Recovery Update

Recovery Update features the most recent articles from throughout the field of psychiatric rehabilitation. Stay up to date on all the latest mental health news through this weekly newsletter.
 

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Recovery Update features the most recent articles from throughout the field of psychiatric rehabilitation. Stay up to date on all the latest mental health news through this weekly newsletter.

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Acknowledging a patient's ability to grow and recover may help them feel more understood despite ongoing suffering.
During the 2020 presidential election, President Joe Biden proposed a $20 billion grant to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes, fund community-based mental health and substance abuse services, focus on the rehabilitation of incarcerated individuals and end private prisons. With more individuals with mental illness in prisons than in hospitals, it is necessary to begin to address not only the ways in which Biden's policies are a step in the right direction, but how much more money, time and energy is needed to address the mental health crisis in U.S. prisons.
Stress and anxiety levels have hit the roof as COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise during the third wave. And just when the nation thought things couldn't get any worse, the country was set alight last week during the violent protests and looting sprees, adding to an overwhelming sense of doom.
Despite the better health outcomes and lower costs that often result from consistent primary care, only 9%of total Veterans Health Administration spending went toward primary care, and those numbers decreased further by 2018, according to a research letter published in JAMA Network Open.
It should come as little surprise that the pandemic triggered a surge in mental health issues. Millions lost their jobs, life-threatening illness lurked at every corner and socializing in person became dangerous. Indeed, the CDC recently reported that since the pandemic started, 41% of Americans reported symptoms of anxiety or depression — up from about 11% in 2019. The trends were even more alarming for children. Compared to 2019, mental health-related visits to the emergency room for children ages 5 to 11 and 12 to 17 increased a relative 24% and 31%, respectively.
When it comes to improving access to mental health services for children and families in low-income communities, a University of Houston researcher found having a warm handoff, which is a transfer of care between a primary care physician and mental health provider, will help build trust with the patient and lead to successful outcomes. In the United States, as much as 14% of children experience emotional problems from birth to five years of age, and 75% of children with diagnosed mental health disorders are seen by pediatric primary care physicians. But in many under-resourced communities, integrated behavioral health interventions are not readily available.
The charitable arm of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is investing more than $5 million in enhancing behavioral health services across the state. The Blue & You Foundation is making $5.29 million in grants available for these efforts, which will be concentrated in eight programs that aim to address the "growing behavioral health crisis in the state," the insurer said.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the federal government couldn't force states to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. Ever since, Democrats and hospital lobbyists have looked for ways to push state legislators to let able-bodied adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level into Medicaid. In the last COVID relief bill, Democrats tried to give states more temporary money to expand Medicaid. Now they are considering legislation to allow Democratic cities in Republican states to expand Medicaid on their own. But Texas Republicans have modeled a better way to get Americans affordable health care.
The nation's infrastructure is about more than roads and bridges, broadband and renewable energy. At the most fundamental level, infrastructure literally begins with — and depends on — people. And when it comes to mental health and substance use disorders, our human infrastructure was vulnerable and struggling before COVID-19, and it has taken a battering during the pandemic.
Dr. Mark Ragins, PRA's 2011 John Beard Lifetime Award recipient and recovery movement leader, has just written an inspiring and thoughtful new book, Journeys Beyond the Frontier: A Rebellious Guide to Psychosis and Other Extraordinary Experiences. Paperback and kindle editions are available on Amazon, where a full description and sample are available. Dr. Ragins recently described some of the content of the book as a keynote with panel discussion at the CASRA conference in October 2020; you may watch it here or through his website www.markragins.com.
When it comes to improving access to mental health services for children and families in low-income communities, a University of Houston researcher found having a warm handoff, which is a transfer of care between a primary care physician and mental health provider, will help build trust with the patient and lead to successful outcomes. Quenette L. Walton, assistant professor at the UH Graduate College of Social Work, identified and evaluated strategies used by pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed medical health counselors, program managers and coordinators to improve the referral system and access to pediatric mental health care for low-income, minority families in Los Angeles County, where the research was conducted.