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SAMHSA Recognizes National Mental Health Awareness Month

May 14, 2015

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and SAMHSA will mark the occasion with a series of mental health-related postings to its official blog. The first was launched on May 1 (click here to read). Throughout the month, SAMHSA will continue to promote mental health awareness to help ensure that all individuals, regardless of age, get the services and supports they need if they are coping with a mental illness.

The FASD Center for Excellence encourages our readers to visit SAMHSA’s blog regularly, and use this month as an opportunity to reach out to a family, friend, or neighbor who may be struggling with a mental health issue. A range of helpful free materials are available through SAMHSA’s many public health programs. Click here to see a list of official program Web sites, and visit the official SAMHSA Store to download or order hard copies of publications, videos, and other information resources.

Raising Mental Health Awareness in May

April 29, 2015

Each May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. According to SAMHSA’s 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. Given the higher prevalence of mental health issues among individuals with an FASD than among the general population, the FASD Center for Excellence encourages our visitors to support efforts to reduce the stigma, shame, and myths surrounding mental disorders.

Mental Health America (MHA), formerly known as the National Mental Health Association, sponsors and celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month each year. For 2015, they’ve posted videos and fact sheets for individuals and providers, and also a downloadable Mental Health Month Toolkit.

The FASD Center for Excellence also offers free materials that spotlight mental health issues as they relate to FASD. In June of 2014, Dan Dubovsky, the FASD Center’s FASD specialist, was interviewed for an Ask the Expert column that discusses the impact of FASD on the field of mental health. In addition, our “What You Need to Know” series includes a fact sheet titled How Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Co-Occur With Mental Illness.

We hope you will join us in celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month, and encourage a more accepting environment for people to seek the help they need.

New FASD in Review Examines Study on Missed and Misdiagnosis of FASD

March 31, 2015

The latest FASD in Review examines a recent article by Ira Chasnoff and colleagues, published in the journal Pediatrics. This archival study examined the rate of misdiagnosis and missed diagnoses of FASD among a sample of foster and adopted children at a children’s mental health center in Chicago, Illinois. The results of this study reported that 86 percent of FASD cases were either missed (80%) or incorrectly diagnosed (6%) at referral in this sample of foster and adoptive care populations. Combined with other recent data suggesting that the prevalence of FASD is higher than previously believed, these findings hold significant implications related to the need for FASD training and increased FASD diagnostic capacity across the country.

Click here to read the full article.

FASD Center Recognizes Alcohol Awareness Month

March 31, 2015

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol use and abuse is estimated to cause approximately 80,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. In addition, abuse of alcohol can lead to many other adverse health and social outcomes, including liver cirrhosis, breast and colon cancer, unintentional injuries, violence, unintended pregnancy, and FASD.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month every year to inform Americans about the damage that excessive alcohol consumption can cause, and to encourage everyone to follow some simple guidelines:

  • Don't drink if you are under the legal drinking age.
  • Only drink alcohol in moderation.
  • If you are pregnant, or may become pregnant, don't drink alcohol. There is no known safe amount or type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy.

Click here to learn more about the FASD Center’s related resources. The CDC also offers online information and free downloads about alcohol, pregnancy, and planning for a safe and healthy baby. Click here to access their What You Should Know About Alcohol and Pregnancy homepage. Share the messages: #AlcoholAwarenessMonth #BeSafe

New “Ask the Expert” Interviews FASD Specialist Dan Dubovsky on Screening and Modifications to Treatment

February 27, 2015

As a follow-up to this month’s Third Thursday iTraining collaboration with the Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network, the FASD Center for Excellence interviews FASD Specialist Dan Dubovsky, M.S.W., for the new Ask the Expert. The interview takes a look at the new Screening and Modifications to Treatment (SMT) approach, which aims to identify adults with a possible FASD and more effectively serve them. A group of researchers, including Mr. Dubovsky, developed SMT, a key part of which is the Life History Screen, which helps to identify signs of an FASD or other cognitive issues in clients.

Read the full interview here. A video presentation of the ATTC iTraining can be viewed here.

March is National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

February 27, 2015

The month of March is designated as National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence supports the efforts of local and national organizations addressing the needs of this population. Prenatal exposure to alcohol is one of many contributing factors that could lead to an intellectual or developmental disability. The FASD Center is committed to raising awareness and sharing information on this preventable issue.

For information and resources on FASD, visit the FASD Center’s Products Web page to explore our materials for families, educators, and professionals. We also encourage you to visit the website’s of other federal and regional agencies dedicated to raising awareness of intellectual and developmental disabilities, including The Arc and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.