Category Archives: Mental Health

Web site helps employers with hiring vets

Source: Employee Benefit News, Industry inBrief, August 21, 2008

The U.S. Department of Labor rolled out a new online resource to help employers in their employment of veterans with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, two common battlefield-related conditions.

The new America’s Heroes at Work Web site offers information about TBI and PTSD, as well as tools and guidance on how to implement workplace accommodations and other services that benefit affected individuals.

Job-Worker Mismatch and Cognitive Decline

Source: Andries De Grip, Hans Bosma, Dick Willems, Martin Van Boxtel, IZA Discussion Paper No. 2956, July 2007

We have used longitudinal test data on various aspects of people’s cognitive abilities to analyze whether overeducated workers are more vulnerable to a decline in their cognitive abilities, and undereducated workers are less vulnerable. We found that a job-worker mismatch induces a cognitive decline with respect to immediate and delayed recall abilities, cognitive flexibility and verbal fluency. Our findings indicate that, to some extent, it is the adjustment of the ability level of the overeducated and undereducated workers that adjusts initial job-worker mismatch. This adds to the relevance of preventing overeducation, and shows that being employed in a challenging job contributes to workers’ cognitive resilience.

Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace

Source: U.S. Department of Labor
National Resources
Drug-free workplace programs do more than just rid the workplace of alcohol and other drugs they significantly contribute to the creation of alcohol- and drug-free families, schools and communities. A number of national organizations may provide assistance in learning about workplace substance abuse issues and developing drug-free workplace programs.
[This site LINKS to the key organizations in the U.S.]

Note: Drug-Free Work Week will be October 20-26, 2008

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)