Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of December 6, 2010
Mental Health in the Headlines
Week of December 6, 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?
A supportive family environment can have a positive impact on the general and mental health of gay, lesbian and bisexual children…more
Patrick Kennedy Honored for Mental Health Work
Hundreds of advocates honored retiring Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.) in Washington, D.C., last week for his work and achievements in mental health, including the passage of mental health parity legislation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told the crowd it was one of the legislative feats of the century. Kennedy has said he will remain deeply involved in the areas of mental health and has already begun work on a neuroscience initiative. (MHH Reporting, 12/06/10)
Cuts in Mental Health Services Place Burden on Police Departments
As budget cuts reduce community mental health services, state and local law enforcement agencies are increasingly providing emergency services to people with mental health conditions. The situation is straining the resources of police departments, which are diverting officers from their regular duties. Although these agencies are more aware of how to handle crisis situations, they still feel the burden as the providers and family members turn to them as a first choice when a crisis occurs. (The New York Times, 12/05/10)
Supreme Court Hears Arguments on California Prison Overcrowding
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week whether to uphold a lower court ruling to reduce prison overcrowding in California’s jails. The state has been under a court order for two decades to improve medical and mental health care for inmates. It has been estimated that one inmate dies every eight days due to shoddy medical care. And the number of suicides in California prisons—which are seen as largely preventable—is twice the national average. (The Washington Post, 12/01/10)
Accepting Parents Boost Mental Health of LGBT Teens
A new study finds that a supportive family environment can have a positive impact on the general and mental health of gay, lesbian and bisexual children. Researchers were able to define specific behaviors by parents and family that were perceived as being either accepting or rejecting of teens' sexual orientation, and to connect these behaviors to mental and general health outcomes in children. They found that teens from families who supported their sexual orientation were less likely to abuse drugs, experience depression or attempt suicide than those in less accepting families. The teens in the more supportive environments also self-reported higher levels of self-esteem and self-worth. (CNN, 12/06/10)
Female Vets Have Much Higher Suicide Risk
Young women who've served in the military face a suicide risk triple that of non-veterans, a new study finds. Researchers analyzed records on every female suicide from 2004 to 2007 in Oregon and 15 other states. From 5,948 deaths, they calculated the risks faced by women who served in the military and those who did not. Among veterans age 18 to 34, the suicide rate was 1 in 7,465, compared with 1 in 22,763 among non-veterans. Suicide rates were 78 percent higher among female veterans age 35 to 44, and 58 percent higher among those age 45 to 64. The researchers, whose findings are reported in the journal Psychiatric Services, are urging medical and public health officials to find more effective ways to reverse the deadly epidemic. (HealthDay News, 12/02/10)
NPR examines stepped up efforts of the U.S. Justice Department to enforce Olmstead rights.
The New York Times “Patient Money” column reports on finding affordable treatment for eating disorders.
Time magazine looks at how dogs are helping veterans cope with PTSD.
People with Depression and Psychotic Symptoms Tougher to Treat: People with depression who also have psychotic-like symptoms are less likely to respond to antidepressants, a new study asserts. Researchers, who reported their findings in the Archives of General Psychiatry, also found that bipolar disorder does not appear to be associated with treatment resistance in patients with depression. That challenges the common theory that some cases of difficult-to-treat depression are actually unrecognized bipolar disorder. The study involved nearly 400 patients who had experienced at least one psychotic symptom. (Medpage Today, 12/07/10)
Crohn’s Disease May be Linked to PTSD: The symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may be related to Crohn’s disease, researchers report. In a study of 600 Swiss adults with Crohn's disease, participants underwent a PTSD assessment and were monitored for 18 months. Crohn's patients with PTSD were more than 13 times likelier to experience worsening symptoms than those without PTSD, the study found. The researchers, whose findings are reported online in Frontline Gastroenterology, say “gastroenterologists should be aware of the impact of Crohn's disease on psychological well-being and the fact that this relationship is probably bidirectional.” (Medpage Today, 12/03/10)
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MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA Media Highlights
According to Mental Health America, the holidays and post-holidays may be a time of depression for some individuals. The reasons for this increased unhappiness can stem from limited financial resources and family tensions to fatigue and unrealistic expectations. NJ Today, “Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress,” November 30, 2010
A national survey by Mental Health America reports that depression peeks over the holiday season, with half the population experiencing major stresses as a direct result of the holidays. The Post-Star (NY), “Mental Health During the Holidays,” December 1, 2010
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.
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