Preliminary Evaluation For Foundational Community Supports Show Promising Results

Research and Data Analysis (RDA) Division of Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) released a preliminary evaluation report on the Foundational Community Supports (FCS) program. FCS, also known as Initiative 3 of the Medicaid Transformation Project, assists the state’s most vulnerable people to find and keep stable housing and employment. FCS consists of two services: supportive housing and supported employment.

World Mental Health Day – How to Observe and Participate

On October 10, 1992, World Mental Health Day was observed for the first time. In 1994, a theme for the day was used for the first time. That theme was “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World.” This year, the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) chose to make “Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention” the theme of World Mental Health Day. Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide. Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide in the world each year; it is the second leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24.

On this year’s World Mental Health Day, people are encouraged to prepare to take “40 seconds of action” on October 10 to help:

  • improve awareness of the significance of suicide as a global public health problem
  • improve knowledge of what can be done to prevent suicide
  • reduce the stigma associated with suicide
  • let people who are struggling know that they are not alone

Everyone can help prevent suicide:

  • Learn the warning signs of suicide to identify and appropriately respond to people at risk. Find out how this can save a life by visiting: www.BeThe1to.comexternal icon
  • Reduce access to lethal means – such as medications and firearms – among people at risk of suicide.
  • Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). https://suicidepreventionlifeline.orgexternal icon

Some additional ways to observe World Mental Health Day include volunteering or donating to mental health clinics and services that help people suffering from mental health issues, registering for group therapy sessions and practicing proper mental health such as exercising, eating healthy, volunteering, meditating and seeking counseling if necessary.

The organization, Time to Change, encourages you to review the World Mental Health Day Activity Pack.  It is full of activities that you can look to deliver, alongside resources to support the promotion of your commitment to addressing mental health stigma and the events you can get involved in.

Download the World Mental Health Day Activity Pack (PDF, 9.2MB) >


The Importance Of A Preventative Approach In Workplace Mental Health

Any successful business strategy requires continuous evaluation, refinement, and improvement. Workplace initiatives are no different, and programs that are reactive typically fail to gain traction and lose effectiveness over time. As the tide begins to turn and workplace mental health programs become more commonplace – and even expected – organizations need to ensure that they are approaching workplace mental health thoughtfully and methodically. Alongside a culture that accepts cognitive diversity and a management team that recognizes mental health as a priority, organizations need adaptive processes and tools in place to continuously improve mental health support and services.

Continue reading here.

Five Reasons Hiring Employees with Treated Mental Health is a Good Business Decision

The Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) conservatively estimates that it costs $4,020 to replace an employee who makes $9.19*per hour. That just covers advertising, screening, and interviewing. Training and lost productivity during transition runs the cost even higher.

If you are a small business owner/operator with limited HR assets, the cost and the frustration level can go even higher.

As an employer, your decision to hire any new worker comes down to one BIG question: “Will this person help me make or save more money?”

But with so much at stake, why take a chance on hiring someone who has been through treatment or currently receiving treatment for a Behavioral Health (mental health and/or substance) disability?

Here are five solid, bottom-line enhancing reasons to hire a person with a behavioral health disability:

  1.  If you are a US Company and hire a person with a disability you may qualify for the Federal Work Opportunities Tax Credit amounting to $2,400 (WTOC renewed through 2014) Go to for forms and instructions to apply.
  2. If you are a small business that generates less than $1 million annually OR have less than 30 full-time employees, you may qualify for the Disabled Access Credit of up to $5,000 to defray the cost of providing access to workers with disabilities.
  3. If hiring a worker with a disability will require your business to remove physical or structural barriers, there’s a tax deduction for that too-up to $15,000 per year from the Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction to cover expenses incurred in removing those barriers. POTENTIAL BONUS – If you will need to remove a transportation barrier, you may also qualify for the Disabled Access Credit.
  4. If you are recruiting your new hire through the Washington State DSHS Division of Vocational Rehabilitation or a local Supported Employment Organization, you will receive pre-screened applicants and, you may qualify for funding to offset your training costs during the first three months a new employee is on the job.**
  5. If your job candidate is a veteran with a service-connected disability, you may be eligible for an added $2,400 Work Opportunity Credit AND a VA Reimbursement equaling up to 50% of your new employee’s salary over 6 months*

Additional Revenue-Enhancing Reasons:

  1. Expand your market. Customers with disabilities, including behavioral health disabilities, their families, friends, and associates represent a trillion-dollar market segment. A large percentage say they prefer to patronize businesses that hire people with disabilities.
  2. Reduce turnover costs. As a group, people who have gone through treatment for behavioral health disabilities have higher than average retention rates, meaning fewer turnovers and less expense for you.
  3. Innovation and problem-solving skills are highly prized. People with behavioral health disabilities are innate problems solvers – they have to be – and they bring that ability with them to work.
  4. Individual training may also be part of the deal if you are working with the Washington Division of Vocational Rehabilitation* or one of the many Supported Employment agencies throughout the state.

