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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
November/December 2009, Volume 17, Number 6 

photo of Alaskan mountains and totem pole

Reaching an Isolated Population

The area served by the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC)—a traditional tribal consortium of 42 villages in Alaska’s interior—covers 235,000 square miles or one-third of the Nation’s largest state.

Although that area includes the urban center of Fairbanks, many inhabitants live in tiny villages accessible only in the summertime and only then by plane or boat.

With the help of a grant from SAMHSA, TCC seeks to bring Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) services to as many of these inhabitants as possible. Called Seyeets Nezoonh—Athabascan for “When my breathing is good, I can run a long time”—the project focuses primarily on the area’s Alaska Native and Native American population.

“Our prevalence rate for substance dependency is a little higher than the normal,” said Interim Project Director Shannon Sommer. “Our people—my people—need this.”

Currently, the project focuses on screening patients at the Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center and a women’s clinic in Fairbanks. “People come in to town to do any shopping and to get their primary health care needs met,” explained Ms. Sommer.

When patients sign in for their regular appointments, they undergo a three-question screening. Those who score positive meet with a behavioral health consultant for a more thorough screening of substance abuse and mental health concerns, then receive health education, a brief therapy session, or referral to more intensive treatment.

Next the project will begin spreading out to the villages. The first will be a larger “hub” village with a doctor on staff. Next year, the project plans to bring SBIRT to two smaller villages.

In these isolated villages, health aides will provide the initial screenings. For individuals who need more help, the solution will be telehealth: Patients will communicate with clinicians back in Fairbanks via phone or Internet.

Find out more about SAMHSA’s SBIRT program.



  News & Updates  
Pamela S. Hyde Sworn in as New Administrator

Pamela S. Hyde Sworn in as New Administrator

Read more, view Webcast, and see photos.

Parity Law: Lessons Learned from California

Parity Law: Lessons Learned from California

Study may help to highlight the need for public education about the Federal parity law.

Voice Awards Honor Consumer Leaders

Voice Awards Honor Consumer Leaders

Entertainment industry and consumer leaders honored in Hollywood. Photo gallery.


  Publications  
TIP 52:  Treatment Guide to Clinical Supervision

TIP 52: Treatment Guide to Clinical Supervision

Improving counselors’ skills takes coaching and mentoring.

Guidelines: Responding to Mental Health Crises

Report offers principles for safe interventions.

Substance-Exposed Infants: How States Help

Substance-Exposed Infants: How States Help

Cross-agency, unified approach is recommended.


  Grants  
Funding Opportunities

Funding Opportunities

Call for applications include Peer-to-Peer Recovery program.

Tribal Grants Awarded

In Montana, a tribal group recently accepted a “big check.”


  Homelessness  
New Research Available on Parenting

New Research on Parenting

SAMHSA staff recently guest-edited 11 articles that focus on parenting.

Web Site Update on Co-Occurring Disorders

Web Site Update on Co-Occurring Disorders

New, interactive Web site features a library of tools.


  Adolescents & Substance Use  
“Influencers” Prevent Prescription Drug Misuse

“Influencers” Prevent Prescription Drug Misuse

Online toolkit helps family, teachers, and doctors keep teens from abusing prescription drugs.

Youth Tobacco Trends Show Decline

Youth Tobacco Trends Show Decline

Fewer youth are using tobacco products.

Perceptions of Risk from Substance Use

Perceptions of Risk from Substance Use

Age relates to teens’ perception of the danger of substance use.


  Suicide Awareness  
Suicide Prevention Update

Suicide Prevention Update

Lifeline’s Twitter, Facebook numbers rise.


  Prevention Update  
Native American Center for Excellence

Native American Center for Excellence

Recent event included a hoop dancing demonstration.



  Also in this Issue  
Gender Differences in Adolescents

Gender Differences in Adolescents

State reports on behavioral health problems presented by gender.

New Wallet Cards for 1-800-662-HELP

New Wallet Cards for 1-800-662-HELP

Order free wallet cards in English and en español.



  


Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration – 1 Choke Cherry Road – Rockville, MD 20857
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