Community-Based Waivers: CMS Should Encourage States to Conduct Mortality Reviews for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Source: Government Accountability Office, GAO-08-529, May 23, 2008

From the summary:
Deaths of individuals with developmental disabilities due to poor quality of care have been highlighted in the media. Prior GAO work has raised concerns about inadequate safeguards for such individuals receiving care through state Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers. CMS approves and oversees these waivers. Safeguards include the review of, and follow-up action to, critical incidents–events that harm or have the potential to harm waiver beneficiaries. GAO was asked to examine the extent to which states (1) include, as a critical incident, deaths among individuals with developmental disabilities in waiver programs; (2) have basic components in place to review such deaths; and (3) have adopted additional components to review deaths.

Updated SAMHSA Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Programs Now Available

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Press release, 6/12/2008

A new, updated guide to finding local substance abuse treatment programs is now available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Programs 2008 provides information on thousands of alcohol and drug treatment programs located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and five U.S. territories.

This SAMHSA National Directory includes public and private facilities that are licensed, certified, or otherwise approved by substance abuse agencies in each state. A nationwide inventory of substance abuse and alcoholism treatment programs and facilities, the National Directory is organized and presented in a state-by-state format for quick reference by health care providers, social workers, managed care organizations, and the general public. This latest SAMHSA directory provides information on more than 11,000 community substance abuse treatment programs.

The directory gives important information on levels of care and types of facilities, including those with programs for adolescents, persons with co-occurring substance abuse and mental disorders, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and pregnant women. In addition, the SAMHSA directory includes information on forms of payment accepted, special language services available with select providers, and whether methadone or buprenorphine therapy is offered.

The updated directory complements SAMHSA’s internet-based Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator. The online service, which is updated regularly and may contain more current information, provides searchable road maps to the nearest treatment facilities, complete addresses, phone numbers and specific information on services available.

Projections of National Expenditures for Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Treatment 2004-2014

Source: Katharine R. Levit, Cheryl A. Kassed, Rosanna M. Coffey, Tami L. Mark, David R. McKusick, Edward C. King, Rita Vandivort-Warren, Jeffrey A. Buck, Katheryn Ryan, Elizabeth Stranges, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, DHHS Publication No. SMA 08-4­326, 2008

By 2014, expenditures on mental health (MH) and substance abuse (SA) treatment are projected to reach $239 billion, up from $42 billion in 1986 and $121 billion in 2003. The pace of growth in spending on MH and SA treatment is anticipated to be slower than for all-health spending over the next decade. Because of the slower growth in MHSA spending compared to that for all health, MHSA expenditures are projected to account for progressively smaller shares of all-health expenditures: from 9.7 percent in 1986 to a predicted 6.9 percent in 2014.

Mental health workers struggle for justice

Source: Dante Strobino, Workers World, June 14, 2008

The mental health care system in North Carolina is in a state of crisis. More than 1,000 workers are put out of work due to injuries each year. Since December 2000, at least 82 patients have died in ways that raise questions, including homicides and suicides. Workers are incredibly underpaid, with health care technicians, the bulk of the front-line workers, earning on average less than $24,000 per year and forced to work incredible amounts of overtime in unsafe and understaffed conditions to pay their bills. North Carolina mental hospitals discharged 1,182 mental health care patients and sent them to live in homeless shelters last year. Many of them soon entered the state’s overcrowded prisons. More than $400 million in state funds were wasted in the state’s privatization efforts over the last six years.

The Shortage of Public Hospital Beds for Mentally Ill Persons

Source: Treatment Advocacy Center

Since the 1960s there has been a mass exodus of patients from public psychiatric hospitals. Data are available on the number of patients in such hospitals in 1955 and in 2004-2005. The data show that:
• In 2005 there were 17 public psychiatric beds available per 100,000 population compared to 340 per 100,000 in 1955. Thus, 95 percent of the beds available in 1955 were no longer available in 2005.
• The states with the fewest beds were Nevada (5.1 per 100,000), Arizona (5.9), Arkansas (6.7), Iowa (8.1), Vermont (8.9), and Michigan (9.9). The states with the most beds were South Dakota (40.3) and Mississippi (49.7).
• A consensus of experts polled for this report suggests that 50 public psychiatric beds per 100,000 population is a minimum number. Thus, 42 of the 50 states had less than half the minimum number needed, and Mississippi was the only state to achieve this goal.
• The total estimated shortfall of public psychiatric beds needed to achieve a minimum level of psychiatric care is 95,820 beds.
• The consequences of the severe shortage of public psychiatric beds include increased homelessness; the incarceration of mentally ill individuals in jails and prisons; emergency rooms being overrun with patients waiting for a psychiatric bed; and an increase in violent behavior, including homicides, in communities across the nation.
• The consequences of the severe shortage in public psychiatric beds could be improved with the widespread utilization of PACT (Program of Assertive Community Treatment) programs and assisted outpatient treatment (AOT), both of which have been proven to decrease hospitalization. It could also be improved with greater flexibility in federal and state regulations allowing for the development of alternatives to hospitalization.

Full report (PDF; 59 KB)

Perceived Insufficient Rest or Sleep — Four States, 2006

Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC), February 29, 2008

From the press release:
About 10 percent of adults report not getting enough rest or sleep every day in the past month, according to a new four-state study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention′s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The data from the four states-Delaware, Hawaii, New York, and Rhode Island-may not reflect national trends. But an additional study conducted by CDC utilizing data from the National Health Interview Study indicated that across all age groups the percentage of adults who, on average, report sleeping six hours or less has increased from 1985 to 2006.

Nationwide, an estimated 50 to 70 million people suffer from chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders. Sleep loss is associated with health problems, including obesity, depression, and certain risk behaviors, including cigarette smoking, physical inactivity, and heavy drinking.

First-ever report ranks states based on depression status; calls for mental health monitoring system to inform state policies impacting access to care

Source: Mental Health America

From press release:
Mental Health America today released its report, “Ranking America’s Mental Health: An Analysis of Depression Across the States,” a first-of-its-kind study examining state and national data for statistical associations between access-to-care factors and actual health outcomes, namely a state’s mental health status and suicide rate. Included in the study is a ranking of the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on rates of depression and suicide. South Dakota is found to lead the nation with the best depression status while Utah ranked last.

Ranking America’s Mental Health: An Analysis of Depression Across the States

Spending for Mental Health Care: A Larger Share Comes From Medicaid and Goes for Prescription Drugs

Source: Tami L. Mark, Katharine R. Levit, Jeffrey A. Buck, Rosanna M. Coffey, and Rita Vandivort-Warren, Psychiatric Services, Vol. 58 no. 8, August 2007
(subscription required)

From press release:
Over the past two decades, spending for mental health treatment shifted sharply from inpatient care to prescription medications, and Medicaid picked up a growing share of the cost, according to a study published today in Psychiatric Services.

The study, which analyzed healthcare costs from 1986 to 2003, was conducted by researchers from Thomson Healthcare and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

See Also: Abstract of Psychiatric Services Article: Mental Health Treatment Expenditure Trends, 1986–2003

Mental Health Screens for Corrections

Source: Julian Ford and Robert L. Trestman, and Fred Osher, Jack E. Scott, Henry J. Steadman, and Pamela Clark Robbins, National Institute of Justice, NCJ 216152, May 2007

This National Institute of Justice report provides information on two projects designed to create and validate mental health screening instruments that corrections staff can use during intake. Included in the report are questionnaires that accurately identify inmates who require mental health interventions.