Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of August 30, 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?
The mental health of mothers who were in an abusive relationship may get worse after it ends...more
THE IMPACT OF STATE BUDGET CUTS:
Advocates Say Kansas’ Mental Health System Falling Apart
Kansas mental health advocates say the state’s mental health system is falling apart. The number of individuals seeking help has doubled in one county and calls are streaming in from people who are experiencing economic distress. At the same time, mental health centers are suffering from deep cuts in state spending. “The impact of these cuts is that while we don’t have waiting lists, it’s taking twice as long for people to be seen for medication evaluation, and then, generally, two months for an appointment,” says Walt Hill, executive director at High Plains Mental Health Center in Hays. (Kansas Health Institute, 8/26/10)
In Maine, Access to Mental Health Care Declining
State budget cuts in Maine are reducing access to mental health care for a growing number of uninsured individuals. In the adult mental health budget, the state is allocating 15 percent less this year for grants to serve people who don’t have insurance. The lack of access to regular mental health care means illnesses are getting more expensive and patients are getting sicker, officials say. (Kennebec Journal, 8/30/10)
Study Links Maternal Depression, Poverty
More than half of all nine-month-old babies growing up in poverty are being raised by mothers suffering some form of depression, according to a new study. Eleven percent of infants in poverty are being raised by mothers suffering severe depression, compared with 7 percent of all infants. The Washington, DC-based Urban Institute, which released the study, says the high rate of depression among low-income mothers could affect their children’s development. Just 30 percent of low-income mothers suffering from depression said they had received medical help. (The Washington Post, 8/26/10)
Underinsured Kids Outnumber Uninsured; Both Lack Adequate Care
Some 25 million children and teens—often those with chronic illnesses—had inadequate health insurance or none at all in 2007, according to a new study. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 11 million children lacked health insurance for all or part of 2007. A greater number—14 million—were underinsured. The researchers also found that both groups were more likely to lack adequate health care quality and access. Those most likely to be underinsured were older children, Hispanic children, those in fair or poor health, and those with special health care needs. (HealthDay News, 8/26/10)
Study: Spanking of Children More Likely with Parents Who Clash
Young children who are raised in households were one or both parents are violent or aggressive toward each other are more likely to be spanked, new research shows. The study, reported in the journal Pediatrics, found that 65 percent of 3-year-olds were spanked at least once in the previous month, In families that reported parental aggression toward another parent, the use of corporal punishment along with aggression or violence against another parent occurred in one out of two homes. (Los Angeles Times, 8/22/10)
Demand for Mental Health Services in Marine Corps Continues to Rise
Requests for mental health services among the Marine Corps continue to rise as repeated tours of duty are taking a toll. Many bases are having difficulty meeting the demand for help. At Camp Lejeune, counselors are being confronted with ending treatment with a Marine to respond to the needs of new patients. "We couldn't see people as frequently as we wanted to and to see them as much as we wanted to would mean not getting another Marine an initial evaluation," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Webster, the hospital's head of mental health. (Associated Press, 8/26/10)
Child Abuse Cases Decline
Child abuse appears to have declined in the United States in 2008 compared to 2007. A report by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire found that physical abuse cases per capita fell 3 percent between and 2007 and 2008. Sexual abuse fell by 6 percent, the report says. The figures continue long-term downward trends in the rate of physical and sexual abuse nationwide. (Time, 8/24/10)
New Mental Health Facility Proposed in Wisconsin County
Members of the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Board of Supervisors are planning to build a new build a new state-of-the-art mental health facility. The building would serve as a replacement to the current Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, which has been plagued by problems, including sexual assaults. County Board Chairman Lee Holloway said the modernized facility is a necessary upgrade. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/30/10)
The Charleston Gazette looks at troubling conditions at one of the West Virginia’s psychiatric hospitals.
The work of researchers who are seeking to learn more about suicide is detailed in a Forbes magazine article.
Abusive Relationships Have Long-Term Impact on Mental Health of Mothers: The mental health of mothers who were in an abusive relationship may get worse after it ends, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed data on 2400 mothers who were married or involved the father of their child at the end of the first year and divided them into three groups: those who experienced no abuse, those in controlling relationships; and those in physically violent situations. Their findings, reported online in the journal Social Science Research, found that in the two years after the end of an abusive relationship, mothers showed poorer mental health, became more depressed and maintained high levels of anxiety. In those areas, they were no better off than women who stayed in abusive relationships. (ScienceDaily, 8/26/10)
Depressed Mothers More Likely to Have Smaller Babies: Pregnant mothers suffering from high clinical depression or anxiety were more likely to produce smaller babies, which were prone to infant death, a new study finds. Researchers assessed the mental health of 720 pregnant women from two rural communities in Bangladesh for symptoms of pre-delivery depression and anxiety and followed them for six to eight months after delivery. The findings, published in the journal BMC Public Health, showed that 18 percent of the women were diagnosed as having depression and one-quarter as having anxiety during pregnancy and these women were much more likely to give birth to very small babies. (Medical News Today, 8/29/10)
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*Mental Health America MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
New Mexico has the nation’s third-highest suicide rate, behind Nevada and Alaska, according to an analysis of federal statistics conducted by Mental Health America. New Mexico ranks only 36th in the nation for diagnosed clinical depression rates, according to the Mental Health America website. The New Mexico Independent, “Rural broadband might help curb NM’s suicide rate, psychologist says,” August 27, 2010
The decision of BP claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg not to compensate victims with mental health and substance use conditions unless they were directly related to a physical injury sustained as a result of the spill is discriminatory and continues to perpetuate a damaging and incorrect notion that mental health and addiction conditions are not real diseases with an organic basis. Psychologytoday.com, “Mental Health and the Spill: Let’s Stop Discriminating,” August 26, 2010
Before Mental Health America launched its powerful online community and other groups were formed, the siblings of individuals with mental health conditions had to protect them from discrimination. The Huffington Post, “Siblings on the Frontlines for People With Disabilities,” August 25, 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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