Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of September 24, 2012
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE HEADLINES
Week of September 24, 2012
Mental Health in the Headlines is a weekly newsletter providing 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.
Suicide has overtaken car crashes as the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S…more
NEWS FROM MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA
View plenary sessions from the 2012 National Zarrow Mental Health Symposium and Mental Health America Annual Conference: http://www.fromhousingtorecovery.org/.
Sarah Steverman of Mental Health America is quoted in a Huffington Post article on cuts to state mental health budgets.
Vote for America’s Mental Health in 2012: Use our Voter Guide to Rights and Issues.
The MHA Career Center matches the best employers with the best talent in the mental health field. Find your employment match at http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/mhacareercenter.
IN THE NEWS
DSM-5 Won’t Include Parental Alienation: A task force of the American Psychiatric Association has decided not to list the concept of parental alienation in the update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The term conveys how a child's relationship with one estranged parent can be poisoned by the other parent. There is broad agreement that it sometimes occurs in the context of divorces and child-custody disputes. Some individuals and groups believe parental alienation is a serious mental condition that should be formally recognized in the DSM-5. They say this step would lead to fairer outcomes in family courts and enable more children of divorce to get treatment so they could reconcile with an estranged parent. Advocates for battered women consider "parental alienation syndrome" to be an unproven and potentially dangerous concept useful to men trying to deflect attention from their abusive behavior. (The Huffington Post, 9/21/12)
Off-Label Use of Antipsychotics Increased among Children Enrolled in Medicaid—Study: Off-label use of antipsychotic drugs has increased among children enrolled in Medicaid, according to a new study. Researchers found a 62 percent jump in the number of publicly insured children between the ages of 3 and 18 on antipsychotics. The study, published online in Health Services Research, covered 35 percent of the country's children. The researchers pointed out that the spike in off-label antipsychotic use may be partly due to a 28 percent increase in the number of children diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Off-label use of these drugs is primarily associated with treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or conduct disorder. The researchers noted that in 2007, 50 percent of children taking antipsychotics were diagnosed with ADHD, and 14 percent of these had ADHD as their only diagnosis. Children with three or more mental disorders were also among the largest group of kids taking antipsychotics. Children with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism were also most likely to be on these drugs. (HealthDay News, 9/18/12)
Suicide Now Leading Cause of Death: Suicide has overtaken car crashes as the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S, a new study finds. While public health efforts have curbed the number of car fatalities by 25 percent over the last decade, suicide deaths rose by 15 percent during the same period, researchers report in the American Journal of Public Health. In addition, deaths from unintentional poisoning and falls have also increased dramatically in recent years. "Suicides are terribly undercounted; I think the problem is much worse than official data would lead us to believe," said study author Ian Rockett, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University. There may be 20 percent or more unrecognized suicides, he said. The leading causes of unintentional deaths were car accidents, poisoning and falls. (HealthDay News, 9/20/12)
WHO Official—Use of Performance-Enhancing Drugs a Public Health Issue: A World Health Organization (WHO) official told delegates at an anti-doping conference that the use of performance-enhancing drugs is now a public health matter rather than simply a sporting problem. "If we believe that around three percent of high school boys in the U.S. are taking a steroid or growth hormone, then that's a public health issue," said Dr. Timothy Armstrong of the WHO. "Substance abuse in any shape or form has a physical and mental health aspect to it. The WHO, being the lead UN (United Nations) agency on health matters, takes this issue quite seriously." Armstrong spoke at a conference organized by the Arne Ljungqvist Foundation, named after the Swedish anti-doping official who is also chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical commission. (Reuters, 9/22/12)
Moving Low Income Families out of Poor Neighborhoods Improves Mental Health, Well-Being: Moving low-income families out of poor neighborhoods improves their mental health and well-being, according to a new study. And, these improvements occurred even though the adults weren't making significantly more money after their move. In a paper published in the journal Science, researchers from the University of Chicago, Harvard and other institutions studied the effects of Moving to Opportunity, an experimental federal housing program in the 1990s that offered housing vouchers to more than 2,000 low-income families so they could move from impoverished areas into mixed-income neighborhoods. A separate control group had similar demographics but didn't move to mixed-income neighborhoods with the help of vouchers. Although participants showed minimal economic or educational gains, they had significantly lower rates of diabetes, extreme obesity, anxiety and stress than those who stayed behind. They were also much happier with their lives overall. (Florida Today, 9/21/12)
The Wall Street Journal reports on the importance of the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
The New York Times looks at “Letting Children Share in Grief.”
The Washington Post has a blog post on how schools fail kids with ADHD.
USA Today examines the challenges of getting through college with ADHD.
The Boston Globe looks at efforts of scientists to unravel long-term effects of early adversity.
The Huffington Post reviews the book You Need Help by Dr. Mark Komrad, which he describes as "a step-by-step plan to convince a loved one to get counseling for a mental or addictive disorder.”
KQED Radio reports that under a California criminal justice realignment mental health teams in the jail are better able to ensure a smooth re-entry when prisoners are released.
NPR looks at efforts to remove from a security clearance application a question on whether the applicant has sought mental health counseling.
Children Who Suffer Emotional Neglect May Have Higher Risk for Stroke as Adults—Study: Children who are emotionally neglected, or do not have their emotional needs met, may be at greater risk for stroke as adults, according to a new study. Published in the journal Neurology, the study found that people who had a moderately high level of emotional neglect as children had a nearly three times greater risk for stroke than those who had moderately low levels of this type of neglect. "Studies have shown that children who were neglected emotionally in childhood are at an increased risk of a slew of psychiatric disorders; however, our study is one of few that look at an association between emotional neglect and stroke," said study author Robert Wilson of Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago. The link between childhood emotional neglect and later stroke risk held even after researchers considered other factors, such as diabetes, physical activity, smoking, anxiety and heart problems. (Medpage Today, 9/21/12)
Brain Mechanism May Cause Overeating: A part of the brain usually thought to control movement also may cause people to overeat, researchers say. A study reported in the journal Current Biology indicates that a new brain mechanism in the neostriatum produces intense motivation to overeat tasty foods. The neostriatum, located near the middle and front of the brain, has traditionally been thought to control only motor movements. But for several years, it has been known that the neostriatum is active in brains of obese people when viewing or tasting foods, and in brains of drug addicts when viewing photos of drug-taking. When researchers gave extra morphine-like drug stimulation to the top of the neostriatum in rats, it caused the animals to eat twice the normal amount of sweet fatty food. (CBS Detroit, 9/23/12)
MORE NEWS AND VIEWS
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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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