The possibility of a government shutdown looms today, unless Congress and the White House can agree on a new budget or continuing resolution before midnight. Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the status of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are on the line. If the government does shut down, Vox reports on what that will mean for federal health programs and the health workforce: “In the case of a shutdown, 50 percent of the Department of Health and Human Services’ 80,000-member staff will likely be furloughed, cutting the federal health staff down to only 40,000 employees. That includes the people at the CDC who monitor outbreaks, the researchers at the National Institutes of Health who are looking for disease cures, and the inspectors at the Food and Drug Administration who look out for pharmaceutical and food safety. More than that, it means some patients won’t be able to enroll in clinical trials for potentially lifesaving procedures.”
A study published this week in the American Journal of Public Health tracked long-term health and economic outcomes for women who had either received abortions within two weeks of their state’s gestational age limit on the procedure and women who had been turned away. UCSF professor Diana Greene Foster, one of the researchers, observed, “We see steady improvement over time for the women who receive an abortion. The other women are set back from the point of birth.” Five years after being denied an abortion, women were more likely to live in poverty, less likely to be employed full-time, and more likely to rely on public assistance. “Being denied an abortion often doesn’t just impact the woman, she notes, and the financial consequences associated with denial can create a ripple effect that can take a toll on generations to come.”
A recent report suggests the increase in deaths from opioid misuse appears to be primarily connected to the availability of the highly addictive drugs, not stress from economic hardship, as some have theorized, Eric Levitz writes in New York Magazine. ”In the United States, the standard daily dose of prescription opioids for every 1 million people is 50,000, according to United Nations data. No other country is in that vicinity,” he writes. Still, he notes, it seems evident that economic factors like stagnant wages, and the escalating costs of housing, health, and education contribute to rising rates of depression and suicide, or “deaths of despair.”
In a blog in Moving Healthcare Upstream, PI’s Larissa Estes explores how a community prevention approach to mental health can also improve physical health outcomes. She writes, “By improving community conditions, and pairing this with high-quality mental health services, our society can reduce the likelihood, frequency, and intensity of mental illness and mental health challenges—and physical health outcomes as well.”
Rewire reports on the many threats to wellbeing that people with disabilities have faced during the first year of the Trump administration, from repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and steeply cut Medicaid and allow states to impose work requirements on “able-bodied” adult recipients to efforts by the Justice Department to undermine the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities links the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to improved health outcomes and lower spending on medical care among recipients.
Prompted by a report that showed more than nine million people in Britain often or always feel lonely, Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed a minister for loneliness. “I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with,” she said in a statement. As part of the effort, the Office for National Statistics will help find a way to measure and track loneliness.
Writing in POLITICO, Chelsea Conaboy highlights the importance of forging strong parental or alternative caregiver bonds in early childhood, citing Prevention Institute's work with Honolulu's Kalihi Valley Instructional Bike Exchange and Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services. Loving early childhood relationships, she writes, likely protect against chronic mental health and physical conditions that often appear in adults who suffered trauma in their early years. Kokua Kalihi Valley is part of Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Men and Boys, a national initiative administered by PI and funded by The Movember Foundation.
PI's Lisa Fujie Parks joined Sonali Kolhatkar, host of the television and radio show Rising Up with Sonali, to discuss moving beyond #MeToo to prevent sexual harassment and violence in the first place. She talks about changing the norms that increase the risk of sexual violence and harassment.
While early deaths for many groups are declining, the rate for American Indians continues to rise, with relatively high rates of type II diabetes, liver disease, drug overdoses, and suicide. An article in JAMA examines some of the potential factors contributing to the early deaths, including individual and collective trauma, fewer economic and educational opportunities, and lack of access to health care, particularly mental health services,
The Chronicle of Philanthropy profiles Matt Kuntz, who heads the Montana chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and his personal connection to the work. Under his leadership, the chapter has successfully advocated for legislation requiring mental health screening for military service members, among other achievments. Kuntz, who has experienced depression and considered ending his life, said one of the key turning points for him was being there for a neighbor who was struggling, He saw that in helping the neighbor, he also was able to help himself.
Anxiety and depression were the primary concerns among college students seeking mental health services, according to the Center for Collegiate for Mental Health 2017 report. The portion of students reporting anxiety and depression has been increasing since 2013, while the portion of students reporting other concerns, such as relationship and adjustment problems have been relatively flat or declined. About 27% of students reported experiencing a traumatic event that caused feelings of intense fear, according to the report.