Behavioral Health Services & Research

A History of Child and Adolescent Treatment Through a Distillation Lens: Looking Back to Move Forward


Youth psychosocial treatments have proliferated over many decades and the time is ripe to examine the unique contribution of these treatments. Six hundred eighty-nine randomized clinical trials were examined from the PracticeWise Evidence-Based Services Database, an ongoing data source of youth psychosocial literature. A number of studies, treatment protocols, and practice elements across 11 youth problem areas (e.g., anxiety) from 1966 to 2016 are provided. Using distillation methodology, we compared the relationship between new treatment protocols and the identification of new practice elements within each problem area over time. Anxiety, disruptive behavior, attention/hyperactivity, and depression were the most studied problem areas, whereas suicide, eating disorders, and mania were least studied. While identification of new practice elements leveled off, studies continued to increase over time. For some problem areas, unique practice elements have not been identified for over a decade. Future studies examining treatment innovation and implications for behavioral health are discussed.

Evaluation of an Integrated Intensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treatment Within Addiction Care


The study aimed to evaluate an integrated intensive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) group treatment for people with substance-related syndrome in outpatient care and to identify eventual gender differences. The study population consisted of 35 outpatients (18 male, 17 female) at a clinic in Western Sweden. The patients completed a four-month period of intensive group therapy and participated in the data collection at admission and discharge. The data were collected using the following inventories: Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Hopelessness Scale, and Trait Hope Scale. Results showed decreases in anxiety, depression and experience of hopelessness, and increases in self-esteem and hope. In females, the most dramatic improvement was measured for the anxiety and depression attributes, while in males the strongest effect was measured for hope and self-esteem. This study provides clinical evidence of the positive effects of integrated intensive CBT in outpatient care of people with substance-related syndrome.

Assessing Social Connectedness Among Persons with Schizophrenia: Psychometric Evaluation of the Perceived Social Connectedness Scale


The purpose of this study was a psychometric evaluation of the 4-item perceived social connectedness (PSC) scale. The study analyzed secondary data from a project that assessed physical, behavioral, and social health characteristics of adults with serious mental illness receiving integrated services at community mental health centers (CMHs). The current sample comprised those diagnosed with schizophrenia attending these CMHs (N = 146). Most participants were African-American males who receive disability benefits with Medicaid as health insurance. The sample self-reported low-to-moderate levels of social connectedness, daily functioning, and symptom severity. Factor analysis of the PSC scale revealed one dimension, accounting for 66% of total variance, with strong item loadings. Reliability coefficients indicated sufficient scale internal consistency. Construct validity was suggested via the PSC scale’s directional, significant convergence with daily functioning and symptom severity. Implications include the application of the PSC scale for this socioeconomically disadvantaged population that customarily lacks meaningful social networks.

Reflecting on 15 Years Well Spent
Organizational Context and Individual Adaptability in Promoting Perceived Importance and Use of Best Practices for Substance Use


This study examines associations among organizational context, staff attributes, perceived importance, and use of best practices among staff in community-based, juvenile justice (JJ) agencies. As part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Juvenile Justice—Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ-TRIALS) study, 492 staff from 36 JJ agencies were surveyed about the perceived importance and use of best practices within their organization in five substance use practice domains: screening, assessment, standard referral, active referral, and treatment support. Structural equation models indicated that supervisory encouragement and organizational innovation/flexibility were associated with greater individual adaptability. Adaptability (willingness to try new ideas, use new procedures, adjust quickly to change), was positively correlated with importance ratings. Importance ratings were positively associated with reported use of best practices. Organizational climates that support innovation likely affect use of practices through staff attributes and perceptions of the importance of such services.

Utilization and Perceptions of Drop-in Center Services Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness


Drop-in centers offer a range of services to assist unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness, but little is known about their perceptions of drop-in centers or use of different services. A random sample of 273 youth experiencing homelessness in the Los Angeles area who had ever used a drop-in center was surveyed. Most youth heard about local drop-in centers from peers (65.1%). They generally reported positive perceptions of the drop-in center environment, staff, and clients; overall, 57.8% were “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the services they had received. Nearly all youth cited basic services (e.g., food, showers, clothes) as a reason they went to drop-in centers; far fewer reported going to obtain higher-level services (e.g., case management). Perceptions and utilization did not differ by sexual orientation; however, non-white youth were more likely than Whites to use drop-in centers for certain higher-level services. Strategies for engaging youth in drop-in center services are discussed.

