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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2008; doi:
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Kaiser report on effects of economic downturn: As the country experiences an economic downturn, many states appear headed for serious budget shortfalls. Economic hard times reduce state revenues and increase the number of people who qualify for Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). However, without federal help many states may be forced to cut funds for Medicaid and SCHIP. Twenty-eight states are forecasting budget deficits totaling more than $39 billion, according to a new report from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Analyses in the report indicate that every 1% rise in the national unemployment rate will increase Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment by one million persons—600,000 children and 400,000 nonelderly adults. Medicaid and SCHIP costs would increase by $3.4 billion, of which $1.4 billion would be state funds. The 36-page report examines options that Congress may consider to better target federal relief to the states, such as increasing the federal Medicaid matching rate for a specified time. Medicaid, SCHIP and Economic Downturn: Policy Challenges and Policy Responses is available on the Kaiser Foundation Web site at www.kff.org.

SAMHSA report on depression among adolescents: About 2.1 million youths age 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year, according to a brief report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Overall, 8.5% of adolescents—one in every 12—experienced a major depressive episode. The rate was 12.7% among girls and 4.6% among boys. The report defines a major depressive episode as a period of two weeks or longer of depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least four other symptoms reflecting a change in functioning. The report is based on combined data from the 2004 to 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health; responses from 67,706 adolescents in a random sample of U.S. households were analyzed. Professional field representatives visited each household to conduct the survey. Nearly half of the adolescents who reported symptoms of major depression (48%) also reported that it severely impaired their ability to function in at least one major life area. The full report, Major Depressive Episode Among Youths Aged 12 to 17 in the United States of America: 2006, is available on the SAMHSA Office of Applied Studies Web site at oas.samhsa.gov.

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