Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of October 25, 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?
Some adversity in life may improve mental health and well-being by strengthening resiliency…more
Georgia to Move People out of Mental Hospitals under Landmark Settlement
The state of Georgia has agreed to move individuals with mental health conditions and developmental disabilities out of state mental hospitals and provide services in their communities under a landmark agreement with the U.S. Justice Department. The state has agreed to spend $15 million this fiscal year and $62 million next year to make the needed changes. Advocates hailed the agreement, calling it unprecedented. Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said the agreement would be used as a model for other enforcement efforts around the country. (NPR, 10/21/10)
Gene Therapy May Help Treat Depression
Researchers have identified a gene as a possible cause of depression. A new study reported in Science Translational Medicine found that depressed people often have low levels of the protein p11 in the reward center of their brain, and fixing the gene that produces those proteins could alleviate depressive symptoms. The therapy is currently being tested on monkeys; if it's successful, the researchers will seek approval to test it in humans within the next two years. (Reuters, 10/20/10)
Pediatricians Urged to Screen for Maternal Depression
The American Academy of Pediatrics report is encouraging doctors to screen mothers for postpartum depression because it can have serious adverse effects on babies. The group says that maternal depression can interfere with mother-child attachment and bonding. A report in the November issue of Pediatrics said untreated maternal depression can lead to the development of behavior problems, anxiety, and mood disorders through childhood and adolescence. (Medpage Today, 10/25/10)
People with Depression, Anxiety Have Higher Death Rate after Surgery
People who have depression and anxiety are at increased risk of death after undergoing surgery, according to a new study. An analysis of over 35,000 surgical patients admitted to intensive care units showed that the death rates within 30 days after surgery were similar for patients with and without psychiatric illness. But when the researchers adjusted for other factors, the death rate was higher for patients with a psychiatric condition, according to the report in the October issue of the journal Archives of Surgery. (HealthDay News, 10/19/10)
NPR reports on a program that provides support to surviving family members of military suicides.
The reliance on primary care physicians to treat mental health conditions is examined by American Medical News.
InvestigateWest looks at the impact of homelessness on the mental health of children.
Some Adversity Can Build Resiliency: Some adversity in life may improve mental health and well-being by strengthening resiliency, a new study asserts. Researchers analyzed data of 2,398 participants ranging in age from 18 to 101 to test the notion of resilience—how successfully people adapt after exposure to stressful or potentially traumatic life events or circumstances. The findings, which are reported online prior to the print edition of the Journal of Personality and Social, show those who experienced some adverse events reported better mental health and well-being than those exposed to high levels of adversity or no adversity at all. (HealthDay News, 10/20/10)
Mother’s Suicide May Increase Risk for Children: A mother’s suicide, more than a father’s, may increase the risk for later suicide attempts by her children, according to a new study. Swedish researchers followed the children of 14,299 Swedish adults who died by suicide and 12,080 who died in sudden accidents between 1973 and 2003. The study, which is reported online and in the print edition of Pediatrics, found that children of mothers who completed suicide were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized in connection to a suicide attempt as those whose mothers died in accidents. Children of fathers who had completed suicide do not appear to be at a significant higher risk of attempted suicide Researchers noted that it doesn't prove that suicides by parents causes offspring to face a higher suicide risk. (HealthDay News, 10/21/10)
Heavy Alcohol Use May Harm Cognitive Development in Adolescents: Severe alcohol abuse may damage the normal course of neural development in adolescents, new research indicates. Researchers assessed 19 adolescents that have been diagnosed with substance use and 14 individuals that have a family history of substance use with no history of personal usage. Their findings, published online in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, showed that both frequent alcohol and marijuana use significantly affected the adolescent mind. As drinking intensity increased, individuals demonstrated a significant decrease in attention and executive function with a decrease in memory performance. (UPI, 10/20/10)
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Mental Health America MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
A Mental Health America study suggested that access to treatment, education level and personal income are the deciding factors in depression. The Salt Lake Tribune, “UVU study: Religion helps, hurts depression,” October 23, 2010
Employers and health plans still are trying to determine standards for equitability between mental and physical health benefits under the new mental health parity law, said David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America. American Medical News, “Mental health parity law not prompting many employers to drop coverage,” October 19, 2010
Stay Up to Date With More News, Views and Tools
- 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
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