Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of May 24, 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?
Over half (53 percent) of patients recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) developed major depression within a year…more
Health Reform to Save $590 Billion Over 10 Years; Reduce Premiums
The recently enacted health reform legislation will lower premiums by nearly $2,000 for families by 2019 and reduce overall health spending by $590 billion over the next 10 years, a new report finds. The analysis by the Center for American Progress and The Commonwealth Fund also projected the federal Medicare program would save $524 million and reduce the budget deficit by $400 billion over the 10-year period. The report asserted that by creating new rules for insurers, health insurance exchanges, and payment reform, the law will also lead to needed modernization of the American health system and improve access to care for millions of currently uninsured people. (Philly.com, 5/21/10)
Mobile Phone Apps Being Developed for Mental Health
The abilities of mobile phones are being tapped to address mental health problems. Some of the applications help individuals quite smoking. Others assist in the treatment of anxiety and detect relapses for people who have conditions like schizophrenia. A psychologist who is working at Intel Corp. is designed an app that will help manage stress and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Some call it a “therapist in your pocket.” (NPR, 5/24/10)
Suicide Risk May be Higher in Facilities for Elderly
Older Americans who live in assisted-living and long-term care facilities may have a higher rate of suicide than those who continue living in their own homes, according to a new report. In a study of Italians who were living in long-term facilities, researchers found that the rate of suicide was nearly 19 per 100,000 people. The suicide rate of people over 65 is 14 per 100,000. Researchers, who report their finding in the online edition of the journal PloS Medicine, suggest that relocation after a stressful event—such as a loss of a spouse, illness or decline in physical functions—coupled with other risk factors may trigger problems. (Reuters, 5/18/10)
Study Finds Redesigning Health Care Stops Suicides
A behavioral health provider has been able to completely stop suicides among patients suffering from depression by improving the quality of care it provides, a report asserts. The Behavioral Health Services division of the Michigan-based Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) has had no suicides among its patients for two years. A paper published in a special mental health issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association said it was achieved by applying the six steps called for in an Institute of Medicine report on how to redesign health care. The steps aim to make health care safer, more effective, more patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable. (AFP, 5/18/10)
Children with Mental Health Conditions Less Likely to Lead Productive Lives
Children with mental health conditions such as depression and substance use are less likely to lead productive lives as adults, a study finds. Researchers, who reported their findings in the online edition of Social Science & Medicine, say young people who experience mental health difficulties are less likely to marry, attain educational achievement, and will earn 20 percent less in income. The conclusions come from a variety of data and a 2007 survey gathered for a large ongoing study that tracked 5,000 American families for four decades. The study included siblings from the same family, which permitted a comparative look at brothers and/or sisters with and without psychological problems during childhood. (HealthDay News, 5/17/10)
A special theme issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association [subscription required] is dedicated to mental health and highlights the need to shift the focus from the problem of mental illness to mental health solutions.
Public Radio International’s The World looked at how West African immigrant communities deal with an individual who shows signs of mental illness. Rather than encouraging the patient to see a doctor or therapist, the community pools its money to buy plane fare and pressures the person to return to Africa.
National Public Radio looks at three women’s efforts to stop taking antidepressants and how it should be handled.
Steve Luxenberg writes in the Detroit Free Press that privacy rules will have to change as scientists learn more out the genetic and neurological basis for physical and mental conditions and families want greater access to their ancestors' records.
Postpartum Depression Also Affects Fathers: A significant number of new fathers experience postpartum depression, according to new research. The study, which is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 10.4 percent of men experienced serious depression at some point between their partner’s first trimester and one year after childbirth. That’s more than double the rate for men in general. Researchers analyzed the findings of 43 studies involving 28,004 participants from the United States and several developed nations, Rates of depression in men were highest when the baby was between 3 to 6 months old, reaching about 25 percent during this time period, according to the study. (The Los Angeles Times, 5/18/10)
Major Depression Often Follows Traumatic Brain Injury: Over half (53 percent) of patients recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) developed major depression within a year, a new study finds. That's about 7.9 times higher than the 6.7 percent expected in the general population and higher than previous estimates of 12 percent to 42 percent for patients with TBI. The study, which is reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, evaluated patients as part of the recruitment phase of a clinical trial. Patients with major depression at the time of their injury or before their injury, as well as those who were younger and those who reported alcohol dependence, were most likely to suffer depression after head trauma. Those who were diagnosed with major depression were also more likely to have anxiety disorders, the researchers found. Only 44 percent of traumatic brain injury patients with depression had been treated with medications or counseling for their depression, the study found. (HealthDay News, 5/18/10)
Childhood Cancer Survivors Face Increased Risk of PTSD: Adult survivors of childhood cancers are four times as likely as their siblings to suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), researchers report. They study included 6,542 adults over 18 who were diagnosed with cancer between 1970 and 1986, as well as 368 of their siblings. Reporting in the May issue of Pediatrics, the researchers found that about 9 percent of the adults suffer PTSD; only 2 percent of their siblings reported similar problems. The study looked at all types of childhood cancer and found that the likelihood of PTSD increased with more intensive treatments. (Belleville News Democrat, 5/20/10)
*HEADLINES at Mental Health America
Legendary Singer Connie Francis and Mental Health America Launch National Campaign on Importance of Trauma-Informed Care: STAR of Mine initiative focuses on the needs of trauma victims.
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*Mental Health America MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Recovery is becoming a real hope for many people with serious conditions. David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America, says early detection is important so individuals can receive the support, treatment, education, and skills needed to manage their illness. “If you do that, you can really start to change the trajectory of the disability,’’ he said. “Support from family members is critical.’’ The Boston Globe, “Family ties; Actress Glenn Close, her sister, and her nephew are part of a campaign to destigmatize mental illness,” May 24, 2010
Singing legend Connie Francis is joining with Mental Health America on a national campaign on the importance of Trauma-Informed Care. Miami Herald, “Singing legend Connie Francis becomes chair of new mental health campaign,” May 20, 2010
Mental Health America, which started Mental Health Month in 1949, is highlighting its Live Your Life Well campaign. It focuses on education the public on managing stress and improving well-being. Aiken Standard, “Campaign focused on stressors raises Mental Health awareness,” May 22, 2010
Programs that address depression in the workplace are vital to the well-being of the employee and the employer. Whatever programs an employer chooses, the science must be rigorously tested if it is to be successful, said David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America. Human Resource Executive, “Detoxifying Depression,” May, 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.
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