Policy and Advocacy Articles

Therapists 2014: The Intersection between Clinician, Business Savvy & Personal Brand

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Therapists 2014: The Intersection between Clinician, Business Savvy & Personal BrandIn October 2009, I wrote my first piece in a series for Psych Central on the changing landscape of therapists online. Psychotherapists Unmasked on the Internet reflected upon a conversation I’d had with my psychiatrist father five years prior, who gave me an earful around the ethics of having my picture up on my website.

What he didn’t realize at that time was that websites were becoming an important marketing tool in our profession and that a move toward therapist demystification was occurring. A hearty discussion among many in our field around how to navigate it all was under way.

Stigma and Publicity

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Stigma and Publicity#DoubtfireFace Challenge for Suicide Prevention? Never heard of it.

The ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” is undoubtedly one of the most successful and engaging fundraising efforts in recent history. The challenge, which involved posting a video of yourself getting doused by a bucket of ice water, quickly gained popularity and became a social phenomenon. Teens, adults, celebrities, and politicians (including former President George W. Bush) all took part in the challenge, with their videos gaining tens of millions of views.

World Suicide Prevention Day, 2014

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

World Suicide Prevention Day, 2014

Every day around the world, families and friends grieve the loss of a loved one due to suicide. Not once. Not twice.

But over 2,000 times per day someone takes their own life.

Can you imagine? If Ebola took 2,000 people’s lives per day, we’d hear a world outcry and an immediate call to action.

But since it’s just suicide, we turn a blind eye. We go on with our merry lives, and pretend it couldn’t happen to us. It couldn’t possibly happen to someone we know.

That’s how we lose so many people a day. Denial. Ignorance. Stigma. Discrimination.

Talking to Someone About Suicide

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Talking to Someone About Suicide

So you suspect a friend is grappling with thoughts of suicide. Maybe they’ve withdrawn more and isolated themselves from their normal social life. Maybe they’ve just seemed more down in the dumps and depressed. Maybe they’ve even expressed a desire or thought in passing about how things would be better without them.

What do you do?

Some people feel uncomfortable talking about these kinds of feelings. Others may feel ill-prepared or unequipped to handle someone talking to them about suicide. Others still may fear unleashing a torrent of despair from their friend, one they wouldn’t know what to do with.

Here’s how you talk to someone about suicide.

Will Social Anxiety Keep Your Child From Succeeding in School?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Will Social Anxiety Keep Your Child From Succeeding in School?With the ringing of the first classroom bell to signal the start of a new school year, two images often come to mind: children excited about seeing old friends and their favorite teacher, or the endearing scene of a shy child clinging to his mother’s leg.

But what if the latter scenario is not as innocent as popular culture depicts? In the most recent Care For Your Mind (CFYM) series, experts associated with the Anxiety and Depression Association of America shed light on a debilitating but little known disorder, social anxiety disorder (SAD) that effects 12% of youth. Often first appearing in grade school, this disorder can be treated and managed with the right support and professional help.

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.

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