At least one person in approximately 48 percent of all households in the United States has sought mental health care within the past year, according to a 2004 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA). However, high cost of care, lack of insurance coverage and stigma surrounding mental health issues still keep many from seeking help. A new initiative in New York City aims to train nonprofessionals in mental health intervention to increase the availability of resources for those struggling with psychological disorders or substance abuse issues. Read more
Birthday cakes, wedding cakes and … depressed cakes? A recent trend of pop-up shops aimed at reducing the stigma around mental illness has people looking at baked goods in a whole new light. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that depression is “the leading cause of disability worldwide,” and that approximately 6.9 percent of individuals in the United States struggle with the disorder. Grassroots campaigns, such as The Depressed Cake Shop, hope to start a dialogue regarding depression and other highly stigmatized mental health issues. Read more
Nearly every state in the United States currently has a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) in place to track controlled substances prescribed to its citizens. With no affiliation with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), these electronic databases are individually run by each state. However, the lack of accessibility of these information technology (IT) programs has rendered them ineffective in many cases. In honor of National IT Professionals Day on September 15, specialists explore the ways in which this technology is being used and how it can be implemented further to reduce the risk of over-prescribing and prescription drug abuse in the United States. Read more
Smartphone technology has increased the availability of mental health services over the years. With apps ranging from electronic health records (EHRs) with medical information to those assisting meditation techniques, the public is able to access mental health care more readily than ever before. September 15 marks National Information Technology (IT) Professionals Day, which takes place on the third Tuesday of September each year, providing an opportunity to explore the ways in which smartphones have affected the quality and accessibility of mental health care nationwide. Read more
Telemedicine and telehealth were first developed over 40 years ago and are slowly making their way into mainstream health care in the United States. According to the American Telemedicine Association, over 50 percent of all hospitals nationwide now implement telemedicine, or “remote clinical services,” in some way. Telehealth is a broader term in the field of mental health information technology (IT) that includes telemedicine, training, administrative tasks and continuing education (CE) classes for professionals within a given field. This gives mental health professionals and those struggling with mental health issues more opportunities for communication and education. The third Tuesday of September each year is designated as National IT Professionals Day, providing an opportunity to further explore these uses of technology within the mental health care system. Read more
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