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New research has explored the link between sleep apnea and depression and suggests that the former may be one reason that depression treatments fail.

Past research has show that people who report high levels of boredom propensity have a higher chance at having an avoidant disposition, making them more likely to experience depression and an

Prozac and Zoloft are common antidepressant drugs. Although they have similar effects on the body, their specific uses, side effects, and dosages are different.

Becky Grupa comes from a family of seven brothers and sisters. She grew up outside Minneapolis and remembers riding the bus to school with her sister Victoria, who is autistic.

“She couldn’t speak, so instead she had her crying spells if she was in pain or frustrated, and some kids made fun of us,” she recalls.

The hardest thing about growing up with Victoria, though, Becky says, was “putting myself in her shoes.” The experience would prepare her for a career serving young people in her community.

Nearly a hundred union and nonunion behavioral health workers gathered at the offices of District 1199J, NUHHCE for a summit the union hosted along with AFSCME New Jersey Council 63 and the United We Heal campaign. There they shared best practices for the challenges they face across the industry and developed specific solutions that can be used to solicit the funding necessary to meet these challenges.

Check out a brand new episode from the Next Wave Podcast #NoFilter. Follow along with us in ‘Beefing with the Boss Part 2’ as we continue to unfold the opposition our members faced when they decided to step up in their union. These Volunteer Member Organizers don’t back down as they face tough challenges from management while trying to improve working conditions.

Health care legislation that is a priority for AFSCME is beginning to advance in Congress, thanks in part to pressure from members.

Last week, the health subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on several critical health care bills facing funding shortfalls, including the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act. 

Last week, AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE) welcomed some of the newest behavioral health providers to join the union and gain a voice for their clients and themselves. A dozen Mental Health Practitioner Leads and Mental Health Practitioner Clinical Specialists at the Harborview Medical Center joined AFSCME to tackle the issues of discrimination, safety and fair pay.

Last week, a Congressional committee approved a bill that would include $25 million to fully fund a new federal student loan repayment program for some behavioral health workers whose jobs involve treating substance use. The passage of the bill out of committee brings thousands of AFSCME behavioral health workers one step closer to relief from crushing student debt.

There are 10 personality disorders in total, which are usually grouped in three categories: A, B, and C. The disorders within each category share some traits and symptoms.

To raise public awareness of mental illness, May was designated Mental Health Month 70 years ago (it began as Mental Health Week). Since then, the organization behind its creation, Mental Health America, has been a force for educating the public about this urgent problem.

During National Nurses Week, we celebrate the heroes who, with skill and compassion, care for the sick. This year, we’re honoring their hard work and dedication by supporting the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, a bill that seeks to raise the bar on safety standards and protect nurses from preventable incidents of violence at work. 

Workers and community came together in the spring sun to share stories, grieve, and commit to a safer future at a recent Workers’ Memorial event at Western State Hospital (WSH) in Washington.

A field of flags represented the 1,090 reported assaults in 2018.

Joined by Representative Mari Leavitt and Senator Steve Conway, memorial attendees celebrated the dedication and service of the staff of WSH.

Workers Memorial Day is this Sunday, April 28, when we honor workers killed or injured on the job. On this day in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was formed.

For almost half a century, OSHA has been charged with helping to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for men and women across this country. But under the Trump administration, OSHA is failing us. As we observe Workers Memorial Day, it’s clear that we can do more – much more – for worker safety.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has developed fact sheets that can help family and support networks better understand what bipolar disorder is and how to support their loved ones with the diagnosis. 

The fact sheets provide an overview of bipolar disorder among youth and young adults. They also offer guidance on how to provide support, and recommendations for treatment.

May is Mental Health Month, a time to raise awareness of mental illness and educate the public.

Help spread the word by sharing our graphic on Facebook and Twitter and by letting your friends and colleagues know about United We Heal.

