Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Anger or gratefulness it’s up to you

From the 15 August 2012 article at Health Services Authors

Gratefulness could be the best way to happiness and to avoid child’s mental health problems in case of a pathogenic infancy. In France our psychologists developed the concept of resilience. Anglo-Saxon world put the accent on gratefulness as a tool for resilience, paving the way for the happening of a state of mind conducive to happiness. Listen to how Nancy Floy, an acupuncturist from Chicago, got through a very difficult childhood thank to her grand mother’s teaching of gratefulness for yet being still alive after a night of alcoholic chaos perpetrated by her own genitors.
Gratefulness is a very good way of conducting once life, don’t you think? Anyway my three dogs already behave according to this precept: they manifest energetically their joy, eyes full of gratefulness whatever the littlest good I do for them (like for example just giving them a little cup of water when they are thirsty, or appearing in the evening after a full day of absence, nothing more than that makes them very happy ;-)

Thanks to the media HUMANKIND for broadcasting such interesting programs.

The interview of Nancy Floy

The public radio HUMANKIND.

Related articles

August 22, 2012 Posted by | Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

States Crack Down on Mental Health Prescriptions

 

From the 14 August 2012 edition of Stateline

n the past two years, Illinois has done just about everything it could to reduce the amount it spends on prescription drugs for mental health. It has placed restrictions on the availability of 17 medications used to treat depression, psychosis and attention-deficit disorder. Doctors now have to explain to Medicaid why the drugs are necessary before a patient can get access to them. Then in July, as part of an effort to cut overall Medicaid spending by $1.6 billion, the state capped the number of prescriptions for Medicaid recipients to four a month, even if they previously were taking a broader cocktail of behavioral medications.

In financial terms, there is no question that it has worked. Last year, the state’s Medicaid mental health drug spending budget was reduced by $112 million. The new cap on prescription drugs is expected to save another $180 million.

Up until 2011, behavioral health drug spending made up about a quarter of Illinois’ Medicaid prescription drug costs. The state spent about $392 million that year on drugs for treating mental health patients. In fiscal 2012, the state spent $280 million on mental health drugs.

But what are the implications for quality of care? Some physicians argue that they are disastrous. “It’s a mess,” says Dr. Daniel Yohanna, a psychiatrist at the University of Chicago Medical Center.  “People who were stable on some drugs have been unable to get them. It has created a significant problem.”

Michael Claffey, of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, says the state is aware of the complaints from the mental health community, but adds, “we don’t have unlimited funds. We need doctors to work with us…If a patient needs a drug, they will get approval.”..

..

About half of Medicaid mental health patients had difficulty accessing at least one medication, and about a quarter of them then stopped taking their medications, according to a Psychiatric Services report in 2009 on physicians’ experiences in 10 state Medicaid programs. Physicians reported that many patients experienced an adverse event, such as hospitalization, homelessness or even suicide because they couldn’t get their drugs.  Another study, reported in the May 2008 issue of Health Affairs, showed that between 2003 and 2004, Maine’s prior authorization program for atypical antipsychotics (drugs that treat serious psychoses) resulted in a 29 percent greater risk that patients suffering from schizophrenia would fail to follow their treatment protocol.

Competing studies, on the other hand, suggest that mental health drugs aren’t being properly prescribed, particularly to those under 18, and that imposing restrictions can improve quality of care by requiring physicians to reconsider why they are writing a prescription. I..

In Illinois, Yohanna says he has seen examples of inappropriate prescribing of psychotropic drugs and agrees that “prior approval can help with that.” But he thinks that requiring all doctors to get approval for drugs “is just throwing a blanket on things without really dealing with the worst offenders.” He says a policy like Washington State’s second opinion program would be a good idea, as well as setting up a system where there are fewer restrictions on doctors who had responsible prescribing patterns. Currently Yohanna says, it can take two to three days to get a drug approved.

 

August 15, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Psychotherapy Is Effective but Underutilized, Review Shows

 

From the 9 August 2012 article at Science News Daily

Psychotherapy is effective, helps reduce the overall need for health services and produces long-term health improvements, according to a review of research studies conducted by the American Psychological Association.

Yet, the use of psychotherapy to treat people with mental and behavioral health issues decreased over the last decade while the use of medications to address such problems has increased, according to government and insurance industry data.

“Every day, consumers are bombarded with ads that tout drugs as the answer to their problems. Our goal is to help consumers weigh those messages with research-based information about how psychotherapy can provide them with safe, effective and long-lasting improvements in their mental and physical health,” said Melba J. T. Vazquez, PhD, past president of the American Psychological Association who led the psychotherapy effectiveness review project…

The resolution also states Key findings of the resolution:

[The full resolution may be found here]

• Research demonstrates that psychotherapy is effective for a variety of mental and behavioral health issues and across a spectrum of population groups. The average effects of psychotherapy are larger than the effects produced by many medical treatments.

• Large multi-site and meta-analytic studies have demonstrated that psychotherapy reduces disability, morbidity and mortality; improve work functioning; and decrease psychiatric hospitalization.

• Psychotherapy teaches patients life skills that last beyond the course of treatment. The results of psychotherapy tend to last longer than psychopharmacological treatments and rarely produce harmful side effects

• While medication is appropriate in some instances, research shows that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is often most effective in treating depression and anxiety. It should also be noted that the effects produced by psychotherapy, including those for different age groups and across a spectrum of mental and physical health disorders, are often comparable to or better than the effects produced by drug treatments for the same disorders without the potential for harmful side effects that drugs often carry.

“As Americans grapple with the ever-increasing cost of health care, it is important that consumers and those who make decisions about health care access understand the potential value in both improved outcomes and cost-saving of psychotherapies,” Vasquez said. “APA applauds and continues to support collaboration of psychologists with other health care providers as part of integrated health care teams. Psychotherapies are highly effective, but only when consumers have access to them.”

 

August 11, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Lying Less Linked to Better Health

 

From the 4 August 2012 article at Eureka News Alert

Telling fewer lies tied to improved relationships, too, according to study

ORLANDO, Fla. — Telling the truth when tempted to lie can significantly improve a person’s mental and physical health, according to a “Science of Honesty” study presented at the American Psychological Association’s 120th Annual Convention.

“Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week. We wanted to find out if living more honestly can actually cause better health,” said lead author Anita E. Kelly, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame. “We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health.”

Kelly and co-author Lijuan Wang, PhD, also of Notre Dame, conducted the honesty experiment over 10 weeks with a sample of 110 people, of whom 34 percent were adults in the community and 66 percent were college students. They ranged in age from 18 to 71 years, with an average age of 31. The just-completed study has not yet undergone peer review and has yet to be published.

Approximately half the participants were instructed to stop telling major and minor lies for the 10 weeks. The other half served as a control group that received no special instructions about lying. Both groups came to the laboratory each week to complete health and relationship measures and to take a polygraph test assessing the number of major and white lies they had told that week.

