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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2008; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.59.12.1486
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SAMHSA report on impact of self-disclosure of mental illness: Stigma associated with mental illness creates obstacles to treatment and recovery. Research has shown that "contact strategies" work—individuals' attitudes improve when they have direct contact with persons with mental illness and can get to know people beyond labels and myths. Such strategies require self-disclosure by individuals who have experienced mental illness, and disclosure has both advantages and risks. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a report that reviews public health literature on how people who receive mental health services can be affected when they disclose this fact to others. Literature on self-disclosure of other illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis and HIV-AIDS, is also reviewed. The 45-page report is designed to help individuals decide when and where self-disclosure may be appropriate for them, what to disclose, and how. Separate sections focus on self-disclosure in employment and among mental health professionals. Helpful information from interviews with seven people who have disclosed their personal experience of mental illness, including Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, is presented. Self-Disclosure and Its Impact on People Who Receive Mental Health Services is available on the SAMHSA Web site at mentalhealth.samhsa.gov.

Kaiser Foundation to launch nonprofit health policy news service: The Kaiser Family Foundation is launching Kaiser Health News (KHN), an independent news service to report on the nation's complex health care system and the important political and policy debates surrounding it. The goal is to provide in-depth coverage and news at a time when cash-strapped news organizations are scaling back efforts in this area. KHN, which will be headquartered in Washington, D.C., will be headed by two journalists with many years of experience covering health care. Laurie McGinley is the former deputy bureau chief for global economics and former national health care policy correspondent at The Wall Street Journal. Peggy Girshman is a former managing editor at National Public Radio and was an executive editor at Congressional Quarterly. The centerpiece of KHN will be in-depth stories on new developments and on initiatives and debates at the federal and state levels. All news content will be available for free on a new Web site, www.kaiserhealthnews.org, expected to be launched in early 2009. KHN will also enter into partnerships with news organizations to jointly produce and publish articles and will provide content for syndication to national and international news organizations free of charge.

AHRQ overview of hospitalizations related to diagnoses of mental disorders: In 2006 one out of every five hospital stays (21.3%, or 8.4 million stays) involved a mental health condition either as the primary diagnosis (1.4 million stays, or 3.4% of all stays) or the secondary diagnosis (7.1 million stays, or 17.9%), according to a statistical brief released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The two leading causes of hospitalizations for mental health conditions were mood disorders (729,500 stays) and schizophrenia (380,600 stays). Together these conditions were responsible for 82% of all stays for which a mental health diagnosis was the principal diagnosis. Common secondary mental health diagnoses included dementia and other cognitive disorders (1.7 million stays, or 24% of all stays with a secondary mental health diagnosis). Anxiety disorders were a secondary diagnosis in 1.3 million stays, or 19%. The average length of stay for hospitalizations involving a mental health condition was greater than for all stays (8.2 days compared with 4.6 days). Hospital charges for mental health hospitalizations were about $3,300 less per day ($1,900 per day compared with about $5,200 per day for all stays). Medicare and Medicaid were the expected payers for six of every ten mental health hospitalizations, and private insurance paid for slightly more than two of ten. About one of every ten stays with a principal mental health diagnosis was uninsured. Rates of mental health hospitalizations were twice as high in the Northeast as in the West. The statistical brief, Hospital Stays Related to Mental Health, 2006, is based on data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's (HCUP). The statistics were generated from HCUPnet, a free, online query system that provides users with immediate access to the largest set of publicly available, all-payer, national, regional, and state-level hospital care databases from HCUP. The brief is available on the AHRQ Web site at www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov.

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