Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of June 9, 2014 | Mental Health America

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Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of June 9, 2014





Week of June 9, 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.


Mental Health America 2014 Annual Conference, September 10-12, Atlanta, Georgia—Parity and the Affordable Care Act: Bridging Gaps to Advance Mental Health. Don't miss this unique opportunity to discuss what we have learned in the process of implementing the Affordable Care and Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Acts, and to collaborate to identify next steps and opportunities for action. 

Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America, was interviewed on CNN’s New Day on issues related to mental health legislation in Congress. He also spoke about how mental health issues affected his own family. You can watch the interview here.

Statement of Mental Health America on “Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act of 2014.”

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


House GOP Abandons Controversial Mental Health Proposals: House Republican leaders have decided to pass noncontroversial provisions of mental health legislation and abandon proposals that were opposed by advocacy groups. The House Energy and Commerce Committee indicated last week that it would divide the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act into pieces in an attempt to pass individual provisions that are not controversial. The announcement deals a serious blow to the bill and its author, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who has argued that only dramatic and comprehensive reform would serve to help people with serious mental illness. Groups such as Mental Health America came out against the measure from the start, arguing it is regressive and ignores the possibility of early intervention for people before they reach mental health crisis. "If you wait until stage 4, you're always going to be dealing with stage 4," said Debbie Plotnick, senior director of state policy at Mental Health America. "We know we can intervene early and prevent the crises that leave people in extreme states. This bill shifts all the resources to the back end, which is not only unwise but costly."  (The Hill, 6/6/14)

DOJ Report Slams Mental Health Care at L.A. County Jails: "Deplorable conditions" and inadequate mental health care have contributed to a significant increase in suicides at Los Angeles County jails, according to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report released last week. A 2002 Memorandum of Agreement calls on DOJ to monitor the county's jails after federal officials found violations of prisoners' constitutional rights. According to the report, the county Sheriff's Department has made some reforms to improve mental health care at the jails. However, the report noted that "serious systemic deficiencies" remain, in violation of the rights of inmates with mental illnesses. The report noted that there have been fifteen inmate suicides in less than two-and-a-half years. According to DOJ, there is inadequate mental health care and supervision to identify and prevent suicide among inmates. It added that "dimly lit, vermin-infested, noisy, unsanitary, cramped and crowded" conditions likely contributed to the suicides. DOJ plans to seek another court-enforced agreement to ensure the county addresses the remaining issues. (California Healthline, 6/2/14)


NPR reports “For New College Grads, Finding Mental Health Care Can Be Tough.”

Knight Science Journalism looks at “Guns, mental illness, and The New York Times: Good intentions don't make for a good analysis.”

The Washington Post reports “Why are some depressed, others resilient? Scientists hone in on one part of the brain.”

Dr. Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, writes on “The Paradox of Parity.”


Sudden Death of Loved One Can Trigger Mental Health Issues: Unexpectedly losing a loved one can trigger mental health issues in adults with no history of psychiatric conditions, according to a new study. Although experts say it's uncommon to develop mental illness later in life, researchers found a link between sudden grief and the onset of disorders like mania, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression. Even in adults with no history of psychiatric disorders, it is also a vulnerable risk period for the onset of a potentially disabling psychiatric disorder, researchers say. The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, involved more than 27,000 people. Of these participants, 20 percent to 30 percent said the sudden loss of a loved one was the most traumatic thing that ever happened to them. Even among those who reported facing 11 or more traumatic events, 22 percent said the unexpected loss of a loved one was the most traumatic experience. The greatest increase in risk across all age groups was for PTSD. The researchers found as much as a 30-fold increase in the chances for this condition. The sudden loss of a loved one also roughly doubled the risk for mania in people aged 30 and older. This was true even after the researchers took other factors into account such as medical history, other traumatic experiences, gender, race, income, education level and marital status. This risk increased with age. The study revealed a fivefold increase in the risk for mania among those aged 50 and younger or 70 or older. (HealthDay News, 6/6/14)


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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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