Over the course of 10 weeks, the link between less lying and improved health was significantly stronger for participants in the no-lie group, the study found. For example, when participants in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than they did in other weeks, they experienced on average about four fewer mental-health complaints, such as feeling tense or melancholy, and about three fewer physical complaints, such as sore throats and headaches, the study found. In contrast, when control group members told three fewer white lies, they experienced two fewer mental-health complaints and about one less physical complaint. The pattern was similar for major lies, Kelly said.

Compared to the control group, participants in the more truthful group told significantly fewer lies across the 10-week study, and by the fifth week, they saw themselves as more honest, Kelly said. When participants across both groups lied less in a given week, they reported their physical health and mental health to be significantly better that week.

In weeks when participants told fewer lies, they reported that their close personal relationships had improved and that their social interactions overall had gone more smoothly that week, the study revealed. “Statistical analyses showed that this improvement in relationships significantly accounted for the improvement in health that was associated with less lying,” said Wang, who is a statistician.

At the end of the 10 weeks, participants in the no-lie group described their efforts to keep from lying to others in their day-to-day interactions. Some said they realized they could simply tell the truth about their daily accomplishments rather than exaggerate, while others said they stopped making false excuses for being late or failing to complete tasks, Kelly said. Others said that they learned to avoid lying by responding to a troubling question with another question to distract the person, she said.

The study sample was 63 percent women, 87 percent white, 4 percent black, 4 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asian-American and 2 percent of another race. Annual family income for the participants was fairly evenly distributed over a range of less than $25,000 to more than $160,000.

Because the findings are new they will be submitted for scientific review and publication later this year, Kelly said.

###

The “Science of Honesty” project was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Opinions presented are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the foundation.

 

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

DSM-5 will capture the dynamic nature of mental illness

From the 20 July 2012 post at KevinMD.com

Much of the debate over the future edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-5) has centered on what disorders will be added, modified or dropped. But lost in the discussion is a change that will align disorders along a developmental continuum—one that looks at them across the lifespan. This shift will provide clinicians with a critical perspective that until now has been missing.

 

Historically, disorders were classified in DSM by symptom manifestation and patient presentation. As a result, they generally were grouped by discreet stages of life, as if there were no connections or implications from one stage to another. In particular, the opening chapter of DSM-IV, “Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, Adolescence,” segregated such conditions as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, pica, rumination and autism disorder from the rest of the manual. The implication was that disorders in the “child” chapter affect only children and disorders in the rest of the manual affect only adults….

 

he need for these changes is obvious: The real world doesn’t work within distinct boundaries, and clinicians are not best able to understand potential connections, interrelations and ramifications when they only consider a single, narrow point in time. A young girl who lashes out with persistent and significant anger could presage a young adult with similarly explosive behavior, for example. Conversely, a middle-aged man’s extreme anxiety might reflect a difficult recent event, such as a divorce or layoff. But it also might be a problem that first manifested itself decades earlier, in panic attacks or a fear of leaving the house. In both cases, diagnosis as well as treatment will be more clinically useful if the factors involved are evaluated through a longitudinal lens.

This different perspective will especially benefit women, for whom mental disorders are often linked to specific ages or periods of life. We know that young women between 15 and 22 are much more likely to have negative body image than young men and to develop eating disorders, low self-esteem, depression, self-harm and,  in the most extreme cases, suicide. But what happens after 22?  Even with treatment, the risk of recurrent depression remains, and it often needs to be assessed in terms of the extra emotional and physical issues many women face throughout their lives—because of lower income, discrimination, sexual harassment and violence….

July 20, 2012 Posted by | Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Radio: Old Dog, New Tricks? (Mental Health Radio Programs)

[Reblog] RADIO: OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS?

June 11, 2012 · by  · in Mass Media

The British Medical Journal recently highlighted award winning healthcare communication campaign efforts and I was intrigued that a radio program made the list of “imaginative and effective” communication methods.  This effort consisted of 12 phone-in radio programs with 22 clinicians to talk in-depth about different mental health issues.  It was specifically broadcasted to a rural and socially isolated area.  The main purpose: to reduce stigma surrounding mental health.

So, we have story telling narratives by our friends and neighbors in a rural and socially isolated region, broadcast for any and all to hear.  Is this innovative?  Any Frasier fan would likely say no.  But with this particular audience, (and not the bustling and heavily populated Seattle) I immediately thought of social norms.  (Without getting too theory heavy, think descriptive norms- what you believe is typical or normal and subjective norms- what your friends/family think.)  So, these fine British clinicians worked to reduce stigma by demonstrating that mental health issues not only exist, but they exist in your community.  Listen up Cornwall as your friends and neighbors talk about their mental health troubles!

Know Your Audience | Now, this could have been a fictional program with actors portraying mental health issues, moving this into an edu-tainment area, or perhaps a standard PSA, which is so often distributed via radio.  But what stood out to me was that this audience was not going to pay attention to a social media campaign or a TV commercial.  They might, however, pay attention to local folks telling their story, their experience with mental health on the radio.    Storytelling can be powerful and when balanced with the clinical expertise or evidence, has the potential to make an impact.  Yes, radio is an old medium.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t find new ways to use it.

I make no claims to be an expert in mental health stigma, but while looking into this issue, I came across a few interesting links.

Canada’s Anti-Stigma Ad Campaign

San Diego’s “It’s Up to Us” Anti-Stigma Campaign Radio Spots

Minnesota’s Twin Cities is building a mental health facility with reducing stigma in mind and in design.

National Alliance on Mental Illness- Stigma Busters

July 6, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nursing Trauma: How One Church is Going After Chicago’s Violence Epidemic

Gunshot wound victim makes it to the trauma ce...

Gunshot wound victim makes it to the trauma center at Valley Care Hospital (Photo credit: ffsetla)

This is one response to how to lower the high murder rate rate in Chicago (5,056 since 2001). The author believes that many victims of violence react with shock in much the same manner as soldiers with PTSD. These victims will most likely grow up angry with greater potential to use violence to solve problems unless they are worked with, much like returning soldiers from a war zone.

The blog post Nursing Trauma: How One Church is Going After Chicago’s Violence Epidemic may be found here.

Excerpts

The Real Problem: Trauma

I spent a summer in the ER of a Level 1 trauma center in Chicago. Gunshot victims would come in, and they couldn’t believe what had happened to them. It was traumatic in the truest sense – their bodies were broken and put into shock. But their mind and spirit were as well: it was a jarring experience all around for them. But not only for them. Mothers and aunties and cousins and baby mommas were going crazy too. A light bulb turned on: This situation is traumatic for them too! They need care as well.

And so the idea of “care” was expanding from physical to psycho-spiritual, and from patient to family. Everybody involved was a victim of trauma here.

