A report reviewing the state of evidence for the effectiveness of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in key target populations was conducted to help the California Mental Health Services Authority’s planning for future prevention and early intervention activities.
According to the findings, MHFA appears to be helpful in improving knowledge of mental health issues and reducing stigma across most of CalMHSA target populations. An increase in providing help to others with mental health needs was self-reported, particularly by public-sector employees. The report concludes that while it is “unlikely that the effects of MHFA training would vary greatly between the general Australian and US populations, the limited evidence base for ethnic minority groups is potentially a strong limitation.” Key groups in California, such as Latinos and African Americans, have not been studied. As there are differences in cultures with respect to beliefs about mental illness this indicates the need for further studies.
Read the report here.
A survey by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American (IAVA) found that two out of every five of their members know another veteran who committed suicide. On February 12, President Obama signed a federal bill to help veterans access quality mental health services, according to an article by Peter Baker in the New York Times.
The Clay Hunt Act, named for a Marine who committed suicide in 2011, was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and provides the following:
- Outside evaluations of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ mental health and suicide prevention programs;
- Website with interactive features for locating resources;
- Incentives for mental health professionals to practice with the VA; and
- Extension of time limit for veterans to get health benefits from the VA without proving that disability is related to service.
Read the article here.
Read the IAVA survey results here.
Read the text of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act here.
The office of the Kern County Superintendent of Schools has announced the funding of a Youth Mental First Aid Program for Kern County. The office received a grant to produce the program, which will help teachers, volunteers, and others who work with youth of ages 12-18 to recognize and handle situations involving mental illness.
Coverage on Kern Golden Empire quotes Tatia Hunter-Jennings, School Counselor, Prevention Services for KCSOS and coordinator of the program, “This important educational effort goes a lot further than emergency intervention; it really helps people understand the shroud of fear and misjudgment facing individuals and families who experience mental illnesses and addiction.”
Read more here.
The Campaign to Change Direction was inspired by the discussion at the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, which came on the heels of the Newtown tragedy. It asks people to learn the five signs of emotional suffering so you can recognize them in yourself or help a loved one who may be in emotional pain.
The five signs are:
- decline in personal care
- change in personality<
Someone may exhibit one or more signs.
“Our mental health is just as vital as our physical health, so it’s time we start treating it that way.” – First Lady Michelle Obama
Learn more about the campaign HERE.
In February 2014, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Research Prioritization Task Force (RPTF) released A Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention: An Action Plan to Save Lives, which outlines the research areas that show the most promise in helping to reduce the rates of suicide attempts and deaths in the next 5-10 years.
The Prioritized Research Agenda is organized around six key questions, each of which will be addressed in a series of webinars sponsored by the National Council for Behavioral Health in collaboration with the Action Alliance and the National Institute of Mental Health.
January 29 — Why do people become suicidal?
February 24 — How can we better detect/predict suicide risk?
April 2 — What interventions prevent suicidal behavior?
April 29 — What are the most effective services to treat and prevent suicidal behavior?
May 27 — What suicide interventions outside of health care settings reduce risk?
June 24 — What research infrastructure do we need to reduce suicidal behavior?
For more information and to register, visit the National Council’s website.
The University of Southern Florida publishes a booklet full of resources on effective school-based suicide prevention called The Guide.
The Guide will help to provide information to schools to assist them in the development of a framework to work in partnership with community resources and families.
View The Guide HERE.
From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
The SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2015 for a Cooperative Agreement for Networking, Certifying, and Training Suicide Prevention Hotlines and a National Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH). The purpose of this program is twofold. First, to manage, enhance, and strengthen the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (referred to as the Lifeline), SAMHSA’s system of toll-free telephone numbers, primarily 1-800-273-TALK (8255) that routes calls from anywhere in the United States to a network of certified local crisis centers that can intervene with, support, and link callers to local emergency, mental health, and social service resources. The technology permits calls to be directed immediately to a suicide prevention worker who is geographically closest to the caller. Second, this cooperative agreement supports the National Disaster Distress Helpline, through the number 1-800-985-5990 and text number TalkWithUs to 66746 to increase state and local capacity to connect affected residents with needed behavioral health services such as crisis counseling and referral services after a disaster and/or traumatic event.
Application Due Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015.
Anticipated Award Amount: $6,211,000.
To learn more, go HERE.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for a fiscal year (FY) 2015 Suicide Prevention Resource Center grant. The purpose of this program is to build national capacity for preventing suicide by providing technical assistance, training, and resources to assist states, tribes, organizations, SAMHSA Garrett Lee Smith and other SAMHSA grantees, and individuals to develop suicide prevention strategies (including programs, interventions, and policies) that advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP), with the overall goal of reducing suicides and suicidal behaviors in the nation. This work includes support of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), and working to advance high-impact objectives of the NSSP.
Anticipated Total Available Funding: $5,634,000
Anticipated Number of Awards: 1
Deadline: Monday, March 2, 2015
View more details HERE.
The National Action Alliance’s Research Task Force, co-led by National Institute of Mental Health Director Tom Insel and Jed Foundation Board Chair Phil Satow developed a Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention: An Action Plan to Save Lives, which gives a suicide prevention roadmap.
Read the Action Plan HERE.
The Zero Suicide Toolkit describes the essential dimensions of suicide prevention for health care systems, including health care plans or care organizations serving a defined population of consumers, such as behavioral health programs, integrated delivery systems, and comprehensive primary care programs. It was created by the Clinical Care and Intervention Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
In addition, there are several recorded webinars about the Zero Suicide Toolkit at the link below.
View the toolkit HERE.