Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of June 14, 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?
Secondhand smoke may place individuals at greater risk for mental health problems…more
New Rules Would Limit Changes of “Grandfathered” Health Plans
More than half of employer health care plans may lose their protection and be required to comply with the new health reform law, under regulations being developed by the Obama administration. The rules govern plans with so-called grandfathered status, which allowed employers to keep offering a plan even if it doesn't meet all the bill's requirements. Plans would lose their grandfathered status if they increase employee's costs by more than the rate of medical inflation plus 15 percentage points or cut all benefits for a specific condition. (The New York Times, 6/14/10)
Obama Signs Executive Order on Health Promotion, Prevention
President Obama last week signed an executive order that creates a federal council to address national priorities on health promotion and disease prevention. The Council was authorized under the new health reform law and will focus on lifestyle behavior modification (including smoking cessation, proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, behavioral health, substance-use disorder, and domestic violence screenings) and prevention measures for the five leading disease killers in the United States. (Iowapolitics.com, 6/11/10)
Supreme Court to Review California Prisoner Release Plan
The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday it will determine whether a lower court acted properly in ordering the release of more than 38,000 California inmates to correct problems in prison-supplied health care. The court will decide whether a three-judge panel’s power was limited to reforming medical and mental health care to inmates. Lawyers for a group of California inmates have been fighting for 20 years for improved medical and mental health care. (The Associated Press, 6/14/10)
Fourteen Percent of Vets Report Depression, PTSD
Up to 14 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression that is severe enough to disrupt their daily lives, new research finds. Between 8.5 percent and 14 percent of soldiers reported mental health issues that caused difficulties in work or private life, according to the report published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. After 12 months, there was a sharp increase among Guard members with self-reported depression and PTSD. Researchers speculate these men and women experience stress of going back to work and have less access to medical care. The regular Army soldiers may also suppress symptoms because they know they will be rotated back to duty. (HealthDay News, 6/07/10)
Use of Video Counseling Being Tested by Military
A tele-mental health program may be the way to help soldiers with mental health conditions and reduce the stigma attached to seeking treatment. A Virtual Behavioral Health Program is currently being tested through a pilot program. The program is also seen as valuable in shrinking the distance between troops at rural locations and doctors in urban settings. (Army Times, 6/14/10)
Military Not Screening for TBI: An investigation by National Public Radio and ProPublica has found that military doctors and screening systems routinely miss brain trauma in soldiers. As a result, soldiers haven’t been getting treatment.
Secondhand Smoke May Affect Mental Health: Secondhand smoke may place individuals at greater risk for mental health problems, new research asserts. In a study of 8,155 men and women in the Scottish Health survey, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers found non-smokers exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke were 50 percent more likely to suffer from psychological distress than those not exposed to other people's smoke. Their risk of being admitted to a psychiatric hospital over the next six years nearly tripled. Previous studies had suggested a link between smoking and mood disorders, and nicotine exposure in animals is known to trigger depressive symptoms, stress, anxiety and a dampening of feelings of reward and satisfaction. (Reuters, 6/08/10)
PTSD May Increase Risk of Dementia in Older Vets: Older veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are more likely to develop dementia than fellow vets who don’t have PTSD, new research finds. Researchers followed more than 180,000 veterans aged 55 and older for seven years. All were free from dementia at the study's outset, while about 30 percent had PTSD. Nearly 11 percent of the vets with PTSD developed dementia during follow-up, compared to only about 7 percent of those who didn't have PTSD. Once the researchers, whose findings are reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, took into account factors such as other physical or mental health problems, they found that vets with PTSD were still nearly twice as likely to develop dementia. (Reuters, 6/07/10)
Lesbian Parents Have Well-Adjusted Children: Adolescents raised by lesbian parents are well-adjusted social, psychologically and academically and have fewer social problems, new research finds. A nearly 20-year study followed 78 teens since their lesbian mothers were planning their pregnancies, and concluded that these children "demonstrate healthy psychological adjustment." Researchers say the reason is that moms in the lesbian family are committed and involved parents. (HealthDay News, 6/07/10)
*HEADLINES at Mental Health America
Read our blog: Chiming In
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MentalHealthAm
Become a Fan of Mental Health America on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mentalhealthamerica
*Mental Health America MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) was honored for her leadership on mental health and substance use issues in Congress at the Mental Health America 2010 Conference in Washington, D.C., last week. David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America said Baldwin has been a mental health champion. Beloit Daily News, “Baldwin Honored for Health Work,” June 9, 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.
To subscribe to Mental Health in the Headlines, visit http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/action/subscribe.
To find out more about the Mental Health America, including how to make a tax-deductible contribution to help support Mental Health in the Headlines and the association's other educational activities, visit http://mentalhealthamerica.net/ or call 800-969-6MHA (6642).
For comments and suggestions, send an e-mail to Mental Health America at firstname.lastname@example.org.