There are a number of not-for-profit Supported Employment (IPS) agencies throughout the state that will assist you supported employment (IPS) specialists are available to help you identify and apply for all of the incentives and benefits your company qualifies to receive.

Learn more at



Minority Mental Health Month

July was designated as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in 2008 to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face in regard to mental illness in the United States (US).

While the term ‘minority’ is traditionally associated with racial, ethnic, or cultural minorities within the US, Mental Health America (MHA) is focused on expanding this term to include individuals from a wide-range of marginalized and underserved communities, including those who may identify as part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, refugee and immigrant groups, religious groups, and others who are often overlooked. By making this term more inclusive, the organization seeks to broaden people’s way of thinking and reinforcing the need to address mental health issues with a unique lens while integrating the varied needs of diverse communities. Through these efforts they aim to shed light on the multitude of mental health experiences within these communities.

Throughout the month of July, they are asking you to share content (a video, pictures, a series of videos, a poem, notes, or even GIFs) responding to the Guiding Questions provided below. These questions were developed to help you think about your experience and your story. We ask that you use these questions as prompts as you develop and share content.

Guiding Questions #DepthOfMyIdentity:

  • What labels would you use to describe yourself?
  • How have the perceptions of others impacted you and your mental health?
  • What advice would you give to others to protect their wellbeing and overall mental health if they encounter similar challenges?

Help them and others understand your lived experience and how we can all do better to address stereotypes, negative preconceptions, and bias to improve our overall mental health.

Answer these questions and share a photo of yourself on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #DepthOfMyIdentity.

Read the full article here:



Washington Foundational Community Support Program

The Foundational Community Support program (FCS) is for Medicaid recipients who have certain behavioral or physical health conditions. Eligible individuals may be referred to the program by their doctor, health plan or another provider. Individuals can work with their healthcare providers to see if they qualify to participate in the program.

“Through Healthier Washington, the federal government allows for funded innovative programs for eligible Medicaid recipients to receive supported employment and/or housing,” says Torri Canda, LICSW, Innovative Programs Integration Director of Amerigroup Washington. “Health Care Authority has contracted with Amerigroup as the Third Party Administrator (TPA) for Foundational Community Support.”

FCS starts with a housing and employment coordinator. They’ll get to know the person and their care team — doctors, counselors, caretakers and family. Together with a provider, they’ll set goals and figure out what services are required to meet them.

Living on Your Own

Supportive housing services, also called community support services, helps those qualified find a place to live and get the support needed. Coordinators can help:

  • Find housing that meets needs, including cost, location and setting
  • Understand how to sign a lease and work with a landlord
  • Learn skills for living independently

An individual may qualify for Supportive Housing Services if he/she needs support to get or keep housing, is 18 or older and has one or more of the following:

  • A history of homelessness
  • Lived in a residential or nursing facility
  • Multiple or long-term stays in hospitals or prisons
  • Need a lot of help with complex health issues
  • Had a lot of in-home caregivers

Getting a job

Supported employment services, also called individual placement and support, can help:

  • Look for the right job
  • Get ready for the interview
  • Succeed in the job by teaching helpful routines and working with a supervisor to ensure the employee receives the aid and support needed

An individual may qualify for Supported Employment Services if he/she needs support to get or keep a job, is 16 or older and one or more of the following is true:

  • Age, disability or injury, or health issues make it hard to keep a job
  • An individual has received substance use treatment in the hospital or at a facility
  • An individual is in the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program

*The conditions listed above do not guarantee eligibility.

For more information, view the Healthier Washington FCS  Frequently Asked Question and Washington Health Care Authority Initiative 3 website.

For assistance finding a provider through Amerigroup, visit




Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace Using the Case Manager Approach

© Craig Chanowski –

Mental health has traditionally been considered a pariah in workers’ compensation claims management. The old way of thinking is that when psychological issues enter the picture, claim costs spin out of control and return-to-work delays soar.

That perception has gradually diminished over the past decade as professionals are realizing that addressing these factors early can help reduce delays later. Though psychosocial factors such as isolation, post-traumatic stress and depression can incur following an injury and during recovery, the fact is, a good number of injured employees come into the workers’ comp system with mental health conditions, whether diagnosed or not.

It may be surprising to learn that mental illness is one of the leading causes of worker disability in the U.S. A recent study published by disability insurer Unum shows the true extent of the problem. Researchers surveyed 1,800 workers and reported 42 percent were aware of a colleague with a mental health issue. More than half — 62 percent — said they had experienced a period where they have felt mentally unwell. Of 500 workers who had been diagnosed with a mental health issue, many said they had come to work while they had suicidal feelings.

