Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of October 5, 2009
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?
Mothers who smoke during pregnancy put their children at greater risk of developing mental health problems in their teenage years...more
*HEALTH REFORM UPDATE
Senate Bill Moves Forward
Although obstacles remain, movement on a health reform overhaul continues. The Senate Finance Committee is set to approve its health reform plan this week. Although that panel made numerous changes during consideration of the legislation, the major objectives of an overall are still in place: millions of uninsured Americans would get subsidized health benefits, and the government would move to slow the growth of health spending. (The New York Times, 10/03/09)
Advocates Say Health Reform Would Be Step Forward for Mental Health
Mental health advocates are working to include coverage for mental health and substance use conditions in health reform legislation. It could be a huge step forward for the millions of Americans who have a mental health condition. The major House version of the health care overhaul bill would require behavioral and addiction coverage on par with medical coverage for just about everyone. The Senate bills exempt smaller employers from providing coverage and one exempts some larger employers. (The Baltimore Sun, 10/04/09)
New Mexico Official Nominated To Head SAMHSA
President Obama has announced he intends to nominate New Mexico Human Services Secretary Pam Hyde as the new Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Hyde has worked both in the private and public sector, and has years of experience in health program management and health policy development. She also previously served as New Mexico’s Mental Health Director. (MHH Reporting, 10/02/09)
Family Doctors Write Most Mental Health Prescriptions
Fifty-nine percent of U.S. mental health drug prescriptions are written by family doctors, not psychiatrists, according to a study released last week. Researchers from Thomson Reuters and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reviewed 472 million prescriptions written for psychotropic drugs from August 2006 and July 2007. They found that general practitioners prescribed the bulk of prescriptions for antidepressants (62 percent) and stimulants (52 percent). The researchers said the findings are important because published independent research suggests that most people treated for depression are more likely to get adequate care in specialist psychiatric settings than from a family doctor. (Reuters, 9/30/09)
VA Taking New, Aggressive Approach on PTSD
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking a new, aggressive approach toward treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The agency has already trained more than 2,000 mental health clinicians to administer PTSD treatment using new, evidence-based treatments. It has also reached out to mental health professionals in the private sector and launched collaboration with Give an Hour, a network of therapists that provides free counseling to returning troops and their families. The VA has also launched a nationwide search for veterans in rural areas who suffer from PTSD but are unable or unwilling to travel long distances to a VA facility. (Newsweek.com, 10/01/09)
Drug-related Deaths Higher Than Traffic Fatalities in 16 States
Drug-related deaths outnumber fatalities involving motor vehicles in a growing number of states, according to a government study. Nationwide, the number of automobile deaths is higher, but the rate of drug-related deaths outpaced vehicle accidents in 16 states in 2006, up from about a dozen the year before. In 2003, that number stood at eight. Overdoses make up the vast majority of the drug-related deaths, the US. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its report. (Associated Press, 10/01/09)
Risk of Depression More Than Doubles For Women Going Through Menopause: The risk for major depression more than doubles while women are going through menopause and afterward, new research finds. Researchers analyzed follow-up data on 221 African American and White women enrolled in the ongoing prospective Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN). When they entered the study, women were between 42 and 52 years old, premenopausal and taking neither hormone replacement therapy nor birth control pills. Over 9 years, more than half of the women went through menopause, and about a third experienced at least one major depressive episode. (Reuters, 10/02/09)
Smoking During Pregnancy Puts Children at Risk for Mental Health Problems: Mothers who smoke during pregnancy put their children at greater risk of developing mental health problems in their teenage years, new research shows. Researchers in England studied 6,356 12-year-olds from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. All the children completed an interview for psychotic-like symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. Just over 11 percent of the children (734) had suspected or definite symptoms of psychosis. The researchers, whose findings are published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, observed a 'dose-response effect,' meaning that the risk of psychotic symptoms was highest in the children whose mothers smoked the most heavily during pregnancy. (Sciencedaily, 10/01/09)
Young Adults May Outgrow Bipolar Disorder: Young adults who are diagnosed with bipolar between the ages of 18 and 25 may outgrow the disorder by the time they reach 30, a new study asserts. Researchers conducted two large studies, and found that "5.5 to 6.2 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 suffer from bipolar disorder, but only about 3 percent of people older than 29 suffer from bipolar disorder." The study looked at the possibility that the decline in numbers could result from early mortality, but the number of people who appear to have recovered from the disorder is simply too big to be explained in that way. According to the researchers, one possible explanation is the reality that complex changes in individual lives tend to resolve themselves by the time people are in their 30s. Another possibility involves changes in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which generally occur in the mid-20s. (Sciencedaily, 9/29/09)
HEADLINES at Mental Health America
Dr. Shern Starts Blog on psychologytoday.com: Mental Health America President and CEO Dr. David Shern has a new blog on psychologytoday.com called “Minding the Nation’s Health.” The first entry is on “Prevention and Health Reform.” For more information, visit http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/minding-the-nations-health.
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*Mental Health America MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Mental health advocates want heath reform legislation to go beyond basic coverage and attain parity for mental health with medical coverage. "We've battled discrimination for so long," said Kristen Beronio, vice president of Policy and Advocacy at Mental Health America. "We want to build on our progress and not go backward." The Baltimore Sun, “A cry for mental health change,” October 4, 2009
It's important for individuals experiencing depression to seek treatment so that they can function at their highest level. According to Mental Health America, nearly a quarter of the 600,000 people who experience a stroke in a given year will experience clinical depression, which can also be triggered by heart disease. The Signal, “Newhall Memorial Offers Free Depression Screenings,” October 2, 2009
Stay Up to Date With More News, Views and Tools
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- 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
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 Relation.
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