Issue: Mental Health

‘Warm’ Hotlines Deliver Help Before Mental Health Crisis Heats Up

Unlike a hotline for those in immediate crisis, warmlines provide early intervention with emotional support that can prevent a crisis, and a more costly 911 call or emergency room visit. The lines are typically free, confidential peer-support services staffed by volunteers or paid employees who have experienced mental health conditions themselves. Warmlines can also fill a need in rural communities where access to care is limited or provide after-hours support in urban areas.

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More Adolescents Seek Medical Care For Mental Health Issues

The spike in youth mental health visits corresponds with a recent survey that found that members of “Generation Z” — defined in the survey as people born since 1997 — are more likely than other generations to report their mental health as fair or poor. The 2018 polling, done on behalf of the American Psychological Association, also found that members of Generation Z, along with millennials, are more likely to report receiving treatment for mental health issues.

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Taking Cops out of Mental Health-Related 911 Rescues

Nationally, police officers carry the brunt of responding to mental health issues. In 2017, law enforcement agencies spent $918 million transporting people with severe mental illness, according to a 2019 survey from the Treatment Advocacy Center. It also estimated that officers spend 21% of their time responding to and transferring people for mental health issues.

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Coming Out About Mental Health On Social Media

While struggles with mental health were traditionally kept private, in recent years a growing number of sufferers are adopting the opposite tack: sharing their mental health battles with the world, via social media. People often connect with one another by using hashtags like #TalkingAboutIt and #mentalhealth that have a broad target audience.

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Coordinating Care Of Mind And Body Might Help Medicaid Save Money And Lives

Modern medicine often views the mind and body on separate tracks, both in terms of treatment and health insurance reimbursement. But patients with psychological disorders can have a hard time managing their physical health. So some Medicaid programs, which provide health coverage for people with low incomes, have tried to coordinate patients’ physical and mental health care. The goal is to save state and federal governments money while improving the health of patients.

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Keeping Kids Healthy and Sane in a Digital World

Smartphones, tablets and video consoles can be addictive. They interfere with sleep. They draw kids into an alternate universe, often distracting them from more productive — and healthier — real-world activities. And they are linked to anxiety and depression, learning disabilities and obesity. That’s according to a growing body of research emphasizing the physical and psychological dangers of heavy screen use.

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The Long And Winding Road To Mental Health Care For Your Kid

Mental health professionals say that with children, early intervention is crucial to avoid more severe and costly problems later on. Yet even parents with good insurance struggle to find care for their children. The US faces a growing shortage of mental health professionals trained to work with young people — at a time when depression and anxiety are on the rise. Suicide was the No. 2 cause of death for children and young adults from age 10 to 24 in 2017, after accidents.

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Mental Health Bills Lay Foundation For Children’s Success

By introducing Senate Study Bill 1197 and House Study Bill 206, Gov. Kim Reynolds offered Iowa the opportunity to establish the governance structure to implement core mental health services for children and families uniformly across Iowa. After decades of discussion and growing public support, these two bills take a huge step toward establishing a children’s mental health system.

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