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Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of July 28, 2014

 

 

 

Week of July 28, 2014


Mental Health in the Headlines is a weekly newsletter 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.

NEWS FROM MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA

Mental Health America 2014 Annual Conference, September 10-12, Atlanta, Georgia—Parity and the Affordable Care Act: Bridging Gaps to Advance Mental Health. Don't miss this unique opportunity to discuss what we have learned in the process of implementing the Affordable Care and Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Acts, and to collaborate to identify next steps and opportunities for action.

Patrick Hendry of Mental Health America to be Honored by SAMHSA with 2014 Voice Award for Consumer/Peer Leadership.

Responses to Mental Health America’s Online Screening Program Show Significant Need, Interest in Mental Health Services among Racial, Ethnic Minorities—July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

The MHA Career Center matches the best employers with the best talent in the mental health field.  Find your employment match at http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/mhacareercenter.

NEWS FOR THE FIELD:

“Faces of Austerity”—Report Details How Budget Cuts Hurt America's Health: The Coalition for Health Funding (CHF), which represents more than 90 public health advocacy organizations, released a new report documenting the dire consequences of Congress’s deep cuts to public health programs in recent years. “Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Hurt America’s Health” illustrates how budget cuts undermine public health. The report includes more than 20 testimonials and "shines a light on the eroding public health infrastructure, and the lost opportunities of continued fiscal austerity." The section on cuts to mental health funding was authored by Mental Health America. To read the report, go to http://www.cutshurt.org/

20th Annual Zarrow Mental Health Symposium—“All Things Prevention” on September 18 – 19, 2014, Tulsa, OK: Discussion will highlight emerging knowledge, best practice and innovative approaches to preventing and treating mental disorders, addictions, and co-occurring disorders across the lifespan, with respect to cultural diversity, and inclusive of special populations. For more information, go to www.mhaok.org/zarrow.

IN THE NEWS

Foundation Gives $650 for Psychiatric Research: The Broad Institute, a biomedical research center, announced last week a $650 million donation for psychiatric research from the Stanley Family Foundation—one of the largest private gifts ever for scientific research. The commitment will support research within the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute and aims to galvanize scientific research on psychiatric disorders and bring new treatments based on molecular understanding to hundreds of millions of people around the world. Steven E. Hyman, director of the Stanley Center, said that in the short-term the gift will provide a boost for additional genetic sequencing for schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder, and other mental conditions. The gift will also allow the center to embark on the kind of long-term research needed to illuminate the numerous and complex factors at work in mental illnesses. (PsychCentral.com, 7/25/14)

Researchers Find 108 Genetic Clusters Associated with Schizophrenia: A large study that examined the genetics of schizophrenia found 108 genetic clusters associated with the disease, offering the best evidence to date about which genes play a significant role in the condition. The research, funded by multiple governments and nonprofit foundations, involved hundreds of scientists and included pooling genetic data from nearly 37,000 people with schizophrenia. The researchers looked for short sequences of DNA that were more common in people with schizophrenia compared with those without the condition. The study, published online in Nature, confirms that genes connected to regulating the brain chemical dopamine are involved in schizophrenia, as predicted. But so are genes involved in the immune system, and several associated with heavy smoking. (USA Today, 7/21/14)

Survey of Iraq, Afghanistan War Vets Shows Nearly Half of Vets Know a Veteran who Has Attempted Suicide: A survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans reveals that nearly half know at least one veteran from those conflicts who has tried to take their own life. The survey, released last week, was conducted earlier this year by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). IAVA received responses to an extensive list of questions from more than 2,000 of the nation’s younger veterans, the vast majority of whom served in the Army or Marine Corps. Respondents ranked suicide and mental health as the biggest issue facing post-9/11 veterans. The survey also found that: 31 percent of respondents have thought about taking their own lives since joining the military and 40 percent know at least one Iraq or Afghanistan veteran that took their own life. In addition, 53 percent have a mental health problem; among those respondents, 27 percent are not seeking care. The survey doesn’t necessarily reflect the results that would be gleaned from questioning all Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans, given the methodology. (Stars and Stripes, 7/24/14)

IN DEPTH

The New York Times looks at “Photography as a Balm for Mental Illness.”

The Los Angeles Times interviews Tom Burns, a leading research who once advocated for laws that compel treatment and now says they don’t change outcomes.

Vox reports on new research that those states with prior authorization requirements in Medicaid have significantly higher rates of severe mental illness in their prison populations.

LATEST RESEARCH

U.S. Servicemen More Likely Exposed to Childhood Trauma: U.S. servicemen are more likely to have been exposed to some form of childhood trauma than their civilian counterparts, according to a new survey. For the study, researchers analyzed telephone interviews conducted throughout 2010 among nearly 61,000 men and women by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. One-quarter of the men and two percent of the women had a military background. All were asked to recount negative childhood events experienced before the age of 18. By all measures, men who had voluntarily served in the military after 1973 were more likely to have lived through a negative childhood experience, the researchers report in JAMA Psychiatry.  In contrast, almost no differences were seen when comparing non-military men with men whose military career unfolded pre-1973, when the draft mandated military service. The exception: drug use in their childhood home was actually significantly less common among pre-1973 military men relative to their non-military peers. Among women, differences were not so apparent, regardless of whether they served before or after 1973. The exception: volunteer servicewomen were more likely to say they had been touched sexually as a child. (HealthDay News, 7/24/14)

MORE NEWS AND VIEWS

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Mental Health in the Headlines is produced weekly by Mental Health America. Staff: Steve Vetzner, senior director, Media Relations.

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