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Mental Illness, Substance Abuse: Discrimination, Stigma, Not Going Away
Researchers at Indiana University and Columbia University have published a joint study indicating little change is taking place in public prejudice and discrimination toward people with serious mental health and substance abuse problems. This stalemate in public opinion exists despite the increase in public education campaigns designed to improve health literacy and explain these neurobiological illnesses.
The authors of the National Institute of Mental Health-supported study state that the mental illness stigma remains a major obstacle to effective treatment, resulting in discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare, and social relationships, and a negative impact on the quality of life for these individuals, their families, and friends. They suggest that public education and awareness programs need to be revisited and reconstructed.
ACA Public Policy Conference Call October 5: All Members Invited
ACA's public policy staff will host a conference call Tuesday, October 5 from 1pm - 2pm ET for members interested in learning the status of policy issues being addressed by ACA, including recognition of counselors within the Veterans Affairs healthcare system, federal education appropriations, healthcare reform implementation and TRICARE reimbursement policy.
To participate, call 1-866-220-0969 and enter room code 1603550. Join in what is certain to be an informative and advocacy-focused program. Questions? Contact Scott Barstow, at 1-800-347-6647, ext. 234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
No Longer at the Top: U.S. Now Fourth in Global Competitiveness
The United States fell two places to number four in the World Economic Forum (WEF) global competitiveness rankings, according to a report released earlier this month. Last year, after several years at the top of the rankings, the U.S. fell to second place behind Switzerland. This year the top three slots went to Switzerland, Sweden, and Singapore.
The Global Competitiveness Report (2010-2011) is the latest of WEF's annual reports on the key factors that determine economic growth and explain why some countries are more successful than others in raising income levels and opportunities for their populations. The report includes comprehensive listings of the main strengths and weaknesses of countries, making it possible to identify key priorities for policy reform. Prominent among the "pillars" upon which the rankings are based are a nation's health, primary education, and higher education and training systems.
School Suspensions Not Proportionate Racially
After analyzing four decades of data on school suspensions, the Southern Poverty Law Center has found that Black middle school students have the highest incidence of school suspension. Hispanic and Native American student suspensions are also high, but not as disproportionate. Asian American students experience the fewest suspensions, according to the report.
Middle school student suspensions were targeted by the researchers because of the critical relationship of this phase of the learning experience on academic achievement and diploma attainment. The data revealed that black boys are nearly three times as likely as their white counterparts to be suspended and black girls are suspended at four times the rate of white girls.
While promoting the need to maintain a positive and safe learning environment for all students, the study calls attention to the need for school authorities to administer fair and balanced suspension policies, especially when administrator discretion and judgment is involved.
Conference Clipping: Conference Sessions Not Long Enough? Try Pre-Conference Learning Institutes
Come to New Orleans a day or two early for an intensive learning experience in one of ACA's 40 Pre-conference Learning Institutes (LIs), scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, March 23-24. (The Conference itself begins with the Expo Grand Opening & Welcome Reception, Thursday at 4:30 pm.) The LIs are offered in full day (9:00 am - 4:30 pm) format and evening sessions (5:30 pm - 8:45 pm) on both days. More than 40 LIs, including 30 Advanced level ones, are on the schedule, covering a wide range of topics from sex counseling to use of social media by professional counselors. A separate registration fee is required: $130 for daytime sessions ($85 for students), $85 for evening LIs ($60 for students). You can sign up for LIs on the regular Conference Registration form. Click on link below for a list of all LIs on the agenda.
In the News: Workplace Challenges Faced by Veterans with PTSD
A recent Los Angeles Times article called attention to the mix of challenges faced by veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including the workplace resistance that restricts or denies opportunities to men and women who have served in combat. The article references a survey conducted in early summer by the Society for Human Resource Management in which 46% of the hiring managers said PTSD and other mental health issues posed a hiring challenge. Combat-related physical disabilities were reported as challenges by 22% of the hiring officials.
To help employers better accommodate the mental health issues veterans face, the Department of Labor has set up a website, America's Heroes at Work.
Teens, Romance, and "Hooking Up": Good or Bad for Grades?
