Policy and Advocacy Articles

Where’s the ‘Individual’ in the Mental Health Care Reform Discussion?

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Where’s the “Individual” in the Mental Health Care Reform Discussion?Much has been written in the last several months about national mental health care reform in response to two separate bills making their way through Congress.

The most well-known is the Murphy bill introduced by U.S. Representative Timothy Murphy from Pennsylvania. Rep. Murphy is a credible expert on the topic. He has been a practicing psychologist and has co-authored publications on child and adolescent mental health. His bill has stirred controversy among mental health providers and advocates with both groups expressing varying opinions of support and dissent. One of the more controversial elements of the bill is expansion of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT).

But all of this discussion is a distraction from what should be our real focus.

Obamacare Helps Young Adults Get Mental Health Treatment

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Obamacare Helps Young Adults Get Mental Health TreatmentDespite all the hype and hand-wringing done over Obamacare — aka the Affordable Care Act — there’s a lot of good coming already from its implementation. And if some politicians want to undo this good, they may find themselves up against an increasing vocal minority of their citizens who’ve benefited.

The latest data suggests that we’ve seen a rise in young adults who seek out mental health treatment, because they’re still covered under their parent’s insurance due to Obamacare provisions.

Who Cares? People with Mental Illness Overwhelm US Justice System

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

mental-illness-overwhelms-justice-system

Americans just don’t seem to care that we’ve moved treatment of serious mental illness from inpatient hospitals to jails. We’re the only industrialized nation to do this on the kind of massive scale that we have. Instead of getting people with serious mental illness into treatment, we’re perfectly content as a society to spend more imprisoning them, and restricting their access to needed treatment.

Perhaps because it’s a state issue, people don’t realize this change has happened slowly but systematically over the past two decades. It’s seemingly accelerated in recent years, as state funding for public mental health treatment has dried up.

But there’s ultimately a price to pay for this not caring. And it’s a much higher cost than many of us are aware of.

Ted Stanley Donates $650 Million to Psychiatric Research

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Ted Stanley Donates $650 Million to Psychiatric ResearchWow. Just wow.

Nobody has ever donated so much money dedicated to better understanding the foundations of mental illness.

The gift, announced earlier this week, is being made by Ted Stanley to his Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute to support its ongoing — and new — research into the genetic and molecular basis of psychiatric disorders.

Join the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in DC on Sept. 16

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Join the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in DC on Sept. 16

The Brain & Behavior Research …

Every American Will Experience This in Their Lifetime — Or Know Someone Who Will

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Every American Will Experience This in Their Lifetime -- Or Know Someone Who Will

It’s amazing to me how far we’ve come in talking about these things in the past few decades. Conversations I couldn’t imagine people ever having with one another — they’re finally having them.

And yet for all the road we’ve traveled, we still have a long ways to go. We still need to be talking more about it. With our friends, our family, our loved ones.

This video is only 2 minutes long, yet tells the story that is so familiar to many of us. And if it’s not something you’ll experience directly, you’ll definitely know someone who does.

PLOS Blogger Calls Out PLOS ONE Journal — Huh?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

PLOS Blogger Calls Out PLOS ONE Journal -- Huh?We’re living in strange times.

You don’t have to look any further than this lengthy critique of a recent journal article.

The critique appears on a Public Library of Science (PLOS) blog called Mind the Brain penned by James Coyne, PhD. Ployne is a well-published and diverse researcher himself, so he knows bad research when he sees — or smells — it.

The journal article being critiqued?

Something that was published by PLOS itself in its premiere open-access journal, PLOS ONE.

Oooops! 80 Percent of Mentally Ill are Not Jobless

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Oooops! 80 Percent of Mentally Ill are Not JoblessWhile I’m sure NAMI appreciates all the media coverage on their new National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) report on the state of unemployment and people who suffer a mental illness, some of the stories are missing a pretty big qualifier.

It’s not among all people with mental illness who have the 80 percent jobless rate.

No, it’s only the minority of people with a mental illness who are also receiving care in the public mental health system. And that’s a big difference.

What Does Your Therapist Think About You?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

What Does Your Therapist Think About You?Psychotherapy can sometimes be a little frustrating. You sit in an office, share your life with your therapist, but get only a small window into what your therapist thinks about you. They share their insights in little dribbles that come out from time to time.

When what we really want is the whole kit and kaboodle.

So an interesting experiment at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is raising eyebrows — giving patients electronic access to their mental health notes.

Finally — Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier Approved

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Finally -- Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier ApprovedFor decades, mental health advocates in the community have been calling for one of the most popular and iconic suicide sites in the world to erect a suicide barrier. We’ve been talking about it for nearly a decade here on this blog and noted 6 years ago that a suicide net for the Golden Gate Bridge was approved.

It took them nearly three years from the last major update on their website to finally approve funding for the project. The Golden Gate Bridge will finally get its net suicide prevention system.

Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect Adult Behaviors

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect Adult BehaviorsAdverse childhood experiences negatively affect adult life, says a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). One in four young adults were severely maltreated during childhood and approximately half of adults in England have suffered an adverse experience during their childhood.

Roughly one in ten adults have experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences. There are many forms of childhood adversity, ranging from physical abuse to emotional neglect.

Delusional Thinking 101: How Blaming Mental Illness Won’t Help Stop Mass Shootings

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Delusional Thinking 101: How Blaming Mental Illness Won't Help Stop Mass ShootingsWe’ve written in the past how there’s is a real delusional disconnect between the desire to act to stop future mass shootings, and people constantly pointing the finger at mental illness as being the root of the problem.

I say “delusional” because the leap of logic it takes to utter statements like, “mentally ill people only account for a small fraction of the gun deaths in America every year” and “the vast majority of those gun deaths are suicide, not homicide,” and then to blame such violence on mental illness is mind-boggling. I just cannot understand it.

Yet that’s exactly what Mel Robbins over at CNN has done. She says “don’t blame the NRA” for these shootings. I say, stop blaming people with mental illness too.

Recent Comments
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