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Mental Health Advocacy, Awareness and News
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August, 2014

UT College of Nursing - Mental Health Nursing
Members' Corner
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Featured Webinar: Keeping the Unit Safe

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Service Animals

APNA Member Benefits: Learn More

President's Message: Bringing It All Together
In this, my final President's Message, I would like to revisit several of the themes that I have examined over the past year. All have to do with articulating and celebrating the unique knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that psychiatric-mental health nurses bring to the table, as well as... (Cont'd)

Annual Conference: Early Bird Deadline Reminder
1200+ psychiatric-mental health nurses will take over Indianapolis this October for 4 days of continuing education, networking, and celebrating our profession. Remember to register by Monday, September 8th in order to save! (Learn More & Register)

Education Council: BSN Essentials
Members of the Undergraduate Branch of the Education Council will be working over the next several years to develop resources to help undergraduate faculty ensure that BSN students receive the knowledge and skills they need to promote, assess, and respond to mental health needs, regardless of setting. (Learn More)

Member Profiles: Award Winning Nurses
From integrating Native American traditions into mental health care, to leading disaster mental health relief efforts, to advocating to improve inpatient care, this year's APNA Annual Awards Recipients are an inspiring group:

Member News: Psych Nurses in the News
Ellen Blair highlighted in West Hartford News for APNA Annual Award; Jessica Estes interviewed for USA Today article; Josh Hamilton subject of CBS Las Vegas article; Paper by Nancy Hanrahan published in Archives of Psychiatric Nursing; Jane Mahoney recipient of the Texas Medical Center Richard E. Wainerdi Nurse Leader Award; Bernadette Melnyk appointed to the National Quality Forum's (NQF) Behavioral Health Standing Committee;  Mary Ann Nihart featured in San Francisco Examiner article; Daryl Sharp featured in University of Rochester Medical Center News; Ursula Kelly,  Karan Kverno, Jeanine Loucks quoted in 2-part Nurse.com piece (More Info)

Continuing Education: Online CE Update
What's new in the APNA eLearning Center? In Special Skills for Psychiatric Nurses, find four new webinars: Keeping the Unit Safe, Integrating the Recovery Model into Undergraduate Nursing Education, Creating Safety on Inpatient Units: Trauma Informed Care, and The Power of Stories: Perspectives of a Nurse and a Person with Lived Experience on Storytelling as a Therapeutic Intervention. Options for earning psychopharm contact hours have also expanded: 58 session recordings from this year's Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute are now online.

Scope & Standards: eBook for APNA Members
Online access to the foundational resource of psychiatric-mental health nursing - The Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice eBook is now a part of APNA membership! (Learn More)

Resource Roundup: New Resources in the APNA Resource Center
  • Military & PTSD: 8/28 Free DCoE Webinar - A Population Approach to Treatment Engagement in Behavioral Health Care
  • Grants and Scholarships: Yearly Nursing Track scholarship
  • RN Resources: New research article in Health Affairs
  • Medication Updates: Belsomra approved to treat insomnia, AHRQ Clinician Summary - First-Generation Versus Second-Generation Antipsychotics in Adults: Comparative Effectiveness, Targiniq ER with abuse-deterrent properties approved, Tramadol placed into Schedule IV of Controlled Substances Act
  • Substance Use: ONDCP 2014 Drug Control Strategy Fact Sheet 
  • Publications Discounts: 20% off select publications from Cambridge University Press for members
  • Traumatic Events: Disaster Substance Abuse Services: Planning and Preparedness podcast from SAMHSA
  • Recovery Programs: APNA Acute Care Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses: Preparing for Recovery Oriented Practice
  • APNA Advocacy: Congratulations to HHS Secretary Burwell, Nomination of Robert McDonald as Secretary of the VA, Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorization Act of 2014, VA work to modernize the VHA Nursing Handbook
  • Other Educational Opportunities: FREE CME Course - First-Generation Versus Second-Generation Antipsychotics in Adults: Comparative Effectiveness

Military Mental Health: White House Announcement & PTSD Toolkit for Nurses
On August 26th the President announced 19 new executive actions to serve the military community, including new efforts to strengthen service members’ access to mental health care. Included in this announcement was a PTSD toolkit for nurses which provides easy to access information and simulation based on gaming techniques on how to identify, assess and refer veterans suffering from PTSD.

