Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of June 6, 2011
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE HEADLINES
Week of June 6, 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.
Adults with mental illness are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependency than adults without mental illness...more
IN THE NEWS
New Imaging Technique Reveals Brain Injuries in Veterans
Researchers are using an advanced imaging technique to help diagnose mild blast-related traumatic brain injuries in soldiers whose wounds don't usually show up in conventional brain imaging scans. The technique might allow doctors to identify many previously untreated brain-injury victims. The study used an advanced brain imaging technique called diffusion tensor imaging, which was able to find abnormalities in the white matter brain tissue of soldiers who had sustained mild blast-related traumatic brain injuries. White matter is a critical part of the brain's wiring system that allows nerve cells to communicate with one another. (The New York Times, 6/1/11)
Many Children with Mental Health Providers End Up in ERs
Having a regular outpatient mental health provider may not be enough to prevent children and teens with behavioral problems from repeatedly ending up in the emergency room, a new study finds. For the study, researchers analyzed more than 2,900 records of pediatric patients, ages 3 to 17, treated at the Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital emergency room for mental health crises over eight years. The study, which is published in Psychiatric Services, found that 12 percent returned to the ER within six months of their initial visit. The majority of the visits stemmed from behavioral problems or minor psychiatric crises, such as disruptive classroom behavior, verbal altercations and running away, the researchers said. About two-thirds of patients reported having an outpatient mental health provider at both visits, and 85 reported at the second visit that they have a regular mental health provider. (HealthDay News, 6/1/11)
Study Links Alcohol Dependency to Mental Illness
Adults with mental illness are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependency than adults without mental illness, according to a new study. It also showed that the rate of alcohol dependency increases as the severity of the mental illness increases. The report, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, found that while 7.9 per cent of those with mild mental illness were alcohol dependent, 10 per cent of those with moderate mental illness and 13.2 per cent of those with serious mental illness were alcohol dependent. (HealthDay News, 6/3/11)
Knowledge about Mental Illness Increases Likelihood of Seeking Help
Increased knowledge about mental illness, attitudes of tolerance toward people with mental illness, and support for providing them with care in the community lead to an increased likelihood of individuals seeking help, according to new study. Researchers looked at data from a United Kingdom Department of Health survey of 1,751 adults in England. Survey participants were asked a series of questions relating to knowledge and attitudes about mental health and contact with people with mental illness. The researchers were particularly interested in the group who responded that they would seek care if they had a mental health problem. Participants who said that they would seek treatment if they needed it were also those who expressed stronger attitudes of tolerance toward people with mental illness and stronger support for providing care in the community (rather than in institutions). These participants, who tended to be older than those who were less willing to seek care, also had better knowledge about mental illness and available treatments. Women were more likely than men to be willing to seek help and to disclose a mental illness to friends and family. (Medical News Today, 6/1/11)
Radio station KQED looks at efforts in Los Angeles to diagnose and aid the mental health needs of juvenile offenders.
The Los Angeles Times reports on a Reno, Nevada, program that teams police with mental health counselors.
The Wall Street Journal examines the mental health impact on workers at the Japan's crippled nuclear power complex.
Reuters looks at the trauma of children orphaned by tornados.
The New York Review of Books assesses three books on mental illness.
VOICES AND VIEWPOINTS
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine (sub. req.) argues that inadequate treatment of addictions and mental illness along with tough anti-drug sentencing has created an "epidemic of mass incarceration."
In the last of a three-part series, the San Jose Mercury News looks at what makes teens more resilient.
The Village Voice interviews singer Connie Francis on mental health.
Children with ADHD More Prone to Substance Use: Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) face a significantly higher risk of developing a substance use problem, according to a new study. Researchers, whose findings are reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, looked at data that had been previously collected by two studies exploring psychiatric and behavioral problems among a total of 268 children diagnosed with ADHD. They found that nearly one-third of the children developed some form of substance abuse problem over the course of a decade of tracking. Overall, study participants diagnosed with ADHD had a one-and-a-half time's greater risk of developing substance use than did control participants. (HealthDay News, 6/1/11)
Bullying Tied to Sleep Problems: Children who are aggressive and disruptive in class are more likely to have sleep-disordered breathing than well-behaved children, according to new research. Conduct problems, parent-reported bullying, and school disciplinary problems were all associated with higher scores on a measure of sleep-related breathing disorders, according to researchers. The study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, collected data from parents on each child's sleep habits and asked both parents and teachers to assess behavioral concerns. The findings suggest that bullying may be prevented by paying attention to some of the unique health issues associated with aggressive behavior. (The New York Times, 6/2/11)
Children of Divorce Parents More Likely to Have Anxiety, Stress: Children of divorced parents often have worse math and social skills than their classmates and are more likely to suffer anxiety, stress and low self-esteem, according to a new study. The findings, published in the American Sociological Review, are based on data that tracked the development of 3,585 students from kindergarten through fifth grade to examine the impact before, during and after the divorce. Math studies were particularly sensitive to impact of divorce. (Reuters, 6/2/11)
NEWS FROM MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA
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.
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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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