With a labor-friendly governor and legislature in place, working people in New Mexico won big in the new state budget. To help reduce turnover and retain behavioral health and mental health staff at the state Department of Corrections, a 10 percent raise was included in the budget. This is a significant step toward achieving the goal of ensuring that the state continues to hire and train workers for those critical positions.
Behavioral health workers are building political power in Oregon. They’re pushing state legislators to adopt policies and programs to benefit the people they serve.

AFSCME is the union for 50,000 professionals in the behavioral health industry in 29 states across the country, and more are joining every day. We are a community of clinicians, caretakers, social workers, therapists, case managers, alcohol and drug counselors and more. We put the needs of our clients first, and we advocate for a better, safer workplace for all.

Here are some of our stories.

Shawn Dougherty is a correctional substance abuse counselor at the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution in Connecticut. He is also a member of AFSCME Local 391 (Council 4). On Tuesday, he testified on Capitol Hill about the need for lawmakers to fund the Loan Repayment Program for Substance Abuse Treatment Workers.
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to allow Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) in Oregon and Oklahoma to continue operating through at least June.

A new report from the United Hospital Fund and the Milbank Memorial Fund finds that too little attention has been given to the children and families who are suffering devastating consequences due to our country's opioid crisis. 

State-employed nurses in Nevada take care of some of the most vulnerable community members and deserve safe workplaces so they can provide the best possible care. The nurses at a state of Nevada adult mental health facility came together earlier this month and presented management with a list of workplace safety issues they would like resolved.    

AFSCME strongly supports a bipartisan bill unveiled in Congress today that would expand mental health and addiction services in communities across the nation.

Called the “Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act,” it seeks to expand past efforts by the federal government to respond to the increasing demand for mental health and substance use disorder services across the country.

Oregon behavioral health workers connected with each other and built power during a recent AFSCME Strong blitz, which was part of a broader national effort to bring together workers in that industry so they can jointly fight for their patients and their communities.

TRENTON, N.J. – Members and leaders from AFSCME New Jersey are working after hours to elevate the behavioral health industry by visiting the homes of those who know it best – members who provide valuable behavioral health services across the Garden State.

Whether you’re a union activist, a young AFSCME member eager to learn more, or just want to keep your fingers on the pulse of the labor movement, AFSCME’s got a brand-new podcast for you. It’s called #NoFilter.

Pro-worker members of Congress have re-introduced a bill that seeks to reduce workplace violence faced by emergency responders, behavioral health workers, nurses, physicians and other health care and social service workers.

Practicing transcendental meditation can help reduce or even reverse the symptoms of PTSD and depression in a new study of young people. 

The findings, which appear in the journal Psychological Reports, indicate that participants who started practicing transcendental meditation saw notable improvements in their symptoms.

On March 31, behavioral health clinics in Oregon and Oklahoma stand to lose funding for mental health and addictions services with the expiration of the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act.

In the largest study of it's kind ever, international researches led by the Univertsity of Edinburgh, found hundreds of genes that can now be linked to increased risks of depression, shedding light on the origins of the condition and highlighting personality types that could be at risk.

According to a report in Science Today, after the study that involved two million people, scientists "studied information pooled from three large datasets of anonymised health and DNA records and pinpointed 269 genes that were linked to depression."

A report in Medical News Today says that new research suggests that bullying, including on social media, could actualy alter the brain structure of adolescents. As bullying can greatly increase physical and mental health risks, "the prevention of high school bullying could result in lifetime benefits of over $1 million per individual" according to the study.

Read more by clicking here. 

A global team of researchers has found the first common genetic risk factors associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a complex condition affecting around one in 20 children.

The team analysed genetic information from over 20,000 people affected with ADHD and over 35,000 people without the condition, the largest genetic study of ADHD to date.

A total of 279 behavioral health professionals at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare in Portland, Ore., voted overwhelmingly in recent weeks to join Oregon AFSCME.

They become the latest in a wave of therapists, case managers, peers, support staff and other dedicated care providers who are uniting through AFSCME’s United We Heal campaign to fix a broken system.

Workers at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare are finding out just how empowering it is to organize for a voice on the job–to communicate and find common ground with their coworkers with the goal of forming a union.