Those are some hard numbers to swallow considering that work and purposeful activity have the greatest impact on moderating depression, building self-esteem and negating idleness. As those in our industry know, workplace injuries can have a significant effect on mental health, which increases as an injured worker is out of the office.

Continue reading this article from Workers here.

Why Workplace Mental Health Policies Must Take LGBTQ+ Experiences Into Account

On the heels of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, June commemorating LGBTQ+ Pride Month is a reminder that workplace mental health policies must be cognizant of how different groups are affected by mental health issues. The workplace can be challenging for anyone struggling with their mental health, but research shows it can be an especially unwelcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community. As the National Alliance on Mental Illness notes, LGBTQ+ people must deal not only with the stigma associated with mental health disorders but also the stigma surrounding their sexuality or gender identity. LGBTQ+ individuals experience discrimination and harassment in all spaces in society, and the workplace is no exception.

Continue reading this article from Forbes here.

What’s Your Purpose? Finding a Sense of Meaning in Life is Linked to Health

Having a purpose in life, whether building guitars or swimming or volunteer work, affects your health, researchers found. It even appeared to be more important for decreasing risk of death than exercising regularly.
Dean Mitchell/Getty Image

Having a purpose in life may decrease your risk of dying early, according to a study published Friday.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 7,000 American adults between the ages of 51 and 61 who filled out psychological questionnaires on the relationship between mortality and life purpose.

What they found shocked them, according to Celeste Leigh Pearce, one of the authors of the study published in JAMA Current Open.

People who didn’t have a strong life purpose — which was defined as “a self-organizing life aim that stimulates goals” — were more likely to die than those who did, and specifically more likely to die of cardiovascular diseases.

“I approached this with a very skeptical eye,” says Pearce, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan. “I just find it so convincing that I’m developing a whole research program around it.”

People without a strong life purpose were more than twice as likely to die between the study years of 2006 and 2010, compared with those who had one.

This association between a low level of purpose in life and death remained true despite how rich or poor participants were, and regardless of gender, race, or education level. The researchers also found the association to be so powerful that having a life purpose appeared to be more important for decreasing risk of death than drinking, smoking or exercising regularly.

“Just like people have basic physical needs, like to sleep and eat and drink, they have basic psychological needs,” says Alan Rozanski, a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai who was not involved in this research but has studied the relationship between life purpose and physical health.

“The need for meaning and purpose is No. 1,” Rozanski adds. “It’s the deepest driver of well-being there is.”

The new study adds to a small but growing body of literature on the relationship between life purpose and physical health. Rozanski published a 2016 paper in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, for example, that used data from 10 studies to show that strong life purpose was associated with reduced risk of mortality and cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks or stroke.

Study authors for the new JAMA Current Open study pulled data from a large survey of older American adults called the Health and Retirement Study. Participants were asked a variety of questions on topics such as finances, physical health and family life.

A subset of participants filled out psychological questionnaires, including a survey called the Psychological Wellbeing Scale, in 2006. This includes questions designed to understand how strong a person’s sense of life purpose is. For example, it asks them to rate their responses to questions like, “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.”

The study authors used people’s answers to these questions to quantify how powerful their degree of life purpose was. The researchers then compared that information to data on participants’ physical health up until 2010, including whether or not participants died and what they died from.

The survey didn’t ask participants to define how they find meaning in life. What matters, according to the researchers, is not exactly what a person’s life purpose is, but that they have one.

“For some, it might be raising children. For others, it might be doing volunteer work,” Pearce says. “Where your life fulfillment comes from can be very individual.”

The study’s lead author, Aliya Alimujiang, who is a doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of Michigan, says she got involved in the project because of a personal interest in mindfulness and wellness.

Before she started graduate school, Alimujiang worked as a volunteer in a breast cancer clinic and says she was struck by how the patients who could articulate how they found meaning in life seemed to do better.

That experience helped her define part of her own life purpose: researching the phenomenon.

“I had a really close relationship with the breast cancer patients. I saw the fear and anxiety and depression they had,” Alimujiang says. “That helped me to apply for [graduate] school. That’s how I started my career.”

Pearce says that while the link between life purpose and physical well-being seems strong, more research is needed to explore the physiological connection between the two, like whether having a low life purpose is connected to high levels of stress hormones. She also hopes to study public health strategies — like types of therapy or educational tools — that might help people develop a strong sense of their life’s work.

“What I’m really struck by is the strength of our findings, as well as the consistency in the literature overall,” Pearce says. “It seems quite convincing.”

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