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The Key Update, Volume 2 No. 11, May 2006
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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has slated a by-invitation-only national conference for May 22-24 in New Orleans, to review lessons from the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes. Mental health professionals and consumer representatives will identify opportunities for consolidating the ongoing response to the hurricanes and discuss plans for responding to future disasters. For more information, contact Dacia Ettinger, SAMHSA DTAC, meetings coordinator, email@example.com, 240-744-7025.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) have awarded a five-year grant to the University of Illinois at Chicago National Research and Training Center to study self-determination, evidence-based practices, person-driven services, and transformation of the mental health system. The university will partner with the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, the National Empowerment Center and CONTAC, for the research and other training projects. For more information, visit http://www.cmhsrp.uic.edu/nrtc.
Source: Consumer Affairs News from the Center for Mental Health Services http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/consumersurvivor/* * *
A mural created by artists who have been affected by mental illness either personally, through family members, or through their work is on display until July 7 at the Museum of Sciences and Industry in Chicago, with other venues to follow. The artists created “The Abstract Mind Mural: Art Exploring Individuals Living with Mental Illness” to promote positive awareness and understanding of people who have mental illnesses and reaffirm the healing nature of art. The work includes 69 panels, most of which were created by professional artists involved with the Aldo Castillo Arts Foundation http://www.artaldo.com/mural.shtml. The rest were created by artists from the Neumann Association, which serves people who have mental illnesses and developmental disabilities http://www.neumannassociation.org/.
To view the mural online, visit: http://acaf.webfinity.biz/
An author is seeking people between 18 and 30 who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and are willing to share their experiences and advice for a book aimed at teens. All contributors will remain anonymous and interviews will be conducted by phone or e-mail. Interested parties should contact Linda Wasmer Andrews of Albuquerque, N.M., at PsychWriting@aol.com or 505-922-8786 before May 15. Contributors who provide a mailing address will receive a free copy of the finished book.
Source: Linda Wasmer Andrews, http://www.LindaAndrews.com* * *
The theme for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2006 is “Thriving in the Community.” The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has made available a Planning Notebook with tips for staging activities that promote resilience, recovery and improvement of mental health services for children and youth. at http://systemsofcare.samhsa.gov , (click on National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day).
Source: Consumer Affairs News from the Center for Mental Health Services http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/consumersurvivor/* * *
NEWS AND REPORTS
All of the psychiatric experts who contributed to the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) in the area of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, and mood disorders, such as depression, have financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, according to a study published in April in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. And of the 170 experts who contributed to the psychiatrists’ “bible” in its entirety, more than half had such ties. According to the Washington Post, American Psychiatric Association head Steven Sharfstein, who had expressed concern before the study that widespread ties to pharmaceutical companies could hurt doctors’ credibility, noted in response to the research the need for full disclosure of such relationships. Meanwhile, the researcher who led the DSM’s schizophrenia panel called the study “very flawed” because it did not differentiate between contributors who had relationships with drug companies while involved in writing the DSM and those who developed such relationships afterwards.
At the same time, a report by researchers in Australia criticized pharmaceutical firms for marketing that “promotes non-existent diseases and exaggerates mild problems to boost profits,” the Public Library of Science Medicine reported. The research was centered on the U.S.
“The motives of health professionals and health advocacy groups may well be the welfare of patients, rather than any direct self-interested financial benefit,” the researchers are quoted as saying. “But we believe that too often marketers are able to crudely manipulate those motivations.”
New Jersey has adopted a new law mandating screening of new mothers for postpartum depression and educating expectant mothers and their families about the condition. The law, passed in April, is the first of its kind, according to the Associated Press, and is expected to serve as a national model. The law was promoted by former New Jersey Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey, whose wife, Mary Jo Codey, had experienced postpartum depression and spoke out to educate others about the condition, which experts estimate affects between 10 percent and 15 percent of new mothers. Some have questioned the wisdom of government-mandated screening. Dr. Lauren Streicher of Northwestern Medical School told CBN that she was worried about the precedent that the new law would set. “You can’t, by law, dictate every medical condition that a doctor should screen for,” she said.
