The Mental Health Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force wants to hear from patients, families, consumer advocates, healthcare providers, insurers, and other stakeholders on their experience with mental health and substance use disorder parity requirements. Comments are sought on a range of topics, including how to improve understanding of parity among key stakeholders; examples of the types of information commonly seen in health plans and when insurance issuers share deny coverage for a mental health or substance use disorder benefit; best practices used by state insurance commissioners to ensure the health plans and policies issued in their states are in compliance with parity; and how health plans and issuers ensure that their policies are in compliance with parity, particularly the requirements regarding non-quantitative treatment limits.
News in the Last Week
Two-thirds of UK parents fear their son or daughter would be facing “a life sentence” if they developed a mental health problem in childhood, research shows. Many also worry that their child will not get a job, find a partner or have a family as a result of their condition, and might even be taken away from them.
A survey of 2,061 adults, including 500 parents, found that 67% of parents believe their child may never recover from being diagnosed with mental illness. The findings have prompted renewed concern about how well-equipped NHS children’s and adolescent mental health services are to deal with the growing number of young people experiencing problems such as acute anxiety.
The mass shooting in Orlando was appalling in scale: 49 killed in a single attack. But it’s not unusual for dozens of Americans to be killed by guns in a single day.
Gun homicides are a common cause of death in the United States, killing about as many people as car crashes (not counting van, truck, motorcycle or bus accidents). Some cases command our attention more than others, of course. Counting mass shootings that make headlines and the thousands of Americans murdered one or a few at a time, gunshot homicides totaled 8,124 in 2014, according to the F.B.I.
This level of violence makes the United States an extreme outlier when measured against the experience of other advanced countries.
Great news! Early-bird registration for the National Wraparound Academy has been extended by one week! So, if you register on or before July 7th, the cost is $375 (after July 7th, the cost is $450). Your registration fee covers the entire 2 and a half day event that includes:
Monday: Six day-long intensive trainings with two networking breaks and lunch in between:
- Foundations for Wraparound Facilitators
- Setting the Stage: Supervision for Care Coordination
- Financing, Policy-Making, and Management
- Supporting Youth and Young Adults in Wraparound
- Building Skills in Parent Peer-to-Peer Support
- Evaluation, Research, and Outcomes Management
Tuesday & Wednesday: 90-minute sessions in six tracks that match the first day’s intensive trainings. Customize your attendance to suit your goals!
There will also be scheduled time for individualized technical assistance from over 20 experts from the Academy's faculty, along with opportunities to network and socialize. Want to learn more about the Academy? Watch the informational webinar below:
You can also access the latest information about the Academy, along with a full agenda of events, from the National Wraparound Implementation Center's website.
To secure a better future for our children, Americans strongly support increased government spending on children and child well-being policies according to a poll released by the Children’s Leadership Council today. The findings show:
- 70 percent of Americans believe children would be better off if government did more to support parents and families;
- 63 percent of Americans favor increasing funding for programs and services to meet children’s needs; and
- a majority of Americans say they are more likely to support someone who commits to making child well-being policies a priority, especially in the areas of: child abuse and family violence (75 percent); child poverty and hunger (71 percent); child health care coverage (67 percent); college affordability (66 percent), and child care and early education (58 percent).
These findings are timely, coming as they do in a year of national elections. And more immediately, during a period when the majority of American families are contending with growing inequality and stagnant wages and Congress is working on Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations.
To make it easy to share this information, the CLC and our partners at SparkAction have created resources for use in educating the public, the media, elected officials, and candidates, including:
- Memos on the poll and its results, including specific information on parents and Millennials
- A press release and talking points
- Sample social media posts and shareable graphics
- A customizable blog post, with quotes
- Short blurbs for your site and e-newsletters
These and more are available at bit.ly/clcpoll.
America’s babies, children and youth need, and will continue to need, advocates and allies who are willing to speak up for them and their families. To that end, the poll and new resources can help all of us a) build support for federal investments in child and youth programs both now and leading up to the election, b) rebut the anti-federal spending rhetoric that is likely to be frequently heard in the days and months ahead and c) contribute to ongoing media reports on poverty, inequality and our nation’s economy.
