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iCarol virtually exhibiting at National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) Conference

n4a conference

iCarol is very proud and excited to be an exhibitor at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) virtual conference and tradeshow July 19-22.

This will be iCarol’s third year in attendance at n4a, and second year exhibiting virtually. We are excited to once again celebrate the work of Area Agencies on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) and continue to be amazed at how these organizations have responded and provided continuity of services amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Older adults and those with health conditions are particularly vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, but maintaining social connections and other services under social distance has been critical to these individuals. These organizations have stepped up in amazing ways to provide consistency and reassurance.

At our virtual n4a booth we’ll have information to share about how iCarol empowers ADRCs, AAAs, and Senior Information Lines, and other services for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers to:

  • Provide social connection and ease loneliness through Telephone Reassurance Programs
  • Collaborate with Community-Based Organizations to address Social Determinants of Health
  • Participate in Health/Community Information Exchanges and No Wrong Door initiatives
  • Provide comprehensive I&R, Closed-Loop referral and collect outcome data
  • Document information included on reimbursement requests
  • Meet people on preferred communication channels
  • Integrate with other software and systems

If you’re attending the conference, be sure to visit the iCarol virtual booth to learn more, download the resources we have available, and contact us with your questions!

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SAMHSA awards $62.4 million in grants to combat child trauma

logo for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the United States

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is distributing $62.4 million in grant funding to provide and increase access to effective treatment and services systems in communities throughout the nation for children, adolescents, and their families who experience traumatic events. The White House is bolstering these awards with $800,000 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) support.

In 2000, Congress established the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI) as part of the Children’s Health Act. Through this initiative, a collaborative network of experts was created to further the development and dissemination of evidence-based clinical interventions for systems that serve children, adolescents, and families.

SAMHSA’s NCTSI raises awareness about the impact of . . . Learn More.

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Epilepsy Foundation Uses iCarol ReferralQ to Distribute Uber Vouchers

person holding a smartphone with the uber rideshare app open

Today we’re excited to bring you the first in a series of stories on how iCarol customers are using our ReferralQ and Provider Portal products to help people in their communities!

Our first story is about the Epilepsy Foundation<. With a network of partners throughout the United States, the Epilepsy Foundation is leading the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy. Among its many programs is a 24/7 Helpline of AIRS Certified Resource Specialists.

With support from their partners at SK Life Science, the Epilepsy Foundation is using iCarol to help people living with the epilepsies address a big challenge — access to transportation.

Read Their Story

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SAMHSA Awards 988 Dialing Code Administration Grant to Vibrant Emotional Health

On Wednesday, June 16, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced that Vibrant Emotional Health will be the administrators of the new 988 dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the United States. Vibrant, in partnership with SAMHSA, has administered the Lifeline since its creation in 2005. Click here to read SAMHSA’s full statement.

The process of creating the three-digit national number to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been ongoing for several years. Click here For more information on 988.

The team at iCarol extends our congratulations to Vibrant Emotional Health for being designated as administrators of the 988 dialing code. Through our years working with Vibrant Emotional Health and the many Lifeline Network Centers answering calls to 1-800-273-TALK, we have seen firsthand the passion and professionalism these teams bring to their work addressing the critical public health issues of suicide and mental health. We believe that 988 will improve accessibility and equity for Americans seeking emotional support and assistance. By designating a three-digit number for suicide prevention and mental health crises, our leaders send a clear message that these concerns deserve the same immediate attention and access to assistance as a physical health emergency, while also reducing harmful stigmas that create barriers to treatment. As the leading software provider among the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network of centers, we stand ready to support our customers making the transition to answering 988, and welcome new centers coming on board for the 988 initiative.

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iCarol Exhibiting at the National Council on Aging Age+Action Conference

iCarol is excited to exhibit at the National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) Age+Action virtual conference and tradeshow June 7-10.

