More MHFA instructors join the Arizona effort

August 21st, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

We launched Mental Health First Aid ARIZONA in 2011 and since then have trained more than 7,000 people throughout our State!  MHFA is a public education effort to teach the public to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.  Last week we proudly were able to add 30 new MHFA instructors for the Adult curriculum!  Congratulations to all the instructors and welcome to the ARIZONA MHFA team!

Interested in attending a MHFA class near you?

New tool for medical providers

August 19th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

The CDC recently released a tool to help more medical providers assess their patients for risky drinking behaviors that may be affecting their health.  This tool, in particular, can be used for implementing SBIRT at Primary Care Provider (PCP) locations.  It involves a validated set of screening questions to identify patient’s drinking patterns.  It also involves having a short conversation with patients who are drinking too much, or who are at severe risk, where a referral to special treatment may be beneficial.

View the tool.

Myths about mental illness

August 15th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

There are many myths about mental illness.  Sadly, these myths (and the stigma resulting from these myths) are often the primary reason why a person doesn’t seek help.  A common myth is that mental illnesses are a rare thing.  The fact is that a mental illness is a disorder of the brain and 1 in 5 adults every year get diagnosed with one of these illnesses.  You are more likely to meet someone who has a mental health challenge than someone who has heart disease!

Another common myth is that all persons with mental illness are violent.  There’s research out there showing that the vast majority of people living with mental health conditions are no more violent than anyone else. People with mental illness are much more likely to be the victims of crime.

Like most diseases of the body, mental illness has many causes – genetics, biological, environmental, social, cultural, etc. And also, like most diseases of the body, some mental illnesses can be prevented and respond positively to early intervention and treatment.

The most important fact is that mental illnesses can be treated!  Proper interventions and treatment help persons affected by them lead full and productive lives.

Want to learn more facts about mental illness?  Click here.

To learn more about what YOU can do to help someone experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis, attend one of our Mental Health First Aid courses throughout the State!

stigma stops people from getting the help they need






State Planning for Suicide Prevention

August 7th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

Join us on August 29, 2014 at a community meeting to help design the 2014 State Plan for Suicide Prevention.

Because of the importance of this topic and its effect on our communities, we hope you join us in turning strategy into action concerning suicide prevention. This can be accomplished through community meetings and understanding that you play a role in the 2014 Arizona Suicide Prevention Plan. You are needed and important to this community for the benefit of all of us. Please come and attend.

Friday, August 29, 2014
9am – 11am

Host site: Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority
Coconino Conference room
1300 S. Yale Street, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Telemed available

Please register at:


  1. Introduction
  2. Review of current work, goals of meeting
  3. Review of epidemiological data from 2013
  4. Rural vs. Urban challenges and opportunities
  5. Action items and future meeting dates

For more information, please contact Kelli M. Donley at 602-364-4651 or email:


Because SUICIDE is 100% Preventable!

3 clinics in AZ expanding behavioral healthcare

July 31st, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

HRSA released news about 3 clinics in our State that are being awarded (split awards) approximately $636,000 to establish or expand behavioral health services to more than 4,200 people.  The clinics are the Ajo Community Health Center, the Mountain Park Health Center in Phoenix and the Sun Life Family Health Center in Casa Grande.  Congratulations to all three!

The funds will be used for hiring new mental health professionals, adding mental health and substance use disorder services, and employing integrated models of primary care.

For a list of awardees, please see:

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act and Community Health Centers, visit

To learn more about HRSA’s Community Health Center Program, visit

To find a health center in your area, visit

World Hepatitis Day

July 28th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan 1 comment »

July 28th is a day when the entire world observes World Hepatitis Day…but what is Hepatitis anyway?

“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver and can also refer to a group of viral infections that affect the liver.

There are five types of Hepatitis: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D and Hepatitis E. Viral Hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis and also one of the most common reasons individuals have to have a liver transplant. Approximately 400 million people in the world have chronic viral hepatitis and many of them do not even know they are infected. In the United States alone there are an estimated 4.4 million Americans living with chronic hepatitis, again, many do not know they are infected!

Hepatitis A can be spread through food or water that is contaminated with fecal matter. While the other viral infections can be transmitted through blood or even passed on through birth. It’s important to understand our risk factors to help protect from these viruses.

Here’s a free online Hepatitis Risk Assessment that can help you learn about your risks right away!

Next, how about learning more about the topic and measures you can take to prevent!  The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention has a wealth of information including testing and vaccination recommendations.

learn about hepatitis

Let the Fidelity Begin

July 23rd, 2014 by Cory Nelson No comments »

As part of the Arnold v. Sarn Stipulation for Providing Community Services and for Terminating the Litigation, signed in January 2014, ADHS agreed to oversee new mechanisms for evaluating the quality of services provided to the Seriously Mentally Ill.