But the struggle isn’t risk-free. Last month, Daneen Pray, who had worked at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare in Portland, Oregon, for 17 years, was fired. She has been an activist and a strong supporter of the union.

A new study conducted by the New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC) recommends replicating best-practice models in Vermont, Texas and Rhode Island, which emphasize sharing information among all the elements that go into successful treatment and recovery.

The report hits hard on calling for continuity of care — encouraging at least six to 12 months of treatment, acknowledging the brain takes much longer than a 28-day program to heal.

AFSCME members in Washington state are demanding solutions to ensure worker safety after one of their co-workers – sister Christa Butters – was assaulted by a patient who had a history of violence.

With almost 13% of teenagers in the U.S. experiencing at least one reported episode of major depression it is a problem that easily takes all parts of behavioral health community to handle. But new research finds that the benefits of taking on that challange stretch beyond just the teenagers. 

Before she began her career in behavioral health, Vialante Vieira had been in a drug and alcohol recovery program at Volunteers of America Oregon in Portland. Her experience at VOA gave her more than a path back to normalcy; it also helped her find her calling.

A new study conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has revealed more about the organization and function of a brain structure that may serve a key role in linking stress detection to the development of adaptive behaviors.

They found that, during stress, dopamine (a major modulator of brain function) triggered a reduction in inhibition of the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT). Notably, the disinhibition produced by dopamine made the PVT more sensitive to aversive outcomes.

We know that access to care is critical to helping ensure people don't just get and stay health but that patients have the oppertunity to ask for help or be identified as at risk. But many rural areas are finding hospital care harder and harder to come by. 

Here is a list of the 85 rural hospitals that closed between January 2010 and July 2018, as tracked by the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program.

When a pregnant woman comes to Hennepin Healthcare who’s using or suspected of using opiates, inpatient social worker Liz Foltz springs into action.

There is a national debate underway about the regulation of health insurers and insurance benefit standards. To reduce regulatory burdens, the Executive Branch enacted changes that weaken essential health benefit requirements, which require coverage of mental health and substance use services. The Executive Branch has also proposed regulations that will expand the availability of health plans that can discriminate against people with mental health and substance use disorders.

AFSCME-represented workers at Volunteers of America Oregon (VOA) have reached a tentative agreement after 18 months of contentious negotiations that sparked multiple protests from workers and their union, including a May 14 sit-in that resulted in multiple arrests.

At the urging of United We Heal and AFSCME, the U.S. House has passed a student-loan repayment bill that will help those who provide substance-abuse treatment throughout the country. Our union is now focused on making sure the bill passes the U.S. Senate and is fully funded.

In an article in the Washington Post, Amy Ellis Nutt writes that, "suicide rates rose in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with increases seen regardless of age, gender, race and ethnicity, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In more than half of all deaths in 27 states, the people had no known mental health condition when they ended their lives."

It was while growing up that Mike Yestramski found his life’s calling.

“Like a lot of people in the behavioral health field, I had my own experiences growing up through family and friends who struggled with behavioral health problems,” he says. “I saw a lot of good that can be done but I also saw a lot of areas for improvement, and I wanted to be part of that improvement.”

In a column in U.S. News, David Levine points out that "two distrubing trend lines are currently crossing in the area of mental health care. One line, tracking demand for such care, is rapidly rising....The other trend line, measuring the number of mental health care providers in practice, is barely holding steady.

Since the 1960s, Outside In has been an integral part of Portland, Oregon’s, social services thanks to building one of the region’s largest homeless programs. Now, the hardworking behavioral health professionals who work at Outside In are among AFSCME’s newest sisters and brothers.

Over two days last week, workers at Outside In voted to form a union with Oregon AFSCME Council 75. A total of 128 workers will make up the bargaining unit, with the majority coming from Medical and Youth Services.

One in 5 Americans personally know someone who has been addicted to opioids, according to a survey released by the Federal Reserve Tuesday.

Exposure to opioid addiction was more common among whites, at all education levels, than minorities, the survey found.

