Happy Children’s Mental Health Week

May 4th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

May 4 – 10 is this year’s observance of Children’s mental health week.  This year’s theme is “Building a Circle of Wellness.” This week celebrates children’s mental health and also serves as a great opportunity to debunk myths, spread awareness and promote positive mental health and overall health for all of our nation’s children. This will take a combination of national, state and local efforts (and every single one of us!) to bring about our collective vision for healthy children and families.

Would like to know a simple way to show your support for children’s mental health this week: wear a green ribbon.  …and most importantly, tell anyone who asks about your ribbon, why you’re wearing it!

Just like physical health, mental health needs be a priority in every person’s wellness plan and it all starts early in life.

Mental Health Month begins today!

May 1st, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »
2014 Mental Health Month - Mind your health

2014 Mental Health Month – Mind your health



Complimentary seats for the AZ survivor’s of suicide conference

April 28th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

ADHS/DBHS is a partner for the AZ Survivors of Suicide Conference, with speaker Stuart D. Smith, LPC, MA, NCC, Clinical Coordinator at The Link Counseling Center.

●Gain support and assistance in dealing with survivor grief

●Learn from fellow survivors through our Survivor Panel Discussion

The conference will focus on Hope and Healing, utilizing a lecture format, panel discussion, and experiential exercises designed to deepen and expand the understanding of grief, specifically as it relates to loss by suicide.

Conference Objectives:

●To increase knowledge about the dynamics of grief after suicide.

●To explore opportunities in the grieving process for personal growth, which can lead survivors out of a tunnel of despair, into a journey of hope and acceptance.

●To provide a forum for survivors to learn new coping skills.

Our partnership includes several complementary seats to attend this event.  We would like to offer these seats to YOU, in our community.   If you are interested in participating, please email Cynthia.Billotte@azdhs.gov .  Available seats will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis until we run out.

Event information:

Date: Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 from 8:15-3:30; includes a luncheon buffet.

Location: Black Canyon Conference Center, 9440 North 25th Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85021

Phone: (602) 944-0569.

Update on implementation of fidelity tools

April 22nd, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

Staff from the Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS or the Division) continues to work on the implementation of four SAMHSA evidence based practice fidelity tools. This implementation plan was discussed in February 2014 at a three-day kickoff event led by SAMHSA contractor, David Lynde and Division staff. During the kickoff, participants asked to be kept up to date with the progress of the project.

The four tools – examining ACT teams, supportive housing, supported employment and peer services in the community — will be implemented in the Summer of 2014. Each provider of these services will be reviewed at least once annually with the fidelity tool. Division staff members, in collaboration with partners at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), are currently interviewing candidates for the reviewer positions. We had a strong response to the job posting; the first round of phone interviews was completed last week. In-person interviews are scheduled for mid-May. The four strongest candidates will be hired by the end of May; as reviewers, they will be responsible for working with providers, implementing the tool, and reporting to the Division and WICHE the findings.

The findings, along with a provider response, will be made available on the ADHS website.

If you have any questions concerning the project, please email Kelli Donley at kelli.donley@azdhs.gov.


Alcohol and energy drinks

April 11th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

This is nothing new but is quite common these days to serve alcohol mixed with energy drinks.  So much hype about them, let’s take a look at what’s happening in your body:

Energy drinks contain caffeine, plant based stimulants, simple sugars, and many other additives. When alcohol is mixed with energy drinks, the depressant effects from the alcohol can be masked by the energy drink’s content. This can cause you to consume more alcohol without realizing the true impact that the consumption has taken on your body.  This is something to take seriously because your alcohol levels may be much higher than expected.

Research has shown that drinkers who consume alcohol with energy drinks are three times more likely to binge drink.  Having 4 or more drinks during a single occasion (i.e. social event) is called “Binge Drinking”. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08% or above. This usually means about 5 drinks for men and 4 for women.

Bottom line, it’s important to know what exactly you are consuming, specially if you’re needing to drive afterwards and/or if you’ll be engaged in activities that may require you to be alert.

If you need help to reduce or quit your drinking, please know that you are not alone!  Call 1-800-662-HELP which offers 24-hour free and confidential information (in English and Spanish) on substance use disorder issues and referral to treatment.

If you are in a crisis, please call any of our crisis hotlines in Arizona and nationwide.

There are also some self-help and similar resources available online.

Who do you trust with your child

April 10th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

Who Do You Trust With Your Child?is a campaign through the Arizona Department of Economic Security. This campaign is utilized to assist parents in choosing a safe caregiver and to prevent child maltreatment.  Think before you trust. A little planning could save a precious child.  It can also prevent many long-term behavioral health challenges and severe illnesses including mental illness.

This brief video tells some of the do’s and don’ts for choosing a caregiver:

This brochure is a great resource with information and tips for planning the care of your child – preventing abuse starts with you. 

