Only One in Four Americans Believes People are Sympathetic TowardsThose with Mental Illness
Washington, DC, December 04, 2006 /PRNewswire/ - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in partnership with the Ad Council, today launched a national awareness public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to decrease the negative attitudes that surround mental illness and encourage young adults to support their friends who are living with mental health problems.
"We took a new approach to de-stigmatizing mental illness with this campaign," said Assistant Surgeon General Eric B. Broderick, SAMHSA Acting Deputy Administrator. "Instead of telling people why they shouldn't discriminate against people with mental illnesses, we are showing how friends can be supportive of those who have disclosed they are having a mental health problem and the critical role that friendship plays in recovery."
Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans (85 percent) believe that people with mental illnesses are not to blame for their conditions, only about one in four (26 percent) agrees that people are generally caring and sympathetic toward individuals with mental illnesses, according to a new HealthStyles Survey released today. The survey data, licensed from Porter Novelli by SAMHSA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found that only one-quarter of young adults believe that a person with a mental illness can eventually recover, and slightly more than one-half (54 percent) who know someone with a mental illness believe that treatment can help people with mental illnesses lead normal lives.
"The advances made in treatments and services for mental illnesses offer the hope of recovery for all," said Acting Surgeon General Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu, M.D., M.P.H, who helped to kick off the campaign. "Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. It is an illness that should be treated with the same urgency and compassion as any other illness. And just like any other illness, the support of friends and family members is key to recovery."
According to SAMHSA, in 2005 there were an estimated 24.6 million adults aged 18 or older who experienced serious psychological distress (SPD), which is highly correlated with serious mental illness. Among 18 to 25 year olds, the prevalence of SPD is high (18.6 percent for 18-25, vs. 11.3 percent for all adults 18 years of age and older). But this age group shows the lowest rate of help-seeking behaviors. Additionally, those with mental health conditions in this segment have a high potential to minimize future disability if social acceptance is broadened and they receive the right support and services early on.
Created pro bono by Grey Worldwide, the PSA campaign aims to reach 18- to 25-year-old adults who have friends living with mental illnesses. It highlights the importance of their providing support. Featuring a voiceover by Tony award-winning actor Liev Schreiber, the television and radio spots illustrate how friendship is the key to recovery. The campaign also includes print and interactive advertising that directs audiences to visit a new comprehensive Web site, www.whatadifference.samhsa.gov to learn more about mental health and what they can do to play a role in their friend's recovery.
"The prevalence of mental illness among young adults in our country is staggering. We need to reduce the widespread stigma and provide a greater opportunity for recovery," said Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of The Advertising Council. "The compelling PSAs show young adults the critical role they have in supporting friends with mental illnesses, and will help reduce the stigma. Additionally, this age group can be a great catalyst for the rest of the population."
In addition to collaborating with the CDC, SAMHSA's National Mental Health Anti-Stigma Campaign has partnered with other federal agencies, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), State mental health agencies, leading researchers on stigma, and a broad coalition of stakeholders, including organizations that represent provider organizations and consumer and family member groups. The Campaign held a series of regional meetings to develop a grassroots network to support the Campaign and provide assistance with anti-stigma efforts to States and local communities.
A resource guide entitled, "Developing a Stigma Reduction Initiative," was also recently released and is based on the evaluation and lessons learned from the Elimination of Barriers Initiative. The guide provides information on how to mount a statewide anti-stigma campaign, examples of outreach materials, reports on the best practices for stigma reduction, and lists important resources for technical assistance. Copies of the guide can be obtained by calling SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-789-2647.
To view the ads, please visit www.whatadifference.samhsa.gov. The PSAs were distributed to more than 28,000 media outlets nationwide earlier this month and will air in advertising time that will be donated by the media.
SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation's substance abuse prevention, addictions, treatment and mental health services delivery system. SAMHSA can be reached at www.samhsa.gov
The Advertising Council is a private, non-profit organization that has been the largest producer of PSAs in the nation since 1942. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil****
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UNPRECEDENTED ALLIANCE OF HEALTH CARE LEADERS ANNOUNCES HISTORIC AGREEMENT TO HELP REDUCE THE NUMBERS OF AMERICA'S UNINSURED
Proposal includes balanced approach to expand health care coverage, starting with children
Diverse organizations that have often opposed each other on federal health policies forge consensus, vow to work together for immediate congressional action
Washington, D.C. - Most of the nation's largest health care organizations today announced that they have agreed on a proposal that would significantly expand health coverage for America's almost 47 million uninsured, starting immediately with expanded coverage for children in 2007. Calling itself the Health Coverage Coalition for the Uninsured (HCCU), the group is made up of 16 influential, national organizations that have played leading roles in every federal health policy debate of the last 30 years, often on opposing sides. Despite their divergent political and ideological views, the groups today committed to immediately and jointly press lawmakers to act on their historic, two-phased consensus proposal.
The agreement includes a balance of private and public initiatives and is the culmination of lengthy meetings among the groups over approximately two years. It allows the new Congress to begin its work on health coverage from a proposal that already has the agreement of diverse advocates.
"This historic agreement transcends traditional political and ideological boundaries to break the gridlock about expanded health coverage for the uninsured," said Ron Pollack, executive director, Families USA. "Our unprecedented agreement and coalition should serve as a model for Congress and the President to see that health coverage is expanded to as many people as possible as quickly as possible - starting with America's children this year."
HCCU participating organizations include AARP, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Catholic Health Association, Families USA, Federation of American Hospitals, Healthcare Leadership Council, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, Pfizer Inc., United Health Foundation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"Reaching consensus is a long and sometimes difficult process, but every participating group put the interests of America's uninsured first - even when doing so meant walking away from certain long-held positions," said Scott P. Serota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association president and CEO. "With such divergent political ideologies, it is unprecedented for these groups to have a joint agreement. Helping the millions of Americans who do not have health insurance is an issue that needs to transcend politics and partisanship, and that is why we worked together to give Congress a starting point that we can all support."
With Congress scheduled to consider the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in the coming months, the proposal could have an immediate impact. Its first phase is a "Kids First Initiative" to allow parents to more easily enroll their children in public programs, like SCHIP and Medicaid. It calls for a "one-stop shopping" system whereby low-income families could enroll uninsured children in SCHIP or Medicaid at the same time as they apply for other public programs, like reduced-cost lunches or food stamps. The proposal would provide states with the additional funds needed to enroll eligible children. HCCU members believe this could help up to six million uninsured children who are eligible for, but not enrolled in, public insurance programs.
The proposal also calls for a new tax credit to help families cover some of the cost of providing private health insurance for their children. Eligible families could earn up to three times the federal poverty level (about $60,000 annually for a family of four). The tax credits would be refundable and advanceable.
The HCCU organizations also propose a competitive grant program to enable states to experiment with new, innovative approaches to expand health coverage.
The second phase of the coalition's proposal focuses on uninsured adults. It would give states the flexibility and funds to expand Medicaid eligibility to cover all adults with incomes below the federal poverty level, millions of whom are currently ineligible for public coverage. For those with higher incomes between 100 and 300 percent of the federal poverty level, a refundable, advanceable tax credit would be established to help individuals cover the costs of private insurance.
Census figures show more than one in seven Americans were uninsured in 2005. Studies show the uninsured are often unable to receive the primary and preventive care that they need. The Institute of Medicine estimates approximately 18,000 people die each year from diseases that would have been treatable or preventable if they had health coverage.
A number of other organizations worked closely with the coalition throughout its deliberation process, including the Heritage Foundation, National Association of Counties, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association and Project HOPE.
