Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of August 29, 2011MENTAL HEALTH IN THE HEADLINES
Week of August 29, 2011
Mental Health in the Headlines is a weekly newsletter produced by Mental Health America, 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.
[NOTE: Mental Health in the Headlines will not publish next week. Our next issue will be September 12.]
School-based mental health screening effectively identifies students at high risk for mental illness and connects them to services …more
IN THE NEWS
Court Rules California Parity Law Requires Coverage for Residential Care
A federal court ruled last week that the California’s mental health parity law requires an insurer to cover a woman’s treatment at a residential facility for anorexia. Blue Shield of California specifically excluded coverage for residential care. Under the mental health parity law, insurance plans "must provide coverage of all 'medically necessary treatment' for nine enumerated 'severe mental illnesses,' " the court said, listing eating disorders as well as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, autism, and serious emotional disturbances in children and adolescents. (Los Angeles Times, 8/28/11)
School-Based Mental Health Screening Effective: Study
School-based mental health screening effectively identifies students at high risk for mental illness and connects them to services, according to a new study. Researchers reviewed the records of the 2,488 students at six public high schools in Wisconsin between 2005 and 2009 who completed screening with a computerized questionnaire designed to identify depression, anxiety, and other conditions. Reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology, the study found that nearly three out of four high school students identified as being at-risk for having a mental health problem were not in treatment at the time of screening. Of those students identified as at-risk, a significant majority (76.3 percent) completed at least one visit with a mental health provider within 90 days of screening. More than half (56.3 percent) received minimally adequate treatment, defined as having three or more visits with a provider, or any number of visits if termination was agreed to by the provider. (Medpage Today, 8/26/11)
Ohio Study: One In Five Medicaid-Covered Kids Finish Antidepressant Treatment
About half of Medicaid-covered children and adolescents in Ohio who are in treatment for depression complete their first three months of prescribed antidepressants, and only one-fifth complete the recommended minimum six-month course of drugs to treat depression, according to researchers. Published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, the study found that those at highest risk for not completing treatment are adolescents and minority youth, particularly African Americans. Although the study was conducted in Ohio, it is likely to have relevance to Medicaid-eligible children and adolescents across the country who share similar problems affecting their access to quality mental health care, researchers say. (ScienceDaily, 8/22/11)
Risk for Mental Health Conditions Vary by Gender
Women are more likely to develop anxiety and mood disorders such as depression, while men's mental health issues are more likely to involve antisocial personality and substance use disorders, a new study says. Researchers, whose findings are reported in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, say the differences are due to the fact that women are more likely to internalize their emotions, which can bring on withdrawal, loneliness and depression, whereas men externalize them, becoming aggressive and impulsive. Researchers analyzed the answers to interview questions from 43,093 U.S. adults during a 2001 National Institutes of Health survey. For depression, 22.9 percent of women said they had had the condition during their lifetime; 13.1 percent of men said they had. The study showed 7.2 percent of women had panic disorder, and 5.8 percent had generalized anxiety disorder, while just 3.7 and 3.1 percent of men had those conditions, respectively. Among conditions more common in men were alcohol dependence and antisocial personality. (HealthDay News, 8/23/11)
Teen Smoking, Drinking Higher Among Social Media Users
Teens that regularly use social media are more likely to smoke, drink or use marijuana, researchers assert. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York found that teens who spend time on the social networks are likely to see images of their peers drinking or using drugs—images that could help to convince them that substance use is a normal, acceptable activity. An annual survey the Center conducts to track teens' attitudes on drinking, smoking and drug abuse included questions about social media. The researchers found that, compared to young people who avoid the sites, teens who regularly visit them are twice as likely to use marijuana, three times more likely to drink alcohol and five times more likely to use tobacco. (USA Today, 8/26/11)
Pediatricians Say Boxing Harmful to Kids
Boxing isn't appropriate for children and teens, and parents should encourage their kids to find less harmful sports, the American Academy of Pediatrics says. A new policy statement from the group says young people should not be permitted to participate in boxing because of the risk for acute and chronic brain injuries. The pediatricians based their recommendation, in part, on the number of boxing injuries recorded by U.S. and Canadian health officials. In 2003, there were roughly 14 boxing-related hospital visits for every 1,000 people between the ages of 12 and 34 who participate in the sport, according to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (CNN, 8/29/11)
The New York Times reports on a writing workshop at a psychiatric hospital.
Scientific American looks at how children with older fathers are at greater risk for mental illness.
Suicides Linked to Low Levels of Omega-3: Low levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the major omega-3 fatty acid concentrated in the brain, may increase suicide risk, new research suggests. The suicide risk among a sample of active-duty U.S. service members was highest for individuals with the lowest levels of DHA. Service personnel with higher levels of DHA in their blood were less likely to take their own lives, researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Researchers examined the medical records of 800 U.S. servicemen and women who took their own lives between 2002 and 2008, and compared them with the records of 800 service personnel who had no history of suicide attempts. Men whose records showed they had low levels of DHA in their blood were 62 percent more likely to have been suicide victims than those with the highest levels. (Los Angeles Times, 8/24/11)
Depression Linked to Abuse, Neglect in Childhood: Adults who suffered abuse or neglect as children have a greatly increased risk of depression, researchers assert. They analyzed 16 epidemiological studies involving more than 20,000 people and 10 clinical trials involving more than 3,000 people. To be reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry, their analysis found childhood maltreatment was associated with a two-fold increased risk of both multiple and long-lasting depression. Survivors of abuse or neglect were also less likely to respond well to treatment for depression, including medication and counseling. Preventing abuse and helping kids in those situations may also help prevent depression later on, researchers said. (HealthDay News, 8/22/11)
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