News for the Week of August 19, 2013

//News for the Week of August 19, 2013

News for the Week of August 19, 2013

News for the Weeks of 8/12 – 8/16 & 8/19 – 8/23

Mental Health America Provides New Resources on Student Mental Health – Health News Digest (8/22/13)

In anticipation of school starting up again, Mental Health America (MHA) recently released new resources on student mental health for young people and their parents. The new resources include a Back to Campus Toolkit, which includes “fact sheets for students and information for colleges and universities about what types of services should be in place to address the mental health needs of the student body.” MHA also created a Back to School List of Tips that “provides important steps parents can take to support their child as he or she heads back to school.” Visit the MHA website for additional materials on children’s mental health.

Read the full article.

Blog: The Affordable Care Act and Expanding Mental Health Coverage – The White House Blog (8/21/13)

On Wednesday, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, wrote a post for the White House Blog highlighting the Administration’s dedication to mental health issues. She highlighted the National Conference on Mental Health, hosted by the President in June, and the strong focus on mental health investments that were included in the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget. However, she noted that these actions alone are not enough. “If we’re going to help more Americans seek treatment, we also need to make sure they have coverage when they do. That is why implementation of the Affordable Care Act is a major focus of

[the administration’s] mental health agenda.”

She highlighted that the ACA will build on the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act to expand mental health and substance use disorder benefits and federal parity protections to over 60 million Americans. Under the ACA “new health plans are now required to cover preventative services like depression screenings for adults and behavioral assessments for children at no additional cost. And starting next year, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny health care coverage to anyone because of a pre-existing mental health condition.“ Muñoz concluded by saying “this Administration is committed to helping people with mental health and substance abuse issues get the care they need, and the Affordable Care Act is playing an important role in achieving this goal.”

Read the full blog post.

Colorado Suicide Rate Reaches Historic High – (8/19/13) 

Colorado’s suicide death toll has been climbing for the past decade, giving Colorado one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. Chillingly, in 2012 alone, 1,053 Coloradans completed suicide, representing a rate of 19.7 per 100,000 people. This number is a 15.8 percent increase from 2011. The continued increase in completed suicides in Colorado has the Office of Suicide Prevention, which leads the state’s suicide prevention and intervention efforts, looking for new strategies. 

9news highlights two promising new initiatives –, “an online resource using ‘manspeak’ and humor to target men at risk for depression and suicide”, and Means Restriction Education, which “focuses on educating Coloradans on the importance of reducing suicidal individuals’ access to lethal means.”

Read the full article.
For more information about Means Restriction Education check out our blog post “Gun Control Debate Missing the Real Target”

Auditor Says California Not Watching Mental Health Funds – Sacramento Bee (8/16/13)

A state audit of Proposition 63, also known as the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), finds that “State agencies have not properly overseen how California counties are spending billions of dollars on mental health care programs generated by Proposition 63.” Lawmakers, including the Act’s author President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, requested the audit last year after news reports questioned whether county mental health programs were appropriately spending MHSA funds, which come from a 1 percent tax levied on people with incomes greater than $1 million.

In a letter accompanying the audit, state auditor Elaine Howle wrote “because of the minimal oversight (the) Mental Health and the Accountability Commission provided in the past, the State has little current assurance that the funds directed to counties – almost $7.4 billion from fiscal years 2006-2007 through 2011-12 – have been used effectively and appropriately.” Howle’s review found that state officials “did not conduct program evaluations or on-site reviews of county mental health programs, did not consistently ensure that counties reported required data about whom they were serving and only recently established a framework for evaluating programs.” In reaction to the audit’s findings Steinberg said “This is a wake-up call to the folks in charge… You can’t just do the work, you can’t just help the people. That’s most important, but you have to tell the public why and how people are better because of this investment of public dollars.”

The audit recommends that the state Department of Health Care Services provide more oversight of county spending by conducting on-site reviews and improving data collection. The audit also recommends that the Legislature institute “a measure allowing the state to withhold Proposition 63 funds from counties that don’t comply with reporting requirements.” 

Notably, the audit failed to address complaints made by many critics that “the overall effort doesn’t address the needs of many of the most seriously mental ill,” as it was intended, opting to instead focus on the “dynamic between the state and county governments.”

Read the full article.

SAMHSA Bulletin: New SAMHSA Report Shows When Times are Tough, Public Funding for Behavioral Health Treatment is Even More Critical  (8/14/13)

A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) entitled The National Expenditures for Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Treatment, 1986-2009, highlights the importance of public mental health and substance abuse services during difficult economic times. “The report shows that public spending is critically important for the funding of mental health and substance abuse treatment services, especially compared to the role of public payers in all-health spending.” For example, the report shows that public spending (including the SAMHSA Mental Health Block Grant) accounted for 60 percent ($88 billion) of mental health spending in 2009.

Read the full Bulletin.
The full report is available at

Child Sex Trafficking Victims Recovered by FBI Could Go to Jail – The Huffington Post (8/9/13)

Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) successfully rescued 105 sexually exploited children across the country during Operation Cross Country. After the operation was carried out, an FBI representative was quoted in the New York Times saying “We are not going to charge child victims of prostitution with prostitution… We regard them as victims, as they were not able to make a choice for themselves.” However, according to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which partnered with the FBI on Operation Cross Country, some of the recovered children may go to jail at least temporarily due to insufficient safe houses. A representative from the organization, Staca Shehan, told U.S. News and World Report that, “if there is nowhere to hold them, and nowhere safe for them to go, law enforcement has no alternative… If they aren’t placed in a juvenile detention facility, the child could run back to the prostitution scenario.”

FBI spokeswoman Whitney Malkin confirmed that some of the child victims will be put in juvenile detention centers, but that the majority of children will be placed in safe housing rather than being jailed. She said “detaining victims …  falls far short of ideal…. The infrastructure to support the range of services just isn’t there in many places.” Lack of safe houses is one of the many obstacles that many community organizations across the country face in the struggle to support CSEC youth. 

Read the full article.
Visit our CSEC Policy Page or the CSEC Archives on our Blog for more information regarding this issue.

By |2019-04-24T14:19:00-08:00August 24th, 2013|The Weekly Mash Up|0 Comments

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