Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of October 4, 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?
Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were more likely than other kids to have large chunks of deleted or duplicated DNA called copy number variants, possibly establishing a genetic component to the disorder…more
Mental Illness Awareness Week is October 3-9
National Depression Screening Day is October 7
World Mental Health Day is October 10
Bullying and Suicide: Concerns Grow
Rutgers Student Suicide Raises Questions about Internet as Weapon: The suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi and the arrest of a roommate for streaming online his intimate encounter with another man and similar incidents are raising questions whether the Internet is a dangerous weapon rather than a social tool. Some say cyber bullying has reached a dangerous level and is being witnessed by a larger audience. Advocates say education is key and that parents and schools should teach digital citizenship. “[They] must teach kids to ‘self-reflect before you self-reveal;’ to respect others' feelings and privacy online; to remember that what you do digitally never goes away; and that everything on the Internet isn't true or accurate,” says Jim Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a group that educates families about Internet safety. (USA Today, 10/1/10)
Four Suicides in Three Weeks: The suicide of Tyler Clementi was one of four by gay students within the last three weeks who were bullied because of their sexual identity. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are three to four times more likely to commit suicide than straight students. More than 85 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students report they have been harassed because of their sexual or gender identity and more than 20 percent report being physically attacked. (The Washington Post, 9/30/10)
YouTube Channel Started in Response: Dan Savage, a gay columnist in Seattle, has started a YouTube channel called “It Gets Better” in response to the suicides. The videos speak directly to kids who are struggling with issues of sexual identity. The message—and of those who share their stories—is that life improves after they are able to get away from the bullies. He's asked others to upload a video talking about their experience growing up. (The New York Times, 10/1/10)
Military Tries to Grapple with Suicides
Four Suicides at Fort Hood Stun Base: The apparent suicides of four soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas are raising new concerns about the military’s response to mental health problems. All four of the soldiers were decorated veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no indication these and other tragedies are related to the mass shooting of last November. There have been 14 other suicides on the base this year and six other deaths are under investigation. That is nearly four times the rate of the civilian population. The most recent deaths came within a few days of a visit from the Army's vice chief of staff, who urged soldiers to seek help. A recent Army report found that many soldiers don’t use military mental health services because of distrust of the system and fears it will harm their career.
Joint Chiefs Head Says Military Suicides Likely to Increase: The military’s top official said he expects suicides by service members and family problems to increase as large numbers of troops return home after serving overseas in Iraq. “I think we are going to see a significant increase in the challenges that we have in terms of our families,’’ said Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He noted there a number of other problems facing troops who have experienced multiple deployments, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and related issues. (Boston Globe, 9/30/10)
Survey: Nearly 1 in 10 Americans Have Depression
Nearly 1 in 10 Americans suffers from clinical depression and 3 percent have major depression, according to a survey of 235,000 adults. That represented a marked increase from a study conducted in 2001-2002 that reported a rate of 6.6 percent. The survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asked participants to answer questions, including eight of the nine criteria for depression. Researchers found that depression rates were much higher among unemployed individuals. About 6 percent of those with jobs reported symptoms of depression, compared with 21 percent of unemployed people who were surveyed.
Depression Up 25 Percent Among Coastal Residents after BP Spill
Depression cases are up more than 25 percent since the BP Gulf oil spill, a survey of 2,600 coastal residents finds. The Gallup survey was conducted in 25 Gulf-front counties from Texas east to Florida over eight months before and after the spill, ending August 6. It found residents reported 25.6 percent more depression diagnoses after the spill than before it, although the study didn't conclude a direct link to the spill. Those living along the Gulf reported feeling sad, worried and stressed after the spill, while people living inland reported less over the same period. The conclusions were consistent with trends seen in smaller studies and witnessed by mental health workers. (USA Today, 9/28/10)
Secretary of State Says Mental Health Care Won’t Harm Careers
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is encouraging foreign service personnel to seek mental health treatment if they need it and assured officers it would not harm their careers. Many State Department personnel have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and other areas where stress and trauma are prevalent. A State Department Inspector General’s report in August found that many officers do to not seek out services for fear it will damage their career. (Psychiatric News, 10/1/10)
US Apologizes for Infecting Guatemalans with Syphilis
The United States has apologized to the government of Guatemala for experiments conducted 60 years ago where American scientists deliberately infected prisoners and patients in a mental hospital with syphilis without their consent. The U.S. funded-experiment, which ran from 1946 to 1948, was discovered by a Wellesley College medical historian. It apparently was conducted to test if penicillin, then relatively new, could prevent infection with sexually transmitted diseases. The study came up with no useful information and was hidden for decades. (Msnbc.com, 10/1/10)
Guidelines for Treatment of Depression Revised
The American Psychiatric Association has revised its guidelines for treating major depression. The guidelines, which are the first update on treatment in more than a decade, recommend using a rating scale to better tailor the treatments to the needs of the patient. They also recognize the value of exercise and other healthy behaviors in relieving mood disturbance. For people who repeatedly fail to benefit from drugs, the guidelines recommend use of electro-convulsive or shock therapy, which has the most scientific data supporting its use. (Reuters, 10/1/10)
CNN reports on depression in the workplace.
The Washington Post examines the impact of Traumatic Brain Injury on soldiers and the military.
CBS’ Sunday Morning program looks at youth suicide and steps to prevent it.
Voice of America interviews Elena Berger of the World Federation for Mental Health.
ADHD May Have Genetic Link: Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were more likely than other kids to have large chunks of deleted or duplicated DNA called copy number variants, possibly establishing a genetic component to the disorder, researchers have found. Their finding could eventually lead to better treatments for the condition. Researchers scanned the gene maps of more than 1,400 children. They found that those with ADHD were more likely than others to have small chunks of their DNA duplicated or missing. The study, which is reported The Lancet medical journal, also showed an overlap between the deleted or duplicated DNA segments and genetic variants linked to the brain disorders autism and schizophrenia, which suggests they may share a biological background. (Time, 9/30/10)
Male Partners of Breast Cancer at Risk of Developing Mood Disorders: Male partners of women with breast cancer had significantly increased risk of mood disorders requiring hospitalization compared with men in the general population, according to a new study. A 13-year retrospective cohort study of more than 20,000 men who lived for more than five years with a woman who developed breast cancer found that the increased risk of a mood disorder ranged from about 40 percent overall to an almost four times greater risk among those men whose partners died of breast cancer, researchers report online in the journal Cancer. The findings are consistent with other studies showing that chronic illness, particularly cancer, exacts a heavy toll on caregivers, as well as on patients. (HealthDay News, 9/27/10)
HEADLINES at Mental Health America
Read our blog: Chiming In
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MentalHealthAm
Become a Fan of Mental Health America on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mentalhealthamerica
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
- Join Mental Health America’s Advocacy Network
- 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.
To subscribe to Mental Health in the Headlines, visit http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/action/subscribe.
To unsubscribe to Mental Health in the Headlines, visit http://takeaction.mentalhealthamerica.net/site/CO
To find out more about the Mental Health America, including how to make a tax-deductible contribution to help support Mental Health in the Headlines and the association's other educational activities, visit http://mentalhealthamerica.net/ or call 800-969-6MHA (6642).
For comments and suggestions, send an e-mail to Mental Health America at email@example.com.