Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of November 25, 2013 | Mental Health America

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Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of November 25, 2013

TODAY’S HEADLINE: Less than half of American teens with mental health disorders receive treatment, and those who do get help rarely see a mental health specialist…more


Debbie Plotnick, Senior Director of State Policy, writes on on “How to make mental health care work.”

Debbie Plotnick appeared on Fox 5 in Washington, DC, on Making Mental Health Care a Priority.

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


DECEMBER 2—Seminar on Assisted Outpatient Treatment: The presenters at this seminar will examine research findings, implications, and outcomes of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), and topics related to persons with serious mental illnesses. Mental health stakeholders and others with an interest in AOT are encouraged to attend. The seminar, which will be held from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, will also be available as a webcast. For more information and to register, go to

DECEMBER 5—Text, Talk, Act to Improve Mental Health-A Text-Enabled National Creating Community Solutions Dialogue: On December 5, Creating Community Solutions is holding a nationwide discussion on mental health…through cell phones.  All over the country that day, people will get together in small groups for one-hour discussions on mental health. The process is simple: join 3-4 of your friends, family, classmates, students, and/or colleagues and text “start” to 89800. Your group will then receive polling questions, discussion questions, and process suggestions via text messaging. Text, Talk, Act on Mental Health” is designed to engage high school and college students in particular, using technology that is ubiquitous in their lives. Results from the live polling questions will be tabulated almost instantly, so that people will be able to see how participants across the country responded. The discussion questions will provide a safe space for candid dialogue on mental health, one of the most critical and misunderstood public issues we face. The process will also provide an opportunity for participants to discuss actions they can take to strengthen mental health on their campuses and in their communities. More information is available 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);;;;;

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


Senate Reconsidering International Treaty on Rights of Persons with Disabilities: The U.S. Senate is reviving consideration of an international treaty that would improve protections for people with disabilities a year after approval fell five votes short. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has held two hearings and plans a committee vote perhaps next month. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities has already been ratified by 138 other countries. Secretary of State John Kerry said last week, when the treaty countries gather to discuss accessibility and employment standards for people with disabilities, “we’ve been excluded because we’re not a party to the treaty.” Advocates say the treaty is an extension of the principles in the Americans with Disabilities Act and would make it easier for Americans to safely travel, study and work abroad. (The New York Times, 11/24/13)

Virginia Examining Mental Health System: The state of Virginia’s is conducting an investigation into the handling of a case involving the son of state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, who apparently stabbed his father and then fatally shot himself. The state’s inspector general will determine whether Deeds’ son should have been referred for psychiatric care the day before the incident. Austin Deeds, who was 24, had undergone a psychiatric evaluation Monday, and officials initially said the reason he was not admitted to a hospital was that no bed was available. But multiple nearby hospitals later confirmed that they had available space but were never contacted. The state’s top health official is also undertaking a review of state and local mental health services in the wake of the incident. (The Washington Post, 11/22/13)

Psych Disorders in Teens Often Neglected: Less than half of American teens with mental health disorders receive treatment, and those who do get help rarely see a mental health specialist, according to a new study. The analysis of data from more than 10,000 teens aged 13 to 17 across the United States also showed that treatment rates varied greatly for different types of mental health problems. For example, teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder received mental health care more than 70 percent of the time, while those with phobias or anxiety disorders were least likely to be treated. The researchers also found that blacks were much less likely than whites to be treated for mental disorders, according to the study, published in the journal Psychiatric Services. (MedPage Today, 11/18/13)

Sleep Therapy Aids Treatment for Depression—Study:  Treating persistent insomnia at the same time as depression could double the chances that the mood disorder will disappear, according to a series of recent studies. The findings are significant because sleep problems can sometimes precede depression. If other studies confirm the results, it might lead to major changes in depression treatment. Researchers found depression lifted significantly among patients whose insomnia was cured. The insomnia treatment consisted of four talk therapy sessions over eight weeks. During the sessions, patients were given certain instructions: set a specific wake-up time and don't veer from it; get out of bed when awake but don't eat, read or watch TV; and refrain from taking any daytime naps. Almost 90 percent of patients who responded to the insomnia therapy also saw their depression lift after taking an antidepressant pill or an inactive placebo for two months. That was about double the rate of those who could not shake their sleeplessness. (The New York Times, 11/18/13)

ADHD Diagnoses Rise to 11 Percent in Children: The number of U.S. children diagnosed with attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) continues to rise but may be leveling off a bit, a new survey shows. Approximately 11 percent of children have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which surveyed more than 95,000 parents in 2011. There has been a 42 percent increase in the number of reported cases of ADHD since 2003, researchers report in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Today, 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have received an ADHD diagnosis, according to the study. That's 2 million more children than in 2007. Despite the increase, experts believe the diagnosis rate of ADHD is getting closer to its true prevalence. The number of children using medications to treat ADHD is also rising. Since the last survey taken in 2007, there has been a 28 percent increase in children taking drugs to manage the disorder. More than 3.5 million children in the 4 to 17 age group, or 6 percent, are taking ADHD medications, the survey found. (CNN, 11/22/13)


USA Today reports on programs for early treatment for serious mental illness.

The Billings Gazette has published a series of articles on Montana’s high suicide rate.

The Seattle Times looks at the work of peer bridgers.

The New York Times examines how” Sleep Therapy Is Expected to Gain a Wider Role in Depression Treatment.”

MinnPost looks at person first language.

The Boston Globe reports on the state’s efforts to screen children for mental health conditions.

Latest Research

Brain Shows Signs of Injury by Concussion After Symptoms Decline: The brain continues to show signs of injury months after concussion symptoms fade, according to a new study. Comparing 50 concussion patients with the same number of healthy people, researchers found that the brains of those suffering concussions showed abnormalities four months later. This happened despite the fact that their symptoms had already eased to some degree. The findings may sway conventional thinking about when it's safe to resume physical activities that could produce another concussion, according to the study authors, whose findings were published in the journal Neurology. The researchers matched 50 patients with mild concussions to 50 healthy people of similar age and education levels. They tested all participants in memory and thinking skills, as well as other symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Special brain scans using technology that is not available in standard brain scans were also given. All tests and scans were repeated two weeks after the concussion, and again four months later. (Bloomberg, 11/21/13)


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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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