News

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 fo

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 informat

AFSCME members in Washington state are demanding solutions to ensure worker safety after one of their co-workers – sister Christa Butters – was 

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.

AFSCME-Backed Student-Loan Bill Passes HousePictured: Joslyn Green. Photo Credit: Member-provided photo.

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.