Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of December 20, 2010
Mental Health in the Headlines
Week of December 20, 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.
Mental Health in the Headlines will not publish the week of December 27. Our next issue will be January 3, 2011. Happy Holidays!
DID YOU KNOW?
Children who are friendless may be at risk of spiraling into depression as teenagers…more
Court Ruling on Health Law Won’t Stop Implementation
The Obama administration said a court ruling finding part of the health reform law unconstitutional won’t stop implementation of the plan. "We are confident this ruling will eventually be overturned and that the Act will be upheld," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter sent to governors. A federal judge in Virginia struck down the portion of the law that requires almost all Americans to purchase insurance. But that requirement does not take effect until 2014. In addition, the judge said the rest of the law could stand. In a related case in Florida, a federal judge heard arguments on the individual mandate issue and whether the federal government can force states to pay for an expansion of Medicaid. (MHH Reporting, 12/20/10)
Marijuana Use Rises among Teens, Smoking Decreases
The use of marijuana increased this year while cigarette smoking decreased slightly among high school seniors, a new survey reports. The National Institute for Drug Abuse’s 2010 Monitoring the Future survey found that 21 percent of seniors say they have smoked marijuana in the past 30 days. About 19 percent say they smoked cigarettes. The data reflect the first time use of marijuana has surpassed that of cigarettes. But the level of alcohol use among high school seniors hit its lowest level since 1975 and those reporting binge drinking—consuming five or more drinks in a row—dipped to its lowest level since 1999. (HealthDay News, 12/14/10)
Reports Show High Number of Discharges for Pre-existing Conditions
Two government reports show that military recruits are being discharged for pre-existing psychiatric conditions more than any other reason. The numbers are particularly high for the Marines. Forty-four percent of discharges between 2004 and 2009 for pre-existing conditions were for psychiatric complications. For the Army, the percentage was 24 and 18 in the Navy. That percentage was 24 in the Army and 18 in the Navy. It was less than 1 percent in the Air Force. Lawmakers and veterans advocates have charged that the Pentagon may be discharging combat troops on spurious mental health grounds. Discharges for pre-existing conditions are not eligible to receive disability compensation or medical benefits. (Fox News, 12/16/10)
More Than Half of Adults Report at Least One Adverse Childhood Experience
More than half of adults surveyed reported experiencing adverse childhood experiences, including domestic or verbal abuse, according to a government study. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 59.4 percent of respondents reported having at least one adverse experience, with 8.7 percent reporting five or more. Adverse childhood experiences have been associated with an increased risk for several health problems, including heart disease, depression, cancer, and diabetes. (HealthDay News, 12/13/10)
The Providence Journal looks at the next stage in Patrick Kennedy’s work for mental health.
The Dallas Morning News examines the toll the stress of separation takes on military families.
The New York Times reports on growing mental health needs on college campuses.
The second part of NPR/Pro Publica’s investigation on the military’s refusal to cover cognitive rehabilitation to traumatic brain-injury patients.
Children without Friends at Risk of Depression: Children who are friendless may be at risk of spiraling into depression as teenagers, new research asserts. In a three-year study, researchers looked at 130 girls and 101 boys in the third through fifth school grades who were asked to answer whether they felt they were shy or preferred to be alone. The study, published in the journal Development and Psychopathology, found that having at least one friend could allay feelings of sadness, finding that kids without a friend to engage with were more likely to experience depression. “Friendship promotes resilience and protects at-risk kids from internalizing problems such as feeling depressed and anxious,” said lead researcher Dr. William M. Bukowski, professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal. (The New York Times, 12/20/10)
Lay Counseling May Help in Treating Depression: Trained lay counselors can be effective at helping treat people who have depression and anxiety in public primary care facilities in developing countries, according to a new study . Adult patients in 24 groups took part in a randomized trial at public and private primary care facilities in Goa. Some of the groups were assigned interventions provided by a trained lay health counselor, supplemented by antidepressant drugs by the primary care physician for patients with moderate or severe disorders and monthly supervision by a mental health specialist. The study, which is reported in the journal The Lancet, found that in public facilities, 66 per cent of patients with depression or anxiety in the intervention group recovered within six months, compared to 43 per cent in the control group. In the private facilities, however, recovery rates were similar in the two groups. (NPR, 12/13/10)
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