One area of evaluation involves the implementation of fidelity tools. These measures were created by officials at the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and provide national benchmarks for quality of services provided to individuals diagnosed with a Serious Mentally Illness.

A team of reviewers at ADHS began this week with the implementation of the SAMHSA fidelity tools in Maricopa County. During the next fiscal year, they will see that each provider of ACT teams, supported employment, permanent supportive housing and peer services is evaluated with the corresponding fidelity tool.

The first fidelity reviews started Monday. A nationally recognized expert in SAMHSA fidelity tools is working alongside the ADHS reviewers in the field for the first two weeks to provide further training and guidance.

For additional information about the tools, visit:

For more information about Arnold v. Sarn, visit:

Taking your meds properly?

July 22nd, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

Half of the prescriptions taken each year in the U.S. are used improperly, and 96% of patients nationwide do not ask how to use their medications.

Harm resulting from the combination of two or more drugs taken at the same time can result in what is called adverse drug interactions.  Examples include a drug mixed with other drugs, drugs mixed with food or beverages, drugs mixed with over the counter (OTC) drugs, supplements or vitamins.

You may notice any of these reactions when taking your medications improperly:

  • Sleepiness
  • Irregular heart-beats
  • Increased bleeding
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Inability to sleep
  • Upset stomach

If you notice any of these contact your healthcare practitioner – explain your symptoms; when they started and whether they are different from other symptoms you have had before.  Call 911 if you believe you’re having an emergency.

Want to learn more? 


Mental health: Everyone Has It – Do YOU?

July 10th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

July is minority mental health month

If you are concerned about your mental health, call 1-800-273-TALK or your nearest crisis line.  Help is available!

Did you know that Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death for Asian-Americans?  American Indian/Alaska Natives are twice as likely to experience feelings of nervousness or restlessness as compared to non-Hispanic Whites.  Non-Hispanic Whites are more than twice as likely to receive antidepressant prescription treatments as are Non-Hispanic Blacks.  African Americans living below the poverty level, as compared to those over twice the poverty level, are 3 times more likely to report psychological distress.  The list continues….Everyone, regardless of gender, age, income or education level, ethnicity or race, religion or other personal beliefs, can be challenged by a mental illness any given day.   Taking care of your mental health is just as important as is taking care of your physical health.  Prevention and early intervention of mental illness can improve your chances of a successful recovery.

To learn more about mental health and how to identify the signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge, try one of our Mental Health First Aid classes - they’re available throughout the State at no cost!

To learn more about minority mental health, join NAMI’s 2014 NMMHAM Celebration Webinar on Thursday, July 10, 2014 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET.

They have an outstanding panel this year:

  • Arthur C. Evans Jr., Ph.D., Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, Philadelphia, PA 
  • Elicia Goodsoldier, Case Manager, Foothills United Way, Boulder Long Term Flood Recovery and NAMI Colorado Board Member
  • Melody Moezzi, award-winning author and activist

Through their experience, passion and impactful work, you will have an opportunity to learn how they are bridging the gaps in access to culturally competent care and support. Register here today! 

Greater Arizona RFP Released Today!

July 7th, 2014 by Cory Nelson No comments »

Today we released the Greater Arizona RFP for Integrated care. The RFP will encompass the fourteen counties outside of the greater Phoenix Area (Maricopa County) and will be split in two Geographic Service Areas (GSA’s). The North GSA will include the following counties: Apache, Coconino, Gila, Mohave, Navajo, Yavapai and a small portion of Graham County (zip code 85530).  The South GSA will include Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma Counties.

A great deal of thought and research went into these GSA configurations including resident travel patterns, availability of behavioral, primary and specialty care and tribal land alignment.  While no alignment completely meets the needs and desires of every resident we believe this alignment will provide for the best care outcomes for the individuals served under these contracts.

Bidders will be required to submit their bids in early October.  Once all bids are submitted the evaluation process will begin with an anticipated award prior to the end of 2014.  New contracts for the two new GSA’s will begin on October 1, 2015.

This is an exciting time for Arizona as we will have statewide integration of behavioral health and primary care for one of our most vulnerable populations, individuals diagnosed with a Serious Mental Illness (SMI).  Most studies indicate that individuals with an SMI die as much as 25 years earlier than the general population, many times from preventable illnesses.  Providing compassionate and coordinated care for this population will lead to an improved quality of life while managing costs associated with chronic conditions.

Stay tuned for additional information on the RFP process and follow the process at our Procurement Website or through the ADHS link.