Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of March 17, 2014 | Mental Health America

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Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of March 17, 2014





Week of March 17, 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.


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.

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.

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


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);;;;;


Stressful Experiences in Childhood Have Immediate Impact: Although research has shown that children who experience stressful events are more likely to face poor health outcomes as adults, a new study shows the effects may show up much sooner. Researchers at the University of Florida discovered that when children experience three or more stressful events, they are six times more likely to suffer from a mental, physical or learning disorder than children who didn’t face these traumatic experiences. UF researchers analyzed data collected as part of the National Survey for Child Health, which included nearly 96,000 children from across the United States. The survey contains data on the number of adverse experiences the children faced, including parental divorce, economic hardship, exposure to domestic and neighborhood violence, poor caregiver mental health, exposure to drug use and having a parent in jail. The parents also reported on any conditions their children had. According to the study, between 11 and 24 percent of parents reported that their children had been diagnosed with at least one disorder. About 4 percent of parents reported that their children had at least one disorder from all three categories—mental, learning and physical. Children who had faced adverse experiences were more likely to have a disorder in every category than children who had not. Experts believe the cause could be chronic toxic stress, which they believe prompts changes to the body’s developing neuroendocrine and immune systems. (, 3/13/14)

Fathers Returning Home After Military Service Have Difficulty Reconnecting with Children: Fathers returning home after military service can have difficulty reconnecting with their young children, according to a new study. The research included 14 American fathers who were returning from combat deployment and had children aged 6 and younger. Most of the fathers belonged to the Michigan Army National Guard. The fathers were glad to be back with their families, but reported significant stress in areas such as getting to know their children again, co-parenting and adapting to family life. In some cases, children didn't recognize their fathers. Half of the fathers had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and several said it was difficult for them to stay calm when their young children acted up, or that their children's behavior caused them stress. All of the fathers said they wanted to improve their parenting skills and learn how to better express their emotions and control their tempers, according to the study published in the journal Health & Social Work. (HealthDay News, 3/12/14)

Study Identifies Most Common, Costly Reasons for Mental Health Hospitalizations for Kids: Nearly one in 10 hospitalized children has a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition, and depression alone accounts for $1.33 billion in hospital charges annually, according to a new analysis. The study, which will be published in the journal Pediatrics, is the first to examine frequency and costs associated with specific inpatient mental health diagnoses for children, and is a step towards creating meaningful measures of the quality of pediatric hospital care. Researchers found that depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis are the most common and expensive primary diagnoses for pediatric admissions. Using two national databases –Kids’ Inpatient Database and Pediatric Health Information System—the researchers looked at all hospital discharges in 2009 for patients aged three to 20 years old to determine the frequency of hospitalizations for primary mental health diagnoses. They compared the mental health hospitalizations between free-standing children’s hospitals and hospitals that treat both adults and children, to assess if there was a difference in frequency of diagnoses. They found that hospitalizations for children with primary mental health diagnoses were more than three times more frequent at general hospitals than free standing children’s hospitals, which the researchers say could indicate that general hospitals have a greater capacity to deliver inpatient psychiatric care than free-standing children’s hospitals. At both kinds of hospitals, the most common mental health diagnoses were similar (depression, bipolar disorder, and psychosis), which the researchers say supports the creation of diagnosis-specific quality measures for all hospitals that admit children. (HealthCanal, 3/17/14)


Southern California Public Radio looks at a “clergy academy” that teaches how to talk to people who are struggling with stress and mental health issues.

The Nation reports on NFL player Jonathan Martin.

USA Today examines mental health issues of college and high school students.

Earth Island Journal reports “Fukushima Survivors’ Mental Health Continues Deteriorating.”

NBC News looks at “Can Social Media Help Direct Mental Health Aid?”

Forbes reports on a website that helps people with stress management and anxiety reduction.

Latest Research

Bullying Among Kids Tied to Suicidal Thoughts: Children and teens who are involved in bullying—both as victims and perpetrators alike—are more likely to think about suicide or attempt it, new research asserts. The findings also show that cyber bullying appears more strongly linked to suicidal thoughts than other forms of bullying. The new results, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, are based on 43 previous studies. They don't confirm that bullying directly pushes kids to be suicidal, however. It's possible that the connection is more complex, or even that suicidal kids are more likely to be bullied, the researchers said. The researchers examined 34 studies with a total of about 285,000 participants that explored the relationship between bullying and suicidal thoughts. They looked at nine studies, with about 70,000 participants, which focused on bullying and suicide attempts. Only three studies in the review dealt with cyber-bullying. In general, the studies found that bullies and bully-victims—people who bully others and are bullied themselves—are at higher risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. The design of the review didn't allow the authors to quantify the increased level of risk in lay terms, but a statistical analysis suggests the increased risk is significant. Experts said it is possible kids who are depressed might be more vulnerable to bullying. (Los Angeles Times, 3/10/14)


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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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