I began to look into this idea of “trauma” and found that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the result of unfettered moments of shock that continue to reside in the body: the brain and body never return to “normal,” and will erupt in erratic behavior. Think of a geyser here. Hot springs are the result of spontaneous combustion of something that happened in a river far away and a long time ago. What if this is true with humans?

We already know it is. One study on inner-city kids in Chicago showed that children who were exposed to violence or witness a violent act were much more likely to demonstrate aggressive behavior within one year of exposure. PTSD also carries symptoms of depression, which contribute to feelings of meaninglessness in self and the world (thus devaluing another human life enough to take it). This is all very scientific and I want to get to the point:

Our children are being put into shock every single day.

They are experiencing violence as perpetrator, victim, and witness, and they are no less exposed to the trauma. The trauma of being poor….

One Real Solution

Chicago has been called a “warzone” – let’s play with that a moment. Maybe the best thing a small church can do to stop the violence is work with our children like we work with our returning soldiers. (We need to do this better as well). Vets need safe space to talk. They need to give voice to experiences and be able to create new ways of understanding themselves—it’s called moving from “soldier” to “human” again.

Our children need to understand themselves not as black or poor orat-risk but as HUMAN first. They need to develop meaning to confront the meaninglessness that surrounds them. This angry and dark world is traumatic for children, and they will grow up angry and dark unless we help them process what they have seen. Finding one’s own voice is critical to meaning-making. Some of them are not soldiers, but they are all in the war.

June 29, 2012 Posted by | health care, Psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sleeping in Vermont Dumpster Shows Psychiatric Cuts’ Cost – Bloomberg

Sleeping In Vermont Dumpster Shows Psychiatric Cuts’ Cost

via Sleeping in Vermont Dumpster Shows Psychiatric Cuts’ Cost – Bloomberg.

Katherine Gluck blurts out to the judge, “I’m guilty.”

Gluck, 47, is charged on this March morning with threatening her former husband with a hammer. Police who arrested her in Burlington, Vermont, know those tired eyes and stringy blond hair. In December, Gluck was charged but not jailed or hospitalized after she slammed a dead raccoon against the front door of City Hall. Her family urged her to get help for her bipolar disorder, which usually involves getting back on medication. She refused.

June 4 (Bloomberg) — Hurricane Irene wiped out the last state-operated psychiatric beds in Vermont nine months ago. As the only U.S. state with no government-operated psychiatric beds, Vermont’s experience reflects a growing realization among mental-health experts and advocates that the decades-long trend toward outpatient care has reached its limit and public outcry against the latest round of cuts is beginning to change the game. Bloomberg’s Tom Moroney reports. (Source: Bloomberg)

Now, court-appointed lawyer Sarah Reed hopes Judge Thomas Devine will send Gluck to a hospital. The odds aren’t good. Hurricane Irene wiped out the last state-operated psychiatric beds in Vermont nine months ago.

Since then, private-hospital emergency rooms have been backed up with mentally ill patients — some handcuffed to ER beds for as long as two days. Dozens of people are turned away each month without being admitted, and calls to Burlington police about mental-health issues increased 32 percent over the prior year.

As the only U.S. state with no government-operated psychiatric beds, Vermont’s experience reflects a growing realization among mental-health experts and advocates that the decades-long trend toward outpatient care has reached its limit — and public outcry against the latest round of cuts is beginning to change the game….

June 18, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Improving Access to Mental Health Care and Psychosocial Support within a Fragile Context: A Case Study from Afghanistan

While American service men and women are being treated for war related traumas, let us not forget the effects of war on civilians…

From the PLos Absract 

  • After the fall of the Taliban, the rebuilding of the Afghan health care system, from scratch, provided opportunities to integrate mental health into basic health services through the use of funds that became available during this complex humanitarian emergency.
  • Practice-oriented mental health trainings for general health workers and ongoing clinical supervision in the basic health care system led to substantially increased demand for and access to basic mental health care services.
  • Treatment of mental disorders within the health care system needs to be accompanied by a community-based approach that focuses on psychosocial problems.
  • Addressing service delivery needs in a fragile state has to be accompanied by capacity building and policy development in order to foster structural changes within the health care system.

….

Looking to the Future

The experience in Nangarhar shows that, even within a fragile and resource poor context, it is possible to develop integrated services for mental health and psychosocial support, to rapidly cover an area of more than a million people. It is important to use funds available during a humanitarian emergency to pursue lasting improvements in the health care system [28]. There is an urgent need to develop a system of routine outcome measuring tools that includes both symptom reduction and improvement of social functioning. It is challenging to develop context-specific and low-cost outcome measures, but recent evidence for child psychosocial programmes in post conflict areas demonstrates that it can be done [29]. People with a limited background in mental health care can deliver integrated services, once their tasks are integrated within a system of care that includes focused, competency-based trainings, regular supervision, and refresher training [30]. It is important to strengthen the psychosocial elements of treatment within the health care system, and to ensure that the social context in which the symptoms occur and are maintained, are considered in the treatment plans of health care providers. The most recent version of the BPHS includes the addition of psychosocial counsellors at the district hospitals and comprehensive health centres. Preliminary evidence on the effectiveness of adding psychosocial counselling in primary health care settings in Afghanistan is encouraging [31] Apart from health system–based interventions, the authors have learned the importance of addressing psychosocial problems through activities outside the formal health care sector to strengthen self-help and foster resilience.

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

The psychiatric profile of the U.S. patient population across age groups

From the article at the May 2012 issue of Open Journal of Epidemiology

[Abstract]     Introduction: As the U.S. population undergoes continuous shifts the population’s health profile changes dynamically resulting in more or less expression of certain psychiatric disorders and utilization of health-care resources. In this paper, we analyze national data on the psychiatric morbidity of American patients and their summated cost in different age groups. Methods: The latest data (2009) on the number of hospital discharges and national bill (hospital charges) linked with psychiatric disorders were extracted from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS). Results: National data shows that mood disorders are the largest diagnostic category in terms of percentage of psychiatri-crelated discharges in the 1 – 17 years age group. The proportion decreases gradually as age progresses while delirium, dementia, amnestic and other cognitive disorders increase exponentially after 65 years of age. Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders as well as alcohol and substance-related disorders peak in the working age groups (18 – 64 years). From an economic point of view, mood disorders in the 18 – 44 age group has the highest national bill ($5.477 billion) followed by schizophrenic and other psychotic disorders in the same age group ($4.337 billion) and mood disorders in the 45 – 64 age group ($4.310 billion). On the third place come schizophrenic and other psychotic disorders in the 45 – 64 age group ($3.931 billion). Conclusion: This paper illustrates the high cost of psychiatric care in the U.S., especially the large fraction of healthcare money spent on working-age patients suffering from mood disorders. This underlines psychiatric cost-efficiency as a vital topic in the current healthcare debate.