Child maltreatment often is done by the very people you know – it is a community issue that you can help resolve.  That’s why National Child Abuse Prevention Month is all about raising awareness about this issue and empowering parents, guardians and whole communities to learn how to choose safe care givers.  This month is also about acknowledging the significance of people working together to prevent child abuse…and most importantly, YOU can be one of these people by engaging in awareness and prevention activities in your community; a place to start is your nearest child abuse prevention council.

The Regional Child Abuse Prevention Councils are primarily voluntary groups of child welfare workers, community members, school personnel and other professionals located in 15 different areas of the state of Arizona. The Councils organize public engagement campaigns to heighten public awareness of child abuse and neglect, and most of all, what the community can do to assist in prevention.

What birth defects can be caused by alcohol?

April 8th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan 3 comments »

Alcohol is a known teratogen, meaning that it is a substance that can cause abnormal development in a growing fetus. Infants affected by alcohol exposure in the womb may have obvious skeletal anomalies such as a small head or poorly formed limbs. Many are born small for their gestational age, a result of fetal growth restriction.  They may also have defects in the formation of major organs such as the heart, eyes, or the brain.  Here’s a visual resource about the effects of alcohol use during pregnancy:


Do you know if your teen is drinking?

April 8th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

If you have a teenager you may want to pay attention to signals that could indicate alcohol use or abuse. The following signs are most common:

  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Declining grades or problem in school
  • Problems with coordination or memory loss
  • Frequent mood changes
  • Defensive behavior

For more of these signs click here.

Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous—both to themselves and to society, and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors. Annually, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and thousands more are injured.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD):

  • Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s young people, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
  • Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
  • More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year—about 4.65 a day—as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
  • 25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.
  • Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually.

YOU CAN HELP reduce underage drinking and get started this month by simply learning about and looking for the signs of alcohol use in those you care about.

If you identify the need for additional help, you’re not alone!

Call 1-800-662-HELP which offers 24-hour free and confidential information (in English and Spanish) on substance use disorder issues and referral to treatment.

Or call any of our crisis hotlines in Arizona and nationwide.

Is your drinking getting in your way?

April 6th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

How do you know if you have a drinking problem? If alcohol is causing issues in your relationships, school, work or social life you may want to consider consulting with your health care provider. Visit www.cdc.gov/alcohol for more information on alcohol prevention.

alcohol awareness month poster

Arizona resources for service members, veterans and their families

April 4th, 2014 by Cory Nelson No comments »

We sympathize with the families and friends affected by Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Hood military base in Texas.  In the words of Albert Einstein, “Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us. Our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life“.  While we can’t change this tragic event, we can look forward to a safe and quick recovery for those 16 persons that have been injured and send condolences to the families for their loss.

If you or anyone you know needs help in dealing with the many emotions arising from this tragedy, please call the Disaster Distress Helpline here in Arizona at 1-800-203-2273.  Callers will be connected to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center.

Service members and veterans (and their family members) seeking help for depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder or other behavioral health concern have a variety of options for accessing care in Arizona.

If in a crisis, please call your nearest crisis line right away:  800.273.8255 and select option 1

The National Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 to any service member, veteran, family member or concerned person. You can also call any of these crisis lines statewide for assistance:

  • 1-800-631-1314 (Maricopa County)
  • 1-800-796-6762 (Pima County)
  • 1-866-495-6735 (Graham, Greenlee, Cochise and Santa      Cruz Counties)
  • 1-800-259-3449 (Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian      Communities)
  • 1-866-495-6735 (Yuma, LaPaz, Pinal and Gila Counties)
  • 1-877-756-4090 (Mohave, Coconino, Apache, Navajo and      Yavapai Counties)

If not in a crisis, you could call for a referral for services in Arizona, or anywhere in the nation!  Call 1-800-662-HELP which offers 24-hour free and confidential information (in English and Spanish) on substance use disorder issues and referral to treatment.  You can also call your nearest VA facility, regional behavioral health authority or a tribal behavioral health authority. The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services also has benefits counselors, the Military Family Relief Fund and other resources available to veterans and their families.

Arizona has a Military/Veteran Resource Network for service members, veterans and their families to access local resources in a variety of topics including mental health, physical health, spirituality, employment and others.

Please know that you are not alone.  Everyone has mental health and is susceptible to encounter challenges from time to time.  Mental health challenges are preventable, treatable, and just like diabetes or heart disease, when they are noticed and treated early chances of recovery are increased.

For persons interested in helping veterans and their families get the help they need: ADHS is a partner with the Arizona Coalition for Military Families in rolling out a new Military/Veteran Resource Navigation training for persons employed in healthcare settings in positions that include intake, reception, customer service, case management and peer support specialists among others (the training is open to anyone who would potentially interact with veterans seeking services)!  Interested?  Learn more and register online. You can also attend a Mental Health First Aid training near you where you’ll learn to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness and key strategies to provide aid (both in crisis and non-crisis situations).

Arizona is home to more than 625,000 service members, veterans and their families. The strength and resilience of these individuals and families contributes a great deal to our community and they have given much to protect and defend our country. In return, we can ensure that they are connected to the right resource at the right time when they are in need of support.