Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of December 13, 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?
Breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke may harm the mental health of children…more
Decline Found in Use of Psychotherapy for Depression
Although more Americans are receiving treatment for depression, the number who get psychotherapy with our without drugs continues to decline, according to a new survey. From 1998 with 2007, the percentage of those receiving psychotherapy fell from 53.6 percent to 43.1 percent, researchers report in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The decline in psychotherapy was disproportionately high among medically underserved populations, including Hispanics and the poor. Researchers say the figures show many patients aren’t receiving optimal care. Overall, the number of Americans who received outpatient treatment for depression increased from about 6.5 million to 8.7 million between 1998 and 2007. (Medpage Today, 12/06/10)
Number of Americans Driving Drunk or Under Influence Still High
The number of Americans who drove drunk or under the influence of illegal drugs declined slightly over the past several years, according to new government figures. But the numbers, compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, remain high. In some states, the number of drunk and drugged drivers tops 20 percent. The survey of more than 200,000 people found that about 31 million Americans age 16 and older, or 13.2 percent of the total population, drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year when looking at combined data from 2006 to 2009. This is a decrease from the 14.6 percent rate n the time period from 2002 to 2005. The drugged-driving rate also fell, to 4.3 percent in 2006-2009 from 4.8 percent in 2002-2005. (HealthDay News, 12/09/10)
New Jersey Law Protects Student Athletes from Brain Injuries
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation last week to protect student athletes from brain injuries. The new law requires coaches to remove any player who shows signs of a concussion. Those students will need to be cleared by a doctor before they can compete again. It also requires public and private school districts in the state to develop policies to handle head injuries. At least a half-dozen other states are now considering measures to toughen restrictions on young athletes returning to play after head injuries. (The Star-Ledger, 12/08/10)
NBA Star to Donate Part of Salary to Mental Health Awareness
Basketball star Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers plans to donate at least half of his $6.79 million salary next year to groups promoting mental health awareness. Artest is raffling off his 2010 NBA championship ring on his personal website to benefit mental health awareness in schools. As of last week, the raffle had already raised $464,525. (The Los Angeles Times, 12/09/10)
Study Finds Few LGBT Youth Experiencing Mental Health Problems
Although a new study finds one-third of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adolescents have attempted suicide in their lifetime, few are experiencing mental health problems. Researchers, who reported their findings in the American Journal of Public Health, said the prevalence of mental disorders among LGBT youth was higher than that in the general population, but comparable to that of urban and minority youth. The study found seventy percent of youth did not have any mental disorders. Fifteen percent met the criteria for major depression and nearly 10 percent met criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (HealthDay News, 12/08/10)
Integration Gets Boost Under Health Law
The integration of mental health and general health will get a boost under the new health reform law through the funding of medical homes that coordinate care. Programs that integrate care have been shown to reduce emergency room visits and psychiatric-hospital admissions, and to increase employees' productivity at work. A growing number of primary care providers are coordinating care of depressed patients with behavioral-health specialists. (The Wall Street Journal, 12/07/10)
Mental Health Continues to be Major Challenge for Military
The mental health of U.S. servicemen and women continues to be a major challenge. A Department of Defense report finds that mental health conditions are the top cause of hospitalizations among men. And they are second highest reason for hospitalization of women personnel. The Medical Surveillance report found the rate of diagnoses of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) increased nearly six-fold from 2003 to 2008. Some of the increase is due to efforts to reduce the stigma attached to seeking treatment, the report finds. (CNN, 12/09/10)
The Center for American Progress examines how to Mental Health Care for LGBT Youth.
The Virginian-Pilot on caring for a child with traumatic brain injury.
A Huffington Post piece explains the importance of mental health to overall health.
NPR continues its investigative series on alternatives to nursing homes for the elderly and disabled.
Secondhand Smoke Linked to Mental Health Problems in Children: Breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke may harm the mental health of children, according to a new study. British researchers compiled data and tested the saliva of 901 children aged 4 to 8. They were also asked to report on how frequently they were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. A questionnaire that was completed by parents helped researchers determine what behavioral or other problems children experienced. Reporting in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, the researchers found an association between secondhand smoke and more psychological distress among children. The two main problems were hyperactivity and conduct disorder. (Reuters, 12/08/10)
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Helps Depression Relapse: Mindfulness—using meditation—can help prevent a relapse back into depression as effectively as traditional antidepressant medication, according to new research. A common problem with antidepressant medication is that patients often stop taking the drugs far too soon. The study, which is reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, compared subjects who were weaned off antidepressant medication and then given a placebo with those who either did mindfulness therapy or took an antidepressant. Seven in 10 of those on the placebo fell back into depression within an 18-month follow-up period, while 28 percent of those on antidepressants and 27 percent of those engaging in mindfulness therapy relapsed. (Chicago Tribune, 12/07/10)
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MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA Media Highlights
According to Mental Health America, LGBT teens hear about four anti-gay slurs every single hour of the school day. More than 30 percent of these teens have been hurt, or threatened, at school in the last year. St. Louis Examiner, “The widespread bullying of nonheterosexual teens,” December 7, 2010
Mental Health America says bullying and harassment take a harsh and sometimes deadly toll on gay youth. The Los Angeles Times, “Lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents singled out for punishment more often than others their age, study says,” December 7, 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
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