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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2012; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.20120p194a
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Copyright © 2012 by the American Psychiatric Association.

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SAMHSA's new definition of recovery: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a new working definition of recovery from mental health and substance use disorders: “Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” The definition is the product of a year-long effort by SAMHSA and partners in the behavioral health care and other fields to develop a definition that captures the essential, common experiences of people recovering from these disorders and to outline major recovery principles. SAMHSA has also delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery: health (overcoming or managing one's disease and living in a physically and emotionally healthy way), home (having a stable and safe place to live), purpose (engaging in meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence and resources to participate in society), and community (having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope). “Over the years it has become increasingly apparent that a practical, comprehensive working definition of recovery would enable policy makers, providers, and others to better design, deliver, and measure integrated and holistic services to those in need,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde in a news release.

NIDA's MTF survey finds teen smoking at historic low: In 2011, cigarette smoking in the past month was reported by 18.7% of 12th-graders, compared with a peak rate of 36.5% in 1997 and 21.6% five years ago. Only 6.1% of eighth-graders reported current cigarette smoking, compared with a peak of 21% in 1996 and 8.7% in 2006. These rates are the lowest documented in Monitoring the Future (MTF) since the annual survey, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), began polling youths in 1975. Data also indicated that alcohol use has also decreased among teens: 63.5% of 12th-graders reported past-year use in 2011, compared with a peak of 74.8% in 1997. Similarly, 26.9% of eighth-graders reported past-year alcohol use in 2011, compared with a peak rate of 46.8% in 1994. Youths reported higher rates of marijuana use in 2011. Among 12th-graders, 36.4% reported past year use, and 6.6% reported daily use, up from 31.5% and 5%, respectively, five years ago. Only 22.7% of high school seniors reported that they saw “great risk” in smoking marijuana occasionally, compared with 25.9% five years ago. Concerns about synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or spice, prompted its inclusion in the survey for the first time in 2011. Among 12th-graders, 11.4% reported past-year use. MTF is an annual classroom survey of eighth-, tenth-, and 12th-graders conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, under a NIDA grant. Overall, 46,773 students from 400 public and private schools participated in the 2011 survey. More results are available on the NIDA Web site at www.drugabuse.gov/drugpages/mtf.html.

NASMHPD case study on maximizing Medicaid funds: State budget cuts have meant that state mental health authorities (SMHAs) have had to do more with less. In 2008 the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services launched an initiative that has improved quality of care, increased provider payments, and served more people in need. At the heart of the initiative is a benchmark incentive payment system, which is described in an issue brief recently released by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)—The Oklahoma Enhanced Tier Payment System: Leveraging Medicaid to Improve Mental Health Provider Performance and Outcomes. The initiative involved a collaborative process between the SMHA and the state's network of 15 community mental health centers, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, and the state's Medicaid agency. The 16-page brief describes the overall system design, the stakeholder engagement process, and the process for obtaining approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It also outlines how the incentive payment process works, details changes providers made to their operations and business practices, and summarizes lessons learned that can help other state mental health and Medicaid agencies maximize federal funding to drive quality and improve outcomes for people with mental health needs. The brief is available on the NASMHPD Web site at www.nasmhpd.org/publicationsmisc.cfm.

ODEP “Integrated Employment Toolkit”: The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the U.S. Department of Labor has developed the “Integrated Employment Toolkit” to provide information about the value for people with disabilities of working in competitive jobs in the community and the importance of establishing integrated employment as a goal. The online toolkit is organized for five audiences: employers, community employment agencies, individuals with disabilities and their families, policy makers, and researchers. The toolkit offers a collection of resources, reports, papers, policies, fact sheets, case studies, and discussion guides from a variety of sources. The toolkit is available on ODEP's Web site at www.dol.gov/odep/ietoolkit.

“Faces of Medicaid” new Kaiser Foundation online feature: The Medicaid program has been a focus of federal deficit reduction efforts by elected officials. It is also a major component of the coverage expansion in the health reform law. To help Americans better understand the scope of Medicaid and the services it provides, the Kaiser Family Foundation's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured has developed a new online tool that showcases actual Medicaid enrollees and the services they receive. “Faces of Medicaid” (facesofmedicaid.kff.org/facesofmedicaid.aspx) profiles 16 individuals and families from around the country who are among the 60 million people enrolled in the program. Those profiled include Patricia Clark, 86, a widow who resides in a nursing home; Anthony Burke, 11, who was diagnosed as having speech problems; and Michelle Foster, 42, who obtained prenatal services through Medicaid. State-level data on Medicaid coverage, eligibility, and spending are included to provide context for each profile.

Spanish-language fotonovela on co-occurring disorders: SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment has created a fotonovela for the Hispanic community on finding the motivation to change. The fotonovela—in comic book format with photos instead of drawings—tells the story of Mario, a Hispanic man who recently immigrated to the United States with his family. Because of the pressures of learning a language and trying to fit in, Mario has begun to use drinking as an outlet. When an alcohol-related accident kills his best friend and injures Mario, he is motivated to seek professional help, and with his family's support he makes positive changes in his life. “El Alcohol y la Depresion: El Camino de Jorge Hacia una Vida Mejor” (“Alcohol and Depression: Jorge's Journey to a Better Life”) is available at no cost from SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI pub no PHD1133): telephone, 800-729-6686; Web site, store.samhsa.gov/home.

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