Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of February 14, 2011
Mental Health in the Headlines is a weekly newsletter of Mental Health America, offering the latest developments at Mental Health America and summaries of news, views and research 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.
Reducing co-payments for mental health services does not lead to an increase in utilization…more
IN THE NEWS
GOP Funding Bill Cuts Mental Health Services
The House Republican Majority has released a spending bill for the remainder of the fiscal year that makes deep cuts in funding for mental health and substance use services. The package includes a $200 million cut to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over a $1 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health and similar, significant cuts to juvenile justice and housing programs. The House will vote this week to finalize the cuts. (MHH Reporting 2/14/11)
Reducing Co-pays for Mental Health Services Does Not Change Use: Study
Reducing co-payments for mental health services does not lead to an increase in utilization, a new study finds. The study, which appears in the journal Medical Care, examined seniors in managed care plans. In three plans that cut co-payments, utilization rates were the same before and after the decrease. That was also true of 14 plans that increased co-payments. (Medscape, 2/11/11)
Advocates Say Financing Key to California Budget Proposal
Mental health advocates say a proposal by California Gov. Jerry Brown to shift funding for mental health services to counties could work as long as the there is financing for it. Brown's budget plan depends on voters approving a five-year extension of the higher tax rates in June. But first he has to convince Republican legislators to put the issue on the ballot. (California Healthline, 2/07/11)
Drug-Related Suicide Attempts among Males Vary By Month
A new study examining monthly and seasonal trends in the number of emergency department visits involving drug-related suicide shows fluctuations among adolescent males depending on what month it is. The report, compiled by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, showed that only 2.5 percent of drug-related suicide attempt emergency room visits by males aged 12-17 occur in February. In December, the figure rises to 18.9 percent. December also marked the highest level of emergency department drug-related suicide attempt visits by men aged 50 and older (12.9 percent). There was little monthly variation for the rest of the population. (Samhsa.gov, 2/09/11)
US Justice Department Criticizes Virginia Over Behavioral Health Care
A U.S. Justice Department report blasts Virginia’s behavioral health services, saying it needlessly institutionalizes people with developmental disabilities. An investigation of the Central Virginia Training Center finds that the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. The department says patients are excessively restrained and often held longer than they should be. And it says institutionalization costs four times as much as community-based care. (Associated Press, 2/11/11)
West Virginia Bishop Urges Greater Attention to Mental Health
West Virginia's Catholic bishop is calling on the state to devote more attention and money to mental illness. The Most Rev. Michael Bransfield, bishop of the Catholic diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, released a pastoral letter called "Hearts Made Whole” that encourages West Virginia to better fund prevention. “As people of faith, we should be willing to contribute materially to proven treatments for the chemically dependent and for the mentally ill," Bransfield wrote in the letter. (The Charleston Gazette, 2/08/11)
PBS’ Newshour reports on a California program that addresses early identification of mental illness.
The New York Times’ Consults Blog answers questions on ADHD.
VIEWPOINTS AND VOICES
A post on The Century Foundation’s Group Blog addresses: Keeping Chronic Mental Illness From Becoming a Criminal Offense.
Suicide Risk Increases after Interaction with Criminal Justice System: Interaction with the criminal justice system, even if there is no guilty verdict, may be an independent risk factor for suicide, researchers report. A study that included more than 27,000 suicides found that odds of suicide were greater after contact with the criminal justice system for both men and women. The association was true even when the cases resulted in not guilty verdicts or sentences without jail time, the researchers report in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Suicide was particularly likely for individuals with recent or frequent contact with the justice system, or for violent offenders. (Medpage Today, 2/07/11)
Psychotic Illness Occurs Much Earlier Among Marijuana Users: Psychotic illness occurs significantly earlier among marijuana users, results of a meta-analysis suggest. Data on more than 22,000 patients with psychosis showed an onset of symptoms almost three years earlier among users of cannabis compared with patients who had no history of substance use. The age of onset also was earlier in cannabis users compared with patients in the more broadly characterized category of substance use, investigators reported in Archives of General Psychiatry. (Medpage Today, 2/07/11)
People whose genetic make-up produces lower levels of a brain molecule called neuropeptide Y (NPY) may be at increased risk for major depression, says a new study. The molecule helps calm people down after experiencing stressful events. The study, reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found that people with depression were twice as likely as people without depression to have low levels of NPY. They were also overrepresented in a population diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, the researchers said. (HealthDay News, 2/08/11)
AT MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA: Headlines and Highlights
Dr. David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America, was a panelist for a Capitol Hill briefing on Shared Decision Making.
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