viernes, 6 de marzo de 2015

Better Data to Improve Behavioral Health - SAMHSA News

Better Data to Improve Behavioral Health - SAMHSA News


Some communities and populations are harder to reach than others when conducting surveys. In a collaborative spirit, SAMHSA formed an Interagency Agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand and connect more effectively with people across the United States.
The two federal agencies are building upon existing networks with regional, state, and local public service organizations supported by USDA to develop a better understanding of key factors involved in collecting and reporting behavioral health care data in rural communities. The program, known as Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation (CAPE), also works with communities to better identify local behavioral health issues.
The goals of the initial phase of CAPE are to use the USDA’s cooperative extension program to assess how local decision makers obtain and use information about community behavioral health trends, and to assemble a toolkit to increase the use of available data and community-level interventions to address pressing issues.
Long term plans for these enhanced capabilities include standardization of methods for assessing community behavioral needs in emergency situations such as man-made or natural disasters. During times of emergency, the federal government, in collaboration with affected communities, could quickly assess the scope and nature of behavioral health needs and provide community officials with critical information to assist in determining how best to respond.

Reaching Rural Communities

Michigan State University (MSU) serves as the lead institution for the project. Land grant universities and the USDA-supported county-based extension sites are important outreach channels because of their existing presence in and connection with rural communities. SAMHSA leveraged this network to improve the gathering, analysis, and sharing of behavioral health data in traditionally hard-to-reach communities in rural areas. The goal is create a better understanding of community partners that can collect data, the specific training they may need, and the information and data needed by communities to combat various behavioral health challenges. Ten competitively chosen pilot sites have received funding to execute the program’s first phase.

How the Data May Be Used

The hope is that information gathered by the pilot sites will be used by local public health officials and other public authorities to augment existing behavioral health monitoring systems. Through local surveys and data gathering, communities are gaining additional knowledge and skills to develop effective prevention and treatment strategies to address mental and substance use disorders in their areas. Taken together, the variety of data collected will be used to inform these rural communities about emerging behavioral health concerns.
Profiles for the pilot sites have already been published and are based on findings collected from key surveyed community leaders, as well as secondary sources, such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Uniform Crime Reports, reported state data, and others. The next phase of the program is under way and requires grantees to design and share innovative and potentially replicable early warning protocols that center on the behavioral health issues specific to each community.
Image of Research Team
Image of Research Team (L to R): Stephan Goetz, Don Albrecht, Scott Loveridge, Rachel Wellborn, Dee Owens, and Brendt Elrod
According to Scott Loveridge, Ph.D., CAPE Director and a professor at MSU, “With this project, we hope to inform local leaders with key behavioral health findings related to their communities, which can better inform programming and response, particularly with vulnerable populations.”
As the federal partnership advances, Dr. Loveridge anticipates that the pilot sites’ published profiles will lead to community action plans based on local dialogue, asset mapping, and priority setting. Reports on interventions selected, based on early warning data, are due by March 2016, so more insightful community-based feedback should emerge soon.


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