Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of January 3, 2011
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.
IN THIS ISSUE:
News: House Republicans Plan to Vote on Health Reform Repeal; 9/11 Bill Signed into Law
Research: Pregnant Vets at Risk for Mental Health Problems; Coordinated Care Produces Better Outcomes
At Mental Health America: New Toolkits on Key Advocacy Issues
DID YOU KNOW?
Women war veterans who became pregnant after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan may be at greater risk for mental health problems…more
House Republicans to Vote on Health Reform Repeal
House Republicans are vowing to vote on repeal of the health reform law in the first weeks of the new Congress, which convenes on Wednesday. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), incoming chairman of one of the House committee that oversees health policy, said undoing the law would be a top priority for the new GOP-controlled Congress. Although outright repeal is unlikely, Republican House leaders say they will “go after this bill piece by piece.” (The Washington Post, 1/03/11)
Obama Signs 9/11 Bill
President Obama signed into law Sunday legislation passed by the lame duck Congress that covers the cost of medical care for rescue workers and others sickened by toxic fumes and dust after the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Under the law, first responders, volunteers, residents, workers and students who lived near Ground Zero are entitled to the medical and financial benefits. The measure provides $1.5 billion in aid for treatment of breathing disorders and mental health problems, as well as $2.8 billion in compensation for victims. (The New York Times, 1/03/11)
Lawmaker Charges McCain Blocked Military Suicide Prevention Measure
Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) is criticizing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for blocking funding for a suicide prevention program aimed at military reserve troops returning home from combat. The measure, which Holt authored and was originally included in a defense bill, was dropped from the final version of the legislation when it passed Congress last month. Holt said McCain told him the legislation was “overreaching.” The measure would require a counseling call from properly trained personnel not less than once every 90 days for Reserve members who’d finished a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. McCain, who admitted in his memoir to attempting suicide while held captive as a P.O.W. in Vietnam, denied the charge through a spokesman. (MHH Reporting, 1/03/11)
The Houston Chronicle reports on growing mental health problems in the Asian community.
The strain of deployment on military families is examined by The New York Times.
Pregnant Vets Be at Greater Risk for Mental Health Problems: Women war veterans who became pregnant after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan may be at greater risk for mental health problems, a study finds. The review of more than 43,000 women who completed their service between 2001 and 2008 found that pregnant veterans were twice as likely as those without pregnancy to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. The study, which is reported in the Journal of Women’s Health, found that 32 percent of women pregnant veterans received one or more distinct mental health diagnosis, compared with 21 percent of women veterans who were not pregnant. (The Los Angeles Times, 12/22/10)
Coordinated Care Produces Better Outcomes: Coordinating care to manage depression and chronic illness such as diabetes or heart disease produces better outcomes for patients, a new study finds. Researchers reviewed the progress of 214 patients with depression and heart disease or diabetes or both. Half of the patients received coaching from a specially trained nurse to help them meet goals to improve their depression as well as diabetes and/or heart disease. The other half received standard care and were not assigned a nurse care manager. The study, which is reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that patients who received care from a nurse manager had better blood sugar control, as well as significantly lower blood pressure, cholesterol and depression than those who received standard care. (The Los Angeles Times, 12/30/10)
Family History of Alcoholism Raises Obesity Risk: People with a family history of alcoholism, especially women, have an elevated risk of also becoming obese, according to a new study. Researchers, whose findings are reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, analyzed data from two large alcoholism surveys from the last two decades. They found that in 2001 and 2002, women with a family history of alcoholism were 49 percent more likely to be obese than those without a history of alcoholism. The same was true of men, although to a lesser degree. Researchers say the reason may be related to the food people eat and it interacts with the brain. (Reuters, 12/31/10)
HEADLINES at Mental Health America
New Toolkits Available on Five Key Issues: Mental Health America has created toolkits on five key issues to help advocates navigate emerging trends and the impact of federal legislation on the states. The five toolkits—linked here—cover Health Care Reform, Mental Health Parity, State Budget Advocacy, Criminal Justice and Access to Medications. They offer handy and essential information for advocates, including white papers, fact sheets, sample legislation, talking points, and additional resources.
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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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