Parents who have been preaching that intensive boy/girl relationships are bad for academic performance are going to have to come up with another story. Research findings presented at a recent American Sociological Association meeting show that students involved in a "committed" relationship, including sexual activity, do no better or no worse academically than those who don't engage in sex.
The study also found that those who are engaged in "casual" sexual activity, also known as "hooking up," are more prone to experience school-related problems compared with those electing to abstain. One possible explanation: Students in serious relationships may find social and emotional support in their partnerships, thereby reducing or eliminating the stressful situations that are often experienced in school.
Fast Fact: Drug Use in U.S. Reaches Highest Level in a Decade
New statistics generated by the National Survey on Drug Use & Health of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) show that illegal drug use in the U.S. in 2009 reached its highest level in a decade. Most influential in the upward spurt was marijuana use, but there were also significant increases in use of ecstasy and methamphetamines.
According to SAMHSA, drug use among those age 12 and older rose from 8% in 2008 to 8.7% in 2008, or about 21.8 million Americans. That represents the highest usage in nearly a decade, officials said. The previous high was just over 20 million in 2006.
Sign of the Times: Internet Eclipses Print as News Source
The decline in readership of print U.S. newspapers has been occurring for some time, but a recent Pew Research Center for the People & the Press poll shows just how far the use of newspapers has fallen. Television still plays the largest role as the source of daily news, but the other sources of news and information include:
Reliable Resource: Report on Community College Students and Transfer to Selective Colleges
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has released "Partnerships that Promote Success: The Evaluation of the Community College Transfer Initiative," a study of successful programs and policies that have assisted achieving community college students, including those from economically disadvantaged circumstances, in transferring to the nation's more selective institutions and earning baccalaureate degrees. The study, along with resources for students and counselors engaged in the 2- to 4-year college transition, is available at the link below.
ACAeNews Comes in Four Special Focus Editions
In addition to the bimonthly, regular editions of ACAeNews, ACA produces four special focus editions that address specific issues faced by counselors in varied settings. Disseminated three times each year, the special focus editions include:
Each is disseminated as an opt-in subscription and is a free benefit of ACA membership. If interested in one or more the enewletters, go to the opt-in link below and subscribe.
On the Lighter Side: The Positive Side of Gossiping
Research findings presented at a recent British Psychological Society conference have yielded some interesting views about the positive aspects of gossiping, including the suggestion that some forms of gossip—particularly praising others—could be linked with desirable outcomes for the gossiper. Staffordshire University researchers discovered that gossipers who described a fictional character positively achieved a higher level of personal self-esteem and greater feelings of social support than the gossipers who took the negative approach. The gossiper's credo: Say good things about people or don't gossip at all.
Health Insurance: An ACA Membership Benefit
The federal government recently released statistics showing that 50.7 million Americans are without health insurance, compared to 46.3 million in the prior year. The economic downturn had made more employers cut back on benefits and individuals find it difficult to pay for coverage. ACA members who are in need of health insurance can get assistance through the ACA Insurance Trust. See
Calendar: AK, FL, PA, KY, MS, WI, TX, VA, IL, AL, AR & TN Conferences Coming Soon
Alaska Counseling Association
Florida Counseling Association
Pennsylvania Counseling Association
Kentucky Counseling Association
Mississippi Counseling Association
Minnesota Counseling Association
Wisconsin Counseling Association
Texas Counseling Association
Virginia Counselors Association
Illinois Counseling Association
Alabama Counseling Association
Arkansas Counseling Association
Tennessee Counseling Association
ACA divisions, branches, and regions are valuable sources of learning and professional development. Information on events will be posted approximately 8-10 weeks prior. This information is made available to ACAeNews via the ACA master calendar and the various organization web sites. Send calendar items to email@example.com. Please provide the sponsor, dates, site and contact person information. Information posted here is restricted to that sponsored by ACA divisions, branches, regions and related organizations.
ACAeNews is published 24 times annually by the American Counseling Association for the benefit of members across the counseling profession. Any reference to a product, service, activity or listing of a website in ACAeNews does not imply endorsement by ACA. Any views and opinions are those of the sponsoring organization and may or may not be shared by ACA.
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