Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of September 5, 2010
mental health in the headlines
Week of September 5, 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?
Sleeping fewer hours than recommended puts young adults at increased risk that any mental health conditions they already have will become more severe…more
Few Firms Drop Mental Health Coverage as More Costs Shifted to Workers
Only a small percentage of employers—5 percent—dropped mental health coverage in response to the requirements of the federal parity law, a new survey finds. About two-thirds eliminated limits on mental health coverage while about 16 percent increased utilization management of benefits. The results were compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation through a survey of 2000 large and small companies. Overall, the survey found employers are shifting more of their insurance costs onto their workers even as premium prices increased only slightly. Employees paid an average of about $4,000 toward their family coverage this year, up 14 percent, according to the report. (The Rundown [PBS Newshour Blog], 9/02/10)
Fewer Kids in Foster Care; Policy Changes, Federal Legislation Credited
Changes in policies and practices of state and county child welfare agencies—including shortened stays and expanded preventive support for families—are being credited for a decrease in the number of children in foster care. Figures released by the Department of Health and Human Services shows an 8 percent decrease over last year and a 20 percent decline in the past decade. Advocates say the positive trend has been aided by a 2008 federal law that changed policies to allow use of federal funds to assist children who leave foster care to live with relatives other than their parents. (Associated Press, 9/06/10)
Foreclosure Threats Impact Mental Health in California County
An in-depth look at the health effects of home foreclosures on Alameda County, California, found that 38 percent of those coping with foreclosure threats reported declining health during the past two years, compared with 24 percent of those unconcerned about foreclosures. Almost a third of those dealing with home foreclosure threats reported that their mental and emotional health had worsened during the past two years, compared with only 16 percent of those in stable housing. (San Jose Mercury News, 9/02/10)
Study Finds People with Mental Illness No More Violent than General Public
People with mental illness are no more likely to commit violent crimes than the general public, researchers say. Substance abuse is the chief cause of violent crime and increases the risk equally in people with and without mental illness, according to a report in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The study, which tracked more than 8,000 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and another 3,700 identified as having bipolar disorder over three decades in Sweden, found that abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol increased the risk of violence by between six and seven times among those with mental illness and the general public. (The Guardian, 9/02/10)
UK Study: One in Five Fathers Have Depression by Time Child is 12
By the time their first child is 12, some 21 per cent of fathers will have suffered from depression, a British study reports. Researchers examined the medical records of nearly 87,000 couples in Great Britain who had a baby between 1993 and 2007. They found the rate of depression for fathers was about 3 percent in the first year as opposed to about 14 percent for mothers. But the study found that more men had depression as the years passed. But on the whole, moms were still more depressed than dads. Mothers experienced at least one episode of depression during the first 12 years of a child’s life, compared with 21 percent fathers.
Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day is September 10; Take 5 to Save Lives
Take 5 to Save Lives is the message being delivered around the globe for Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day, which this Friday, September 10. The National Council for Suicide Prevention is asking supporters to take five steps: 1) Learn the signs; 2) Join the movement; 3) Spread the word; 4) Support a friend; 5) Reach out if you need help. (MHH Reporting, 9/06/10)
The Boston Globe looks at early identification of mental illness among young people.
BBC's Health Check program reports on mental heath services in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat interviews actress Glenn Close on her work to erase the stigma of mental illness.
Lack of Social Structure in Cities May Promote Psychiatric Conditions: Lack of social structures in large cities may explain why psychiatric disorders are more common in urban areas, researchers suggest. A long-term study of more than 200,000 people in Sweden found a correlation between urban living and an increased prevalence of schizophrenia. Residence in a city was associated with a 41 percent greater likelihood of psychosis compared with rural residents, researchers report in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The findings support the view that an urban environment promotes psychosis rather than serving as a magnet for people with mental illness. (Medpage Today, 9/06/10)
Lack of Sleep Linked to Long-Term Mental Illness: Sleeping fewer hours than recommended puts young adults at increased risk that any mental health conditions they already have will become more severe, a new study finds. In addition, it can trigger mental health problems for the first time in extreme cases. Researchers in Australia found that for each hour of lost sleep, levels of psychological distress rose by 5 percent in nearly 3,000 17-to-24-year-olds who were followed for 12 to 18 months. Overall, short sleepers were 14 percent more likely to report symptoms of psychological distress on a standard test, compared with people who got adequate sleep. The effect was especially pronounced among young people who already suffered from anxiety; in this group, lack of sleep triggered more serious mental health problems like full-blown depression and even bipolar disorder. (ScienceDaily, 9/02/10)
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*Mental Health America MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
A 2007 report by Mental Health America found that only Florida ranked 48th in state mental health authority expenditures per capita. PolitiFact, “Chiles says Florida ranks 49th in per capita mental health spending,” August 31, 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
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- Check out previous issues of Mental Health in the Headlines
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