Source: http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-3/1144990778306650.xml&coll=1 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060426/ap_on_he_me/postpartum_depression http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/060417a.asp* * *
Behavioral therapy seems to help people with severe and persistent mental illnesses overcome drug addiction, according to a report in the Archives of General Psychiatry. In a study comparing the effectiveness of a “social learning intervention” called the Behavioral Treatment for Substance Abuse in Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (BTSAS) with a group discussion treatment called Supportive Treatment for Addiction Recovery (STAR), 54.1 percent of BTSAS participants racked up at least one month of continuous abstinence from drugs, compared with 16.3 percent of STAR participants. (Study participants were randomly assigned to one of the two groups.) In addition, BTSAS participants had fewer inpatient hospital stays than STAR participants did, as well as more money for living expenses and a significant improvement in quality of life. The study began with 129 people with severe mental illnesses, all of whom were substance abusers. Of this number, 110 became engaged in treatment; the dropout rate among BTSAS participants was about half that of STAR participants.
People who have high intelligence are more resilient and better able to function even if they also have a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, according to a University of Cambridge study. Not only does intelligence protect people against dementia and the effects of brain injury, which had previously been known, but it also can also lessen the severity of psychiatric symptoms, the study found. The good news, according to a university spokeswoman, is that people can increase their “cognitive reserve” – intelligence – by augmenting their education or working on puzzles such as crossword or Sudoku.
A new National Institute of Mental Health study of the most effective medications for schizophrenia found Clozaril to be more effective than Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa when people began to take it after their previously prescribed medication failed to relieve their symptoms. The lead author of the study, at Duke University Medical Center, noted that although Clozaril “was believed to be the most therapeutically effective drug out there,” it was under-prescribed because of the risk of serious side effects. Without intensive monitoring, the drug can cause death. The study results were published in April in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Approximately one third of people who are homeless are U.S. veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and a national survey. And the figures are expected to swell when soldiers currently in Iraq and Afghanistan come back home. Statistics show that nearly half of all homeless veterans served in Vietnam; two-thirds served for at least three years; a third served in a war zone, and three-quarters have either mental health or substance abuse disorders. Researchers are trying to figure out why veterans are twice as likely to become homeless as their peers who did not serve in the military.
Meanwhile, a study by Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, reported in the March 1 Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 35 percent of veterans returning home from Iraq used mental health services the first year after their return, and only a third of those had been diagnosed with a mental disorder. At the same time, nearly 10 percent of troops returning from Iraq tested positive for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And an article in the January 2006 edition of Psychiatric Times notes that PTSD is linked to a higher death rate from cardiovascular illness and cancer, not to mention suicide and accidents.http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/short/41/7/1-a http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=177101052 * * *
People who have schizophrenia as well as obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms are likely to feel more hopeless and to try harder to avoid stress than their peers who do not have OC symptoms, according to a study at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The research team studied 67 people with schizophrenia, 66 of whom were men. Eleven participants had OC symptoms, according to the study results, published in Psychiatry Research. The researchers hypothesize that treatments focusing on reducing anxiety may lead to more effective treatment of people who have schizophrenia coupled with symptoms of OC Disorder.
A Duke University Medical Center study of presidents who served between 1776 and 1974 concluded that 18 out of the 37 had mental illnesses, according to the January issue of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. According to the researchers, 24 percent had depression, and others suffered from anxiety, alcohol abuse (Nixon), bipolar disorder, and social phobia (Coolidge, Grant and Jefferson). At least 10 sitting presidents experienced episodes of mental illness, and their symptoms got in the way of their performance in almost all instances, the study found. The authors of the study acknowledged their reliance on secondary sources, which is considered problematic in diagnosing mental illness.
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, published by Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation in collaboration with USPRA (United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association), is now available on line at .http://prj.metapress.com The introductory rate – for a limited time only – for online access as well as a print edition is $80 for individuals and $255 for institutions. Print-only subscriptions are $60 and $215, respectively. According to its publishers, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal is an international, quarterly publication dedicated to encouraging dialogue and sharing information relevant to improving the lives of people with psychiatric disabilities. The journal reports on innovative service programs, new research efforts and outcomes, and current thinking regarding policy and administration. It is intended for, and publishes manuscripts from, mental health and rehabilitation professionals, consumers and family members.
Source: Mental Health & Rehabilitation eCast, April 2006, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation* * *
The Clearinghouse welcomes all programs in which consumers play a significant role in leadership and operation to apply for inclusion in its Directory of Consumer-Driven Services. The directory, accessible at http://www.cdsdirectory.org, is searchable by location, type of organization, and targeted clientele and serves as a free resource for consumers, program administrators and researchers.
Apply online at http://www.cdsdirectory.org/contact, via fax at 215-636-6312, or by phone at 800-553-4KEY (4539). To receive an application by mail, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or NMHCSH Clearinghouse, 1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19107.***
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