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Tech & Tools
Software Application Updated
for HUD AHAR Reporting

Data-Systems International, a provider of case management software for social services, has updated its CT Essentials for HMIS software solution to include last-minute requirements from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Annual Homeless Assessment Report. Learn more »

Technology to Improve the Quality of Care for L.A. County Residents
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved an agreement with Netsmart Technologies, Inc to provide an electronic health record system to support the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Learn more »
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Editor's E-Note
In the past decade, there has been a welcome recognition of the mind/body/spirit connection in matters of health and healthcare. Medical professionals now take a deeper look at the “big picture” and the connectedness of our minds and spirits to the health of our bodies.

Each part of this holistic triad affects the others and to assess and treat the whole person, health professionals must evaluate how the connection of these parts influences the overall health of the whole.

Our minds and spirits have been heavy amidst a financial downturn whose depth has not been seen since the Great Depression more than half a century ago. Mired in a financial downturn, many individuals have experienced psychological depression that is often associated with comorbid health conditions or the exacerbation of preexisting health conditions for which treatment is needed but financially prohibitive.

This month’s E-News Exclusive reports on a study of how the financial burdens affecting many people’s health decisions may be the precursor to a public health crisis that could worsen already-existing health disparities.

The financial crisis we are experiencing has ramifications well beyond our wallets, affecting the precious minds, bodies, and spirits needed to maintain the strength to endure the challenges we will continue to face in the coming years.

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— Marianne Mallon, editor
E-News Exclusive
Emerging Public Health Crisis Linked to Mortgage Default, Foreclosure

Researchers warn of a looming health crisis in the wake of rising mortgage delinquencies and home foreclosures. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health is the first long-term survey of the impact the current housing crisis is having on older Americans. The study focused on adults over the age of 50 and found high rates of depression among those behind in their mortgage payments and a higher likelihood of making unhealthy financial tradeoffs regarding food and needed prescription medications.

“More than a quarter of people in mortgage default or foreclosure are over 50,” says the study’s principal investigator, Dawn E. Alley, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "For an older person with chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension, the types of health problems we saw are short-term consequences of falling behind on a mortgage that could have long-run implications for that person's health."

The study was prompted in part by the rapid rise in foreclosure rates that began in 2007 following a dramatic increase in subprime lending. By 2009, 2.21% of all homes in the United States, a total of more than 2.8 million properties, were in some stage of foreclosure. Previous research had shown that home ownership is associated with better health while financial strain is associated with worse health and higher death rates.

Full Story »
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Recently in Social Work Today
Families and Addiction — Surviving the Season of Stress
Families of active substance abusers or people in recovery may face difficulties during the holidays. Learn strategies that your clients can use to navigate this season of mixed emotions. Read more »

Parenting With Intellectual Disabilities — Changing Times
Attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities parenting children have come a long way. What type of support and resources do disability experts advocate for individuals with intellectual disabilities to be effective parents? Read more »

Authenticity and Safety — Family Therapy With Transgender Teens
Family therapy with transgender teens and their parents begins with a rift: Parents are disbelieving and focused on safety, while teens are inpatient and focused on authenticity. The goal of treatment is to arrive at a shared understanding of who the child is, what should happen next, and how to proceed with both safety and authenticity in mind. Read more »

Mental Health Assessment — A Medical Perspective
A good working knowledge of nonpsychiatric causes and presentations of mental health complaints/symptoms can help social workers and other nonphysician mental health clinicians bring a broader perspective to the history-taking process and avoid errors in clinical judgment based on over reliance on psychological models of diagnosis and treatment. Read more »
Other Social Work News
Universities Broaden Veterans' Educational Opportunities
The New York Times reports on universities helping veterans navigate the admissions process through the Leadership Scholar Program.

Inconsistent Global Improvement in Mental Health
According to NPR, global progress in treating mental illness is uneven.

Program Teaches Children With Autism How to Play
The Baltimore Sun reports on a suburban Baltimore program that teaches children with autism how to engage in appropriate play behavior.

Pharmaceutical Whistle-Blower
Reports Off-Label Drug Use Training

According to the Chicago Tribune, a whistle-blower in a lawsuit against Abbott pharmaceuticals says he was trained behind closed doors to promote off-label uses for certain drugs.