Related article

June 1, 2012 Posted by | health AND statistics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community Services Locator An Online Directory for Finding Community Services for Children and Families

Most communities have education, health, mental health, family support, parenting, child care, and other services that can help children and families. However, locating those services or even knowing which services to look for is often difficult. The Community Services Locator is designed to help service providers and families find available national, state, and local resources that can address child and family needs.

May 24, 2012 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , , , | Leave a comment

Systematic review of beliefs, behaviours and influencing factors associated with disclosure of a mental health problem in the workplace

From the 19 February Full Text Report summary

Background
Stigma and discrimination present an important barrier to finding and keeping work for individuals with a mental health problem. This paper reviews evidence on: 1) employment-related disclosure beliefs and behaviours of people with a mental health problem; 2) factors associated with the disclosure of a mental health problem in the employment setting; 3) whether employers are less likely to hire applicants who disclose a mental health problem; and 4) factors influencing employers’ hiring beliefs and behaviours towards job applicants with a mental health problem….

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

The Dark Path to Antisocial Personality Disorder

From the 7 February 2012 Science Daily news item

With no lab tests to guide the clinician, psychiatric diagnostics is challenging and controversial. Antisocial personality disorder is defined as “a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood,” according to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association….

 

 

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Stress in America 2011

From the 3 February Full Text Report summary

Source:  American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association’s (APA) newly released report, Stress in America™: Our Health at Risk, paints a troubling picture of the impact stress has on the health of the country, especially caregivers and people living with a chronic illness such as obesity or depression.
The Stress in America survey, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of APA among 1,226 U.S. residents in August and September, showed that many Americans consistently report high levels of stress (22 percent reported extreme stress, an 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale where 1 is little or no stress and 10 is a great deal of stress). While reported average stress levels have dipped slightly since the last survey (5.2 on a 10-point scale vs. 5.4 in 2010) many Americans continue to report that their stress has actually increased over time (39 percent report their stress has increased over the past year and 44 percent say their stress has increased over the past 5 years). Yet stress levels exceed people’s own definition of what is healthy, with the mean rating for stress of 5.2 on a 10-point scale— 1.6 points higher than the stress level Americans reported as healthy.
While 9 in 10 adults believe that stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression and obesity, a sizeable minority still think that stress has only a slight or no impact on their own physical health (31 percent) and mental health (36 percent). When considered alongside the finding that only 29 percent of adults believe they are doing an excellent or very good job at managing or reducing stress, APA warns that this disconnect is cause for concern.
“America has a choice. We can continue down a well-worn path where stress significantly impacts our physical and mental health, causes undue suffering and drives up health care costs. Or we can get serious about this major public health issue and provide better access to behavioral health care services to help people more effectively manage their stress and  prevent and manage chronic disease,” says psychologist Norman B. Anderson, PhD, APA’s CEO and executive vice president. “Various studies have shown that chronic stress is a major driver of chronic illness, which in turn is a major driver of escalating health care costs in this country. It is critical that the entire health community and policymakers recognize the role of stress and unhealthy behaviors in causing and exacerbating chronic health conditions, and support models of care that help people make positive changes.”

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How A Parent’s Education Can Affect The Mental Health Of Their Offspring

How A Parent’s Education Can Affect The Mental Health Of Their Offspring

From the 29 January 2012 article at ScienceNews Today

New research sheds light on cycle of low socioeconomic status and depression Could depression in adulthood be tied to a parent’s level of education? A new study led by Amélie Quesnel-Vallée, a medical sociologist from McGill University, suggests this is the case…
 

The team found that higher levels of parental education meant fewer mental health issues for their adult children. “However, we also found much of that association may be due to the fact that parents with more education tend to have children with more education and better paying jobs themselves,” explained Quesnel-Vallée. “What this means is that the whole process of climbing up the social ladder that is rooted in a parent’s education is a crucial pathway for the mental health of adult children.”

These findings suggest that policies aimed at increasing educational opportunities for all, regardless of social background, may help break the intergenerational cycle of low socioeconomic status and poor mental health. “Children don’t get to choose where they come from. I think we have a responsibility to address health inequalities borne out of the conditions of early childhood,” said Quesnel-Vallée.

February 2, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Educational Comics: Schizophrenia and more

Educational Comics: Schizophrenia and more « ScienceRoll

From the 31 January blog item at ScienceRoll

Last week, I gave a presentation about how people with mental conditions and their doctors use the web and social media at the Congress of Psychiatry and I saw a great idea when walking around after my talk. The comics book shown below (Microchip in the brain) is used for educating people dealing with schizophrenia. It guides the patient through a whole story describing the symptoms, issues at the doctor visit and other important topics.

As I checked it online, there are other great comic books focusing on different conditions. Such high quality educational materials can be a huge help both for patients and their relatives.

January 31, 2012 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment

Pollution, Crime, and Education by Mike the Mad Biologist (And a Somewhat Related Mental Health Study)

This short blog entry points to examples of how there is most likely links between air pollution and brain development and function. For example a recent study indicates schools in areas of high air pollution have higher rates of absenteeism. Crime rates have gone down in areas where lead removal was a high priority.

While it can be argued there is no cause and effect in these cases, correlations do warrant further study.

Past blogs here have included articles on the interconnection between healthy environments and healthy people. In my humble opinion, it just makes sense that if one lives in surroundings with high risk factors, one will develop conditions and diseases one is predisposed to (and perhaps more!).

A related article in the professional literature examines the links between mental health and neighborhoods.While it does not address pollution, it does have a similar holistic approach in considering the many factors which may affect a person’s health and well being.

The authors conclusion-

This study has shown that for people living in deprived areas, the quality and aesthetics of housing and neighbourhoods are associated with mental wellbeing, but so too are feelings of respect, status and progress that may be derived from how places are created, serviced and talked about by those who live there. The implication for regeneration activities undertaken to improve housing and neighbourhoods is that it is not just the delivery of improved housing that is important for mental wellbeing, but also the quality and manner of delivery.

January 30, 2012 Posted by | environmental health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

School Absenteeism, Mental Health Problems Linked

HealthDay news image

From the 29 December Medical News Today article

School absenteeism is a significant problem, and students who are frequently absent from school more often have symptoms of psychiatric disorders. A new longitudinal study of more than 17,000 youths has found that frequently missing school is associated with a higher prevalence of mental health problems later on in adolescence, and that mental health problems during one year also predict missing additional school days in the following year for students in middle and high school….

