Mental health remains a significant concern of Alaskans as outlined by the State Health Assessment. The HA2020 plan included indicators (LHI 8 & 9) on mental health for both adolescents feeling sad and hopeless and adults feeling mentally unhealthy, neither of which met their target for 2020. The HA2030 team decided it was important to keep both indicators in the HA2030 plan to be able to target strategies and actions for both of those age groups. The HA2030 plan strategies also aligned with several statewide plans, such as the Alaska Mental Health Trust’s Comprehensive Integrated Mental Health Program Plan.
In February 2016, the Joint Commission, the accrediting organization for health care programs in hospitals throughout the United States, issued a Sentinel Event Alert recommending that all medical patients in all medical settings (inpatient hospital units, outpatient practices, emergency departments) be screened for suicide risk. Using valid suicide risk screening tools that have been tested in the medical setting and with youth, will help clinicians accurately detect who is at risk and who needs further intervention.
The Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) Program ensures that the health needs of children and youth are identified and treated early, before more complex and critical health conditions develop. EPSDT is a federally-mandated Medicaid benefit for all recipients aged 0-21. Comprehensive health screenings, diagnostic services and treatment services, including mental health screenings, are included in the EPSDT program. The EPSDT program’s focus is on promoting the physical, mental, social, emotional and behavioral health. Services are available to all Medicaid/Denali KidCare-eligibile children, youth and young adults under age 21. For more information about the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) Program you can visit: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dhcs/Pages/epsdt_hcs.aspx
SAMHSA provides an overview of the importance of prevention and the role it can play in reducing the impact of substance use and mental health concerns. https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/preventionThe National Council for Behavioral Health provides guidance regarding the use of prevention for Substance Use, Misuse, and Addiction Prevention. https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Prevention-Paper-FINAL.pdf?daf=375ateTbd56http://www.dhss.alaska.gov/Commissioner/Pages/MentalHealth/default.aspx
The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed the National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care – A Best Practice Toolkit, Knowledge Informing Transformation. “This National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care Best Practice Toolkit (National Guidelines for Crisis Care) responds to SAMHSA’s mission by providing science-based, real-world tested best-practice guidance to the behavioral health field. The Toolkit reflects careful consideration of all relevant clinical and health service research, review of top national program practices and replicable approaches that support best practice implementation.” https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/national-guidelines-for-behavioral-health-crisis-care-02242020.pdfNational Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: Crisis Services Task Force. (2016). Crisis now: Transforming services is within our reach. Washington, DC: Education Development Center, Inc.https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Prevention-Paper-FINAL.pdf?daf=375ateTbd56Additional information about Alaska’s 1115 Medicaid Waiver Demonstration Project can be accessed at http://dhss.alaska.gov/dbh/Pages/1115/default.aspx .
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