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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2009; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.60.3.412
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Call for applications for the 2009 Psychiatric Services Achievement Awards: Innovative programs that deliver services to people with mental illness or mental disabilities, that have overcome obstacles, and that can serve as models for other programs are invited to enter the 2009 Psychiatric Services Achievement Awards competition. Two Gold Achievement Award winners will be chosen—an academically or institutionally sponsored program and a community-based program. The Gold Award winners will each receive $10,000. Second- and third-place winners will receive awards of $7,500 and $5,000, respectively. Funds for the 2009 American Psychiatric Association's Achievement Awards program have been provided by Pfizer, Inc. The application deadline is March 31. More information about the awards and an application form can be obtained on APA's Web site at www.psych.org/achievementawards or by calling 703-907-8592.

Promoting substance abuse treatment for employees: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has created a series of 14 two-page briefs outlining the benefits to employers of helping employees obtain treatment for substance use problems. The briefs address such topics as the effects of substance abuse on morale, productivity, safety, and finances; the cost-effectiveness of promoting treatment; and how workplace screening works. "These timely materials show that substance abuse treatment benefits under employee health plans can actually save money while boosting employees' health and productivity" said H. Westley Clark, M.D., director of SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). "This can help employers make informed decisions while they are considering changes related to the Wellstone/Domenici Mental Health and Addictions Parity Act of 2008." The 14 briefs can be downloaded from the CSAT Web site at csat.samhsa.gov/idbse/index.aspx or ordered free of charge by calling 877-726-4727.

Financial distress and workplace mental health: The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health has launched a series of issue briefs, Research Works, intended to translate research into action for employers. The first brief, "Employee Personal Financial Distress and How Employers Can Help," summarizes the results of recent surveys showing that the economic downturn is a significant source of stress in the lives of Americans and that they are looking to employers for education about financial management, although few employers provide it and no research has identified the types of financial counseling that are most effective. The ten-page brief describes steps that employers can take in three areas—personal financial counseling, credit counseling and debt service management, and employee assistance programs. Case studies from companies that have implemented financial education programs are included, as well as a list of organizations that offer assistance to employers and employees in this area. The brief is available at www.workplacementalhealth.org. The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health is a program of the American Psychiatric Foundation that combines the knowledge and experience of the American Psychiatric Association and more than 30 national and international employer partners.

New data summary reports from SAMHSA: Fifty-one new short reports created to provide key information about the prevalence of substance abuse and mental health problems in each state and the District of Columbia have been developed by SAMHSA. The eight-page reports use easy-to-read tables and graphs to present data on unmet need for substance abuse treatment, facilities and admissions, past-year serious psychological distress and major depressive disorder, and funding currently received by each state from SAMHSA. The States in Brief reports are available on the SAMHSA Web site at http://www.samhsa.gov/states inbrief.

AHRQ patient safety survey: The Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ) has sponsored the development of a survey to determine whether a medical office has a culture that promotes patient safety. This tool is designed to measure the patient safety culture in an individual medical office by assessing the opinions of staff at all levels—from physicians to receptionists. The survey can also be administered to medical offices within a larger medical practice, health care system, or medical building. The Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture is included in a 71-page document that provides step-by-step guidance on how to customize the survey, distribute and administer it, and analyze the data and prepare reports. AHRQ also provides free technical assistance on survey administration issues, data analysis and reporting, and action planning for improvement. The guide and survey are available on the AHRQ Web site at www.ahrq.gov/qual/mosurvey08.

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