Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of April 18, 2011
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE HEADLINES
Week of April 18, 2011
Mental Health in the Headlines is a weekly newsletter produced by Mental Health America, providing 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.
NEWS FROM MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA
May is Mental Health Month 2011: For information on this year's May is Mental Health Month activities, go to http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/may.
Erica Ahmed, director of Public Education for Mental Health America, talks about how integral mental health is to overall health in a post on the Empowher blog.
Take a Survey on Children's Mental Health: We are asking you to respond to a short survey to better understand how to meet the needs of parents and caregivers concerned with children's mental health. Please click on the link below and take a few moments to complete the survey:
Suicides rise during economic downturns and decline in good economic times, researchers report...more
IN THE NEWS
In Washington: Spending Pact, House Budget Plan OK'd; Obama Presents Deficit Plan
Congress begins a two-week recess after approving a spending bill for the remainder of the fiscal year that will cut $38 billion from government programs. A total of $13 billion will come from Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services, as well as a $1 billion in non-defense spending from other agencies. Late in the week, the House passed a budget plan for the next fiscal year that among other things would eliminate cut Medicaid by as much as $1 trillion over the next 10 years and convert it into a block grant program. President Obama also released his plan for reducing the deficit. It includes replacing the current federal matching formulas for Medicaid with a single matching rate, which would rewards states for efficiency and automatically increases if a recession forces enrollment and state costs to rise. When lawmakers return in May, the focus will be on finding agreement on short-term budget issues and raising the debt limit. (MHH Reporting, 4/18/11)
Disclosure by Actress of Bipolar May Help Erase Stigma
The disclosure by actress Catherine Zeta-Jones that she recently sought treatment for bipolar disorder may help dispel the stigma associated with it, medical experts say. Zeta-Jones has bipolar II disorder, which is less severe than bipolar I, and recently received treatment at a mental health facility. "There are many people getting a new diagnosis, and we want them to know they have every hope, if they get treatment, of having wonderfully productive lives," said psychiatrist Gail Saltz. Stress can trigger the condition. Jones recently supported her husband's battle with throat cancer. (msnbc.com, 4/14/11)
Study: Suicide Rates Rise, Decline with Economy
Suicides rise during economic downturns and decline in good economic times, researchers report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, reported online in the American Journal of Public Health, is the first to examine suicide trends by age and economic cycles. In looking at U.S. suicide rates from 1928 to 2007, the researchers found that people ages 25 to 64 were more prone to suicide in bad economic times. They recommend greater suicide prevention measures when the economy declines. (Reuters, 4/14/11)
US: New Hampshire Failing to Provide Community-Based Mental Health Services
The US Department of Justice's civil rights division has concluded that New Hampshire is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide adequate community-based services to people with mental illness. "Community integration with appropriate services and supports will permit the state to support people with disabilities, including mental illness, in settings appropriate to their needs in a more cost effective manner," wrote Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez. The state has long acknowledged these conclusions and developed a 10-year plan to fix them. But few changes have been made, and state legislators are considering cuts to the community mental health system that could make enacting the plan more difficult. (Associated Press, 4/13/11)
Supportive Environments Linked to Lower Suicide Risk Among Gay Youth
Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) teens are much less likely to attempt suicide when they live in a supportive environment, according to new research. The findings, published online in the journal Pediatrics, showed that gay teen that lived in counties with a high proportion of gay and lesbian couples or went to schools with support groups were less likely to attempt suicide than LGB teens living in less accepting environments. Researchers analyzed data from three years of health surveys given to teens in Oregon, with about 5 percent that identified themselves as being gay, lesbian or bisexual. Of those students, almost 22 out of every hundred said they had attempted suicide in the past year, compared to about 4 of every hundred for those who identified as straight. Those LGB teens who lived in counties that scored poorly on measures of social environment were about 20 percent more likely to have attempted suicide than teens from high-scoring social environments. (Reuters, 4/18/11)
Stem Cells of Schizophrenics Could Lead to Breakthrough in Treatment
A new method for recreating the brain cells of patients with schizophrenia is being described as a breakthrough in treating the condition. Scientists used a technique to reprogram the skin cells of schizophrenic patients to become stem cells and then coaxed them become neurons. These were then compared to brain cells derived from the skin cells of healthy volunteers. That would allow scientists to test the effects of antipsychotic drugs. (Voice of America, 4/13/11)
Scientists Find How Antidepressants Make New Brain Cells
Scientists report they have found out how antidepressants make new brain cells. The finding should help researchers develop better and more effective drugs for depression. In a study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers found that the drugs regulate the glucocorticoid receptor, which is a key protein involved in the stress response. They used human hippocampal stem cells, the source of new cells in the human brain, to investigate the effects of antidepressants on brain cells in a lab dish. (Reuters, 4/12/11)
The Arizona Daily Star begins a series on mental illness, including a story by a reporter who tells of growing up with a mother who had serious mental illness, plans a public forum on the issues arising out of the Tucson tragedy.
The New York Times reports on a veteran who lost a battle with depression after helping others win theirs.
A Time article examines mental health and young children (previously only available in print).
VOICES AND VIEWPOINTS
A Baltimore Sun editorial comments on a new program designed to divert repeat offenders with serious mental illness from jail to community-based services.
A Huffington Post article addresses "The Economic Disparity of Children's Mental Health Care."
Fathers with Depression Act Poorly Toward Infant: Fathers of 1-year-old children who have depression were less likely to read to them and four times more likely to spank them than fathers who were not depressed, according to a new study. Researchers, whose findings are reported in the journal Pediatrics, used data from over 1,700 fathers and nearly 5,000 children born in large cities from 1998 to 2000. The large majority of the children were born to unmarried parents. The researchers found that both groups of fathers played or sang songs with their children at equal rates. However, fathers with depression read to their children less often and 41 percent of depressed fathers spanked their children, compared to 13 percent of non-depressed fathers. (Psychiatric News, 4/15/11)
Risk of Psychiatric Illness Rises in Children after Traumatic Brain Injury: Children and adolescents who suffer Traumatic Brain Injuries appear to have a greater chance of developing psychiatric symptoms than uninjured children, an analysis finds. Researchers, whose findings are reported in the journal Psychiatric Services, reviewed data on over 20,000 young people ages 10 to 19 enrolled in a group health plan. They found that young people who suffered a traumatic brain injury had elevated rates of depression and substance use disorders and prescriptions for psychotropic medications. (Psychiatric News, 4/15/11)
Teens Who Often Listen to Music at Higher Risk for Depression: Teens who listen to music a great deal of time may be at higher risk of depression, a new study asserts. Researchers surveyed 106 participants aged seven to 17 for two months. About 40 percent of the participants had been diagnosed with depression. Their findings, reported in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, show that those teens who said they listened to music more than other types of media were at a higher risk of having major depressive disorder compared to teens who spent less time listening to music. As the amount of time spent listening to music increased, the risk of depression rose by 80 percent. (Time, 4/12/11)
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Mental Health in the Headlines is produced weekly by Mental Health America. Staff: Steve Vetzner, senior director, Media Relations.
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