New Members: 444 new members since June!

Issues & Events

A combination of therapy and antidepressants appears to best help people with severe but short-term depression, a new study reports. Four out of five people suffering from severe depression for less than two years experienced full recovery when treated with cognitive therapy plus antidepressant medication, reported HealthDay.com. On the other hand, the combination didn't work much better than drugs alone in helping people with mild depression or those with severe and chronic depression lasting longer than two years, said lead author Steven Hollon, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Full Story

A recently published study suggests a new class of drug may act as a dimmer switch to control schizophrenia, reported PsychCentral.com. The approach is heralded as a method to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia without some of the side effects associated with current anti-psychotic medicines. Full Story

Veterans who receive mental health screening during primary care visits are generally getting adequate follow-up treatment, but the process for acquiring care could be improved, finds a new study in General Hospital Psychiatry. The study examined primary care screening for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol misuse at a large Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center. Full Story

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that primary care has been added to the services available to Veterans through VA's Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) contracts, a key and evolving part of the non-VA medical care program.  Eligible Veterans are already able to access inpatient specialty care, outpatient specialty care, mental health care, limited emergency care and limited newborn care for female Veterans following childbirth under PC3. Full Story

Older military veterans who have suffered a serious head injury are more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than uninjured veterans, according to a new study. Full Story


Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced July 31, 2014 $54.6 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support 221 health centers in 47 states and Puerto Rico to establish or expand behavioral health services for over 450,000 people nationwide. Health centers will use these new funds for efforts such as hiring new mental health professionals, adding mental health and substance use disorder health services, and employing integrated models of primary care. Full Story

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a rule July 31, 2014 finalizing Oct. 1, 2015 as the new compliance date for health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses to transition to ICD-10, the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases. This deadline allows providers, insurance companies and others in the health care industry time to ramp up their operations to ensure their systems and business processes are ready to go on Oct. 1, 2015. Full Story

U.S. President Barack Obama signed a $16.3 billion bill on August 7 designed to provide veterans with more timely medical care and fix problems in the scandal-plagued Veterans Affairs department, reported Reuters. Full Story

Congressmen Bill Foster (D-IL) and Sean Maloney (D-NY) have introduced legislation to increase low-income and uninsured patients' access to inpatient rehabilitation services for heroin and other opioid abuse. The Expanding Opportunities for Recovery Act (H.R. 5339) would establish a grant program under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in which states may use grant funds to provide residential or inpatient opioid addiction treatment for qualified individuals. Full Story

Legislation recently introduced in the Senate would authorize millions of dollars in overdose prevention programming and research in an effort to curb the growing trend of opioid overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 people die every day in the United States due to an opioid drug overdose. The Overdose Prevention Act (S. 2755), introduced by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) with four cosponsors, would support prevention programs to reduce drug overdose deaths, create a task force to recommend a national public health campaign to Congress and authorize funding to research and test new treatment and prevention methods. Full Story

Mental and behavioral health social workers would be eligible for federal loan repayment benefits under new legislation introduced by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) with 70 cosponsors. The Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R.5294) adds these professionals to existing loan repayment programs, a move designed to bolster the behavioral health workforce. It also requires the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Institute of Medicine to conduct a study on "mental and behavioral health disparities in racial and ethnic minority groups" and issue recommendations for improvement to Congress. Full Story

Nurse practitioners in Kentucky are now able to prescribe some medications without having a collaborative agreement with a physician, making it easier for them to open their own practices, reported Nurse.com. The new state law, which took effect July 15, states after four years of prescribing under a collaborative agreement with a physician, NPs no longer need the agreement to prescribe routine medications. Controlled substances, including oxycodone, testosterone and cough syrup with codeine, still require a collaborative agreement. About 2,000 of the state’s 5,410 NPs have an agreement to prescribe these more restrictive drugs, according to the Kentucky Board of Nursing. Full Story

A vetoed bill that would have given nurse practitioners in Nebraska more independence will come up for debate again next year in the Legislature, reported The Washington Times. Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue said she plans to again introduce the measure, which Gov. Dave Heineman vetoed in the last session despite strong support from lawmakers. Full Story


The American Association of Nurse Practitioners announced that it is urging new VA Secretary Robert McDonald to give full-practice authority to nurse practitioners to help improve patient access to health care within the troubled VA system. Full Story

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is Accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the
American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

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