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Obama: "Time to Bring Mental Illness Out of the Shadows"

At the National Conference on Mental Health, sponsored by the White House, Obama spoke about the stigma associated with mental illness, and said it was time to bring mental illness “out of the shadows.” 

According to The Partnership at, "The White House has focused on mental illness after a string of mass shootings last year generated interest in improving the country’s mental health services, The Washington Post reports.

In a speech delivered at the conference, Obama said most suicides each year involve someone with a mental health or substance abuse disorder. “And in some cases, when a condition goes untreated, it can lead to tragedy on a larger scale,” he added. “Too many Americans who struggle with mental health illnesses are still suffering in silence, rather than seeking help,” Obama said. “And we need to see [to] it that men and women who would never hesitate to go see a doctor if they had a broken arm or came down with the flu, that they have that same attitude when it comes to their mental health.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers are required to cover mental health services as an essential health benefit. This means all insurance plans must cover these services, and pay for them at the same rate that they pay for medical and surgical services.

Several new projects were unveiled in conjunction with the conference, the article notes. These include youth-oriented public services announcements on MTV, a media campaign aimed at veterans, and information about mental health services posted on video gamer online message boards."

There are numerous grants available to organizations that provide services to those who are in need of mental health services. If you are interested in furthering your program, and you require grant funding, please email for additional information on grant proposal writing services, or call Travis Belcher directly for a quote: 865.249.6311.

Study finds Employees Who Smoke Cost Companies Almost $6,000 More Annually!

According to an article on The Partnership at, "Employees Who Smoke Cost Companies Almost $6,000 More Annually: Study"

Per the study: "Employers pay almost $6,000 more annually for workers who smoke, compared with their nonsmoking colleagues, a new study finds.

The savings occur even after taking into account those smokers who die earlier, and thus collect fewer pension dollars, NBC News reports.

Researchers at Ohio State University evaluated studies on the health care costs of smokers. They looked at how much extra employers paid for smokers’ health care, as well as lost productivity from taking sick days and smoking breaks. They report in Tobacco Control the average annual excess cost to employ a smoker is $5,816. 'It is important to remember that the costs imposed by tobacco use are not simply financial costs,' the researchers wrote. 'It is not possible to put a price on the lost lives and the human suffering caused by smoking. The desire to help one’s employees lead healthier and longer lives should provide an additional impetus for employers to work towards eliminating tobacco from the workplace.'

A growing number of employers are requiring tobacco users to pay more for their health insurance if they do not participate in a smoking cessation program, a national survey recently found. Some employers are refusing to hire smokers."

If your organization offers a program to assist with smoking cessation, this is the perfect time to market it to companies and seek corporate sponsorships or grant funding. Conduct a search in your area to find out what companies are attempting to lower the rate of employees who smoke, and offer them your services!

Current (soon to expire) Grant Funding

Call for Applicants to Help Juvenile Offenders Gain Job Skills

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the availability of approximately $26 million in grants to improve the long-term labor market prospects of youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The “Face Forward” grants are designed to give youth a chance at success by offering support services, training, and skills development that can help them obtain employment and overcome the stigma of a juvenile record.

Nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Indian and Native American entities eligible for grants under WIA Section 166 may apply for these grants.

To download an application, click here. The deadline for applying is 4:00 p.m. ET, May 10, 2013.

Call for Applicants to the Second Chance Act Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders Grant Program

On March 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance released the Adult Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders Second Chance Act grant solicitation. State, local, and tribal governments are invited to apply for this funding to improve recovery and recidivism outcomes for adults with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders through the provision of appropriate evidence-based services and treatment both during and after incarceration.

To download this solicitation, click here. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 16, 2013.

Second Chance Act "Smart Probation" Competitive Grant

On March 12, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance released the solicitation for the Second Chance Act’s grant program for probation initiatives, entitled “Smart Probation: Reducing Prison Populations, Saving Money, and Creating Safer Communities.” The “Smart Probation” program assists state, local, and tribal agencies in developing and implementing strategies to improve probation supervision and reduce recidivism. Funds may be used to implement evidence-based supervision strategies and to innovate new strategies to improve outcomes for probationers.

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 9, 2013. To download the solicitation, click here.

In 2012 the National Reentry Resource Center hosted a webinar for applicants responding to the “Smart Probation” solicitation. The 2012 webinar and presentation provide information that is also relevant to the 2013 solicitation. To watch the 2012 webinar click here, to download the presentation click here. Please note: a new webinar specific to the 2013 solicitation will NOT be offered.

SAMHSA Offender Reentry Program FY 2013 Grant Request for Applications

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2013 for the Offender Reentry Program grants. The purpose of this program is to expand and/or enhance substance abuse treatment and related recovery and reentry services to sentenced adult offenders returning to the community from incarceration for criminal offenses. Applicants are expected to form stakeholder partnerships that will plan, develop and provide a transition from incarceration to community-based substance abuse treatment and related reentry services.

Eligible applicants are domestic public and private nonprofit entities, including state and local governments, federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes and tribal organizations, public or private universities and colleges, and community- and faith-based organizations.

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 16, 2013. For more information, click here.