Read the article


December 29, 2011 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

SAMHSA Announces A Working Definition Of “Recovery” From Mental Disorders And Substance Use Disorders

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

From the December 2011 news release

Date: 12/22/2011 10:00 AM
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press Office
Telephone: 240-276-2130

SAMHSA announces a working definition of “recovery” from mental disorders and substance use disorders

A new working definition of recovery from mental disorders and substance use disorders is being announced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The definition is the product of a year-long effort by SAMHSA and a wide range of partners in the behavioral health care community and other fields to develop a working definition of recovery that captures the essential, common experiences of those recovering from mental disorders and substance use disorders, along with major guiding principles that support the recovery definition. SAMHSA led this effort as part of its Recovery Support Strategic Initiative.

The new working definition of Recovery from Mental Disorders and Substance Use Disorders is as follows:

A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

“Over the years it has become increasingly apparent that a practical, comprehensive working definition of recovery would enable policy makers, providers, and others to better design, deliver, and measure integrated and holistic services to those in need,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “By working with all elements of the behavioral health community and others to develop this definition, I believe SAMHSA has achieved a significant milestone in promoting greater public awareness and appreciation for the importance of recovery, and widespread support for the services that can make it a reality for millions of Americans.”…

Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA has also delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:

  • Health : overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way;
  • Home:  a stable and safe place to live;
  • Purpose:  meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society; and
  • Community : relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

 

Guiding Principles of Recovery

 

Recovery emerges from hope:  The belief that recovery is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future – that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them.

 

Recovery is person-driven:  Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s).

 

Recovery occurs via many pathways:  Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds ? including trauma experiences ? that affect and determine their pathway(s) to recovery. Abstinence is the safest approach for those with substance use disorders.

 

Recovery is holistic:  Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.

 

Recovery is supported by peers and allies: Mutual support and mutual aid groups, including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in recovery

 

Recovery is supported through relationship and social networks:  An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person’s ability to recover; who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change.

 

Recovery is culturally-based and influenced : Culture and cultural background in all of its diverse representations ? including values, traditions, and beliefs ? are keys in determining a person’s journey and unique pathway to recovery.

 

Recovery is supported by addressing trauma : Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical and emotional) and trust, as well as promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration.

 

Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility:  Individuals, families, and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.

 

Recovery is based on respect  Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation for people affected by mental health and substance use problems – including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination – are crucial in achieving recovery.

For further detailed information about the new working recovery definition or the guiding principles of recovery please visit:  http://www.samhsa.gov/recovery/


SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Bring Sanity to our Mental Health System

(Comment from Blog owner Janice..

Back in the late 70’s I was in a graduate Community Information program (similar to a library science program..but not accredited by the American Library Association)

My internship was at the local state hospital for the mentally ill. The program I was in had a partnership with the state hospital.
The program set up an information and referral (I&R) center

The I & R center  included pamphlets, brochures, and other handouts in areas the newly released would find handy. I remember social services, food pantries, legal aid societies, health clinics, and churches.

The social workers and other staff, as well as the university program interns, would interview the patients about to be released about their information needs. Then relevant information would be collected from the I & R center and be discussed with the patients.
To this day,  I wonder just how helpful this whole process was..I remember follow up studies were done, but never saw the final reports. Still, patients were being released at an astounding rate, and while not perfect, it did somewhat address the need…
When the university program was abolished in the 80s, I believe the “database” of information..it was all in paper format..eventually went over to the United Way to supplement their information on local agencies)

From  The Center for Policy Innovation Discussion Paper #2

Abstract: Fifty years ago, America began a grand experiment by transferring to the federal government the fiscal responsibility for individuals with mental illnesses. During that half-century, it has become increasingly clear that the experiment has been a costly failure, both in terms of human lives and in terms of dollars. The outcome was, in fact, clear as early as 1984, when the chief architect of the federal community mental health centers program proclaimed it to be a failure: “The result is not what we intended, and perhaps we didn’t ask the questions that should have been asked when developing a new concept….” Bringing sanity to our present mental health system is dependent on one essential change: Return the primary responsibility for such services to the states.

In 1963, the United States embarked upon a grand social experiment. Since the nation’s founding, responsibility for providing services for mentally disabled individuals had been assumed by state and local governments. The new plan proposed by President John F. Kennedy envisioned the closing of state psychiatric hospitals and the opening of federally funded community mental health centers (CMHCs) to provide psychiatric services. This effectively shifted the burden of responsibility from the states to the federal government. The states viewed it as a way to save state funds and effectively ceased their efforts to develop or improve existing services on their own.

Half a century later, the results of this noble experiment are clear. Rarely in the history of American government has a program conceived with such good intentions produced such bad results. The patients were deinstitutionalized from the state hospitals, but most of the 763 federally funded CMHCs failed to provide services for them. The majority of the discharged patients, and those who became mentally ill after the hospitals closed, ended up homeless, incarcerated in jails and prisons, or living in board-and-care homes and nursing homes that were often worse than the hospitals that had been closed….

…The consequences of this failed experiment for mentally ill individuals, for their families, and for the public at large are legion. Mentally ill homeless persons live on our streets like urban gargoyles and expropriate parks, playgrounds, libraries, and other public spaces. Jails and prisons have become progressively filled with mentally ill inmates, thereby transforming these institutions into the nation’s new psychiatric inpatient system….

…here are ways to bring sanity to our present mental health system, but they are dependent on one essential change: Return the primary responsibility for such services to the states. …

December 23, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , | 1 Comment

Psych Care at Risk in Cedars Shutdown

From a 1 December 2011 blog item at the Mental Health Minute

It is beginning…….

Here is an article from NBC Los Angeles that show the beginning of the end.  We should all be paying attention to this event, as the rest of the nation’s health care usually follows California’s lead.  Where will these people go?  How will these people get any help?  This is so sad.

Please go to the site and read this article in full, then come back here and leave me a comment about your thoughts on this topic, won’t you?

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

Psych Care at Risk in Cedars Shutdown

Cedars Sinai says it will to close most of its mental health services, worrying providers and patients.

By Sharon Bernstein
|  Thursday, Dec 1, 2011  |  Updated 4:21 PM PST

The decision by Cedars Sinai Medical Center to phase out most of its mental health services will rip a hole an already tenuous network of care, rattled providers said Thursday.

The news that within a year the non-profit hospital system would shut down its 51 psychiatric beds and release the 1,800 people who come for outpatient counseling and medication ripped through the region’s mental health community.

Free clinics braced for an onslaught of new patients, and doctors in nearby neighborhoods wondered where they would refer people in need of care.

“It’s devastating news,” said Sheila Forman, who practices in Santa Monica and is also a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Psychological Association. “The idea that a big facility like Cedars Sinai would close its doors is a very big deal. A lot of people are in crisis right now, and they need services.”…

Read the entire blog item

 

Related item

Trends in Quality of Care and Health Care Spending for Depression Examined in New Study

ScienceDaily (Dec. 5, 2011) — Over a 10-year period, spending for Medicaid-enrolled patients with depression increased substantially but only minimal improvements in quality of care were observed, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of theJAMA/Archives journals…

“In summary, during the 10-year period between 1996 and 2005, we found a substantial increase in spending for patients with depression, with minimal improvements in quality of care,” the authors conclude. “Our findings underscore the importance of continued efforts to improve quality of care for individuals with depression, as well as the need to understand the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of using antipsychotics for the treatment of individuals with depression in the general community.”

