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In the news...Art and Literary Magazine That Focuses on Disability Seeks Stories
Suicide Prevention Resource Center Seeks Materials
Federal Agency Demands Overhaul of Emergency Evacuation Plans for People with Psychiatric Disabilities
Maine Psychiatric Hospital Becomes Last in Maine to Ban Patient Smoking
Americans Who Think About Suicide Are Not Getting Help, Study Finds
FDA to Issue Guidelines for “Adaptive” Drug Research
Churchill Statue in Straitjacket Combats Stigma of Mental Illness
If Two Antidepressants Don’t Work, a Third May Not Help Either, Study Finds
Pentagon Officially Removes Homosexuality from List of Mental Disorders
Advocate for Prevention of Mental Illness Dies
National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives Site Launched
Chicago Consortium Publishes Book on Fighting Stigma
Clearinghouse Consumer-Driven Services Directory
The Key Update, Volume 3 No. 2, August 2006
Key Update print version.
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Kaleidoscope Magazine, a publication that explores the experience of disability through literature and fine arts, is seeking “life stories” for its July 2007 issue. Submissions must be received by March. The semiannual publication also accepts contributions on a variety of disability-related subjects. The magazine publishes articles, fiction, poetry, personal essays, reviews, and art—including cartoons and photographs that explore various aspects of disability. Guidelines are available at the link below.Source: http://www.udsakron.org/kaleidoscope.htm * * *
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) is seeking materials related to faith-based, rural, and GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) populations about preventing and responding to mental illness, suicide or suicide attempts. SPRC is also seeking suicide prevention materials in Spanish. Contributions and suggestions may be sent to email@example.com or SPRC Library, Education Development Center, 55 Chapel St., Newton, MA 02458.
Source: http://www.sprc.org* * *
NEWS AND REPORTS
Federal Agency Demands Overhaul of Emergency Evacuation Plans for People with Psychiatric Disabilities
The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advises the president and Congress, has called on federal, state and local governments to make sweeping changes in disaster relief for people with mental illnesses. The council issued a report, “The Needs of People with Psychiatric Disabilities During and After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Position Paper and Recommendations” (http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2006/peopleneeds.htm), that is deeply critical of pre-Katrina disaster planning. The document cites evidence of large-scale mismanagement and wide-ranging discrimination against people with psychiatric disabilities. Recommendations include involving people with psychiatric disabilities in emergency planning, ensuring accessible emergency services for people with any type of disability, tailoring evacuation plans to the needs of people with psychiatric disabilities, making a single person or office responsible for disability issues during disasters, and continuing disaster relief and recovery efforts for at least two years following a disaster.
Justice Daniel Wathen, who oversees Riverview Psychiatric Center, a state hospital in Augusta, Maine, has banned smoking in the hospital to help patients avoid the health risks posed by tobacco use, according to the Kennebec (Maine) Journal.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, people with mental illnesses account for nearly 45 percent of all the tobacco smoked in the United States although, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, they constitute 26.2 percent of the population in a given year.
Wathen’s controversial decision reverses his 2004 decision, in which he said that prohibiting state hospital patients from smoking would cause many to enter a state of withdrawal that could exacerbate their psychiatric symptoms, newspapers reported.
According to the reports, the judge said his change of heart came because the facility had emerged from its previous state of “turmoil” while adjusting to a new management structure and undertaking a new effort to combat diabetes among patients that included a ban on food and drinks containing sugar.
A UCLA study published in the July-August edition of General Hospital
Psychiatry has found that only about half of those who had thoughts about
killing themselves received significant mental health care during the last
year. The study concluded that nearly half of those who experienced
suicidal thoughts did not believe they needed care; this group included
some who received treatment. However, even those who do believe that they
need care encounter barriers to treatment, the researchers said. They
found that 3.6 percent of those who responded to a nationally
representative survey reported thoughts of suicide, and nearly
three-quarters of these people probably had a treatable psychiatric
disorder. Almost 40 percent of the latter group did not get care, the
study found. Sources:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced planned guidelines that will allow researchers to adapt their studies based on early results. Currently, drug studies are “blind” in that no one knows the results until the studies are completed. The new guidelines would allow researchers to modify their studies so that, for example, they could give an apparently effective treatment to more of the study’s participants or abandon a study if a treatment seems ineffective. The FDA hopes the guidelines will lead to less costly, more efficient studies. However, some fear that the new guidelines will result in biased or erroneous findings.
Rethink, a British charity working to improve the lives of people with severe mental illnesses, has just issued the results of month-long anti-stigma campaign that included a statue of Winston Churchill in a straitjacket. The statue of the late British leader—who experienced depression—symbolized how people can overcome mental illness and its stigma. According to Rethink, the percentage of people willing to say they had a mental health problem doubled from 15 percent before the campaign to 30 percent after the campaign, and 33 percent of people surveyed before the campaign strongly believed that people with mental illness are often dangerous compared to 21 percent after.
Researchers have found that people who experience no relief from depression while taking two frequently prescribed antidepressants often did not respond to a third, the Associated Press reported. In a six-year study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the overwhelming majority of people who had not responded to the first two medications, given in sequence or with the second added to the first, found that a third antidepressant did not relieve their symptoms either.
On June 28, the Pentagon announced that it no longer considers homosexuality a mental disorder, Reuters reported. The announcement came after the American Psychiatric Association and several legislators asked the Department of Defense to reverse itself on the issue. A 1996 Pentagon document reclassified as “current” three years ago listed homosexuality among mental disorders. The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is still in place, Reuters noted.
George Albee, an award-winning past president of the American Psychological Association, died July 8 at his home in Long Boat Key, Fla., at 84. Albee believed that poverty, racism, and other societal ills were the main causes of mental disorders, according to his obituary in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. He advocated replacing state hospitals with community-based treatment for people with psychiatric disorders and believed the cost savings would allow early intervention and prevention.
The Duke University Medical Center and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law have established the National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives (NRC-PAD) http://www.nrc-pad.org/. The site offers information about psychiatric advance directives, including forms (22 states have specific PAD forms), links to state statutes, and frequently asked questions.
Source: Mental Health E-News of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services* * *
The Chicago Consortium for Stigma Research, a group of Chicago-area researchers who study the stigma related to mental illness, have published a summary of their work over the past five years. “On the Stigma of Mental Illness: Practical Strategies for Research and Social Change” also includes an overview of the problems of public and self-stigma, first-person accounts of people who have experienced stigma, and stigma change strategies. Patrick Corrigan, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at Northwestern University and executive director of the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, both in Evanston, Illinois, edited the book. The consortium is funded in part by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.
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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