Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of October 3, 2011MENTAL HEALTH IN THE HEADLINES
Week of October 3, 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.
One in five hospitals and clinics serving American Indians and Alaska Natives provide no mental health services …more
October 6 is National Depression Screening Day
October 2-8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week
IN THE NEWS
Report: High Number of Vets Have Mental Health Condition
A new report by an advocacy group finds that nearly three-quarters of a million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have sought medical care from the government. More than half of those service members suffer from a mental health condition, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The group Veterans for Common Sense collected the data from government information mostly obtained Freedom of Information Act request. (Time, 10/3/11)
Number of Non-Elderly with Mental Health Disabilities Rises
The number of non-elderly people in the United Stated who are reporting mental health disabilities has gone up. According researchers, the number of self-reported mental health disabilities was 2 percent between 1997 and 1999. That figure increased to 2.7 percent between 2007 and 2009, which researchers say is almost nearly two million disabled adults. “These findings highlight the need for improved access to mental health services in our communities and for better integration of these services with primary care delivery,” said Dr. Ramin Mojtabai of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study also found that the occurrence of disability credited to other chronic conditions decreased, while the prevalence of significant mental distress remained unchanged. (UPI, 9/23/11)
Report Finds Mental Health Care Gaps for Native Americans
A new U.S. government report finds serious gaps in mental health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives. One in five hospitals and clinics in Indian Country provide no mental health services, according to the Inspector General's Office of the Department of Health and Human Services. Only half provide drug therapy treatments, and at dozens of facilities some drug treatments are handled by non-licensed social workers, counselors and nurses. “The demand for mental health services outstrips capacity at some IHS (Indian Health Service) and tribal facilities,” the report’s authors wrote, adding that American Indians and Native Alaskans “rank first among ethnic groups as likely to suffer mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.” (Associated Press, 9/30/11)
Settlement Requires Improved MH Services for California Foster Kids
A class-action settlement was preliminarily approved last week that would require California to provide more effective mental health services for the children in or about to enter foster care. The settlement would create state standards, training and monitoring for the provision of intensive and "medically necessary" mental health services as dictated by federal law. It also mandates the use of mental health approaches that have been widely accepted as effective by national experts and agencies. (California Healthline, 9/30/11)
Lack of Sleep by Teens Tied to Risky Behavior
Teenagers who don't get enough sleep on school nights may be more likely to take risks with their health, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control. It found that high school students who sleep less than eight hours on school nights are more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, seriously consider suicide, and engage in a variety of other risky behaviors. The study showed that more than two-thirds of high school students did not get at least eight hours of sleep on school nights. (Medpage Today, 9/26/11)
The number children who receive medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) continue to rise, although at a slower pace than in decades past, a new study finds. Researchers tracked U.S. prescription data from 1996 to 2008. They found the use of ADHD drugs was the highest among kids aged 6 to 12, which rose from 4.2 percent in 1996 to 5.1 percent in 2008. The greatest increase was in children age 13 to 18. Use of ADHD drugs more than doubled—from 2.3 percent in 1996 to 4.9 percent in 2008. Researchers said the increase reflects a greater understanding that kids often don't grow out of ADHD and that symptoms can persist through adolescence and even adulthood. (HealthDay News, 9/28/11)
The Fiscal Times looks at the “The Recession’s ‘Silent Mental Health Epidemic’”
The Los Angeles Times profiles a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “genius” award who will focus on suicide prevention.
A New York Times op-ed points out the harmful impact on mental and overall health of foreclosures.
The Associated Press examines the spotlight on the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer.
Coffee Linked to Lower Depression Risk in Women: Coffee may decrease the risk of depression, a new study suggests. In a 10-year cohort study of more than 50,000 older women, investigators found that compared with those who drank 1 cup or less of caffeinated coffee per week, those who drank 2 to 3 cups per day had a 15 percent decreased risk for depression, and those who drank 4 cups or more had a 20 percent decreased risk. The investigators, whose findings are reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, note that because this was an observational study, it did not prove causality and "only suggests the possibility" of a protective effect. (Reuters, 9/27/11)
Adding Talk Therapy to Medication Helps Kids with OCD: Adding talk therapy to medication helps some kids and teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), according to a new study. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study divided into three groups 124 children who had a diagnosis of OCD and who were between the ages of 7 and 17. One group continued medications with no additional treatment. The second group included brief psychiatric visits. The third group of kids got 14 hour-long sessions conducted over 12 weeks with a clinical psychologist, who conducted a standardized cognitive behavioral therapy treatment for OCD. After 12 weeks, the drugs-only group saw small improvements over where they started. Those who received brief visits were doing a litter bitter. The kids who got 14 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy, however, saw significant reductions in their symptoms. By one standardized measure, the severity of their OCD symptoms declined 58 percent more than those kids who only got medications. (Los Angeles Times, 9/22/11)
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