General

How the Repeal of Obamacare Will Impact People with Mental Illness

When the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") was passed into law seven years ago, it signaled a fundamental change in America's healthcare system. After all, in every other first-world, industrialized nation, healthcare is a basic right of citizens. Only in the U.S. has healthcare been seen as primarily a business -- one where profits can be put before people's health.

Now as the Republicans seek to unmake Obamacare with a "repeal and replace" effort, questions have are arising about how exactly this will impact individuals -- both those who depend on Obamacare as a lifeline to affordable healthcare and those who don't. There's a lot of fear and misinformation out there right now, so I'd like to set the record straight.

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Bullying

Why Trump’s Election May Be Especially Difficult for Many Raised in Dysfunctional Families

I have heard from many who grew up with dysfunction, abuse, or narcissistic control how upset they feel by Donald Trump's election. As one person told me, “It feels like a nightmare. An egomaniac who cares little for my welfare is taking over my country and there is nothing I can do about it. I feel like I did as a kid when my autocratic dad had total control over all of us.”
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General

Who Looks After the President’s Mental Health?

Nearly 100 years ago, the U.S. appointed the first physician to look after the physical health of the president. As the president's personal doctor, he or she looks after the president's health and well-being, and provides the American public with an annual report on the president's general health.

With all that we've learned about the important and inseparable connection between physical and mental health, might it be time for the president to also have a personal psychologist or psychiatrist? After all, who looks after the president's mental health?

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Anger

Coping in the Post-Election World

The results are in. Like it or not, Donald J. Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States. And you’re likely to have feelings -- or very strong feelings -- regarding the outcome of the 2016 election. For millions of Americans, Trump’s victory has been reason for celebration; for others, great disappointment. Even if you are neutral about politics, this can...
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General

21st Century Cures Act Becomes Law, Improves U.S. National Mental Health Efforts

When President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act on December 13th, he signed into law one of the most sweeping efforts to provide additional programs and funding for health conditions and innovation in America, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, opioid addiction, medical devices, access to new drugs, and mental health. The Cures Act includes the major provisions of the Senate mental health compromise bill, Mental Health Reform Act of 2016, as well as a few additional provisions from the House's over-reaching Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016 bill.

While the bill goes a long way in helping fix certain components of mental health care in the nation, it does little for the vast majority of people who suffer from mental health concerns and receive outpatient treatment. Here are the highlights of what just became law.

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General

Universal Health Services (UHS) Skewered (Again) by New Report

Universal Health Services (UHS), America's largest psychiatric hospital provider, was skewered last week in an investigative journalism report by Rosalind Adams and published by BuzzFeed News. This wasn't some hastily thrown together hit piece, but rather an in-depth look -- talking with 175 current and former staffers at UHS hospitals and 120 additional interviews with patients, experts, and investigators into the claims brought against the company.

The report paints a picture of certain hospitals within the UHS system that seem to have significant problems and deficits. Worse yet, the company apparently has its head in the sand, denying any problems exist in its facilities, and spinning data that appears to show the company emphasizes money over patient care.

This report should act as a wake-up call for the entire inpatient psychiatric hospital industry.

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Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: December 10, 2016


My neck of the woods had its first snow yesterday! It wasn't anything major -- just some steady flurries, really -- but it lasted several hours and made me happy. I love the first snow of the season; it's just...magical to me. It always puts me in a good mood.

According to the forecast, it won't snow any this weekend, but at least I got to enjoy it yesterday.

Anyway, off to this week's mental health news! Get ready for how the 21st Century Cures Act will affect mental health care, a list of essential habits to help boost your everyday life, how training teachers in mental health could help students, and more.

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Podcast

Podcast: Does Person-First Language Reduce Mental Illness Stigma?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, Gabe and Vincent discuss the use of person-first language in mental health advocacy. Person-First refers to a form of etiquette that calls for language to be structured “person” first, “disability” second. For example: “people with diabetes” versus “diabetic.” It changes language to replace “to be” (mentally ill) with “to have” (mental illness).

Our hosts discuss the relative merits and disadvantages of this supposedly empowering strategy. They question whether this is needed, whether it’s helping, or whether it is just one more way to stigmatize people who have been diagnosed with mental illness.

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Brain and Behavior

Facebook’s Flimsy Denial of Fake News & Its Impact

Facebook paints a very dichotomous, contradictory picture of itself. On one side, they claim to be the world's largest social network, impacting the lives of over a billion people each month. On the other side, CEO Mark Zuckerberg -- apparently not using his own social network or perhaps living under a rock this past year? -- claims that Facebook has virtually no influence on national elections.

The disconnect is important, because it shows that Facebook doesn't appear to take a leadership position of responsibility for unleashing and reinforcing the technology that has become a part of billions of people's lives everyday. Is fake news an actual problem on Facebook, and if so, what can be done about it?

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Exercise & Fitness

Reading Your Medical Chart: How One Word Can Ruin Your Day

So many things have changed for the better in the past decade when it comes to a patient's transparency and ability to access their medical records. Online portals make such access to review your medical file as easy as logging in and start reading.

But with transparency comes an unexpected downside -- too much information, not always couched in gentle language. Knowing what your health care practitioner thinks of you can have emotional consequences few people are ready for -- and that few physicians or therapists understand.

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