Mental Health in the News: January 21-27, 2013

Sports (Update): Royce White has been reinstated to the Houston Rockets after months of discord between the athlete and the team concerning White’s demands for accommodations for his mental health needs. According to reports, such a protocol may soon be added to White’s contract. (Sports Illustrated)

Cedar Rapids, IA: A young woman’s advocacy for others with schizophrenia sets the scene for a report on increased attention on mental illness in children. (Des Moines Register)

Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University is expanding its capacity for offering mental health services and expansion by moving into a formerly abandoned building and adding an outpatient center to St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center for student training. (Syracuse Post-Standard)

Philadelphia, PA: CBS Philly is one of several outlets still reporting on the need to understand that mental illness and gun violence are not as inextricably linked as much post-Newtown discussion implies. (CBS Philly)

United States: The DSM-V is facing criticism for changes to definitions regarding alcohol use that would define binge drinking common in college-age groups as alcoholism. Critics of the decision emphasize that, according to several studies, most people who drink heavily in college do not become lifelong alcoholics. (CNN, via Time)

United States: A Denver clinical associate professor wrote a strange-but-well-meaning piece asking readers to stay on watch for dangerous individuals: “Your gut is a finely-tuned psychological assessment tool. People are inherently excellent armchair psychologists.” I hope my readers understand that while we should all be prepared to see the signs of mental health struggles in others, attempting to diagnose others or needlessly labeling anyone as “dangerous” outside of a situation where action needs to be taken is in no one’s best interest. (Huffington Post)


Mental Health in the News: January 14-20, 2013

Canada – The Mental Health Commission of Canada is working to address mental health in the workplace with a newly-introduced initiative. They are proposing a national standard that would apply on a voluntary basis to organizations and employers seeking to “improve workplace psychological health and safety.” (CTV News)

New York StateThe NY SAFE Act, designed to protect from gun violence, is drawing some criticism for its changes to existing mental hygiene laws. Some professionals feel that making the laws stricter will prevent consumers of mental health services from being honest with their counselors and doctors, while others say that patient-professional confidentiality would not be changed by the law. (Huffington Post)

United StatesCBS reports on efforts to standardize nationwide limitations on gun ownership to people with certain mental health histories. (CBS News)

Canada – Medical experts call for more educated treatment and discussion of eating disorders, which currently tend to ignore men. (CMAJ)

Washington, DC – The Pentagon reports that the number of military deaths by suicide may have reached a record high this year, pending the investigation of over 100 undetermined deaths. Some support is currently in place for military personnel, but the numbers indicate that services are not always sufficient or accessible (CNN)

North Dakota – State Representative Larry Klemin came under fire this week for sending an email titled “Why Men Seldom Get Depressed” to colleagues this week. (Jezebel)

MusicA$AP Rocky spoke to MTV this week to talk about his depression and struggles with suicidal thoughts. The rapper included a line about suicide on a track on his new album. (Pop Crush)

SportsHBO will be airing a special on Royce White that will “shed new on the rookie forward’s dispute with the Rockets.” In an interview with Bryant Goldberg, White discusses the importance of adding a mental health protocol to his contract. (Sports Illustrated)

Mental Health in the News: January 7-13, 2013

Washington, DC: “Michael J. Fitzpatrick , executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) met yesterday with Vice President Joseph Biden ‘s task force on gun control, along with other leaders of the mental health community, urging action to strengthen and expand mental health care services.” Biden’s task force is expected to report to President Barack Obama tomorrow (January 15) (NAMI Newsroom).

The UK: A blogger for The Guardian makes the case for awarding New Year Honours to people who people living with mental illness, those who care for them, and those who publicly stand up for them. The New Year Honours are awarded on January 1 to newly named members of the orders of chivalry. (The Guardian)

The US: Legislators struggle to write laws that balance civil liberties with the need to get help for people who pose a threat to themselves or others. (USA Today)

The US: The psychiatric community is not currently meeting the needs of people of Hispano-American, according to some. Minority populations are historically less inclined to use mental health services due to differing cultural attitudes toward seeking help outside of one’s own community. It is also difficult for Spanish speakers to find services offered in their primary language. (Huffington Post)

Kansas: The Kansas City Star was one of many publications this week to report (with varying levels of unintentionally stigmatizing language choices) on our flawed state mental health systems.

Minnesota: Citing concerns that the mental health needs of the incarcerated are not being met, State Senator Al Franken has introduced a bill that would provide federal funding for mental health programs in prisons and jails. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Mental Health in the News – December 31, 2012 – January 6, 2013

This is the first of what will be a weekly round-up of mental health-related stories from news sources around the country, and, occasionally, the world.

The week’s mental health headlines

MissouriThe Columbian printed profiles of a local man and woman in its report on mental health in the LGBTQ+ community. (The Columbian) Content warning: personal descriptions of eating disorders and physical abuse.

Connecticut“Gov. Dannel Malloy set a two-month deadline for a commission to address the state’s gun laws, mental health policies and public security issues.” Involvement from mental health experts has been strongly emphasized in addressing the aftermath of the Sandy Hook elementary tragedy. (CNN)

Wisconsin – Concerns that young people with mental health struggles often end up in the legal system have led to the formation of a community group called the Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP). “CHIP is a volunteer group hosted through St. Joseph’s Hospital that provides an array of low-income care services in the area. Its volunteers include retired physicians, psychiatrists and other related fields.” Other groups local to the area take a preventative approach, through ensuring that children are raised in healthy home environments. These groups, including the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, were, as described in the article, more interested in the environmental factors of mental health than the biological. (Chippewa Herald)

New York – My local news station has been one of a handful to report on mental health stigma in the past few weeks. They wrote: “He says defamatory media will shame and deter many from seeking help, though most can substantially recover from disabling conditions with personalized services. He and other advocates said [that] recent emphasis on 24-hour emergency phone lines, peer support, housing, family services, managed care and outreach are showing results.” (WWNY TV-7)

AmsterdamA study published in Archives of Neurology reports concludes that there may be a link between dementia and depression, though one does not cause the other. In a group of over two-thousand people over 65 years old, people with depression were more than twice as likely to have dementia. (Psych Central)

Philadelphia – As bipolar disorder becomes more visible, some wonder whether it has become “over-diagnosed.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)