The HCCU Consensus-Building process was organized and conducted as a project of Search for Common Ground-U.S. Consensus Council, in partnership with the Meridian Institute. The organizations fashioned a unique approach for bringing diverse organizations together on public policy issues. The Economic and Social Research Institute and the Lewin Group provided research and analytical support.
Funding for the coalition's work was provided by the participating organizations, with additional support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Ascension Health, the Rapoport Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation and The California Endowment.
The HCCU consensus agreement, as well as additional information about HCCU is available at www***alitionfortheuninsured****.
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The Joint Commission Issues Call to Action to Improve
When you are sick, following doctorsâ orders are essential to recovery. But what happens if you really donât understand the instructions your doctor gives you? Many Americans have low health literacy, or difficulty understanding medical speak, a problem affecting more than one-third of patients in the U.S. health care system. Those with literacy issues come from all walks of life; however, educational level, nativity, socio-economic status and elderly age are all associated with lower levels of health literacy
Cultural, language and communication barriers often lead to misunderstandings between patients and their caregivers, which may cause harm to these patients. To help narrow the communications gap, The Joint Commission â a national leader for patient safety and health care quality â has just issued a call to action to:
Make effective communication a priority
Address patientsâ communication needs across the spectrum of care
Change public policy to promote improved communication
For more information, please visit: www.jointcommission****
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Six U.S. Organizations Receive National Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards, Ten Honored for Best Practices
Successful organizations know that taking care of their employees is not only the right thing to do; it also makes good business sense. Some U.S. employers are already demonstrating that investing in employee health and well being leads to business success. The American Psychological Association APA recognized six organizations El Nuevo Dia Puerto Rico, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Vermont, Healthwise Idaho, Koinonia Homes Ohio, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (Nevada) and YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network New York for their workplace practices that promote employee health and well being and enhance organizational performance. These companies were presented with the 2007 National Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award PHWA at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on March 3.
Combined, these six organizations report an average turnover rate of just 14 percent that trounces the national average of 40 percent as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, surveys completed by the winning organizations show that only 19 percent of employees report high levels of work stress compared to 33 percent nationally.
The cost of stress to employers is huge, says Russ Newman, PhD, JD, APA executive director for professional practice. Employers spend an estimated 300 billion dollars a year on stress-related absenteeism, turnover, lowered productivity, and direct medical, legal and insurance costs.
Winners also report cost savings from their workplace practices, such as a 6.7 percent reduction in health care costs for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and a 61 percent reduction in workers compensation claims since 2004 for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. YAI/NIPDs workplace practices have allowed the agency to negotiate low premiums with health plans, and costs associated with on the job injuries have dropped by $500,000 over the past five years.
National PHWA winners are often the employer of choice in their communities. Healthwise receives 125 to 150 applications for every job opening, giving the company an advantage in selecting the very best employees from a large pool of talent. Eighty four percent or more of Koinonia employees say the company provides opportunities to learn new skills, gives constructive performance feedback, and encourages teamwork and employee participation in goal setting. And when it comes to job satisfaction, El Nuevo Dia boasts an overall employee satisfaction rate of almost 90 percent.
The link between employee health and well-being and organizational performance is clear, says Newman. Employers who embrace that connection are better able to develop a high performing workforce that serves as a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Psychologically healthy workplace practices fall into five categories: employee involvement; health and safety; employee growth and development; work life balance; and employee recognition. Employee participation in decision making, skills training and leadership development, flexible work arrangements, and programs promoting healthy lifestyle and behavior choices are just a few of the qualities that define a psychologically healthy workplace.
In addition to the National PHWA winners, ten organizations received Best Practices Honors for an innovative program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment. The honorees are Community School Virginia, DuBois Regional Medical Center Pennsylvania, El Nuevo Dia Puerto Rico, the Good Samaritan Hospital of Maryland Maryland, the Houston Texans NFL Franchise Texas, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Nevada, Next Level Cafe Minnesota, OMNI Youth Services Illinois, Stratix Corporation Georgia, and Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center Hawaii.