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On March 5th the House of Representatives passed landmark comprehensive legislation requiring private health insurance plans to use the same treatment limitations and financial requirements for mental health and addictive disorder coverage as is used for other covered services. H.R. 1424, the "Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007," introduced by Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN), was passed with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 268-148. (House members' votes are listed online at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll101.xml.) The legislation is named for the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, a tireless advocate for Americans with mental illness. House passage of H.R. 1424 is an historic step forward for mental health and addiction treatment advocates, and comes after years of hard work by the mental health and addictive disorder advocacy community.
ACA applauds Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN) for their long, hard, heroic work in gaining House passage of H.R. 1424. During floor debate, both Kennedy and Ramstad spoke about their own personal battles with mental and addictive disorders, their treatment, and how their treatment has enabled them to lead productive lives. ACA also thanks those counselors who took the time to contact their representative on this issue.
ACA and other mental health and addictive disorder advocates are now working to build upon the strong bipartisan support for H.R. 1424 and the unanimous passage last year of the Senate's bill, to encourage the development and enactment of parity legislation that provides consumer protections that are as strong as possible. Details: Scott Barstow at email@example.com.
Even though you weren't in Washington last week, you were represented on Capitol Hill by 40 of your colleagues who participated in ACA's Legislative Institute. In addition to learning about how to advocate, attendees put their new knowledge into action by visiting with members of Congress to urge support for Medicare coverage for counselors, federal support for school counseling programs, and mental health addiction treatment parity legislation. The group met with Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) in addition to other members of Congress and attended training sessions as part of ACA's 2008 Legislative Institute.
A study just released by The Centers for Disease Control suggests that as many as 50 - 70 million Americans are suffering from chronic sleep loss, a contributing factor to health problems including depression, obesity and certain risk behaviors such as cigarette smoking, heavy drinking and inadequate physical activity. The study, "Perceived Insufficient Rest or Sleep—Four States, 2006," reported busy schedules or shift work, irregular sleep schedules and lifestyle factors (e.g., heavy family demands, late night television watching and Internet use.) among the causes of the reported sleep deprivation. Conducted in Delaware, Hawaii, New York and Rhode Island, the study also found the prevalence of insufficient sleep decreased with age.
More on sleep and sleep disorder issues: www.sleepfoundation.org
Representatives Jim Langevin (D- RI) and Vern Ehlers (R-MI) have sent a bipartisan "Dear Colleague" letter to the U.S. House of Representatives asking Members of Congress to sign on to a letter to House appropriators asking them to provide $61.5 million in funding for the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP) in fiscal year (FY) 2009; this is the same amount approved in the original spending bill passed by the House of Representatives for FY 2008 last year.
The ESSCP is the only federal program that provides school districts with the resources to provide comprehensive counseling services to students.
Readers are urged to send an e-mail to their Representative now and urge him or her to show support for school counseling programs by signing on to the Langevin-Ehlers Dear Colleague Letter by going to: http://capwiz.com/counseling/issues/alert/?alertid=8531801.
Beginning with the July 2008 issue, Counseling Today will have a completely new look, as ACA's monthly newspaper transforms into a four-color magazine, featuring enhanced graphics and a more reader-friendly design. But the changes will go far beyond the cosmetic. The magazine will also introduce several new columns and editorial elements that will deliver practical information and tips that readers can put to immediate use. Watch for more details about the magazine and get ready to enjoy a new Counseling Today reading experience beginning in July.
The Pew Public Safety Performance Project tells us that for the first time in U.S. history, more than one in 100 adults are now confined in a jail or prison. These steadily increasing numbers are placing enormous restraints on available human and fiscal resources in states and communities and the increase seems to be having no effect on overall crime and recidivism.
Solutions offered as policy levers for states are also presented in the report. These options require strong community corrections programs to ensure offenders remain crime and drug-free and may have implications for present and future counselors working with the incarcerated offenders and those on probation.
It's not too late to register for the Career Center activities that will take place during ACA's Conference & Exposition in Hawaii. If you are a potential employer seeking candidates for counseling positions or a job seeker looking for a new position, you can participate in our popular interviewing program at no cost. Registration information can be accessed at www.counseling.org/careercenter. If you have questions, please contact Amy Connelly, ACA's Manager of Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women are on course to earn 894,000 bachelor's degrees and 380,000 master's degrees in the 2007-08 academic year according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Women would, therefore, earn 59 percent of the bachelor's and 61 percent of the master's degrees awarded during this year. In addition, women would earn a majority (52 percent) of first-professional degrees, such as law and medicine.
