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Breaking News: VA to Streamline Access to PTSD Benefits and Services
The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs is preparing to issue new rules that will streamline the process whereby veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder can apply for and receive disability benefits and services. The new rules would affect veterans who served in the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam conflicts and are scheduled to take effect immediately.
To learn more about the rules changes, visit www.va.gov in the coming days and watch for the PTSD benefits and services announcement.
BP Oil Spill Taking Toll on Mental Health of Those Affected
The environmental impact of the BP oil spill is in the news every day. Scenes and stories about the destruction of wildlife and the economic aftershocks are everywhere. Now, another story is emerging—the damaging psychological consequences for Gulf coast residents.
The effects of the devastation of the past 2 months was the subject of a recent Huffington Post story. Community agencies like Catholic Charities of New Orleans are sounding off about the mental health impact of the oil spill on the citizens, especially those who do not have the financial means or time to seek counseling. This new stress is taking its toll on a population that has endured hurricanes Wilma, Rita, Katrina, and Ivan in a 6-year span.
The mental health impact on the disaster victims, their families and the community was accentuated by a Washington Post story in late June reporting the apparent suicide death of a fishing captain affected by the spill—a man who had volunteered to work in the BP cleanup effort.
Ed Note: ACA is in the process of producing a podcast on the mental health effects of the oil spill. Visit the ACA Podcast Series.
Obama Signs Executive Order on Health Promotion, Prevention
President Obama signed an executive order on June 10, 2010 that creates a federal council to address national priorities on health promotion and disease prevention. The Council was authorized under the new health reform law and will focus on lifestyle behavior modification (including smoking cessation, proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, behavioral health, substance-use disorder, and domestic violence screenings) and prevention measures for the five leading disease killers in the U.S.
Reliable Resource: SAMHSA Treatment Improvement Protocol Focuses on Women
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) has issued Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 51, Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women, to help professionals provide effective, up-to-date treatment to women with substance use disorders by taking into account their unique treatment needs.
The information in TIP 51 is based on women's experiences as well as best or promising practices and research-based approaches. This eight-chapter TIP presents treatment approaches for women that consider a woman's social and economic environments; her relationships with family members, significant others, and support systems; and the impact of gender and culture on treatment.
Advocacy Matters: ACA Represents Mental Health Counseling before SAMHSA
ACA represented the counseling profession at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) behavioral health workforce meeting on April 23. SAMHSA is the lead Federal agency focusing on mental health and substance abuse counseling in the U. S.
Convened and chaired by Pamela S. Hyde, SAMHSA Administrator, the purpose of the meeting was to solicit feedback from "a select group of national organizations representing the behavioral health professional guilds and other workforce development stakeholder groups" in order to help shape SAMHSA's behavioral health workforce strategic initiative. The meeting focused on presentations and dialogue around the following questions:
ACA's feedback focused on advocating for the use of professional counselors in the behavioral health workforce on par with other mental health professions. ACA also advocated for increased use of qualitative studies in the use of evidence based outcome protocols because a qualitative approach often provides the best data for the types of clients served by professional counselors. David Kaplan, ACA Chief Professional Officer, represented the membership.
ACA 2011 Conference: Register Before August 31 at Low Summer Rates
It is the largest, annual professional development gathering of the full professional counseling community. It is the greatest opportunity for professional counselors to network and interface with their counterparts from around the globe. It is the 2011 ACA Conference & Exposition, March 23-27, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Whether an experienced conference participant or a prospective "first timer," don't miss out on the discounted registration rates that are in effect until August 31. Act today!
Relevant Research: 14% of Returning Soldiers Come Home and Face PTSD
The Health Day website reports that new military research indicates that up to 14% of soldiers returning from Iraq suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression that is severe enough to disrupt their daily lives. Between 8.5% and 14% of soldiers reported mental health issues that caused difficulties in work or private life, according to the report published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Researchers speculate that men and women in the National Guard experience stress in going back to their work and lifestyle routines, but have less access to military health care and tend to rely on community and private resources. Regular Army soldiers, it was noted, also may suppress symptoms because they know they will be rotated back to combat duty.
Editor's Note: See also related article in Summer 2010 (Vol 88, #3) issue of Journal of Counseling & Development, p. 372.
Fast Fact: Mental Health Care Leading Reason for Hospitalizations in Military
U.S. troops were hospitalized for mental health conditions more than any other reason during 2009, according to data in the Pentagon's Medical Surveillance Monthly Report. A historic high, it marks the first time that hospitalizations for these conditions were higher than those for injuries or pregnancies in the 15 years it has been tracked by the report. According to the report, mental health care accounted for almost 40% of all days spent in hospitals by service members last year.