Since 1950 NCOA has been a vocal advocate for older adults in the United States. Among their accomplishments is ending mandatory retirement, advocating to secure Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, and supporting local organizations as they serve older adults in their communities each day. NCOA provides trusted, unbiased information that enables older adults and their caregivers to take small steps that make big impact on their health and financial security.

We at iCarol share NCOA’s vision of a just and caring society in which each person lives with dignity, purpose, and security as they age. We believe in their mission of improving the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are members of under-served and vulnerable populations. We believe in NCOA’s goal to impact the health and economic security of 40 million older adults by 2030, especially women, people of color, LGBTQ+, low-income, and rural individuals. Like NCOA, iCarol believes that aging well for all is a matter of equity, dignity, and justice.

At the conference, we look forward to connecting with professionals who serve older adults and their caregivers and providing them with information on how iCarol can help them achieve their missions. Our virtual booth will have information about how iCarol empowers ADRCs, AAAs, and Senior Information Lines, and other services for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers to:

  • Provide social connection and ease loneliness through Telephone Reassurance Programs
  • Meet people on preferred communication channels
  • Collaborate with Community-Based Organizations to address Social Determinants of Health
  • Participate in Health/Community Information Exchanges and No Wrong Door initiatives
  • Provide comprehensive I&R, Closed-Loop referral and collect outcome data
  • Document information included on reimbursement requests
  • Integrate with other software and systems

If you’re attending the Age + Action conference, be sure to visit the iCarol virtual booth to learn more, download the resources we have available, and contact us with your questions!

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May is Mental Health Month

Much of the focus worldwide in the last year has been the global Coronavirus pandemic, including guidelines from staying healthy and avoiding contracting COVID-19 or passing the disease to others. And while this is obviously a critical topic, it should not be forgotten that our mental health, especially during the pandemic, is important, too.

May is Mental Health Month, and organizations around the world are sharing information about how to obtain and maintain good mental health.

Each year since 1949, Mental Health America and their affiliates have led observance of Mental Health Month. This includes release of an annual Mental Health Month toolkit, which you can download here. They also have a number of resources available on their Mental Health Month web page, this year focusing on Tools 2 Thrive — practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency regardless of their personal situation. Topics include:

  • Adapting after trauma and stress
  • Dealing with anger and frustration
  • Getting out of thinking traps
  • Processing big changes
  • Taking time for yourself
  • Radical acceptance

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is focusing on the power of connection and supporting one another, and promoting their core message of eliminating stigma, by sharing the message that those who many be having mental health difficulties or experiencing mental illness are not alone. Mental health conditions affect approximately 1 in 5 individuals during a given year.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has a number of articles and resources available in recognition of Canada’s Mental Health Week (May 3-9) which are available here. CMHA calls attention to the fact that, when asked how they are, people and Canadians in particular often respond with, “I’m fine,” even if they are not. CMHA is promoting more social connection and “getting real about how you feel.”

We hope during this Mental Health Month, our blog readers will take the time to engage with these and other mental health leaders to learn more and promote better mental health for all people, especially in light of the daily stressors and crises we all continue to face due to COVID-19.

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iCarol attends the American Association of Suicidology Conference

This Wednesday through Friday, members of our team will attend sessions at the American Association of Suicidology Conference, and we will also host a booth in the virtual exhibit hall.

The conference is a convergence of professionals working across the spectrum of the suicide prevention industry, from those operating crisis centers and other direct care services, to professionals working in academic settings conducting suicide prevention research, and advocates focused on prevention, education and awareness.

So we can continue to stay ahead of the topics that most impact iCarol’s customers, on Wednesday Dana will attend the Crisis Continuum pre-conference program, which concludes with a session on network updates and future directions for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network.