Implementing Transdiagnostic Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy in Adult Public Behavioral Health: A Pilot Evaluation of the Feasibility of the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA)


Few evidence-based psychotherapies are provided in adult public behavioral health (PBH), despite the need for such treatments. The common elements treatment approach (CETA) was developed for use by lay providers in low- and middle-income countries and may have relevance in PBH given its unique application with individuals with multiple diagnoses including PTSD, depression, and anxiety. This study utilized data collected as part of the implementation of CETA in 9 PBH agencies in Washington State with 58 providers, including a 2-day workshop and 6 months of consultation. Outcomes included provider-perceived skill in CETA delivery, training and consultation completion rates, and perceived appropriateness of CETA for clients. Thirty-nine (67%) providers completed requirements for training and consultation, and delivered CETA to a total of 56 clients. Perceived competence in delivering CETA improved over time, as well as client symptom scores. CETA shows promise for feasible and effective implementation within US-based PBH systems.

Overcoming Barriers to Adopting and Implementing Pharmacotherapy: the Medication Research Partnership


Pharmacotherapy includes a growing number of clinically effective medications for substance use disorder, yet there are significant barriers to its adoption and implementation in routine clinical practice. The Medication Research Partnership (MRP) was a successful effort to promote adoption of pharmacotherapy for opioid and alcohol use disorders in nine substance abuse treatment centers and a commercial health plan. This qualitative analysis of interviews (n = 39) conducted with change leaders at baseline and at the end/beginning of 6-month change cycles explains how treatment centers overcame obstacles to the adoption, implementation, and sustainability of pharmacotherapy. Results show that barriers to adopting, implementing, and sustaining pharmacotherapy can be overcome through incremental testing of organizational change strategies, accompanied by expert coaching and a learning community of like-minded professionals. The greatest challenges lie in overcoming abstinence-only philosophies, establishing a business case for pharmacotherapy, and working with payers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Scratching the Surface of Psychiatric Services Distribution and Public Health: an Indiana Assessment


Mental illness is a leading cause of disability with many public health implications. Previous studies have demonstrated a national shortage of psychiatrists, particularly in rural areas. An analysis of how this workforce distribution relates to population demographics and public/behavioral health is lacking in the literature. This study encompassed a statewide assessment of the Indiana psychiatric workforce as it relates to population characteristics and public/behavioral health. This study’s findings demonstrate a profoundly low psychiatry workforce in rural counties of Indiana. The low psychiatry workforce capacity in rural counties is so disparate that the demographic and public/behavioral health characteristics differ from the State averages in the same manner as counties without a psychiatrist at all. The psychiatric workforce distribution did not differ significantly on the basis of poverty prevalence. The potential utility of indicators of population health was also evaluated and revealed that social factors such as poverty and Medicaid prevalence may be superior to more traditional measures.

Use of Guideline-Recommended Treatments for PTSD Among Community-Based Providers in Texas and Vermont: Implications for the Veterans Choice Program


Implementation of the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) allows Veterans to receive care paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in community settings. However, the quality of that care is unknown, particularly for complex conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A cross-sectional survey was conducted of 668 community primary care and mental health providers in Texas and Vermont to describe use of guideline-recommended treatments (GRTs) for PTSD. Relatively, few providers reported using guideline-recommended psychotherapy or prescribing practices. More than half of psychotherapists reported the use of at least one guideline-recommended psychotherapy for PTSD, but fewer reported the use of core treatment components, prior training in the GRT(s) they use, or adherence to a treatment manual. Suboptimal prescribing for PTSD patients was reported more commonly than optimal prescribing. Findings raise critical questions regarding how to ensure veterans seeking PTSD care in community settings receive psychotherapy and/or prescribing consistent with clinical practice guidelines.

Behavioral Health Services & Research


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