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Posted: February 10, 2015

By Andrea Blanch, Ph.D. and David Shern, Ph.D. As Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health wrote in a recent blog, precision medicine is a hot new topic in the research world. The basic idea is simple: Get the “right treatment at the right time to the right person” by addressing the underlying cause of the disorder, not the symptoms. In practice, accomplishing this goal may be a bit more complicated.  Dr. Insel points out that in many areas of health – including...

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Posted: February 5, 2015

By Paul Gionfriddo The JAMA headline is pretty sensational: Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care: Bring Back the Asylum.  And the article itself is generating a lot of discussion and debate. But headlines can be misleading.  As the authors write: “A return to asylum-based long-term psychiatric care will not remedy the complex problems of the US mental health system, especially for patients with milder forms of mental illness who can thrive with high-quality outpatient care.” They...

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Posted: January 29, 2015

By Patrick Hendry, Vice President of Consumer Advocacy, Mental Health America Download the Paper (PDF) For many years I have thought that it would be interesting to take an in-depth look at the intersection of compassion, safety, and rights and how they apply in mental health advocacy, practice, and law.  They are certainly reoccurring themes in the advocacy work I have done for twenty-four years.  I knew that they frequently overlap and often seem to be in conflict with each...

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Posted: January 27, 2015

By Andrea Blanch, Ph.D. and David Shern, Ph.D. On many measures, our society is now considerably less safe, healthy, and economically productive than other comparable countries. Toxic stress and trauma, especially when coupled with genetic vulnerability, are seriously eroding our public health, social stability, and world leadership.  In two recent papers, we argue that our well-being depends on the well-being of our neighbors as much as our health depends on their health.  Poor...

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Posted: January 22, 2015

By Paul Gionfriddo, President/CEO, Mental Health America The best news sometimes comes when we least expect it. And those of us who have been pushing for years for early identification and intervention in schools for kids with mental health concerns got some unexpectedly good news last month. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a letter that reversed a long-standing “Free Care” rule.  Here’s how the rule used to work. If a school offered health or mental health...

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Posted: December 14, 2014

By Paul Gionfriddo, Mental Health America President/CEO I was sitting at home doing some writing two years ago when I turned on the noontime news. There was only a small news item at first – there had been a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in Newtown, and there were at least a couple of confirmed casualties. It hit home for me, because of my Connecticut roots, and I began to pay close attention. As the next few hours unfolded and the extent of the tragedy became known, I was...

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Posted: December 4, 2014

By Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO, Mental Health America It’s disparity, not parity, that’s the norm for mental health status and services in America. That’s what you’ll discover as you look through the pages of Mental Health America’s ambitious new report, “Parity or Disparity: The State of Mental Health in America.” The disparities are striking across regions, populations, and age groups. We used the most recent available data, and they paint a challenging and discouraging picture of...

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Posted: October 27, 2014

By Paul Gionfriddo, President/CEO I was sitting at my desk when the news broke on Friday afternoon that a fifteen year old student at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington had opened fire in the school cafeteria, killing at least one other student before taking his own life as well. Another fourteen year old died over the weekend, bringing the death toll to three – all young teenagers. It is hard to know what to make of these kinds of tragedies, because we don’t really understand...

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Posted: October 6, 2014

By Patrick Hendry, Senior Director, Consumer Advocacy In my role at Mental Health America (MHA), I have the opportunity to travel around the country and work with a wide variety of advocacy organizations and—particularly—peer run groups.  I find myself frequently dismayed to see how many of our state’s behavioral health policies and services have pulled back from some of the innovative and effective gains that had been made in moving towards a more recovery oriented system of care. The...

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Posted: September 18, 2014

By Paul Gionfriddo, President/CEO Mental Health America hosted its 2014 Annual Conference in Atlanta last week, and it was a terrific and energizing event. Those who attended know what I’m talking about – the drive, the content, the messaging, the enthusiasm in the room – well, pretty much everything – suggested that in Mental Health America and its affiliates we have some of the most innovative, dedicated, and inspiring mental health advocates in the nation. Here’s just a sampling of what...

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Posted: August 24, 2014

By Paul Gionfriddo, President/CEO of Mental Health America By now, everyone has heard the news from Ferguson, Missouri. An unarmed 18 year old named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer. Michael Brown was black. Until recently, Ferguson was a community best known for its proximity to St. Louis and its designation as a Playful City, USA. But for the last two weeks, media reports have relentlessly referred to Ferguson as a community at unrest, and focused almost entirely on...

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Posted: August 12, 2014

By Paul Gionfriddo, President/CEO Robin Williams’ tragic and untimely death after a decades-long battle against bipolar disorder reminds us that mental illnesses are all-too-often serious and life-threatening chronic diseases.  Mental illnesses—especially serious ones—rob us of our health and well-being.  They present daily challenges that can sometimes overwhelm us.  No one is immune to them.  And no matter how many resources they have or how successful they may appear to...

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