Once a year ACA offers an extreme discount on the following year's conference and we call it the Early Bird Rate--$199. Until March 31, 2008 anyone may register for the ACA 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, March 19-23, 2009. The event is co-sponsored by the North Carolina Counseling Association and they are ready to welcome thousands of counseling colleagues to their beautiful state. Online registration is not yet available but you may download a registration form or call 800-347-6647, ext. 222 to take advantage of this lowest possible rate. If you are attending the 2008 conference in Honolulu, you will be able to register while you are there and receive a free Southern cooking cookbook!
Liven up your group work with this new activities book from ACA, which presents creative and adventurous therapeutic activities for work with children and adolescents.
Active Interventions for Kids and Teens
This book contains 50 action-oriented activities that can be used in groups with children, adolescents, and adults. Combining fun with proven adventure therapy strategies, the activities are designed to stimulate learning, promote social and emotional development, cultivate skills, foster change, and encourage teamwork. For quick and easy use, each activity lists age range, game rules, goals and objectives, materials required, modification suggestions, and post-activity processing and discussion questions. Additionally, helpful matrixes organize the activities by type, goals, objectives, and grade levels to help group leaders find the right activity at the right time.
The following grant and gift announcements may be of interest to readers:
Saucony (Stride Rite, Inc.) Run for Good Fitness Grants
Counselors associated with programs that promote active and healthy lifestyles for kids can apply for grants to underwrite their community efforts. Maximum Award: $10,000. Application deadline: June 13, 2008.
Sprint Character Education Grants
The Sprint Foundation Sprint Ahead for Education grant program awards grants to public schools and school districts to fund the purchase of resources that facilitate and encourage character education among K-12 students. Maximum Award: $25,000. Application deadline: April 15, 2008.
Books for Small and Rural Libraries
Libraries with active children's program and serving rural communities on limited operating budgets may be eligible for donations of new quality, hardcover books from the Libri Foundation books for Children program. Application deadline: April 15, 2008.
Counselors working with veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may find jobs posted on the Hire Heroes USA web site a valuable resource. Developed as an initiative of the Health Careers Foundation, Hire Heroes USA has enlisted dozens of national partners and maintains an online listing of several hundred positions in health careers and beyond.
Congratulations to Amanda C. Healey of Old Dominon University, the winner of the 2008 ACAeNews Black History Month Quiz. Amanda was selected randomly from the individuals who answered the four quiz questions correctly and she will receive a copy of Multicultural Issues in Counseling, Third Edition by Courtland Lee. Following are the questions and answers.
1. Black History Month began as "Negro History Week" in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson and was expanded to a month-long celebration in 1976. Woodson is said to have chosen February to honor the birthdays of what two Americans? (Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln)
2. Who was the first African American woman to serve as President of the American Counseling Association? (Dr. Thelma T. Daley, 1975-76)
3. What renowned actor and singer of color performed in 25 languages, was a Phi Beta Kappa student at Rutgers University and went on to law school at Columbia University? (Paul Robeson)
4. Who was the first African American woman to win a gold metal in the Olympics? (Alice Coachman, high jump, 1948)
Consulting Psychologists Press, the publisher of the Strong Interest Inventory, a popular career and vocational assessment, is in the process of restandardizing this instrument. ACAeNews readers can participate and help to ensure that personality trait comparisons utilized for counselors are accurate.
Details... (For more information and a link to the questionnaire)
COUNSELOR ALERT: NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE CORPS LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM APPLICANT INFORMATION BULLETIN RELEASED
Last week the Department of Health and Human Services published its 2008 National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program information bulletin. The National Health Service Corps is a competitive program that recruits health professionals to serve in areas with inadequate access to health care (referred to as Health Professional Shortage Areas—HSPAs). In return for their service, the corps assists clinicians in their payment of qualifying education loans. To be eligible, counselors must be fully trained, licensed and working at (or in the final stages of employment negotiations with) an NHSC-eligible facility. For more information, and to view the information bulletin and download the forms required for applying for a NHSC position, go to http://nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov/applications/lrp.
The agency will set up an online application. No application deadline has yet been set, and the deadline will be no sooner than 30 days after the online application is published. Counselors who wish to be notified when the online application is available can sign up for e-mail notification here.
The "opportunities list" of facilities seeking a NHSC provider is available in a downloadable spreadsheet online at http://nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov/jobs. Click on the link for "All National Health Service Corps Opportunities," and look for entries with "LPC" in the "discipline" column of the spreadsheet.
March 10, 2008
March 26-30, 2008
March 31-April 1, 2008 (Pre-conference on March 30)
April 3-5, 2008
April 5, 2008
April 25, 2008
April 27-29, 2008
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