Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of August 31, 2009
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?
A depressed emotional state, including feelings of hopelessness and apathy, can have a direct effect on physical health…more
Nation Says Final Farewell to Kennedy
The nation said a final farewell over the weekend to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who used his privileged life “to give consistent, passionate voice to the underprivileged for nearly a half-century as a United States senator from Massachusetts.” At Saturday’s funeral mass, the program carried this quote of his: “For all my years in public life, I have believed that America must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. There is no end to that journey, only the next great voyage. We know that the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make.” (The New York Times, 8/29/09)
Prospects for Health Reform Remain Strong
Despite protests and loud opposition to health reform, prospects for passage of an overall remain strong. Democrats retain sizeable support for passage in the House; in the Senate, reconciliation procedures could be used to overcome a filibuster. Although several issues remain in dispute, they are unlikely to prevent passage of a compromise bill. (The New York Times, 8/31/09)
Arizona County’s Mental Health System Failing
The number of seriously mentally ill people in Arizona’s Maricopa County has grown by 94 percent since 2000. It will rise by another 45 percent by 2015. A state audit of the county’s performance that was released this year found it fails nearly all of its patients on key measures: placing them in stable housing and providing them with a job or other meaningful activity. Nationally, the life expectancy of a mentally ill person is 25 years shorter than that of a healthy person. In Maricopa County, their life expectancy is 32 years shorter. (Arizona Republic, 8/31/09)
Early Onset Bipolar Disorder Patients Have Worse Outcomes: Bipolar I disorder patients who have an early age of onset have a worse outcome than those with a later age of onset, a new study finds. Researchers at the University of Melbourne studied 239 participants in the Bipolar Comprehensive Outcomes Study. Patients with an early age of onset had significantly more severe depressive symptoms and higher rates of suicidal ideation than other patients, according to the study, published in the journal Acta Neuropsychiatrica. Early onset patients also were also more likely to experience a depressive first episode than other patients, at 72 percent versus 55.5 percent for intermediate-onset patients. (Medwirenews, 8/25/09)
Depressed Emotional State Has Direct Effect on Physical Health: A depressed emotional state, including feelings of hopelessness and apathy, can have a direct effect on physical health, according to new research. A study of 408 family caregivers of stroke survivors had them fill out apathy questionnaires every four months, asking whether the survivor "waits for someone to do things that he or she can do for self," or "just sits and watches" and the like. The findings, reported in the August 27 issue of Stroke, showed a slower rate of recovery among those experiencing apathy, caring little about themselves and the world around them. Another study of healthy middle-aged women found an association between hopelessness and unexpected thickening of the carotid artery, the main blood vessel to the brain. (HealthDay News, 8/27/09)
Psychosocial Therapy Intervention Improves Depression After Stroke: Psychosocial therapy combined with medication can effectively improve depression and recovery in stroke patients, a new study finds. Researchers studied 101 clinically depressed non-hospitalized stroke patients (59 percent men, ages 25 to 88 years old). They found depression scores dropped 47 percent in patients treated with eight weeks of psychosocial/behavioral therapy and antidepressants. Scores dropped 32 percent among those having usual care, which included taking antidepressants, according to the study, which is reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. (ScienceDaily, 8/31/09)
HEADLINES at Mental Health America
We mourn the loss of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. We will continue to pursue his dreams and ensure his cause endures.
*Mental Health America MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
The mental health parity law that becomes effective in January will help to erase the stigma of mental illness and make it easier for patients to get care. "It will reduce the level of formal discrimination," says David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America. The Wall Street Journal, “Mind, as Well as Body,” August 24, 2009
Mothers who have Postpartum depression can have a relapse after returning to work. Sometimes PPD won’t even surface until a return to work. One in five women in the workplace will experience depression in her lifetime, according to Mental Health America. The Wall Street Journal, “Returning to Work After Postpartum Depression,” August 24, 2009
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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 Relation and Sarah Jones, communications coordinator.
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