If you have any questions, or would like additional information on the poll, please contact the Children’s Leadership Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The teenage years tend to elicit more concern on the part of parents, but the pre-teen years are actually an equally dramatic stage in a child’s development. Kids between the ages of 8 and 12 are already beginning to experience some pretty major shifts: their bodies are changing, they start caring more about what their peers think and they’re becoming more independent from mom and dad. The tween years are also when many kids get their first phone, which has become a major rite of passage. Parents can do a lot to help support tweens as they begin this new chapter — and lay the groundwork for healthy communication during the teenage years.
This week, the Child Mind Institute is offering a roundup of some of their best articles about pre-teens. You’ll see tween parenting tips, ideas for boosting self-esteem during a sensitive stage, advice about when to get that first phone and more. You’ll also see descriptions of social anxiety and OCD, since those are two disorders that often first appear during these years.
- What Parents Should Know About Tweens
All about the changes in early adolescence that lead to independence but also self-consciousness, emotional volatility and new, challenging behaviors.
- 10 Tips for Parenting Your Pre-teen
Keeping lines of communication open, even as kids push for more independence, will pay off in the turbulent years of adolescence.
- When Should You Get Your Kid a Phone?
A checklist of things to consider when you're trying to decide if he's ready to handle the responsibility, and the risks.
- My 12-year-old daughter acts much older than she is. How do I rein her in?
Be open with her about your concerns, and don't be afraid to set limits.
- 13 Ways to Boost Your Daughter's Self-Esteem
Despite our body-obsessed culture, parents can help girls build confidence based on what they can do, not what they look like.
- Why You Should Have Frank Sex Talks With Kids
Starting the talk when kids are still young means it will be less embarrassing — and you set the expectation for continued communication down the road.
- What Is Social Anxiety?
When worry about how you appear to others, and fear of embarrassment, keep you from doing things you need (and want) to do.
- What Does OCD Look Like in the Classroom?
How to recognize the signs that a child is struggling, even if he is hiding his anxiety.
Mass Murder, Mental Illness, and Men, Michael H. Stone, MD, VIOLENCE AND GENDER Volume 2, Number 1, 2015 ª Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/vio.2015.0006
From the Abstract -
Although mass murder is a rare event in the United States—perhaps a dozen to a dozen and a half incidents a year in the recent decades—occurrences tend to overshadow the much greater number of other murders, because of the electrifying effect upon the public of so many lives being lost all at once. Much of the heightened frequency and greater death toll stems from the easier availability of semiautomatic weapons since the 1970s. Several recent, highly dramatic mass murders were committed by mentally ill persons, which has led to unwarranted stigmatization of the mentally ill as an inherently dangerous element in society. Mass murder is an almost exclusively male phenomenon (male:female ratio *24:1)—a reflection of evolutionarily driven tendency for males to be more aggressive than females. Most mass murders are planned well in advance of the outburst, usually as acts of revenge or retribution for perceived slights and wrongs. Overwhelming hopelessness is often present: this may help explain how nearly half the persons committing mass murder either commit suicide or are killed by the police in the immediate aftermath of the event. The percentages of mass murder among white and black persons approximate their percentages in the general population; the ratio for Hispanics appears less than expected. The majority of mass murderers are persons with paranoid personality configurations (including, at the more severe end, paranoid schizophrenia)—typically associated with a deep sense of disgruntlement and unfairness. Persons at high risk to commit mass murder are hard to spot in advance, given the much greater number of grudge-holding persons than those who ever carry out a mass murder. This complicates the task of law enforcement: Mass murder is difficult to prevent, all the more so given the unpopularity of government confiscation of semiautomatic weaponry.