Having supported crisis centers since the earliest days of the Lifeline network, and serving a large portion of the network that are iCarol customers, we have witnessed the Lifeline’s growth year after year, both in the number of participating centers and the volume of contacts the Lifeline receives through calls, chats, and other forms of communication. At this year’s update we’re anticipating the latest news from the 988 transition plan and how that will affect members of the Lifeline network. We’re also closely following the continuing conversations on how communities are changing their practices around responding to mental health emergencies and similar crises, with a shift towards crisis intervention teams and other professionals leading the response as opposed to law enforcement.

These discussions directly inform iCarol’s strategy and product development in the coming months and years, which ensures we will continue to meet the needs of suicide prevention and crisis centers everywhere, providing the tools they need to do their life-saving work.

If you plan to be at the AAS Conference, please stop by our virtual booth to download our new guides and materials, including a brand new ebook on choosing software for crisis intervention and suicide prevention services. We’ll also be available for virtual meetings at your convenience to answer your questions, or have conversations about your challenges or projects and explore how iCarol can be of assistance.

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Responding to a Mental Health Crisis

Around the nation there are conversations happening about public safety as it pertains to emergency response where it involves situations of mental health crisis. Who are the appropriate entities to respond to 911 calls for someone in a mental health crisis?

Legislation has been introduced in New York State, Daniel’s Law, that would establish both state and regional mental health response councils which would permit mental health professionals to respond to mental health and substance abuse emergencies.

This legislation is modeled after a program in Eugene, Oregon, CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets), developed in 1989, that takes an innovative, community-based public safety approach to provide mental health first response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction.

We believe 211s and Crisis Lines are an integral part of this conversation.

We are planning to host a conversation on this topic and would like to hear from you regarding what actions your organizations are currently taking and what kind of additional support iCarol could provide to assist you in responding to 911 calls in these situations.

Please email us if you are interested in sharing your ideas or plans related to this topic, or if you are simply interested in participating in these conversations.

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Petition: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Education in Schools

CW: This blog post discusses youth suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2018 suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.

In spite of these statistics, there are inconsistent requirements and delivery mechanisms in school curriculums across the United States. Analysis by TODAY found that, “at least nine states require a mental health curriculum by law. At least 20 states and the District of Columbia include mental health in their health or education standards…More than a dozen states appear not to require mental health education or incorporate it into their standards.”

Education for students specifically about suicide and suicide prevention, including warning sign recognition and how to seek assistance for themselves or their friends, is even more scarce.

In the absence of consistent and nationwide coverage on these issues provided by schools, individuals and mental health advocacy groups are pushing for change through petitions and other forms of activism. One such petition by Joseph Marques of Taunton, MA who is a member of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), makes note that COVID-19 is only further complicating and increasing the need for good mental health and suicide prevention education. You can read that petition here.

Further reading about mental health and suicide prevention in school can be found at these resources:

What are your thoughts on providing mental health education and suicide prevention for K-12 students? Leave a comment below to join the discussion!

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Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) Announces Learning and Action in Policy and Partnerships (LAPP) Funding Program

healthcare data partnership

With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) in partnership with the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), is launching the Learning and Action in Policy and Partnerships (LAPP) program. LAPP will provide award opportunities to community organizations who are partnered with their state government to advance community-led programs focused on data-sharing efforts to improve health, equity and well-being.

Five awardees will receive $100,000 each to:

    (a) engage partners to advance existing data-sharing or data-integration efforts;
    (b) systematically share data across sectors (e.g., social services, public health, and health care); and
    (c) build relationships among community and state partners to inform decision-making and strengthen systems that support community goals for improved health, well-being and equity.

In the second year of the LAPP Program, additional funding and support may become available, based on successful completion of program objectives and deliverables.

Planning to apply? We can help!

If you plan to expand your data-integration or sharing efforts and are considering this award as a way to fund that project, please contact us. iCarol offers a number of ways to harness your data, with other iCarol users and with partners and with those who use different solutions. Let’s get together to discuss your potential project to see which of our many data sharing solutions might work for you in an effort to obtain this funding!

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Click here for more information about the LAPP program
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