Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of April 7, 2014 | Mental Health America

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Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of April 7, 2014






Week of April 7, 2014

Mental Health in the Headlines is a weekly newsletter 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.


May is Mental Health Month—Mind Your Health.

Mental Health America Testifies on Mental Health Bill; Urges Changes to Legislation.     

A Look at the Gaps in Mental Health Care—An Interview with Dr. David Shern of Mental Health America.

Paul Gionfriddo Named President and CEO of Mental Health America.

Help Us Fund Mental Health America’s Exciting Documentary on the Consumer/Survivor Movement.

Patrick Hendry of Mental Health America Wins 2014 Reintegration Lifetime Achievement Award.

Debbie Plotnick, Senior Director of State Policy at Mental Health America, writes on CNN on How to Stop Tragic Shootings of People with Mental Illness.

Mental Health America Produces Comprehensive, Objective Resource Describing Principal Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Mental Health Conditions.

The MHA Career Center matches the best employers with the best talent in the mental health field.  Find your employment match at


Mental Health America Capitol Hill Day—May 7: Mental Health America is partnering with the National Council for Behavioral Health for Capitol Hill Day ’14 on May 7—the biggest behavioral health advocacy event of the year. This year, Hill Day will be held in conjunction with the National Council’s 2014 Conference, which is taking place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside of Washington, DC.  Registration for Hill Day is free and includes Public Policy Track sessions and workshops held on May 6, including leadership lessons from Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. For more information on hotel accommodations, a schedule and to register, go to

APRIL 24—Text, Talk, Act is back! Text, Talk, Act to Improve Mental Health is an hour-long event that uses text messaging to get people talking about mental health and encourage them to take action. Through this event, young people can have a conversation with their peers and give voice to an issue that can otherwise be difficult for them to speak about. This event is geared toward young people, but people of all ages can participate and benefit from it. It's simple: At any time on April 24, gather 3-4 of your friends, family, classmates, students, and/or colleagues; Text "start" to 89800; and Receive polling and discussion questions via text messaging while having a face-to-face dialogue with your group. ​To learn more and to register, go to


Linking Shooting to Mental Illness Reflects Misunderstanding: With the disclosure that Army Spc. Ivan Lopez was being evaluated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder before he went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood last week, questions were raised whether the Army could have prevented the violence. Experts in mental health say (even as more facts about Lopez emerge) that it's highly unlikely the violence could have been predicted. Just raising that question, psychologists and psychiatrists say, shows how much Americans misunderstand the link between mental illness and violence. Dr. Carl Bell, a psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says being able to predict who will be violent in advance "is impossible." "The reality," Bell says, "is that prediction of violence is only useful in an immediate clinical situation: Someone comes in and says, 'I'm going to kill myself.' Then you take their word for it, and can predict violence in the short term. But you cannot use that to predict violence in the long term." Army officials said that Lopez had seen a psychiatrist in the past month, but there were no indications that he was suicidal. (NPR, 4/3/14)

MSNBC  and The Washington Post look at mental health in the military.


Anxiety, Depression Highly Prevalent in Soccer Players: More than one quarter of professional soccer players who took part in a survey conducted by the world players' union said they suffered from depression or anxiety. The problem was even worse among retired players with 39 percent saying they were affected. FIFPro (International Federation of Professional Footballers) said that 180 active professional footballers took part in its survey. Twenty-six percent reported suffering from depression or anxiety and adverse nutritional behavior, 19 percent reported adverse alcohol behavior, 3 percent said they had low self-esteem and 7 percent said they were smoking, FIFPro said. Five percent reported "signs of burnout. The numbers were even higher among former players with 32 percent of the 121 interviewed reporting adverse alcohol behavior and 12 percent saying they were smoking. Researchers say once a player stops with intensive physical activities they lose their structured life and their social support by trainers and teammates diminishes. (Reuters, 4/2/14)

Legislation Funds Mental Health Program: President Barack Obama last week signed into law H.R. 4302, a bill to temporarily stave off Medicare physician payment cuts that also includes the Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration program. The legislation establishes a $900 million, two-year demonstration program in eight unspecified states to offer a broad range of mental health and substance use treatment services, including 24-hour crisis psychiatric services, while setting new standards for provider organizations. (MHH Reporting, 4/7/14)


Mediaite examines why “It’s Time to Start Giving Kids Mental Health Education.”

Healthline reports “ACA Brings Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment to Millions.”

Latest Research

Depression May Increase Risk of Heart Failure: Depression may increase the risk of heart failure, according to a new study. Researchers looked at nearly 63,000 people in Norway who underwent general and mental health assessments. Over 11 years, close to 1,500 of the participants developed heart failure. Compared to people with no symptoms of depression, those with mild symptoms were 5 percent more likely to develop heart failure, and those with moderate to severe symptoms had a 40 percent increased risk. Researchers say depression triggers stress hormones, which also induce inflammation and [plaque buildup in arteries], which may accelerate heart diseases. But there are likely other mechanisms at play. Existing problems in the function of the stress response could underlie depression and heart disease, rather than the one leading to the other. Genetic factors are also likely to play roles in the development of both. As with many situations, causation can’t be determined – only a connection, say researchers. (Forbes, 4/5/14)


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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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