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Mental Health Advocacy, Awareness and News
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December, 2016

APNA Highlights
APNA Member Info

Online Continuing Education
Featured CE: Understanding the Legal and Regulatory Ramifications Related to Psychiatric Nursing Scope of Practice

Hot Topic on Member Bridge:
Suicide Safety Plans

APNA Newsfeed
Keep up-to-date on APNA happenings!

Find out about APNA events in your area.

APNA Resource Center

APNA Member Benefits

A Message of Holiday Cheer
Click here to view a holiday video message from APNA.

2017 Annual Conference: What You Need to Know Now
The APNA 31st Annual Conference will be held October 18-21 in Phoenix, AZ with a program focusing on the theme of Whole Health Begins with Mental Health. The call for abstracts will open on January 3rd, so keep an eye out for an email announcement from APNA. In the meantime, we are pleased to announce that behavioral scientist Vic Strecher, PhD, MPH will join the conference as a keynote speaker. Click here to learn more about his work.

Annual Conference Podcasts
27 session recordings from last October’s APNA Annual Conference are now online for continuing education contact hours - and more are coming soon. Click here to access them.

Tobacco Free: Resources for PMH Nurses
Updated expert-vetted online resources from the Tobacco Dependence Branch of the APNA Addictions Council are available by clicking here.

APNA Post-Conference Survey
Please participate in the post-conference survey to help us understand how we can meet your needs when it comes to shaping future APNA educational programs and conferences. Click here to begin the survey.

Effective Treatments for Opioid Use Disorders - Free CNE
Continuing education webinars for all nurses developed by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association to provide needed knowledge and help answer the question,“What can nurses do?” to address the epidemic of opioid use and overdose in the U.S. Click here to access the webinars.

JAPNA Survey
SAGE Publications, publishers of the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (JAPNA), is conducting a study of the September/October 2016 issue of JAPNA. As an APNA member, your contribution is needed. Please click here to complete a short survey regarding the advertising and product features in JAPNA. Your answers are confidential and will only be used for tabulation.

Issues & Events

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the availability of new funding to combat the prescription opioid and heroin crisis. The funds, made available through the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants, will provide up to $970 million to states and territories over the next two years, beginning in fiscal year 2017. These grants will help address the opioid crisis by providing support to states for increasing access to treatment, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid-related overdose deaths. States and territories will be awarded funds through a formula based on unmet need for opioid use disorder treatment and drug poisoning deaths. Full Story

Opioid-related hospital stays involving misuse of prescription pain relievers or use of illicit opioids such as heroin increased nationwide by 64% between 2005 and 2014, according to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) report that provides new insights into the nation’s costly opioid epidemic. Although data indicate a significant increase in opioid-related hospital stays nationwide, the analysis shows that trends vary widely among states. Focusing on the most recent years of data available, Oregon, North Carolina, South Dakota and Washington State reported that opioid-related stay rates increased by more than 70% between 2009 and 2014. Meanwhile, rates decreased in Kansas, Maryland, Illinois and Louisiana during the same period. Full Story

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is launching Decisions in Recovery: Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder (Decisions in Recovery), an online interactive aid for people who want information about the role of medications in treating opioid use disorder. The web-based tool and its accompanying handbook are designed to help people with opioid use disorders learn about treatment options so that they can work with their healthcare provider in deciding what might work best for them. Full Story

Antipsychotic drugs should not be added to manage specific symptoms of delirium known to be associated with distress in patients receiving palliative care who have mild to moderately severe delirium, reported MedPage Today. Compared with the placebo group who received individualized treatment and nonpharmacologic measures during the 72-hour study, those who received age-adjusted titrated doses of oral risperidone or haloperidol every 12 hours had an increase in behavioral, communication, and perceptual symptoms of delirium associated with distress. Full Story

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has made it one of its top priorities to promote the behavioral healthcare needs of America’s service men and women -- active duty, National Guard, reserves, and veterans. In addition to the many behavioral health programs that SAMHSA supports for the general public (including military families and veterans) SAMHSA has also developed programs geared toward helping the military community. Full Story

With the help of a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, nurse scientists at Case Western Reserve University will study how people caring for loved ones with bipolar disorder can improve their own health, reported Crain's Cleveland Business. Full Story

A neuroimaging study suggests patients with depression can be categorized into four unique subtypes defined by distinct patterns of abnormal connectivity in the brain, reported PsychCentral.com. Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine identified the depression biomarkers by analyzing more than 1,100 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans of patients with clinical depression and of healthy controls. Full Story

Eli Lilly announced that a Phase III study (EXPEDITION3 trial) of the anti-amyloid drug solanezumab in people with mild Alzheimer’s did not find a statistically significant slowing of cognitive decline in treated patients versus those who received placebo. Full Story


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued the final rule amending its medical regulations to permit full practice authority of three roles of VA advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) when they are acting within the scope of their VA employment. You can view the final rule and opportunity to comment on full practice authority for CRNAs here. All comments must be submitted by January 13, 2017. For the excerpt of the rule pertaining to nursing, please click here.

On Dec. 13, President Obama signed Rep. Tim Murphy’s “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act” as part of a larger health-care reform package. Murphy’s efforts to overhaul the nation’s sprawling system for providing mental-health care began in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut. The legislation provides an additional $150 million in federal spending over 10 years, reported the Observer-Reporter. Full Story

The 21st Century Cures Act, passed Dec. 7 by the Senate, will result in much-needed reform of the nation’s mental health system, according to the American Psychological Association and the APA Practice Organization. “This legislation will improve the lives and health of countless Americans,” said APA President Susan H. McDaniel, PhD. “It will increase access to effective, evidence-based care, particularly for those with serious mental illness.” Full Story

Nurse practitioners and physician's assistants will be able to prescribe medications that treat opiate addiction in 2017, reported the Burlington Free Press. Currently, only physicians can prescribe buprenorphine. Starting in early 2017, nurse practitioners and physician's assistants who complete 24 hours of training and apply for a waiver will be able to prescribe the treatment to up to 30 people, according to new rules announced by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Full Story

The Food and Drug Administration recently gave permission for large-scale, Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA, the illegal party drug better known as Ecstasy, as a treatment for PTSD. This would be the final step before the possible approval of Ecstasy as a prescription drug, reported the New York Times. Full Story


A new Surgeon General’s report finds alcohol and drug misuse and severe substance use disorders, commonly called addiction, to be one of America’s most pressing public health concerns.  Nearly 21 million Americans – more than the number of people who have all cancers combined – suffer from substance use disorders. The report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, marks the first time a U.S. Surgeon General has dedicated a report to substance misuse and related disorders. The report addresses alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription drug misuse, with chapters dedicated to neurobiology, prevention, treatment, recovery, health systems integration and recommendations for the future. It provides an in-depth look at the science of substance use disorders and addiction, calls for a cultural shift in the way Americans talk about the issue, and recommends actions we can take to prevent and treat these conditions, and promote recovery. Full Story To access the full report, click here.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is developing a national clinical registry to provide psychiatrists with more efficient means to meet Medicare quality reporting requirements, to establish a database for mental health research, and ultimately to improve patient outcomes, reported MedScape. Full Story

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