News You Can Use
Current stories from across the internet all related to behavioral health services as well as news from NRI. To get our monthly newsletter sign up now! We never share our mailing list and you can unsubscribe anytime you want. Use the links below to navigate to the articles.
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NRI Investigates Co-Morbidity Among Youth Inpatients
In a study published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, NRI researchers examined the comorbidity of mental health and substance use diagnoses in inpatient adolescents and explored the relationship between demographic and environmental factors.
“We found that substance use disorders are not equally likely to occur among adolescents with mental health diagnoses,” said Glorimar Ortiz, NRI Senior Researcher and Statistician. “The particular mental health diagnoses as well as certain population characteristics are factors contributing to patterns of comorbidity.”
The study investigated 9,154 adolescents age 11 to 17 discharged from 64 state psychiatric in 30 states. Study results yielded specificity in various mental health and substance use subgroups vital for prevention services and program planning.
Specifically, according to Ortiz, “Adolescents with conduct disorder—more than any other mental health diagnosis—were found to have the greatest probability of a co-occurring substance use disorder. Comorbidity differences between boys and girls also occurred as they grew older. Boys with conduct disorder were 1.6 times more likely than girls with the same diagnosis to use alcohol. Hispanics with conduct disorder had 2 to 3.5 times increased risk of comorbidity.”
To read the original study, access our ‘Reports’ page.
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Decline in Practicing Psychiatrists May Curtail Accessibility of Mental Health Services - NRI & NASMHPD Executive Directors Comment
A team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College, the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, and the Yale University School of Medicine have investigated the numbers of practicing psychiatrists available to the general population. The researchers have found that, spanning the decade from 2003 to 2013, the number of psychiatrists in practice in the United States fell from 37,968 to 37,889. When considering increases in the U.S. population over the same time period, these numbers amount to a 10.2 percent reduction in the median number of psychiatrists per 100,000 residents in hospital referral regions. To view the abstract and purchase the original report click here.
“NRI recognizes the crucial importance for people experiencing severe mental illnesses to have access to psychiatric care,” said Tim Knettler, NRI Executive Director and CEO. “The decline in practicing psychiatrists is disappointing, to say the least, and suggests the need to come up with new models.”
Brian Hepburn, Executive Director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), explained that shortages of psychiatrists may vary under different conditions and for different regions. “The shortage of psychiatrists is much greater in rural areas than in metropolitan areas, “Hepburn noted. Moreover, “psychiatrists increasingly are avoiding taking insurance so it is sometimes hard for individuals to find a psychiatrist under their insurance plan. Public-sector clinics have difficulty competing for psychiatrists against VA clinics or private clinics due to lower pay. Finally, state hospitals—especially in rural areas—have difficulty recruiting psychiatrists and often have to pay high rates for locum tenens psychiatrists.”
While the researchers suggested that declines in psychiatrists may help explain poor access to mental health care, the study also found that the number of primary care physicians and neurologists grew over the same time period. Thus, the researchers call for further investigation into new models of care that integrate mental health and primary care or that rely upon a team-based model that combines psychiatric services with services of non-physician providers.
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Smoking Cessation Opportunities for Psychiatric Facilities, an NRI Study
In an investigation of smoking bans in psychiatric inpatient hospitals, NRI found that there may be additional opportunities to promote smoking cessation. NRI surveyed 165 hospital directors and quality assurance managers regarding smoking policies and practices in their hospitals, and found that, in 2011, 79% of hospitals had adopted a smoke-free policy.
NRI also looked into smoking cessation education and treatment, and found that hospitals used different strategies to encourage smoking cessation. These strategies included pamphlets (70% of hospitals surveyed), as well as educational resources for use during individual sessions with clinical staff describing the risks of smoking. Overall, smoking counseling (76%) and the Nicotine Replacement Therapy-Patch (80%) were the most frequently available smoking cessation treatments. Hospitals that allowed smoking nonetheless controlled access to smoking by having designated smoking areas, by escorting patients to smoking areas, and by having established smoking times.
At the same time, NRI found that hospitals have the opportunity to do more to encourage smoking cessation among psychiatric patients: While 98% of hospitals assessed a patient’s smoking status at intake, only 39% included patients’ smoking status in aftercare plans given to the next level-of-care provider. Overall, 48% of hospitals did not know whether or not patients were referred for smoking cessation treatment upon discharge, which is a missed opportunity for continuity of smoking cessation efforts between providers. The individuals surveyed represented hospitals in 44 states, territories and the District of Columbia.
To access NRI’s report visit our page here.