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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2009; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.60.7.1001
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Recession threatens gains for children: The economic downturn will undo virtually all progress made in children's well-being since 1975, according to a report based on more than 30 years of data from the annual Child Well-Being Index of the Foundation for Child Development (FCD). Anticipating the Impacts of a 2008–2010 Recession presents projections in seven quality-of-life domains, such as health, safety, and community connectedness. The proportion of children in poverty is expected to peak at 21% in 2010, the highest rate since the previous recession in the early 1990s. Other key findings include a decline in social connectedness as the severity of the housing crisis drives families to move or become homeless and a higher rate of childhood obesity as parents come to rely more on low-cost fast food. As in previous recessions, child safety is expected to suffer because of higher rates of violent crime and budget cuts for policing and juvenile crime prevention. Because of poverty and family disruption, fewer children will participate in prekindergarten programs, which research has shown leads to below-basic performance on fourth-, 8th-, and 12th-grade standard tests. FCD calls on the Obama administration to implement policies to circumvent these negative effects, such as using Title I funds to add more prekindergarten programs. The 2009 Child Well-Being Index and the special report are available at www.fcd-us.org.

Transformation-monitoring Web site launched: A new Web site has been set up to keep the public informed about activities being pursued in states that have received Mental Health Transformation State Incentive Grants from the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Transformation Tracker Explorer is database searchable by keyword and by state, with direct links to live data that the grant states provide to SAMHSA. One goal of the site is to inform stakeholders about transformative ideas that they can implement or advocate for locally. Visitors can post feedback on how states are transforming their systems and discuss specific activities. Transformation Tracker Explorer is at mhtsigdata.samhsa.gov.

Best practices for employee work engagement: Only one in every five employees is highly engaged in his or her work, according to recent research. Disengaged employees cost U.S. employers between $250 and $350 billion a year. A new issue brief from the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health examines this research area and presents key findings. Studies have consistently shown that effective communication between management and employees fosters greater engagement. Giving workers the opportunity to share their views with management and keeping employees informed about what is going on in the organization are key drivers of engagement. The issue brief outlines actions that employers can take at the individual and organizational levels to improve engagement. Case studies describe successful initiatives at three companies. The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health is a program of the American Psychiatric Foundation and 35 major U.S. corporations. The issue brief is available at www.workplacementalhealth.org.




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