U.S. Department of Labor Notice of Availability of Funds and Solicitation for Grant Applications for Strategies Targeting Characteristics Common to Female Ex-Offenders

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA), announces the availability of approximately $12 million in grant funds authorized by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and section 212 of the Second Chance Act of 2007 to award approximately eight grants to serve adult and youth ex-offenders pre- and post-release. The purpose of these grants is to improve the long-term labor market prospects of youth and adult ex-offenders who demonstrate characteristics common to female ex-offenders by using strategies targeted to these characteristics, which may include sexual or physical abuse, family turmoil, early puberty, learning disabilities and school failure, and mental health and substance abuse issues.

Grantees must include an integrated strategy that includes empowerment and self-development, workforce development, education, and case management, as well as required and additional state and/or local partnerships. Services to be funded will be targeted to female ex-offenders, but must also be open to eligible male ex-offenders.

Any non-profit organization, including community-based and faith-based organizations, with IRS 501(c)(3) status, may apply for these grants. Applicants may submit only one proposal for up to $1.5 million, with the amount requested depending on the number of participants to be served. Applicants may choose to serve either youth or adults but may not serve both populations.

Applications are due by 4:00 p.m. ET on April 17, 2013. For more information, click here.

Department of Labor Announces Funding Opportunity for Nonprofit Organizations Working with the Reentry Population

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration recently announced the availability of funds to help individuals prior to or immediately following release from incarceration prepare to reenter the workforce. Funding from this competitive grant can be used for job placement, vocational skills training, basic skills instruction and remedial education, tutoring for state high school equivalency tests, and other services aimed at helping participants secure employment.

The deadline for applying is 4:00 p.m. ET, May 2, 2013. Nonprofit organizations interested in applying can download the solicitation here.

'Comprehensive Support Services for Families Affected by Substance Abuse and/or HIV/AIDS' Grant Competition

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families recently announced the availability of competitive grants authorized by the Abandoned Infants Assistance Act. State and local governments, public and private institutions of higher education, Native American tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for funding that can be used to support activities and services designed to increase the well being, improve permanency, and enhance the safety of infants and children who have been exposed to a dangerous drug or have been exposed to HIV/AIDS and/or are at risk of being placed in out-of-home care as a result of one or both parents' substance abuse or positive HIV status.

Applications are due by May 13, 2013. To download an application, click here.

Gov't Admits Drug Control Goals Not Met

Program Delivery ServicesIt appears that in spite of the numerous programs the government has put into place, they have not made progress on most of their drug control goals:   

"The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found the federal government has not made progress on most goals for reducing drug use, which were outlined in the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy, UPI reports.

The strategy included seven goals, including reducing drug use among 12- to 17-year-olds by 15 percent. There has been no progress on this goal, primarily because of an increase in teens’ use of marijuana, GAO reported. Teens have decreased their use of other drugs, the report noted. The GAO noted programs designed to prevent and treat drug abuse are spread over 15 federal agencies, some of which provide overlapping services.

“These programs could provide or fund one or more drug abuse prevention or treatment service that at least one other program could also provide or fund, either to similar population groups or to reach similar program goals,” the report stated. “Such fragmentation and overlap may result in inefficient use of resources among programs providing similar services.”

Many prevention and treatment programs that GAO surveyed did not report coordination efforts, according to the report. The office noted 40 percent of surveyed programs said there was no coordination with other federal agencies on drug abuse prevention or treatment activities. The Office of National Drug Control Policy has said it will work with agencies administering federal programs that provide drug abuse prevention and treatment activities to enhance coordination, according to the article."

The good news? In spite of the fragmentation of services and the fact that 
their use of marijuana has increased, according to the report, teens have actually decreased their use of other drugs.

What is your organization doing to coordinate multiple community services in your area? How can you work together to prevent program fragmentation and enhance the distribution of services and programs to the teens in your community?

Smoking Intervention Programs to Target Middle Schoolers Needed

Middle Schoolers SmokingAccording to The Partnership at, a study conducted by the Journal of Adolescent Health found: "Parents’ smoking behavior influences their teens’ decisions about cigarette use throughout high school, a new study suggests. Peer pressure to smoke is greater during middle school than high school, according to researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. The findings indicate smoking intervention programs designed to counteract peer pressure to smoke should be aimed at middle school students, instead of high school students, the researchers report in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The findings on peer pressure were surprising to the researchers, HealthDay reports. 'We thought friends would have more influence on cigarette use during high school than junior high school,' said study author Yue Liao. 'But what we found was friends have greater influence during junior high school than high school. We think the reason may be that friends’ cigarette use behavior may have a stronger influence on youth who start smoking at a younger age,' she noted in a press release. 'During high school, cigarette use might represent the maintenance of behavior rather than a result of peer influence.'

The study included 1,000 teens who were first questioned in seventh grade. They were reassessed after six months, and then annually until they were in twelfth grade. They answered questions about how many of their close friends and parents smoked, and how many cigarettes they themselves had smoked in the past month. They saw a large decrease in friends’ influence from eighth to ninth grade."

This study shows us that a) apparently the programs to help prevent smoking in high schoolers appear to be working; b) we now need to target middle school-aged youths as well.

What is your organization doing? Do you have a smoking prevention program, and if so, have you started targeting middle school-aged children yet? If not, it might be time. 

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