Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of September 13, 2010
Mental Health in the Headlines offers summaries of the latest news and views 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.
DID YOU KNOW?
Brief interventions by parents can change the arc of anxiety and related disorders in at-risk children…more
Senate Amendment Would Strip Prevention and Public Health Funding
The Senate is expected to vote as early as Tuesday on an amendment to a small business bill that would virtually eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund established by the health reform law. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) wants to eliminate a tax-reporting provision included in the law and use the Fund as an offset to the revenues that would have been raised. Public health groups say using the fund as an offset would eliminate crucial prevention funding and chip away at health reform by reducing the number of Americans who will be covered by health insurance and increasing the cost of premiums for those who are insured. (Politico, 9/13/10)
Soldiers Denied Purple Hearts for Traumatic Brain Injuries
Soldiers who have suffered concussions (called mild traumatic brain injuries) during their service in Iraq have been routinely denied Purple Hearts by their commanders, even though regulations make such wounds eligible for the medal. An investigation found commanders turned down some soldiers even though they documented blast wounds that affected their minds and family life. Studies show five to 15 percent of those experiencing the blows may have long-term impairments. The denials reflect a view among some within the military that doubts the impact and severity of mild traumatic brain injury. (NPR/Pro-Publica, 9/09/10)
Brain Scan Could Spot Development Problems in Kids
A new type of brain scan could tell doctors if a child’s brain is maturing properly and provide a warning of developmental problems, a new study suggests. Researchers have been testing an approach to brain assessment that relies on functional connectivity MRI. The scan can be done in about five minutes and doesn't require a child to perform any mental tasks. The brain age scale was derived from scans of more than 200 people between ages 7 and 30, all of whom had typical brain development, according to the study, which appears in the journal Science.
Athletes Lend Names to Mental Health Awareness
Basketball Star Tells Kids It’s OK to Seek Help: Basketball player Ron Artest is using his starpower and personal story to push for funding for mental health programs in schools and tell kids it’s ok to ask for help.. The Los Angels Lakers star spoke to students at the invitation of Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), who is promoting the Mental Health in Schools Act. Artest told of the help he received from counseling and urged students to seek assistance for issues they might be experiencing.
Former Olympian Uses Own Story to Educate Others: Suzy Favor Hamilton, a champion runner who competed in three Olympics, is using her family’s experience with depression and suicide to educate others. Hamilton has recorded a TV and radio public service announcements for a campaign sponsored by Mental Health America of Wisconsin. Her brother, who suffered from biplolar disorder, completed suicide in 1999. And she dealt with depression in 2005 after the birth of her daughter. She wants to erase the stigma involved and get people to realize it’s a disease. (Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, 9/06/10)
Number of Older Adults Treated for Substance Abuse Rises
The number of older adults who were treated for substance abuse more than doubled since 1992, government data finds. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said that number of patients age 50 and older who were treated increased from 102,700 to 231, 170 in 2008. The report also finds that those seeking services were not as economically stable. The decreased stigma attached to seeking treatment may have also had an impact. (USA Today, 9/13/10)
Iowa Governor Wants to Expand Mental Health Services
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D-Iowa) is proposing to increase the number of clinics that take patients enrolled in a state insurance program for poor people and expand mental health services covered by health insurance policies. Culver, who is running for re-election, wants to require insurance policies regulated by the state to cover more mental health services, such as diagnosis of child mental health conditions and substance use. A similar effort failed to win legislative approval earlier this year. Organizations representing industry, which are supporting Culver’s opponent, say the expansion of mental health services would burden small business. (Des Moines Register, 9/10/10)
The Wall Street Journal’s “Bonds: On Relationships” column describes how to help a loved one suffering from depression.
Author Melody Moezzi writes on CNN how speaking openly about her mental illness has helped her to heal.
Early Intervention Can Reduce Arc of Anxiety Disorders in At-Risk Children: The arc of anxiety and related disorders in at-risk children may be changed with brief intervention by parents, researchers say. In a study involving inhibited preschool-age children, clinical psychologists with experience in treating anxious children evaluated parent-focused intervention that included six session of 90 minutes focusing on parenting skills, cognitive restructuring, and in vivo exposure. The findings, reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry, showed that three years after the intervention the children exhibited fewer signs of anxiety. (Medscape, 9/09/10)
Trauma May Cause Genetic Changes Passed on to Next Generation: Some aspects of trauma may cause genetic changes and be passed biologically to the next generation, researchers report. A team of European researchers raised male mice from birth and continually separated them from their mothers from the time they were one day old until they were 14 days old. As adults, the subject animals exhibited Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-like symptoms such as isolation and jumpiness. The researchers, who report their findings in the journal Biological Psychiatry, also found that genes associated with behavior were altered. (Time, 9/09/10)
HEADLINES at Mental Health America
Protect Prevention and Public Health Funding: Critical Vote expected as early as Tuesday, September 14.
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Mental Health America MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Depression in adolescents is increasing, according to Mental Health America. The keys to uncovering problems lie in talking to teens, watching what they do and who they do it with, and monitoring their social networking. WSPA.com, “Teen Depression: Signs for Parents,” September 13, 2010
Stay Up to Date With More News, Views and Tools
- New national survey shows economic downturn taking toll on Americans’ mental health
- Survey reveals obstacles to health care for people who have schizophrenia
- New report reveals link between states’ depression status and access to treatment
- Join Mental Health America’s Advocacy Network
- Check out previous issues of Mental Health in the Headlines
Mental Health in the Headlines is produced weekly by Mental Health America. Mental Health America's Mental Health in the Headlines staff: Steve Vetzner, senior director, Media Relations; Robert Redpath, director, Web Technology.
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