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Physical activity impacts overall quality of sleep

US 1988–2007 No Leisure-Time Physical Activity...

Image via Wikipedia

Physical activity impacts overall quality of sleep

From the Eureka News Alert item of Tue Nov 22, 2011 13:48

(Oregon State University) People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, a new study concludes.

A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity.

The study, out in the December issue of the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, lends more evidence to mounting research showing the importance of exercise to a number of health factors. Among adults in the United States, about 35 to 40 percent of the population has problems with falling asleep or with daytime sleepiness.

“We were using the physical activity guidelines set forth for cardiovascular health, but it appears that those guidelines might have a spillover effect to other areas of health,” said Brad Cardinal, a professor of exercise science at Oregon State University and one of the study’s authors.

“Increasingly, the scientific evidence is encouraging as regular physical activity may serve as a non-pharmaceutical alternative to improve sleep.”

After controlling for age, BMI (Body Mass Index), health status, smoking status, and depression, the relative risk of often feeling overly sleepy during the day compared to never feeling overly sleepy during the day decreased by 65 percent for participants meeting physical activity guidelines.

Similar results were also found for having leg cramps while sleeping (68 percent less likely) and having difficulty concentrating when tired (45 percent decrease).

Paul Loprinzi, an assistant professor at Bellarmine University is lead author of the study, which was conducted while he was a doctoral student in Cardinal’s lab at OSU. He said it is the first study to examine the relationship between accelerometer-measured physical activity and sleep while utilizing a nationally representative sample of adults of all ages.

‘Our findings demonstrate a link between regular physical activity and perceptions of sleepiness during the day, which suggests that participation in physical activity on a regular basis may positively influence an individual’s productivity at work, or in the case of a student, influence their ability to pay attention in class,” he said.

Cardinal said past studies linking physical activity and sleep used only self-reports of exercise. The danger with this is that many people tend to overestimate the amount of activity they do, he said.

He added that the take-away for consumers is to remember that exercise has a number of health benefits, and that can include helping feel alert and awake.

“Physical activity may not just be good for the waistline and heart, but it also can help you sleep,” Cardinal said. “There are trade-offs. It may be easier when you are tired to skip the workout and go to sleep, but it may be beneficial for your long-term health to make the hard decision and get your exercise.”

November 23, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Reducing The Treatment Gap For Mental, Neurological, And Substance Use Disorders

WHO | World Health OrganizationMental Health Gap Action Programme logo

From the 17 November Medical News Today report

In this week’s PLoS Medicine, Shekhar Saxena of the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland and colleagues summarize the recent WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) intervention guide that provides evidence-based management recommendations for mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders.

This guide is aimed at reducing the treatment gap for MNS disorders, which is more than 75% in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Further details and background material to the guide can be accessed on the WHO website:http://bit.ly/vKPSRF

The authors recommend that: “In the near future, further efforts should be made to introduce formal evaluations of the capability of [treatment] programs to induce relevant and persistent changes, and to generate useful insights on how implementation in [low- and middle-income countries] should be conducted to maximize benefit at sustainable costs.”

November 17, 2011 Posted by | Psychology, Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Former Football Players Prone to Late-Life Health Problems, Study Finds

Former football players experience more late-life cognitive difficulties and worse health than other former athletes and non-athletes. An MU study found that these athletes can alter their diet and exercise habits to improve their mental and physical health. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Missouri-Columbia)

From ScienceDaily (Nov. 9, 2011)

 — Football players experience repeated head trauma throughout their careers, which results in short and long-term effects to their cognitive function, physical and mental health. University of Missouri researchers are investigating how other lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise, impact the late-life health of former collision-sport athletes.

The researchers found that former football players experience more late-life cognitive difficulties and worse physical and mental health than other former athletes and non-athletes. In addition, former football players who consumed high-fat diets had greater cognitive difficulties with recalling information, orientation and engaging and applying ideas. Frequent, vigorous exercise was associated with higher physical and mental health ratings.

Read the entire news article

 

November 14, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mental First Aid: How To Help In An Emotional Crisis

From the Mental Health Minute blog item —

Mental First Aid: How To Help In An Emotional Crisis.

Here is an article that denotes a personal struggle with OCD, an anxiety disorder.  She is one of the lucky ones who got help and then went out to find a way to help others.  OCD is a terrifying illness and I am so happy she was able to overcome it enough to participate in learning to help others with this and other mental illnesses.

Mental illness is an equal opportunity player.  No one is excused or exempt from playing in this game.

Learning the skills to help a mentally ill person is fairly easy to do.  What is hard is challenging your own beliefs about the mentally ill and making changes in your own behavior toward them.

I am reposting this article for NPR in its entirety because I believe the more people that are exposed to this message the better.  Please do click over and leave them a comment at the original site.

————————————————————————————————————————————-

by Kelley Weiss

October 10, 2011

When Nikki Perez was in her 20s, she had a job as a lab tech at a hospital in Sacramento, Calif. She said everything was going well until one day, when something changed.

“I worked in a very sterile environment, and so part of the procedure was to wash your hands,” she said. “I found myself washing my hands more and more, to the point where they were raw, and sometimes they would bleed.”

Perez went to the doctor and was diagnosed with something she had never even heard of — obsessive-compulsive disorder. At the time she was living with her parents. She quit her job and went on short-term disability.

Researchers say 1 in 4 adults has a mental disorder. But while many Americans are trained in first aid and CPR to respond to medical emergencies, few are prepared to help others experiencing a mental health crisis.

Perez said her illness turned her life upside down. She would sit in her parents’ room watching TV on the floor, afraid to move. She didn’t want to get caught up in the obsessive routines around the house.

“You check locks, check the washer, check the doors, check the window — I did a lot of checking,” she said.

Overall, it was profoundly isolating. Her family, like many people, didn’t know how to handle mental illness.

Finally, she got treatment, but her experience made her want to learn more about mental health issues so she could help others in crisis.

Emotional Crises More Common Than Heart Attacks

She found just the right class, called Mental Health First Aid. Bryan Gibb is the director of public education for the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, which runs the course.

“We often train to know CPR or the Heimlich maneuver or first aid. But the reality is, it’s much more likely that we’re going to come in contact with someone suffering from an emotional crisis than someone suffering a heart attack or choking in a restaurant,” he said.

In a 12-hour course, Gibb teaches people how to identify different types of mental illness: depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis, eating disorders and substance abuse.

