Category Archives: Mental Health

Rising Mortality Rates Among Working-Age Americans

Source: Emily Fazio, Regional Financial Review, Vol. 29 no. 9, May 2019
(subscription required)

Mortality in the U.S. is rising. As a result, life expectancy at birth has fallen every year since its peak in 2014. This paper discusses the rise in mortality and the influence of increased rates of suicide and fatal drug overdoses. It also looks at geographic differences in mortality. Third, this paper considers the impact of economic conditions on changes in mortality, suicide rates, and fatal drug overdoses.

California’s Behavioral Health Services Workforce Is Inadequate for Older Adults

Source: Janet C. Frank, Kathryn G. Kietzman, and Alina Palimaru, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Health Policy Brief, January 2019

The Workforce Education and Training component of California’s Mental Health Services Act, which passed in 2004, has infused funding into the public mental health system. However, funding has not kept pace with an existing behavioral health workforce shortage crisis, the rapid growth of an aging population, and the historical lack of geriatric training in higher education for the helping professions. This policy brief draws on recent study findings, state planning documents, and a review of the literature to describe gaps and deficiencies in the behavioral health workforce that serves older adults in California. The brief offers recommendations to the following specific audiences for improving workforce preparation and distribution: state policymakers and administrators; educational institutions, accrediting bodies, and licensing boards; and county mental health/behavioral health departments and their contracted providers…..

The Effect of Public Insurance Expansions on Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act

Source: Johanna Catherine Maclean, Brendan Saloner, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 38, Issue 2, Spring 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We examine the effect of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on substance use disorder (SUD) treatment utilization and financing. We combine data on admissions to specialty facilities and Medicaid‐reimbursed prescriptions for medications commonly used to treat SUDs in nonspecialty outpatient settings with an event‐study design. Several findings emerge from our study. First, among patients receiving specialty care, Medicaid coverage and payments increased. Second, the share of patients who were uninsured and who had treatment paid for by state and local government payments declined. Third, private insurance coverage and payments increased. Fourth, expansion also increased prescriptions for SUD medications reimbursed by Medicaid. Fifth, we find suggestive evidence that admissions to specialty treatment may have increased one or more years post‐expansion. However, this finding is sensitive to specification and we observe differential pretrends between the treatment and comparison groups. Thus, our finding for admissions should be interpreted with caution.

Opioid settlement to benefit Oklahoma State University, local governments

Source: Adebola Kushimo, Susan I Fitzgerald, Leonard Jones, Moody’s, Sector Comment, April 5, 2019
(subscription required)

The agreement will bolster research funding in a growing area and position the university to enhance its brand and boost philanthropic support. In addition, it will benefit Oklahoma cities and counties, which will split $12.5 million as they grapple with a growing social risk.

Tracking Federal Funding to Combat the Opioid Crisis

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center, March 2019

From the summary:
In 2017, more than 70,000 people in the United States died from a drug overdose, with almost 50,000 of these deaths involving an opioid. The United States is facing a devastating opioid epidemic, and the federal government has responded by investing billions of dollars into prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts over the past two years. This includes efforts to curb the supply of both illicit opioids and unnecessary prescription opioids and to improve access to evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder. Despite these actions, addiction policy experts believe that the end of the epidemic is not yet in sight.

Considerable attention has focused on the drivers of the opioid epidemic. However, less attention has been paid to whether the federal investments to address the issue are being effectively targeted to the communities most affected and to those with the highest overdose deaths. An effective response requires policymakers to know how resources are allocated and to use that information to minimize duplication and maximize the efficiency of limited resources. The federal government has not previously produced or made available a document that provides this information to the public or policymakers.

Officers’ Physical and Mental Health and Safety: Emerging Issues and Recommendations

Source: Strategic Applications International, COPS-W0862, released: November 2018

From the abstract:  
The OSW Group’s April 2018 meeting expanded on previous discussions of ways to support officers’ emotional health and organizational wellness. This meeting focused particularly on line-of-duty deaths in felonious assaults as well as in accidents, mental health and suicide, and crisis hotlines and other programs. Families, community members, and others can contribute to the important work that is needed in this area by supporting officer safety and wellness, participating in conversations and programming, and working to reduce the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues.

“Mom, When They Look at Me, They See Dollar Signs” How rehab recruiters are luring recovering opioid addicts into a deadly cycle.

Source: Julia Lurie, Mother Jones, March/April 2019

….The addiction community has a name for what happened to Brianne. It’s called the “Florida shuffle,” a cycle wherein recovering users are wooed aggressively by rehabs and freelance “patient brokers” in an effort to fill beds and collect insurance money. The brokers, often current or former drug users, troll for customers on social media, at Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and on the streets of treatment hubs such as the Florida coast and Southern California’s “Rehab Riviera.” The rehabs themselves exist in a quasi-medical realm where evidence-based care is rare, licensed medical staffers are optional, conflicts of interest are rampant, and regulation is stunningly lax.

While experts say the practices described in this story are widespread, it is important to note that there are plenty of responsible treatment providers, and not all the facilities named engage in all the practices described. Recovery Villas, which was raided by Florida authorities last summer on suspicion of insurance fraud and is now under investigation by the state, did not respond to my questions. A Compass Detox spokesman said that paying clients for treatment and giving them drugs between rehab stints “is illegal and we don’t do that.” Compass obeys all relevant laws and regulations, he emphasized…..

Managing traumatic stress in the workplace

Source: Samantha Brooks, G James Rubin, Neil Greenberg, Occupational Medicine, Volume 69 Issue 1, February 7, 2019
(subscription required)

Recent years have seen a growing number of traumatic incidents occurring across the globe, with both natural disasters and acts of terrorism occurring more and more frequently [1]. Understanding the psychological impact of experiencing such an event, and how best to support people who may be suffering with post-traumatic distress or mental ill-health, is now more important than ever. While much of the research in this area focuses on trauma at the individual level, there is a growing literature which explores the impact of trauma from a group perspective [2].

Sleepy anger: Restricted sleep amplifies angry feelings

Source: Zlatan Krizan, Garrett Hisler, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, October 25, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Despite extensive ties between sleep disruption, anger, and aggression, it is unclear whether sleep loss plays a causal role in shaping anger. On one hand, negative affect and distress frequently follow curtailed sleep, suggesting increased anger responses. On the other hand, fatigue and withdrawal also follow, potentially muting anger. To examine these competing possibilities, 142 community residents were randomly assigned to either maintain or restrict their sleep over 2 days. Before and after, these participants rated their anger and affect throughout a product-rating task alongside aversive noise. Sleep restriction universally intensified anger, reversing adaptation trends in which anger diminished with repeated exposure to noise. Negative affect followed similar patterns, and subjective sleepiness mediated most of the experimental effects on anger. These findings highlight important consequences of everyday sleep loss on anger and implicate sleepiness in dysregulation of anger and hedonic adaptation.

Related:
Even Occasional Sleep Loss Makes People Angrier
Source: Angie Hunt, Futurity, November 27, 2018

Losing just a couple hours of sleep at night makes you angrier, especially in frustrating situations, according to new research.

While the results may seem intuitive, the study is one of the first to provide evidence that sleep loss causes anger.

Other studies have shown a link between sleep and anger, but questions remained about whether sleep loss was to blame or if anger was responsible for disrupted sleep, says study coauthor Zlatan Krizan, a psychology professor at Iowa State University.

The research, which appears in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, answers those questions and provides new insight into our ability to adjust to irritating conditions when tired. ….