These results were part of the Federal Reserve's annual report on the economic well-being of U.S. households.

To understand how the opioid crisis relates to economic well-being, the survey asked questions related to opioids for the first time, the report said.

Nine labor activists, including Oregon AFSCME Executive Director Stacy Chamberlain, were arrested this week while participating in a peaceful sit-in in support of Volunteers of America (VOA) Oregon workers, who are bargaining their first contract.

Monday’s sit-in was an act of civil disobedience in support of the workers, who have been negotiating for more than a year following an organizing drive with Oregon AFSCME.

About five years ago, pediatricians at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville found that more and more of their inpatient beds at the children’s hospital were occupied by children and adolescents with mental health issues, especially those who had come in because of suicide attempts, or suicidal thoughts. These patients were known as “boarders”: They were waiting for psychiatric placement because it wasn’t safe for them to go home.

Gov. Phil Murphy's administration Wednesday delayed a new payment system for some private mental health providers who've warned the change could disrupt services to thousands of people discharged from New Jersey psychiatric hospitals.

The proposed system of paying for community support services -- the one-on-one casework that helps 5,500 seriously mentally ill people maintain their independence -- will go live in July 1, 2019 instead of July 1 this year, department spokeswoman Ellen Lovejoy confirmed.

Fawn Ricciuti started using opioids a decade ago, when she was enrolled in a New Jersey pain management program. What followed is the kind of story that’s been told thousands of times over the past few years as America’s opioid epidemic has grown: Her casual use of opioid painkillers over time turned into full-blown addiction.

Diagnoses of clinical depression — also known as major depression — have risen by 33% since 2013, according to a new report from health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield.

A study by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield has found that 3.5 percent of their insurance policy holders suffer from major depression — and women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed.

Suzanne Kunis, Horizon's Behavioral Health Solutions Director, said the disproportionate diagnoses stem from a mix of postpartum depression and women being more likely to report their symptoms.

CMS' new rural health strategy unveiled May 8 aims to improve access to healthcare for 20 percent of people living in rural areas and ensure CMS policies and programs are not negatively affecting rural care.

"For the first time, CMS is organizing and focusing our efforts to apply a rural lens to the vision and work of the agency," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a press release. "The Rural Health Strategy supports CMS' goal of putting patients first."

Individual regions of the brain have to team up to get things done. And like in any team, the key to working together is communication.

Duke researchers used brain imaging to identify how patterns of brain connectivity -- the ability of different brain regions to talk to each other -- can affect a person's likelihood of developing common forms of mental illness.

The U.S. Senate has passed its bipartisan Improving Access to Behavioral Health Information Technology Act to help behavioral health care providers – like psychologists and psychiatric hospitals – adopt electronic health records.

On Saturday, workers across the nation who lost their lives on the job will be remembered in ceremonies marking Workers Memorial Day.

Only about half of teenagers with depression receive a diagnosis before they become adults, and about two-thirds go without help, according to a report that has spurred the release of revised guidelines on depression screening and management for children from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The updated guidelines, GLAD PC (Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care), include a new recommendation that all children aged older than 12 years be screened for depression at least once per year.1

The CMS has revealed that physicians may be overprescribing psychotherapeutic medication to children on Medicaid or CHIP, which may be due to inadequate access to behavioral health specialists.

The U.S. is experiencing a shortage of child psychiatrists, and many don't accept Medicaid, according to a new study from the CMS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation released in the April edition of the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research.

Nearly 200 employees at UCAN, a youth services agency in Chicago, won their union election when the ballots were tallied on March 20 after an intensive anti-union campaign waged by their employer. They fought for a better future for themselves and for the youth they serve everyday – and they won.

For Grace Bronkin, the excitement of being away from home for the first time to start her college career was overshadowed by episodes of sadness. She had first experienced them in high school, but they got progressively worse after she began living on campus.

"I think with all of the new pressures of being away from home and drinking and stuff it really got out of hand," Bronkin, 22, said.