Part of the learning process involves group exercises. Nikki Perez participated in one that simulated what it’s like for people who hear voices. She tried to have a conversation while someone whispered in her ear “don’t trust him,” “you’re a failure,” and “is he looking at you?”

After the class, members who get this firsthand perspective of the different symptoms of mental illness then learn how to approach someone who’s having a psychotic episode. They’re told to speak calmly and clearly, and not to dismiss or challenge the person about their hallucinations.

Direct Questions For The Suicidal

As with any first-aid course, there’s an Action Plan for what to do if someone’s in crisis: assess the person for risk of harm or suicide, listen non-judgmentally, give reassurance, and encourage the person to seek professional help.

Gibb says that for this to work, people need to force themselves to ask direct questions: Are you thinking of killing yourself? Do you have a plan? Do you have the things you need to complete that plan?

Gibb told the class to never leave an actively suicidal person alone and to call the police if the person has a weapon or is acting aggressively.

Longtime mental health advocates with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, say courses like this raise awareness about mental illness. Jessica Cruz, executive director of NAMI California, said this reduces the stigma around getting help.

“If people know that others are trained in how to deal with a crisis situation, they may even reach out for help before they even get to that crisis point,” she said.

Cruz is so impressed with the course, her own staff is going to be trained next month.

“It seems like it could be just universally applied, just like CPR,” Cruz said.

That’s already under way at schools, the workplace and churches. Since it started three years ago, more than 30,000 people have been trained around the country; another 20,000 are expected to get training by the end of the year.

Perez says she would recommend this course to anyone.

“I think it’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done for myself so far,” she said.

The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare said thousands of people like Perez now have the skills to help those experiencing a mental health crisis. But the group emphasized that this is first-aid training and should be used to keep someone safe and stabilized until the professional help arrives, just like if you’re responding to someone having a heart attack.

October 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , | Leave a comment

More Being Prescribed Psychiatric Medications With No Diagnosis

From the 4 August Medical News Today article

59.5% of antidepressant prescriptions were made with no diagnosis in 1996, in 2007 the figure rose to 72.7%, researchers reported in Health Affairs. Antidepressant drugs are today the third most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the USA.

Nearly 8.9% of the American population had at least one antidepressant prescription during any given month during the period 2005-2008.

A good proportion of this growth in antidepressant prescription has been by non-specialist providers whose patients were not diagnosed by a psychiatrist.

Read the entire article

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Knowledge Path [Resource Guide]: Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Challenges in Children and Adolescents.

Maternal and Child Health Library - A virtual guide to MCH information

The MCH Library at Georgetown University presents a new knowledge path, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Challenges in Children and Adolescents.  The knowledge path points to a selection of resources that analyze data, describe effective programs, and report on policy and research aimed at improving access to and quality of care for children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral, and mental heath challenges.

View the path online at http://www.mchlibrary.info/KnowledgePaths/kp_Mental_Conditions.html.

A new set of companion resource briefs are available, as follows:

For Families http://www.mchlibrary.info/families/frb_Mental_Conditions.html

For Schools http://www.mchlibrary.info/schools/srb_Mental_Conditions.html

Bullying http://www.mchlibrary.info/guides/bullying.html

Child Maltreatment http://www.mchlibrary.info/guides/maltreatment.html

Medications http://www.mchlibrary.info/guides/medications.html

Screening http://www.mchlibrary.info/guides/screening.html

Substance Use http://www.mchlibrary.info/guides/substanceuse.html

Suicide Prevention http://www.mchlibrary.info/guides/suicide.html

MCH Library at Georgetown University

Web site: http://mchlibrary.info

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Public Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

City Living and Stress

Greater Tokyo Area, the world's most populous ...

Ginza Area at dusk. View from Tokyo Tower.This image was created by Chris ***

From the 23 June 2011 Medical News Today article

Brain activity and biology behind mood disorders or urbanites

Being born and raised in a major urban area is associated with greater lifetime risk for anxiety and mood disorders. Until now, the biology for these associations had not been described. A new international study, which involved Douglas Mental Health University Institute researcher Jens Pruessner, is the first to show that two distinct brain regions that regulate emotion and stress are affected by city living. These findings, published in Nature may lead to strategies that improve the quality of life for city dwellers.

The above link only contains the abstract to a subscription based article.
Click here for suggestions on how to get the article for free or at low cost.

***http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ginza_area_at_dusk_from_Tokyo_Tower.jpg

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , | 1 Comment

ADHD’s Upside: Greater Creativity?

ADHD’s Upside: Greater Creativity?
Focusing issues may actually help those with the disorder think outside the box, researchers say

 

 

[Figure Caption – Percent of Youth 4-17 ever diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: National Survey of Children’s Health, 2003]

 

 

From the March 17 2011 Health Day news item

 

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) — The distractibility and impulsiveness that is the hallmark of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have a silver lining, according to a new study ** that suggests those with the disorder are more creative than those without.

Researchers gave 60 college students, half with ADHD, a series of tests measuring creativity across 10 domains — drama, music, humor, creative writing, invention, visual arts, scientific discovery, dance, architecture and culinary arts. The students also answered questions about their problem-solving styles, including preferences for generating, structuring, refining and implementing ideas.

The ADHD group scored higher on creativity across the board, the study authors said, and also exhibited a greater preference for brainstorming and generating ideas than the non-ADHD group, which preferred refining and clarifying ideas.

The study, a follow-up to one conducted in 2006, is published in the April issue of Personality and Individual Differences…..***

***For information on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here.

The abstract

Creative style and achievement in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Holly A. Whitenext terma, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author and Priti Shahb

a University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152, USA

b University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

Received 22 June 2010;
revised 5 December 2010;
accepted 13 December 2010.
Available online 13 January 2011.

Abstract

Previous research has suggested that adults with previous termADHDnext term perform better on some measures of creativity than non-previous termADHDnext term adults (White & Shah, 2006). The present study replicated previous findings using a standardized measure of creativity (the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults, Goff & Torrance, 2002) and extended previous research by investigating real-world creative achievement among adults with previous termADHD.next term Results indicated that adults with previous termADHDnext term showed higher levels of original creative thinking on the verbal task of the ATTA and higher levels of real-world creative achievement, compared to adults without previous termADHD.next term In addition, comparison of creative styles using the FourSight Thinking Profile (Puccio, 2002) found that preference for idea generation was higher among previous termADHDnext term participants, whereas preference for problem clarification and idea development was greater among non-previous termADHDnext term participants. These findings have implications for real-world application of the creative styles of adults with and without previous termADHD.next term

Keywords: previous termADHDnext term; Adult; Creative achievement; Creativity; Divergent thinking; Hyperactivity/impulsivity; Inattention; Inhibitory control

March 20, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Severe Lack of Psychiatric Resources in the US

National Institute of Mental Health Clinical C...

