Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of May 3, 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?
Children who are raised by relatives instead of their parents face increased risk for physical and mental health problems…more
*HEALTH REFORM UPDATE
States notified the Department of Health and Human Services last week whether they wanted to run high-risk insurance pools or preferred to have the federal government run them. The pools, which become effective July 1, are open to people who are uninsured or who haven’t been able to get coverage because of a pre-existing condition. The pools will operate until 2014, when insurance exchanges are established. In Iowa, it is estimated that about 1,000 will be insured through the pools. It is an example how Americans will be immediately helped by the reform law. (The Des Moines Register, 5/02/10)
Massachusetts Governor to Sign New Massachusetts Anti-bullying Law
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is expected to sign into law this week a new state law that cracks down on bulling. The legislation requires mandatory training for school officials and schools must offer anti-bullying curriculum and an intervention plan. In addition, principals are required to investigate complaints and report results to parents. Passage of the bill was spurred by the deaths of two young people, who allegedly committed suicide after being bullied. Although some critics believe the legislation lacks criminal penalties, it has been called the strictest anti-bullying law in the country. (Boston Herald, 4/20/10)
VA Considering Rule Change on PTSD
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is considering a rule change to make it easier for non-combat troops to qualify for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) benefits. Previously, independent proof was needed that a traumatizing event occurred. Under the change, a veteran's testimony about what happened to him would be sufficient, as long as it’s related to the veteran’s fear of hostile activity and is consistent with the individual’s service. (The Los Angeles Times, 5/01/2010)
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Authors New Book on Mental Health
In her new book, “Within our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis,” Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter says that despite major advances in treatment, stigma remains a barrier to continued progress for individuals with mental health conditions. A longtime mental health advocate, Mrs. Carter praises the new health care reform law’s prohibition of denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. But she cautions that the economic downturn will further erode already scarce funding for mental health services. (Associated Press, 5/02/10)
Choosing Between Health Care, Basic Necessities Harms Children’s Health
Children’s health is hurt when families have to choose between medical care and basic needs such as food and rent, a new study finds.Conducted by Children’s Health Watch, researchers studied 6,447 low-income caregivers with children age 3 and below. They found that children in families forced to make trade-offs were at increased risk for poor health, hospitalization, developmental delays and shorter stature, which is a sign of malnutrition. (HealthDay News, 5/02/10)
Head Injuries from Child Abuse Rose During Recession
The number of head injuries among infants and young children from abuse appears to have risen dramatically since the onset of the recession, according to new data. A research team looked at records of four urban hospitals from 2004-2009. It found that the number of abusive head traumas rose from just less than five per month to nine once the recession began. The researchers were not able to find a specific link between high unemployment and the increase. But they said an analysis of indicators such as social service cuts might more accurately find an association. (HealthDay News, 5/01/10)
Psychologist Thomas Joiner, who has studied suicide his entire life and is the author of the new book, “Myths About Suicide,” appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation to discuss how we can do a better job of preventing suicide—and supporting those it leaves behind.
Children Raised by Relatives Face Mental Health Risks: Children who are raised by relatives instead of their parents face increased risk for physical and mental health problems, according to new research. Researchers analyzed data from more than 91,000 children included in a 2007 national survey, comparing those raised by relatives to those who live with at least one birth parent. Children who live with a relative have more special health care needs, mental health problems such as ADHD and depression, and dental problems compared with children who live with their parents, said lead researcher Dr. Eleoff, from the University Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York. (HealthDay News, 5/02/10)
Chocolate Linked to Depression: The more clinically depressed people become, the more chocolate they eat, a study has found. Researchers examined chocolate consumption and other dietary intake patterns among 931 men and women who were not using antidepressants. The participants were also given a depression screening test. Those who screened positive for possible depression consumed an average of 8.4 servings of chocolate compared with 5.4 servings per month among people who were not depressed, investigators reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine. When the researchers controlled for other dietary factors that could be linked to mood—such as caffeine, fat and carbohydrate intake—they found only chocolate consumption correlated with mood. (Medpage Today, 4/26/10)
Five Minutes of Exercise Boosts Mental Health: As little as five minutes of exercise a day in green space such as a park can boost mental health, a new study asserts. British researchers analyzed data from 1,252 individuals of different ages, genders and mental health status taken from 10 existing studies. After analyzing activities such as walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse riding and farming, they found vast improvements in mood and self-esteem. The biggest change occurred within five minutes. Longer periods of exercise were beneficial but not of the same magnitude. The study, which is published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, suggested the strongest impact was on young people and individuals with mental health conditions. (Reuters, 5/01/10)
Obese Children More Likely to Be Bullied: Children in grades 3 through 6 who are obese are more likely to be bullied by classmates than children whose weight is normal, a new study finds. Researchers looked at 821 boys and girls; 17 percent were obese and 15 percent overweight. The researchers found that kids who were obese were 65 percent more likely to be bullied than their peers of normal weight. Overweight kids were 13 percent more likely to be bullied, although that finding was not statistically significant. The results, which are reported in the journal Pediatrics, were same even when researchers factored in other factors associated with obesity and being bullied, such as race, income and academic achievement. (Reuters, 5/03/10)
*HEADLINES at Mental Health America
May is Mental Health Month: “Live Your Life Well” Mental Health America encourages Americans to use 10 evidence-based tools to meet, respond to daily challenges.
Read our new 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
There are many factors that contribute to mental health conditions among children. Mental Health America says good mental health allows children to think clearly, develop socially and learn new skills. Marietta Times, “Children’s mental health month,” May 1, 2010
Stay Up to Date With More News, Views and Tools
- Attend Mental Health America’s 2010 Annual Conference—Get Connected: Social Inclusion in Wellness and Recovery; June 9-12, Washington, DC
- 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, senior director, Web Technology & Strategy..
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.