Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of February 28, 2011
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE HEADLINES
Week of February 28, 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.
Black, Hispanic and Asian adolescents are less likely than whites to receive treatment for major depression...more
IN THE NEWS
Stopgap Funding Would Cut HHS, SAMHSA
A proposal by the House GOP majority to fund the federal government for two more weeks would cut $466 million from the Department of Health and Human Services. The bill would extend a funding through March 18 to allow legislators to hammer out a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year. The proposed cuts, which come from earmarks included in the agency's 2010 budget, include a $15 million reduction to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (MHH Reporting, 2/28/11)
States Seeking to Limit Medicaid Coverage
More than half the states are seeking to remove hundreds of thousands of people from Medicaid. But under the new health law, states can't limit Medicaid eligibility or they would lose federal funding. Every one of the country's Republican governors has asked the federal government to waive the requirement. Some are also proposing to convert Medicaid from an entitlement program to a block grant and give states greater latitude in how they spend it. Democratic governors are suggesting less severe changes. In their budget proposals for the coming year, many governors are recommending cuts in Medicaid services and in payments to some doctors, hospitals and other providers of care for patients in the program. (The Washington Post, 2/27/11)
Minority Teens Less Likely to Receive Depression Treatment
Black, Hispanic and Asian adolescents are less likely than whites to receive treatment for major depression, researchers report. They evaluated a national representative sample of 7,704 children ages 12-17 diagnosed with major depression within the past year. The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found the percentage of non-Hispanic whites who received any major depression treatment was 40 percent compared with 32 percent for blacks, 31 percent for Hispanics and 19 percent for Asians. Stigma and limited proficiency in English may contribute to the lower rates of treatment in Hispanics and Asians, the researchers say. (UPI, 2/22/11)
Researchers Find Link Between Gene Mutation and Schizophrenia
A large nationwide consortium of scientists has identified a gene mutation that is strongly linked to the schizophrenia. Researchers looked for specific gene variants, called copy number variants, in 8,290 people with schizophrenia and 7,431 healthy people. They found duplication in the tip of chromosome 7q. This duplication was found in people with schizophrenia at a rate 14 times that of healthy people. (Los Angeles Times, 2/23/11)
Congressman Discusses Mental Health Issues
Cong. David Wu (D-Ore.), who is facing calls for his resignation over reports of erratic behavior, revealed that he a bad reaction to common mental health drugs and had to be hospitalized in 2008. However, Wu did not explain more recent behavior, which included sending his staff a photo of him wearing a tiger costume. He attributed those incidents, which occurred last year, to stress from a difficult campaign, marriage problems and taking care of his children. (Associated Press, 2/28/11)
Senators Introduce Bill To Expand Medicare Mental Health Coverage
Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) have introduced a bill eliminating psychiatric care caps. Under current Medicare regulations, beneficiaries are offered up to 190 days of inpatient psychiatric treatment in a hospital through the lifetime of the policy. Under Kerry and Snowe's bill, the limitation will be eliminated and Medicare mental health coverage would be equal to that offered in private insurance. (The State Column, 2/18/11)
The New York Times looks at the impact of reductions in community-based mental health treatment in Texas.
The Los Angeles Times on the link between cardiac problems and depression.
VIEWPOINTS AND VOICES
NPR aired an interview with journalist Patrick Cockburn on his experiences with his son, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
PTSD in Women May Have Genetic Link: Women with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have high blood levels of a gene variant, researchers report. The gene variant influences a stress protein, which is central to PTSD. Researchers, who reported their findings in the journal Nature, assessed 64 people with PTSD and found that symptom scores were five times higher among women with high levels of the hormone than women with below-average levels. They also found that PTSD may be triggered by different pathways in women and men. (Medpage Today, 2/23/11)
Depression in Addiction-Prone Women Worsens as They Age: Depression symptoms in addiction-prone women get worse with age, according to a new study. Researchers looked at how personal history, family life and neighborhood instability affected alcohol symptoms in 273 women over a 12-year period during their early years of marriage and motherhood. While alcohol problems and antisocial behavior declined over time, depression symptoms increased among the women. The study, published in the journal Development and Psychopathology, also found that symptoms and behaviors worsened if their partner also struggled with addiction and antisocial behavior, such as trouble with the law. (HealthDay News, 2/25/11)
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