National Institute of Mental Health Clinical Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From a Military Health Matters! blog item by Karen Estrada, MS

This is a brand new published interview-series (7 parts), with psychiatrists Dr. Joe Parks, Dr. Richard H. Weisler, and Dr. Henry A. Nasrallah on the magnitude, impact, and means of addressing this critical situation. I highly recommend not only reading this synopsis but to read through the entire series as well.

Summary:

  • Evidence shows that this country is short 45,000 psychiatrists.
  • According to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD),[3] mental health spending dropped 5% from 2009 to 2010 and it is predicted to go down another 8% in 2011.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness study in North Carolina found that there were 3000 people on a waiting list for admission in only the first 6 months of the year; 212 people out of 3000 waited more than a week and 900 just quit looking — they just left.
  • References.

Editor’s Note:

“The United States is facing a severe lack of psychiatric care resources. Given the current economic crisis, the problem is only getting worse as state budgets for mental health care continue to be cut.”

Evidence shows that this country is short 45,000 psychiatrists.

At times of stress, like we have had in the last few years with the economy, there is an increase in psychiatric demand, particularly in terms of depression, anxiety, suicidality, and drug abuse.

The seriously mentally ill patients are not well served for numerous reasons. Beyond just a lack of resources, the system is a problem unto itself.

Psychiatry is the number-one area in which more professionals are needed.

According to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD),[3] mental health spending dropped 5% from 2009 to 2010 and it is predicted to go down another 8% in 2011.

Is the Economy to Blame?

“The economy is an easy scapegoat for the recent decline in mental health resources, but it sounds like the consensus is that the system has been at least partially broken for quite a while. “

The single biggest cause of suffering for many of our patients is that they cannot be admitted to a hospital when they relapse during medical treatment. According to a 2010 report by the Treatment Advocacy Center,[4] there was 1 bed per 300 people in the United States in 1955; currently, we have 1 bed for every 3000 people.

Maldistribution.

There are wide variances in overall funding for mental health resources, whether it’s hospital beds or community resources. There are huge maldistributions in terms of psychiatrists per 100,000 people.

There are about 3 or 4 times the number or psychiatrists in New York or Massachusetts per capita, compared with states like Texas. There are fewer psychiatrists for severely ill patients than it appears because only a small percentage of them are really seeing the very sick patients. Relatively few psychiatrists choose to work in community mental health centers or state or VA hospitals, where the sickest and most disabled patients are.

The key thing is not to treat patients in isolation, you have to reach out and develop relationships.

The recent removal of consultation codes for Medicare and some other insurance providers may undermine efforts to increase interdisciplinary consultations and collaboration because of reduced reimbursements.

Model of collaborative care.

The primary care of the seriously mentally ill is in this country, especially after the CATIE study found that a large proportion of persons with schizophrenia in the outpatient setting in the United States had their serious medical problems ignored.[11] There is hardly any relationship between community mental health centers and primary care clinics.

The CATIE study showed:

●      60% of patients with schizophrenia who had frank hypertension had never received an antihypertensive drug.

●      90% of those who had high cholesterol or triglycerides had never received a statin.

●      30% of those with clinical diabetes have never received treatment for diabetes.

“This reflects an unconscionable neglect of the physical health of the mentally ill, and it is a result of this lack of bridging between primary care and psychiatry, especially in community mental health centers.”

Prisons: The New Psych Ward.

What are the ramifications of inadequate mental health resources?

There needs to be about 40 beds per 100,000 people, there is only 17 per 100,000. Hundreds of thousands of psychiatric patients are now being sent to correctional facilities.

According to some studies and statistics:

●      35%-54% of prisoners have symptoms of mania.

●      16%-30% have major depression.

●      10%-24% have some psychotic symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations (Table 2).[4,12]

●      Even more conservative estimates reflect that 16% of prisoners have mental illness.[13]

Many of the people with mental illness have co-occurring substance abuse and disorders, and many of their convictions are substance abuse related.  Prisons are releasing to the community people with chronic mental illness; this only predisposes them to repetitive rehospitalization for psychotic and manic episodes due to poor adherence or, more likely, incarceration.

Emergency Rooms.

The ER is where everybody goes when they have a medical illness but no primary care provider, and the same thing happens with the mentally ill.  A substantial number of those who present to the ER have a mental illness.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness study in North Carolina found that there were 3000 people on a waiting list for admission in only the first 6 months of the year; 212 people out of 3000 waited more than a week and 900 just quit looking — they just left.[15]

Is Healthcare Reform the Answer?

By improving the reimbursement for mental illness — the hospitalized mentally ill — would definitely incentivize hospitals to stop closing those units and maybe even to open new ones.

A report entitled “Recommendations to Foster System Reform for Adults With Serious Mental Illness,”[16] identifying 5 key priorities for legislative, policy, and program implementation as part of National Health Reform.

The 5 key priorities are:

●      Developing a set of performance measures specific to treatment of mental illness.

●      Designating persons with mental illness a health disparities population.

●      Including mental health treatment providers in federal funding and policy related to health information technology initiatives.

●      Making sure that the new healthcare home initiatives adequately address mental illness.

●      Developing a national definition of “medical necessity” that adequately meets the needs of persons with mental illness.

References

  1. Konrad TR, Ellis AR, Thomas KC, Holzer CE, Morrissey JP. County-level estimates of mental health professional shortage in the United States. Psychiatr Serv. 2009;60:1323-1328. Abstract
  2. President’s mental health commission recommends transforming America’s mental health care system. Mental Health Commission Web site. Available at: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov/press/july03press.htm. Accessed September 13, 2010.
  3. As economy takes toll, mental health budgets shrink. Stateline Website. Available at: http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=499181. Accessed September 3, 2010.
  4. Torrey EF. More mentally ill persons are in jails and prisons than hospitals: a survey of the states. Available at: http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/storage/tac/documents/final_jails_v_hospitals_study.pdf Accessed September 3, 2010.
  5. Wing JK. How many psychiatric beds? Psychol Med. 1971;1:188-190.
  6. Goplerud EN. Assessing methods of predicting the need for psychiatric beds. Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1986;37:391-395. Abstract
  7. Häfner H. Do we still need beds for psychiatric patients? An analysis of changing patterns of mental health care. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1987;75:113-126. Abstract
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SOURCE

Stetka B. “US Psychiatric Resources: A Country in Crisis” September 22, 2010. Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/728676 [Accessed 22 Sept 2010].

Please See More: Severe Lack of Psychiatric Resources in the US  – Today on Milhealth’s Directory – MHD http://www.milhealthsdirectory.org/today-on-milhealths-directory/severe-lack-of-psychiatric-resources-in-the-us.html#ixzz10ivE2ipf
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September 27, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items, Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , , , | 3 Comments

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