Friday Update

Friday Update 1-29-16

January 26, 2016


Friday Update 1-29-16

Greetings faithful readers. I should have my comments about the recent Senate HELP Full Committee Hearing on Improving the Federal Response to Challenges in Mental Health Care in America ready this coming Friday. I was pleased with the tone of the Senate approach to discussing the complex issue of mental health reform. Suffice to say, the hearing was full of civility and respect, giving me hope that something meaningful and comprehensive can be achieved. Don’t let us down, Senators! In fact, let’s start off this edition of Friday Update with the Beatles rooftop performance of the John Lennon classic, “Don’t Let Me Down.” Enjoy the video and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week 

Task Force Recommends Depression Screening for All Adults
The U.S Preventive Services Task Force is advising all adults, including pregnant and postpartum women, to get screened for depression. The task force gave it a grade B classification, meaning insurers will be required to cover depression screenings without cost-sharing under the Affordable Care Act’s list of preventive services. The new guidance published today in JAMA updates the panel’s 2009 recommendation that adults be screened if clinicians have the adequate staff in place. The guidelines recommend screening for adults regardless, since there is more mental health care support available. The earlier recommendations also didn’t address pregnant and postpartum women.

National Recommendation Bolsters Connecticut’s Effort to Screen for Maternal Mental Health at Pediatric Well-Visits
The Child, Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI) is on top of the news about expanding depression screening and is sharing a great resource to help pediatricians screen new moms for maternal depression. Check it out and figure out a way to get the CHDI team to help you do something similar in your state!

The 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Tampa Research & Policy Conference
The program looks great. Now all we need is you to join us in Tampa! Early registration rates end on February 11th, so don’t delay. As well, the hotel room block rate ends on February 11th and the hotel is close to selling out. Give the agenda a read, get excited, and get registered.

USF Students are Talking About the New MS Degree in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health
The fully online Master of Science Degree in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health (MSCABH) at the University of South Florida prepares professionals to serve in public and non-profit agencies and schools that work with diverse children and adolescents experiencing behavioral health challenges and their families. If you are looking for a degree that can train you to create change in mental health, then apply for this program. If you are an avid learner and want to take that love for improving the lives of those affected with mental health by becoming a director or supervisor, go for it!

Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority
I can’t think of a better thing to do during this political season than to pick up a copy of the new book, Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority, a fresh look at the changing voting majority in the US. Written by Steve Philips, Brown is the New White sends a wake-up call to anyone with a social conscience that people of color are key to electing public officials who care about our children, our families, our environment, and our country’s future. Steve Brown’s commitment to social justice permeates this book and will inspire you.

Schizophrenia’s Strongest Known Genetic Risk Deconstructed
Exciting news in the quest to find the root cause of schizophrenia. Scientists have discovered versions of a gene linked to schizophrenia that may trigger runaway pruning of the teenage brain’s still-maturing communications infrastructure. In a post from the Treatment Advocacy Center newsletter, Thomas Lehner, PhD, director of the Office of Genomics Research Coordination of the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), said that “normally, pruning gets rid of excess connections we no longer need, streamlining our brain for optimal performance, but too much pruning can impair mental function. It could help explain schizophrenia’s delayed age-of-onset of symptoms in late adolescence/early adulthood and shrinkage of the brain’s working tissue. Interventions that put the brakes on this pruning process-gone-awry could prove transformative.” Stay tuned!

Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit – Updated 2016
SAMHSA has released a revised version of the Opioid Overdose Toolkit. This toolkit is designed to educate first responders, physicians, patients, family members, and community members on ways to prevent opioid overdose. The revised content now includes information on the first FDA-approved nasal spray version of naloxone hydrochloride, a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Individuals’ Right under HIPAA to Access their Health Information
The regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which protect the privacy and security of individuals’ identifiable health information and establish an array of individual rights with respect to health information, have always recognized the importance of providing individuals with the ability to access and obtain a copy of their health information. Just another reminder that Congresswoman Doris Matsui has it right, when it comes to tinkering with HIPAA!

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scottScott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

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