ACA Offers Guide for Helping Clients with Loss and Grief
Based on contemporary understanding of the nature of personal and interpersonal loss and the ways in which people integrate loss and grief into their lives, Counseling Strategies for Loss and Grief focuses on tailoring effective interventions to the uniqueness of the griever's experience. In Part 1, author Dr. Keren H. Humphrey discusses a variety of death- and non-death-related loss and grief experiences, offers conceptualization guidelines, outlines selected psychosocial factors, and describes intervention based on two contemporary grief models.
Part 2 provides detailed therapeutic strategies organized according to focus or theoretical origins along with suggestions for implementation and customization to client uniqueness. Specific chapters include cognitive–behavioral and constructivist strategies, emotion-focused strategies, narrative therapy, solution-focused therapy, and adjunctive activities. The final chapter focuses on counselor roles and recommended professional and personal practices.
2009 | 260 pages
Federal Agency Sponsors Special Journal Issues to Help End Homelessness
The Collaborative Initiative to Help End Chronic Homelessness (CICH) is a coordinated effort of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Interagency Council on Homelessness. As part of its mission to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently contributed to two articles in the Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research supporting the CICH housing and homelessness initiative.
ACA Blogosphere: Messages by Counselors for Counselors
Where can you read about and ponder the thoughts of an American counselor working in Haiti, discover ideas on the importance of marketing for counselors, learn about the role of listening and sounds in counseling, and pick up strategies for presenting a "neutral" front in working with men and women in uniform? The ACA blogosphere—that's where! These issues and topics were among the many interesting posts on the blog in June.
Written by counselors for counselors, the postings on http://my.counseling.org represent the myriad issues of the day and the personal perspectives of women and men "in the counseling trenches." Visit the blog pages and offer your personal perspective to what you elect to read.
Private Practice Pointers on Organizational, Marketing, and Business Issues
As a free service to members, ACA has partnered with Robert J. Walsh, NCC, LCPC, and Norman C. Dasenbrook, LCPC, who have over 50 years combined experience in the mental health field (including over 30 years in private practice) and are consultants in counseling practice management, to offer a series of bulletins on various private practice topics. Organizational, marketing, and business topics such as how to start a private practice and how to manage the billing process are addressed at the Private Practice Pointers website.
Insurance Alert: Scam Artists Attempting to Exploit New Health Law
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has issued an alert to caregivers and the public suggesting ways to combat con artists who may try to sell insurance that is not legitimate. Included in the alert is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reminder that the requirement to have health insurance does not take effect until 2014.
AARP states that no government official sells insurance and there is no limited enrollment period in existence. They suggest that individuals check the insurance license of the person approaching them and also check on the financial strength of the insurance company. Information on the health insurance plan offered through the ACA Insurance Trust is outlined at the link below.
Inside JCD: Relevant Articles for Mental Health, Private Practice and Agency Counselors
The summer 2010 edition of ACA's Journal of Counseling & Development (JCD), which you should have received by now, contains a number of articles that may be of particular interest to you. Look for these articles:
Advocacy and Empowerment in Parent Consultation: Implications for Theory and Practice
Spirituality and Religiosity: Factors Affecting Wellness among Low-Income, Rural Women
Female Intimate Partner Violence Survivors' Experiences With Accessing Resources
Eating Disorders in African American Girls: Implications for Counselors
Dialogic Considerations of Confrontation as a Counseling Activity: An Examination of Alley Ivey's Use of Confrontation as a Microskill
Enhancing Reflective Practice in Multicultural Counseling Through Cultural Auditing
The Process of Suicide Risk Assessment: Twelve Core Principles
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Returning Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans: Implications for Assessment and Diagnosis
About ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice, and Community Agency Counselors
ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice, and Community Agency Counselors is one of four electronic newsletters that are published three times per year each by the American Counseling Association for the benefit of members working in these unique settings. It is disseminated as an opt-in subscription enewsletter and is a free benefit of ACA membership.
The other three special focus enewsletters are:
Any reference to a product, service or activity or listing of a website in this publication 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.
Direct comments, questions and submissions to Frank Burtnett. All submissions will be subject to review by ACA for accuracy, timeliness, and relevance to the readership and may be edited.
Marcheta P. Evans, President
Richard Yep, CAE, Executive Director
Debra Bass, Director of Marketing and Communications
Frank Burtnett, NCC, NCCC, ACAeNews Editor
Don Kenneally, Internet Development / Production
ACA Website: www.counseling.org
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