Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of December 9, 2013 | Mental Health America

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Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of December 9, 2013

Even mild bouts of depression may worsen the health complications that often go along with type 2 diabetes…more


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Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace: Mental Health America has released a toolkit with a wealth of information and resources.

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

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SAMHSA Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Toolkit: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has released a training resource toolkit, developed through the Enrollment Coalitions Initiative, entitled “Getting Ready for the Health Insurance Marketplace.”  The toolkit will assist organizations with outreach, education and enrollment of individuals in the Health Insurance Marketplace. It is composed of three sections: A description of the health care law, how it works, and why it is important for uninsured individuals with behavioral health conditions; An explanation of how the Health Insurance Marketplace works, how to apply for health coverage and where to get help; and Numerous communication ideas and materials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that can be used to raise awareness and encourage uninsured individuals to enroll. The toolkit has been developed in six slightly different 30-minute, interactive formats, each of which can be accessed and viewed online: (General information);;;;;

Become a Champion for Coverage: Help make sure all Americans can get the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford. Go to

NAMI Names Mary Giliberti as New Executive Director: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has named Mary Giliberti as the new Executive Director of the national organization. Giliberti has served as a Section Chief in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since 2008. She previously served for three years as NAMI's Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for federal and state issues. She also has served as Disability Counsel for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and senior attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. Giliberti will assume her duties on January 2, 2014. She succeeds Michael Fitzpatrick, who a year ago announced his intention to step down as executive director at the end of 2013. (NAMI, 12/4/13)

New Journal on Mental Health and Prevention: Elsevier, a publisher of technical and medical information products and solutions, has announced the launch of a new journal Mental Health & Prevention. The international journal will publish high quality reviews, original research and other papers related to research on prevention to support the psychological development across the complete life span. The first issue of the Mental Health & Prevention is available for all to view on ScienceDirect. For more information or to submit an article, go to (Elsevier, 12/9/13)


Approximately 6 Percent of Teens Took Prescription Medicine for MH Conditions from 2005-2010: Slightly more than 6 percent of U.S. teens take prescription medications for a mental health condition, according to a new survey. The survey, which covers the period from 2005 to 2010, also revealed a wide gap in psychiatric drug use across ethnic and racial groups. Teens aged 12 to 19 typically took drugs to treat depression or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the two most common mental health conditions in that age group. About 4 percent of kids aged 12 to 17 have experienced a bout of depression, the study found. Males were more likely to be taking medication to treat ADHD, while females were more commonly taking medication to treat depression. This follows patterns seen in the diagnosis of these conditions across genders. Study author Bruce Jonas, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), said he believes the numbers are tied to an increase in the diagnosis of various conditions that the medications are prescribed for. But it is also possible that children are becoming more vulnerable to these conditions. (HealthDay News, 12/6/13)

States Add to Mental Health Budgets after Sandy Hook; Improving Economies, Obamacare Cited: Although Congress has done little to increase spending or enact laws to improve mental health care after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shootings, dozens of states have increased or restored such funding. A National Alliance on Mental Illness report finds that at least 37 states have increased spending on mental health programs. Texas appears to have approved the biggest increase—$259 million more in their newest two-year budget, the largest such increase in state history. Some of the increases are due to improving state economies and efforts to comply with mental health provisions in Obamacare that start next year. Much of the legislation enacted this year was to expand the state-federal Medicaid program under the law because it is essential in paying and providing coverage for the estimated 2.7 million uninsured Americans affected by mental illness, the report states. But the report says that the Sandy Hook tragedy prompted state lawmakers to look at the lack of access to mental health services and begin restoring mental health budgets that had been severely cut in previous years. At the same time, a number of states passed laws that many advocates argue are regressive, such as New York, which now requires mental health practitioners to warn authorities about potentially dangerous patients. The report points out that mental health advocates warned that the “avalanche” of state legislation could result in Americans not seeking mental health care and that the changes could threaten civil liberties. (Bloomberg, 11/22/13)

Study—Majority of Frequent Users of ERs Have Chronic Conditions, not Mental Health Problems: Frequent users of emergency care have high rates of primary care use and only a small proportion of their emergency department (ED) visits are for substance abuse and mental health problems, a new study of Medicaid ED users in New York City shows. The results of the study, involving administrative data for more than 200,000 Medicaid beneficiaries, counters the notion that frequent users of ED services are people who try to avoid visiting primary care physicians who could treat their conditions more easily and less expensively. Moreover, the study also found that visits for substance abuse and mental health comprised just 5 percent of total visits in a single year. The study was among several published in the journal Health Affairs. (HealthDay News, 12/8/13)

Depression Tied to Diabetes Complications—Study: Even mild bouts of depression may worsen the health complications that often go along with type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. Canadian researchers who followed more than 1,000 patients for five years found those with multiple episodes of low-level depression were nearly three times more likely than those without depression to have more disability, such as reduced mobility, poor self-care and worse quality of life. Minor depression is a form of chronic stress, said Dr. Norbert Schmitz of McGill University's Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal, who led the study. Past research has found that nearly one-fifth of type 2 diabetics in the U.S. experience major depression, which is almost twice the rate seen in the general population. The study, published in Diabetes Care, followed 1,064 adults, aged 18 to 80 years old, from the larger Montreal Diabetes and Well Being Study for five years. They found that as the number of episodes of mild depression increased, the risk of impaired health and quality of life grew as well. For participants with one minor depression episode, the rate of poor functioning in daily activities such as work, domestic responsibilities and self-care was 50 percent higher than among those with no depression. For patients with four or more bouts of mild depression, the risk of poor functioning was almost 300 percent greater and the risk of impaired health-related quality of life was nearly 250 percent greater than for those without depression. (Reuters, 12/3/13)


Bizjournals looks at “How to design workspaces that support employee mental health.”

MinnPost examines “The holidays, mental health, and the gift of storytelling.”

The New York Times looks at profiling of people with mental illness.

Politico talks to former First Lady Rosalynn Carter on mental health parity.

Kaiser Health News examines the new rule for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

Latest Research

Suicide Attempt While Young a 'Red Flag' for Lifelong Struggles: People who attempt take their own life before their mid-20s are at increased risk for mental and general health problems later in life, a new study finds. Researchers looked at data collected from more than 1,000 New Zealanders between birth and age 38. Approximately 9 percent of that group had attempted suicide. By the time they were in their 30s, the people who had attempted suicide were twice as likely as those who hadn't to develop conditions that put them at increased risk for heart disease. They were also three times more likely to have been hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder, and were more likely to report feeling lonely and dissatisfied with life. The researchers also found that the people who attempted suicide before age 24 were more impulsive and had more conduct disorders and depression when they were children, well before their suicide attempts. (HealthDay News, 12/6/13)


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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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