Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of July 19, 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?
Children whose mothers had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center were more likely to have behavioral problems three years later…more
New Rules Issued on Preventive Services
The Obama administration issued new rules last week requiring health insurance companies to provide free coverage for many types of screenings and preventive services. The rules, enacted under health reform legislation, will eliminate co-payments, deductibles and other charges for colorectal cancer screening for adults over 50; hepatitis B screening and tobacco counseling for pregnant women; depression screening for adults and adolescents; HIV screening for adults at high risk; and obesity screening and counseling for adults and children. The rules apply to new health plans that begin coverage after Sept. 23 and to existing health plans that make significant changes after that date. The administration said the requirements could increase premiums on average by 1.5 percent. (MHH Reporting, 7/19/10)
Army Suicides Set Record for June
Thirty-two U.S. soldiers completed suicide in June, the highest number in a single month since the Vietnam era. Twenty-one of them were on active duty, while 11 were in the National Guard or Army Reserve in an inactive status. Seven of those soldiers were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The increase is a setback for the military, which has been urging troops to seek counseling. Through May of this year, the Army saw a decline in suicides among active-duty soldiers compared with the same period in 2009. (USA Today, 7/16/10)
Budgets for Mental Health Services Decline as Economy Increases Demand
State budget cuts are reducing mental health services as the economy is creating an increased demand for services. According to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, 2010 spending appears to have fallen nearly 5 percent compared to 2009. Estimates are that 2011 mental health budgets may suffer an 8 percent decline. States have counted on Congress extending an increase in Medicaid funding to increase services, but it is unclear whether the legislation will be approved. (Stateline.org, 7/19/10)
Mood Disorders Go Undetected in Children
Children who have anxiety or depression often don’t receive treatment and help for those conditions. Experts say they are often unrecognized because many adults think children will “grow out” of the problem. In addition, children don’t have a way to assess their own feelings. One other reason is that kids with mood disorders keep to themselves and don’t externalize their symptoms. (HealthDay News, 7/14/10)
Court Blocks Law Requiring Mental Health Screenings for Women Seeking Abortions
A federal judge has blocked a Nebraska state law that requires mental health screenings for women seeking abortions. State officials have said the law is intended to make sure women understand the risks of an abortion. The court said the screenings could be impossible to perform and make it harder for women to get an abortion. (Associated Press, 7/14/10)
Abuse of Prescription Pain Medicine Surged 400 Percent Over 10 Years
A government study released last week reports a 400 percent increase in the number of people admitted to treatment for abusing prescription pain medication. The increase in substance use among people ages 12 and older was recorded during the 10-year-period from 1998 to 2008. It spans every gender, race, ethnicity, education and employment level, and all regions of the country. The study was released Thursday by the White House office of drug control policy. (Associated Press, 7/15/10)
PBS’ Newshour took a look at the continuing mental health impact of the earthquake.
Psychiatrist Richard Friedman was interviewed on NPR’s Talk of the Nation on how bad behavior by kids isn’t necessarily the result of bad parenting.
The Takeaway’s DIY Checkup series looks at mental health.
The Washington Post looks at how the military is responding to the mental health needs of soldiers.
Suicide Attempt May Predict Future Chances of Completed Act: The method a person uses for an attempted suicide helps predict the future chances of a completed suicide, new research finds. Swedish researchers looked at almost 49,000 people admitted to hospitals for attempted suicide between 1973 and 1982. During 21 to 31 years of follow-up, 5,740 of those people (12 percent) committed suicide. The highest risk for eventually committing suicide was among people who'd previously attempted to kill themselves by hanging, strangulation or suffocation. More than 85 percent of them died within one year of their prior suicide attempt, according to the report published in the July 14 online edition of BMJ. (Medpage Today, 7/14/10)
Behavior Problems Higher Among Children of Moms with PTSD After 9/11: Children whose mothers had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center were more likely to have behavioral problems three years later than children whose moms coped better with the attacks, according to a new study. Researchers interviewed the mothers of 116 children who were ages 5 and younger on the day of the attacks and either lived in lower Manhattan or attended preschool or daycare there. About 57 percent of children whose mothers had PTSD and depression had behavior problems, according to the study published in the journal Child Development. (HealthDay News, 7/15/10)
Air Pollution, Asthma May Increase Risk of Suicide: Air pollution and asthma symptoms may increase suicide risk, two new studies suggest. In one study, researchers examined more than 4,000 suicides in seven major cities in South Korea. They found that spikes in particle pollution upped suicide risk by as much as 10 percent. A second study followed 163,000 high school students over 12 years, During that time, asthma symptoms doubled suicide rates, from about five in 10,000 to one in 1,000. Experts say both studies, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, do not prove a direct link but raise issues that need to be examined in more detail. (CNN, 7/15/10)
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*Mental Health America MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
A recent national survey conducted for Mental Health America showed that the weak economy is taking a toll on the mental health of Americans, with unemployed people four times as likely as those with jobs to report symptoms of severe mental illness. Stateline.org, “As economy takes toll, mental health budgets shrink,” July 19, 2010
Kirsten Beronio of Mental Health America said there are a number of opportunities under health care reform to improve delivery of mental health services. The Medicaid health home option, grants for co-location of primary and specialty care and grants for community health teams and school-based health centers could make mental health more accessible. Publicceo.com, “Health Care Reform Could Mean More Opportunities for Mental Health Delivery Services by Private Insurers,” July 15, 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
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