Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of May 23, 2011
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE HEADLINES
Week of May23, 2011
Mental Health in the Headlines is a weekly newsletter produced by Mental Health America, 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.TODAY'S HEADLINE
Women who are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to get Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder than men who are deployed...more
IN THE NEWS
Florida Law Would be First to Ban Doctors from Asking Patients about Guns
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign into law a bill that will make the state the first in the nation to prohibit doctors from asking patients if they own guns. The bill is aimed particularly at pediatricians, who routinely ask new parents if they have guns at home and if they're stored safely. Child mental health professionals say they need all the information they can get to assess the potential for violence-whether it be to the self or others. (American Medical News, 5/23/11)Women Deployed to War Zone More Likely to Get PTSD than Men
Women who are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to get Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than men, researchers report. A study of 922 National Guard members-including 91 women-deployed to Iraq in 2008 found that women were much more likely than men to meet the criteria for PTSD after returning home. Nearly 19 percent of women had PTSD compared with 8.7 percent of men. There were no significant differences between men and women in their level of combat exposure. (Los Angeles Times, 5/19/11)Women in War Zones More Likely to Report Lack of Unit Cohesion
Women are much less likely to feel well-prepared for combat before deployment and were more likely to report a lack of unit cohesion during deployment, a new study finds. Unit cohesion is the mutual support and bonds of friendship among members of a military unit. U.S. Army researchers surveyed 1,600 soldiers from two combat brigades who had been deployed once. They found that unit cohesion was a key factor in whether soldiers developed thoughts of suicide. (Los Angeles Times, 5/19/11)New Definition for ADHD to Make it Easier to Diagnose Adults
A proposed new definition of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may make it easier to diagnose and treat older teens and adults-an increase prevalence rates. A proposal being considered by the American Psychiatric Association would expand the criteria that now apply to children by describing what ADHD looks like in older teens and adults. Some doctors say they worry that the condition will become over diagnosed. (Time, 5/17/11)
High Rate of Mental Illness in War-torn Somalia
A 20-year civil war in Somalia has increased the prevalence of mental illness and destroyed its health care infrastructure. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one in three Somalis have suffered from some kind of mental illness, a rate that is among the highest in the world. The country has only three psychiatrists and no psychologists working at its five main mental health facilities. As a result, some Somalis have been chained up in mental wards for as long as eight years, according to the WHO. (Associated Press, 5/20/11)Colleges Using High-Tech Tools for Mental Health Evaluations
As demand among college students for mental health services rises, schools are using computerized questionnaires instead of traditional paper evaluations to identify a problem more quickly. Therapists say the high-tech evaluations aren't replacements for in-depth questioning or counseling. But they appeal to students who are often more comfortable communicating with smart phone and laptops. The therapists also say the computerized screenings can be used more easily and produce better evaluations. (Associated Press, 5/22/11)Number of Children with Developmental Disabilities Rises
One in six children-about 10 million--had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, according to new research. The number has increased by 17 percent in 12 years as diagnoses for autism and attention deficit hyperactivity rose. The current study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics, suggests that three or four children in a typical elementary school classroom have developmental disabilities. Some say the study underestimates the number because many children with learning disabilities aren't diagnosed until they are 11 or 12. (USA Today, 5/23/11)Study Finds LGBT Bullying Results in Poor Mental, Overall Health
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth who experience high levels of school victimization in middle and high school report impaired mental and overall health in young adulthood, a new study finds. The study, based on data of a young adult survey of 245 LGBT young adults ages 21 to 25 and published in the Journal of School Health and the Journal of the American School Health Association, found LGBT-targeted bullying related to gender expression or sexual orientation during school years led to increased young adult depression, suicidal thoughts, social adjustment issues and risky sexual behavior. LGBT young adults that reported high levels of anti-LGBT victimization as teens were 5.6 times more likely to report suicide attempts than those victimized less frequently. They were more than twice as likely to report being clinically depressed, and they were more than twice as likely to report having been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease by young adulthood. (Huffington Post, 5/16/11)Physicians: Lack of Training, Time Hinder Discussion of Children's Mental Health with Parents
Many parents believe that primary care physicians aren't equipped to discuss children's mental health. A survey of 554 parents and caregivers conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that 42 percent of participants do not think physicians give them enough time to answer their questions. About half of parents said they didn't feel their child's primary care doctor was knowledgeable about mental illness. Doctors say part of the problem is that primary care physicians lack the training needed to discuss and identify mental health conditions. A lack of time during the visit is also cited by physicians. (American Medical News, 5/23/11)
CNN reports on former Congressman Patrick Kennedy's new effort to map the human brain.
A Huffington Post contributor on the trauma of World War II.
Children of Deployed Soldiers More Likely to be Hospitalized for Psychiatric Condition: Children of active-duty soldiers may be at greater risk of being hospitalized for a psychiatric illness, according to a new study. Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of the health records of kids ages 9 to 17 whose parents were active-duty personnel during 2007 and 2009, and compared that with their parents' deployment records. They found a 10 percent increase in the rate of hospitalization for the children of parents who were deployed compared with children of military personnel who were not deployed. The risk was higher in children with a history of psychiatric problems and among children whose parent had a past psychiatric history. (Medpage Today, 5/18/11)
Most Children Who Lose Parent Don't Experience Depression: Most children who lose a parent don't experience depression, a new study finds. Researchers studied children 5 to 18 over two years who suffered the loss of one parent but had a surviving parent and compared them to children who had not lost a parent. They found that about half the children experienced major depressive disorder two months after the death of their parent, and an additional 25 percent had a milder type of depression. But those numbers dropped by about half over the next few months. Two years after a death, 5 percent of children who lost a parent had a major depressive disorder and 11 percent had a milder type of depression. (Los Angeles Times, 5/17/11)NEWS FROM MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA
May is Mental Health Month 2011: Do More for 1 in 4. For information on this year's May is Mental Health Month activities, go to http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/may.
Mental Health America's Annual Conference, June 9-11, in Washington, DC: Find out how health reform will be implemented; how to start a peer specialist program; and what new programs we are launching. Go to http://www.nmha.org/go/conference.Stay Up to Date with 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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