- Download the journal article here.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) strengthened access to health care for individuals transitioning from incarceration back to their communities. New Medicaid guidance released today updates decades-old policy and clarifies that individuals who are currently on probation, parole or in home confinement are not considered inmates of a public institution. It also extends coverage to Medicaid-eligible individuals living in community halfway houses where they have freedom of movement, improving access to care for as many as 96,000 individuals in Medicaid expansion states over the course of the year.
Historically, the vast majority of justice-involved individuals have been uninsured, while experiencing disproportionately high rates of chronic conditions, infectious disease and behavioral health issues. Studies show that roughly half of incarcerated individuals struggle with mental health and substance abuse conditions. Access to the health benefits the Medicaid program covers can play a key role in improving the health of these individuals, and states that expand Medicaid coverage are able to better support the health needs of this population.
“As we celebrate National Re-Entry Week, it is important to understand the critical role access to health care plays in successful returns to the community for so many Americans trying to change their lives,” said Richard Frank, HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. “Today’s actions will immediately begin to give as many as 96,000 of American’s most vulnerable citizens access to needed health care through Medicaid, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment, reducing the risk they will be re-incarcerated or hurt.”
According to a report released by HHS today, there are 2.2 million people currently incarcerated and 4.7 million people under probation or parole in the United States. Because over 95 percent of incarcerated individuals will eventually return to the community, their access to quality health care post-release is an important public health issue. Medicaid coverage connects individuals to the care they need once they are in the community and can help lower health care costs, hospitalizations and emergency department visits, as well as decrease mortality and recidivism for justice-involved individuals.
Through the Affordable Care Act, states have the opportunity to expand Medicaid coverage to individuals, including single childless adults, with household incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Federal funds cover 100 percent of health care costs for the newly eligible population in 2016, scaling down to 90 percent in 2020 and beyond. Medicaid expansion is an important step states can take to address behavioral health needs, including serious mental illness and opioid and other substance use disorders. Nearly 2 million low-income uninsured people with a substance use disorder or a mental illness lived in states that had not yet expanded Medicaid in 2014.
The Obama Administration has taken major steps to make our criminal justice system fairer, more efficient, and more effective at reducing recidivism and helping formerly incarcerated individuals contribute to their communities. To highlight this important work, the Justice Department has designated the week of April 24-30, 2016, as National Reentry Week.
For more information on the Medicaid clarification guidance, visit: https://www.medicaid.gov/federal-policy-guidance/federal-policy-guidance.html
For the report on the importance of Medicaid coverage for criminal justice-involved individuals reentering their communities, visit: https://aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-report/importance-medicaid-coverage-criminal-justice-involved-individuals-issue-brief
Health News from NPR - Heard on All Things Considered
At first Giselle wasn't sure what to put on her medical school application. She wanted to be a doctor, but she also wanted people to know about her own health: years of depression, anxiety and a suicide attempt. (We're using only her first name in this story, out of concern for her future career.) "A lot of people were like, you don't say that at all," she said. "Do not mention that you have any kind of weakness." Giselle remembers having her first intense suicidal thoughts when she was 10 years old.
A message from our friends at the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign
The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign Invites You to Attend a Webinar:
- Pitching the Press: Strategies for Building Media Relationships to Expand Medicaid & CHIP Outreach Efforts
- Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. EDT
Local television news programs, drive-time radio and community newspapers are just a few examples of media consumers turn to daily for information. And building relationships with community outlets can serve as a valuable extension of on-going Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) outreach and enrollment efforts. Learn tips on how to determine which media is relevant in your community and how to identify the best reporters to contact, including those who work at multicultural outlets. This Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign webinar will feature advice and best practices from journalists, organizations and public relations professionals.
- Melanie Hall, Executive Director, Family Healthcare
- Elisa Camahort Page, Chief Community Officer, SheKnows Media
- Annette Raveneau, National Director of Media Partnerships, Enroll America
- Lorraine Ryan, Public Affairs Officer, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Adam Silverstein, Managing Supervisor, FleishmanHillard
Join us on Tuesday, June 7th at 3:00 p.m. EDT for the next Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign webinar.