Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of November 1, 2010
Mental Health in the Headlines offers summaries of the latest news and views in the mental health field. Coverage of news items in this publication does not represent Mental Health America’s support for or opposition to the stories summarized or the views they express.
DID YOU KNOW?
Men who are older when their first child is born may be more likely than younger first-time dads to have a child who eventually develops schizophrenia…more
ELECTION DAY 2010
Results Could Affect Health Reform Implementation
If Republicans gain control of the House on Tuesday, Democrats are likely to question whether the effort on health reform was worth it and the strategy used to pass it was flawed. Some say the process made voters suspicious of the bill and undercut the message surrounding its benefits. The results of the election may also influence how the law is implemented. Although it is doubtful lawmakers can carry out their pledge to repeal the law, a Republican majority in the House would be able to threaten funding and use hearings and other tools to challenge regulations and public engagement. (Kaiser Health News, 11/01/10)
Kansas to Decide on Ensuring Voting Rights to People with Mental Illness
Voters in Kansas will decide on Tuesday a proposed amendment to that state’s constitution to remove language that allows the legislature to deny voting rights to people with mental illness. Although there are no current Kansas laws barring anyone with a mental illness from voting—and any proposal would likely be declared illegal—advocate groups say the passage of the amendment would send a message to the rest of the country. (KCUR, 10/26/10)
Survey: Half of High Schoolers Report Bullying or Teasing Someone
Half of U.S. high schoolers say they have bullied or teased someone at least once in the past year, a new survey finds. The study also found that nearly half say they have been bullied during that time. The Ethics of American Youth Survey by the Josephson Institute of Ethics surveyed 43,321 teens ages 15 to 18, from 78 public and 22 private schools. It found 50 percent had "bullied, teased or taunted someone at least once," and 47 percent had been "bullied, teased or taunted in a way that seriously upset me at least once." (USA Today, 10/26/10)
Ron Artest Raffle for Mental Health Raising Record Amount
An online raffle of Los Angeles Lakers star Ron Artest’s NBA Championship ring has already raised a record $120,000 in less than 24 hours, according to Celebrities for Charity, the company that is organizing it. The proceeds will be used to fund mental health services for youth who can’t afford counseling. The raffle is being held online at celebritiesforcharity.org. The winner will also earn a trip to Los Angeles to watch a Lakers game. (CNN, 10/28/10)
Children with Acute Mental Health Problems Turned Away in Massachusetts
Children with acute mental health problems are being turned away from some Massachusetts hospitals’ psychiatric wards. The industry blames the problem on insufficient insurance payments to cover treatment. Mental health advocates say there is no shortage of beds and are baffled by the explanation that the problems are too acute. (Boston Globe, 10/27/10)
IN FOCUS: MENTAL HEALTH AND VETERANS
Female, Male Vets Have Different Prevalence of Mental Health Conditions
Female veterans are more likely than male vets to have a diagnosis of depression, according to a new study. Researchers reviewed data on more than 329,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They found that male veterans were found to be more prone to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and alcohol abuse. (HealthDay News, 10/27/10)
Carter Center to Focus on Reintegration of Guard Members
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will lead a two-day symposium this week on the unique challenges for mental health care and community reintegration faced by National Guard and reserve veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The event, and panel discussion the following week on November 9, will be webcast live at www.cartercenter.org. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/29/10)
HBO to Air Documentary on Hidden Wounds of War
A new HBO documentary focuses on the psychiatric wounds of servicemen and women. James Gandolfini, star of “The Sopranos,” served as the executive producer and appears in the documentary interviewing top generals and soldiers about post-traumatic stress. The film, "Wartorn: 1861-2010,” will air on Veterans Day, November 11. (AFP, 10/29/10)
USA Today on the warning signs of teen depression.
The Los Angeles Times looks at mental health courts in California.
How schools and workplaces are accommodating people with ADHD is examined by U.S. News & World Report.
PTSD Linked to Heightened Activity in Brain: Flashbacks experienced by people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are associated with heightened activity on the right side of the brain, according to a new study. Researchers used a technique called MEG (magnetoencephalography) to detect magnetic charges given off when neurons in the brain connect and communicate. The study, which is reported in the Journal of Neural Engineering and included veterans with PTSD, found that those patients with PTSD showed "hyperactive" communication between the temporal cortex—the part of the brain thought to be responsible for reliving past experiences—and two other areas on the right side of the brain. (HealthDay News, 10/28/10)
Infants that are Fussy Likely to Develop Mental Health Problems: Infants that are fussy when they are three to four weeks old are more likely to develop childhood mental health problems including anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and behavior problems, according to researchers. They administered questionnaires to mothers of 111 infants between 1999 and 2002. Mothers rated their babies on fussiness by answering questions about how often their babies got upset, how intensely they cried and how fussy they were relative to other babies. The mothers again assessed their children when they were 8 to 11 years old, this time evaluating behavior and mood problems. The researchers say their findings suggest infants might be screened very early on to identify those at risk for later psychiatric problems. (msnbc.com, 10/29/10)
Schizophrenia risk in Children with Older First-Time Dads: Men who are older when their first child is born may be more likely than younger first-time dads to have a child who eventually develops schizophrenia, a new study finds. Using data on more than 2 million people born in Denmark between 1955 and 1992, researchers found that the odds of a child developing schizophrenia tended to increase in tandem with a father's age, but only his age at the birth of his first child. The researchers say their findings, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, support the theory that men who have a predisposition to schizophrenia, but do not develop it, tend to have children later in life than other men. (Reuters, 10/28/10)
Poor School Grades Linked to Increase Risk of Suicide: Low school grades may be an indicator of increased risk of suicide at a young age, a new study asserts. Swedish researchers examined the grades of almost 900,000 former graduates born between 1972 and 1981. A follow-up was then made with respect to suicide up to the ages of 25 to 34. The results, reported in the The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, show that people with incomplete grades had the highest suicide risk. Those whose final grades were above average but below top level had a greater risk than those with the best grades. (ScienceDaily, 10/27/10)
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MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA Media Highlights
Legendary singer Connie Francis has become an advocate for mental health and a national spokesperson for Mental Health America. Tucson Citizen, “Connie Francis,” October 31, 2010
Stay Up to Date With More News, Views and Tools
- New national survey shows economic downturn taking toll on Americans’ mental health
- Survey reveals obstacles to health care for people who have schizophrenia
- New report reveals link between states’ depression status and access to treatment
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- Check out previous issues of Mental Health in the Headlines
Mental Health in the Headlines is produced weekly by Mental Health America. Mental Health America's Mental Health in the Headlines staff: Steve Vetzner, senior director, Media Relations; Robert Redpath, director, Web Technology.
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