Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of April 26, 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?
Nearly half of preschool children meet age-adjusted criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after experiencing a significant traumatic event…more
*HEALTH REFORM UPDATE
Analysis Says Law Would Expand Coverage, Questions Savings
A government analysis of the health care reform law found it will cover 34 million people. But the report, by Medicare's Office of the Actuary, also said that it would not slow the overall growth of health spending. The review focuses on different issues than studies by the Congressional Budget Office, which concentrated on federal spending and revenues and concluded that the law would reduce budget deficits by a total of $143 billion over 10 years. The report said these savings assume that the law will be carried out as written, and that may be an unrealistic assumption. Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said that fear was unfounded (Associated Press, 4/24/10)
Senate Plans to Move on Plan to Block Unjustified Rate Increases
Democratic Senators plan to move on legislation that would block unreasonable increases in insurance premiums. The bill would give the secretary of health and human services the power to review premiums and block “any rate increase found to be unreasonable.” It would regulate rates in states where state officials did not have “sufficient authority and capability” to do so. The Obama administration had offered a similar proposal prior the passage of health care reform, but it was omitted in the final bill. (The New York Times, 4/21/10)
Costs Soar for Compensating Troops with Mental Health Conditions
Military health care spending is rising twice as fast as the nation's overall health care costs, according the Pentagon figures. The rise has been fueled in part by the mental health and physical problems of troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2004, mental health counseling for servicemen and women and their family members rose 65 percent. The Pentagon paid for 7.3 million visits last year. Many children who are suffering from anxiety or depression because their parent is away at war are also being seen. (USA Today, 4/23/10)
Poll Finds Americans Feel Volunteering Improves Physical, Mental Health
Americans fell volunteering improves their physical and mental health, according to a national poll. The survey, conducted for United Healthcare and the national group VolunteerMatch, found 84 percent of people questioned agreed that volunteering improves physical health; 95 percent said it improved mental health. About 68 percent of volunteers said their philanthropic work made them feel physically healthier. (Reuters, 4/12/10)
Wisconsin Parity Law Close to Becoming Law
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is expected to sign into law a state mental health parity law. The bill eliminates a $7,000-per-year minimum treatment level that was set a quarter century ago. The legislation, which would provide coverage to an additional 700,000 Wisconsin residents, requires parity for those covered under employee health insurance plans offered by employers with 10 or more employees. A federal parity law that took effect late last year only applies to self-insured companies with 51 or more workers. (Kenosha News, 4/16/2010)
Study Finds Students Suffering from Internet Addiction
Many students are heavy users of the Internet, social media and cell phones, and showing symptoms similar to drug and alcohol addictions, according to a new study. Researchers asked 200 students to give up all electronic media for a 24-hour time period. Students were then asked to write about their feelings in regards to the experience. Many of the students expressed experiencing cravings and feelings of anxiety. Others said that they felt they were unable to function well without frequent access to their media sources. (Reuters, 4/23/10)
Prism Awards Honor “Crazy Heart,” “Monk,” “Soloist”
Prism Awards, which recognize accurate portrayals of mental health and addiction in the entertainment industry, were presented last week to Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal, stars of the film "Crazy Heart," Hector Elizondo and Tony Shalhoub for the TV show "Monk," and the film "The Soloist." The awards are produced by the Entertainment Industries Council Inc. in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the FX Network. Television shows that were recognized included "How I Met Your Mother," "Breaking Bad" and "The Celebrity Apprentice." (The Los Angeles Times, 4/23/10)
The New York Times looks at Warrior Transition Units, intended as a place where injured soldiers can recuperate. But reports indicate many soldiers feel they are warehouses, treated harshly there and are vulnerable to depression and addiction.
An article in Great Britain’s Guardian newspaper critiques a cartoon that used inappropriate language and comments on how the media uses mental health terms.
Experiencing Traumatic Event Puts Preschoolers at Risk of PTSD: Nearly half of preschool children meet age-adjusted criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after experiencing a significant traumatic event, according to new research. In a study of 284 children aged 3-5 years who had been exposed to a traumatic event, 44 percent met criteria for PTSD. There were no statistically significant differences based on the type of trauma. A second study assessed PTSD in 69 preschool children who were seen at a hospital-based primary care clinic more than 12 months after events ranging from minor situations to high-risk events such as abuse and neglect. Researchers reported even minor medical procedures had a lasting effect on children. (Elsevier Global Medical News, 4/23/10)
Parent’s Suicide Increases Risks in Children: People who as children or adolescents lost a parent to suicide are more likely to take their own lives or have a psychiatric condition later in life, according to new research. Swedish and American researchers compared life and health factors among 40,000 people whose parents either died of accidents or suicide, another 400,000 whose parents died of natural death, and 3.8million whose parents are alive. The findings, which will reported in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, show that children whose parents committed suicide were at twice the risk of committing suicide themselves while those whose parents died of natural death didn't have such tendency. The research also shows that children whose parents committed suicide are at increased risk of having depression or other mental health conditions. (CNN, 4/21/10)
Extremely Preterm Children Three Times As Likely To Have Psychiatric Disorder: Children who were born at less than 26 weeks of gestation have a higher risk for later impairments, a new study finds. Although advances in the neonatal intensive care have resulted in increased survival rates for these children, researchers who conducted a follow-up study of 219 extremely preterm children found that almost one-quarter had a psychiatric disorder at 11 years of age. The findings, which are reported in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, show the most frequent psychiatric conditions were Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (12 percent), emotional disorders (9 percent), and Autism Spectrum Disorders (8 percent). The investigation also reports a threefold overall greater risk of subsequent mental health problems in those children born prematurely. (ScienceDaily, 4/25/10)
*HEADLINES at Mental Health America
May is Mental Health Month: “Live Your Life Well” Mental Health America encourages Americans to use 10 evidence-based tools to meet, respond to daily challenges.
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*Mental Health America MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Nearly 60 percent of adults over age 65 believe depression is normal, according to a Mental Health America. Many older Americans don’t seek help for mental health conditions. HeraldNet, “Stress is a burden for many senior,” April 26, 2010
According to Mental Health America, gay teens hear anti-gay slurs about 26 times a day or once every 14 minutes, and 31 percent of gay youth had been threatened or injured at school in the last year alone. Tonic, “Don't Mess with Colin Farrell,” April 21, 2010
Stay Up to Date With More News, Views and Tools
- Attend Mental Health America’s 2010 Annual Conference—Get Connected: Social Inclusion in Wellness and Recovery; June 9-12, Washington, DC
- 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
- Join Mental Health America’s Advocacy Network
- Check out previous issues of Mental Health in the Headlines
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,
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