Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of March 7, 2011
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE HEADLINES
Week of March 7, 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.
Although infants and very young children can suffer serious mental health disorders, they are unlikely to receive treatment that could prevent lasting developmental problems...more
IN THE NEWS
Congress Extends Funding for Two Weeks to Avert Government Shutdown
Congress approved a stopgap measure last week to keep the federal government running for another two weeks until March 18. The action averts a shutdown that would have cut the flow of money for Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs. The bill would keep most federal agencies operating at their current levels while cutting $4 billion from spending, but doesn't affect funding for health care reform. (MHH Reporting, 3/4/11)
Infants Can Have Mental Disorders But Unlikely to Receive Treatment
Although infants and very young children can suffer serious mental health disorders, they are unlikely to receive treatment that could prevent lasting developmental problems, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. Researchers say one barrier is the mistaken impression that young children do not develop mental health problems and are immune to the effects of early adversity and trauma. The analysis, reported in the American Psychologist, recommends improvements in diagnostic criteria, and outlines public policy opportunities for psychologists and policy makers. (HealthDay News, 3/2/11)
Army Failing to Use IT to Track Mental Health Treatment
U.S. Army mental health care providers who treat soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq are not consistently entering patient data into the Department of Defense's electronic health record system, an email obtained from the Army Office of the Surgeon General reveals. Instead, Army mental health providers have been documenting mental health encounters on paper behavioral records. As a result, the Army has become "saturated" with paper records, according to the internal message. (NextGov, 3/3/11)
Male Depression May Increase Due to Poor Economy, Loss of Self-Esteem
Male depression may very well increase in the years ahead because of the economic downturn, a report published in the British Journal of Psychiatry asserts. Dr. Boadie Dunlop from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta describes the phenomenon as a "mancession," whereby the loss of traditional blue collar jobs is affecting men's self-esteem and social networks. Dunlop says that mental health practitioners should bear the corresponding economic and social issues in mind when treating male depression. (Time, 3/1/11)
Suicide of Former Football Star Raises Questions about Head Injuries
The suicide of former football star Dave Duerson is renewing questions of the impact playing football has on the brain. Duerson shot himself in the abdomen after requesting that his brain be studies for evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Nearly two dozen football players who died relatively young have been found to have the condition. Some critics are questioning whether players than 18 should be allowed to play football. (Medpage Today, 2/25/11)
Study: Many Adults Treated for Depression May Have Bipolar
As many as 20 percent of adults being treated for depression in primary care may have undiagnosed bipolar disorder, a new study suggests. British researchers invited 3117 adults from South Wales who were being treated for depression by their primary care physician to participate in their study. The researchers, who reported their findings in the British Journal of Psychiatry, say it is important that the diagnosis be given greater recognition in primary care and strategies are developed to ensure patients with depression receive the correct diagnosis. (Medscape, 3/1/11)
Depression Often Effectively Treated by Talk Therapy
Depression can often be effectively treated by talk therapy, researchers report. An analysis of studies reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry that compared interpersonal psychotherapy to other forms of therapy found talk therapy to be equally effective, although the number of studies analyzed was small. Pharmacotherapy-taking medication-was slightly more effective than interpersonal psychotherapy. The combination of medication and interpersonal psychotherapy, however, was more effective in preventing relapse than medication alone. The information is important because some types of depression, such as a disorder called "complicated grief," do not respond as well to antidepressants. (Los Angeles Times, 3/2/11)
The Las Cruces Sun-News examines recovery from mental illness.
USA Today addresses the treatment gap for traumatic brain injury patients.
The New York Times looks at how the practice of psychiatry has become more limited.
VIEWPOINTS AND VOICES
A column in the Tulsa World addresses the harm of cuts to mental health services.
The Detroit News in an editorial argues against limiting mental health prescriptions.
The Wall Street Journal on dealing with a family member who has a mental health condition.
Emergency Rooms Slower to Treat Heart Attack Patients with Depression: Heart attack victims who have a history of depression face delays in treatment in emergency rooms because staff are more likely to dismiss their symptoms as psychosomatic, new research shows. A study based on nearly 7,000 heart attack patients admitted to 96 Ontario hospitals over a one-year period found people with a history of depression in their medical charts were 26 per cent more likely to receive a low-priority triage score in the ER than other heart attack patients. The researchers, who reported their findings in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, suspect that most emergency department personnel are unaware of data that suggests a link between depression and coronary artery disease. (HealthDay News, 2/28/11)
Smoking Marijuana in Teens May Raise Risk of Psychosis Later in Life: Smoking marijuana as a teenager or young adult may raise the risk of psychotic symptoms later in life, a new study asserts. The new findings, reported in the journal BMJ, are based on data on about 2,000 individuals in Germany who were 14 to 24 years old when they enrolled in the study, and who were then followed for 10 years. The researchers found that those who started smoking pot during the trial had double the risk of developing psychotic symptoms. Recently, another study reported a connection between smoking marijuana and the onset of psychosis. (HealthDay News, 3/1/11)
AT MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA: Headlines and Highlights
An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on state mental health budget cuts cites Mental Health America's survey on the impact of the economy on Americans' mental health.
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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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