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Criminal Justice

Hurricane Irma: A Chance to Lock up the Homeless in Miami

You know how many people pull together in a natural disaster, treating each other with more kindness and pitching in to help? While hunkering down here in the path of the hurricane that has devastated parts of Florida, I've seen many people lending a hand to help strangers. It's been very heartwarming.

But I've also seen a darker side here in Florida. Some officials have discovered that Hurricane Irma is a different kind of opportunity -- to clear the homeless from the streets of Miami. Police, working in conjunction with an activist group and a handful of mental health professionals, gave homeless individuals what seems like a simple choice: either go to a shelter or get sent for a psychiatric evaluation against their will.

This is a flagrant violation of a person's individual liberties, twisting a law meant to protect people with a mental illness. The law was not crafted to make people do all manner of things against their will.

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Depression

Why I Wouldn’t Take Google’s Depression Test

At the end of August, Google decided to make available directly on its site (through a "knowledge panel") the ability to take a depression screening quiz. We know a thing or two about online depression screening quizzes, because back in 1996 I put one of the first interactive depression screening quizzes online, long before Google even existed.

Here's the thing... Depression screening tests -- like the PHQ-9 that Google is now offering on its website -- are super helpful tools to give a person a little more insight into the possibility of having a serious mental illness. The problem with Google offering it is that this mega-marketing company is collecting your health data. Do you really want Google to have this kind of sensitive information about your mood?

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Minding the Media

A Twitter Diagnosis

Hypothetical tweet from @DumpTrump: “Did you see the latest Trump meltdown? How did we elect such a megalomania? No question, the guy is mentally ill.”

In a snarkily filled tweet (or, let’s say, a snarkily written 500-word column), we impugn the President’s mental stability. And we -- composing that latest Facebook missive or Twitter soundbite -- are not alone. From CNN to Washington Post, armchair commentators have diagnosed Trump with a buffet of mental health issues. “He is narcissistic,” the commentators scream. “No, he isn’t narcissistic; the problem is his inability to control his impulsive tendencies,” another talking head bloviates. “No, it isn’t his impulsiveness; the real problem is his bullying, disparaging treatment of, well, anyone,” the latest scribe sneers.  
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Celebrities

Psychology Today Promotes Its Own Trump Fake News

No matter what your political view, it is disconcerting when we run across news online that is not factually correct. President Trump refers to such news stories as "fake news" -- but also includes in this category any news story he simply doesn't agree with.

Earlier this month, Psychology Today ran an article titled, "60,000 Psychologists Say Trump Has 'Serious Mental Illness'."

The problem with this headline? It wasn't true. But that didn't stop the editors at Psychology Today from publishing it on their web site for four consecutive days, before they were called out on the issue on Twitter for its inaccuracy.

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Ethics & Morality

Are Psychiatrists Allowed to Publicly Diagnose the President?

As much as we’d like to believe that psychiatrists -- as well as other mental health professionals -- are above reproach, the truth is that they are people first. And people come with opinions, biases, and agendas. It’s because they are people first that governing bodies have come up with rules to govern their professional ethics.

Most of these rules are obvious and well understood. Psychiatrists aren’t permitted to date their patients, for example. But other rules aren’t as well known, such as the
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Aging

Psychology Around the Net: July 22, 2017


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

Confession time: I've been struggling a lot lately with work-life balance. Hasn't everyone at some point? Probably. Trying to manage work responsibilities, exercise, some semblance of a social life, personal hobbies and passions--oh, and let's not forget a proper sleep schedule--whew. Failing--and failing for longer than you care to admit--can bring on the panic, anxiety, and depression in a major way.

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: July 1, 2017


I'm super pumped, friends. This weekend, I'll be traveling to a city I've never visited to see a band I've never seen live (and never thought I would).

I love going to concerts. I go to multiple shows each year and I thrive on the anticipation before the show, the energy during the show, and the sense of "I just experienced something truly amazing" after the show, and guess what? All these concerts are benefiting the crap out of my mental health. Specifically, they reduce stress and boost my spirits, provide a sense of connection with the community (especially when it's a local concert), helps me reflect on life.

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Health-related

Putting the Health and Care in Healthcare

Red, white, and blue. The blue represents Americans’ collective mood.

Is it our work-centric culture? Our reticence to discuss mental health? Our collective independence?

Regardless the U.S. stands for Under Stress. But why are we so unhappy -- at least compared to our Scandinavian brethren? Denmark and Norway top Forbes’ list of the world’s 10 happiest countries. The two countries pace CNBC’s list as well. By comparison, the stars and stripes check in at #15, lagging behind, umm, Costa Rica.
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General

Secret Documents: Facebook Appears to Put Features, Profit Above Users’ Safety

Facebook, the 13-year-old behemoth with 1.23 billion active users, generates over $8 billion per quarter in revenue -- $3 billion of that is net income (e.g., profit).

But with so many users, Facebook appears to have relegated user safety to a secondary concern. Until earlier this year, Facebook employed only 4,500 people to review content. Which sounds like a lot of people until you realize that those 1.23 billion active users are sharing billions of pieces of content every day, with millions of user complaints about Facebook content filed each and every day.

Does Facebook have a serious user safety problem on its hands? A just-published Guardian review of secret, internal documents suggests its problem is out of control.

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General

Podcast: Mental Health Awareness Is Not Enough (Special Guest: President/CEO of Mental Health America)

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales welcome Paul Gionfriddo, President & CEO of Mental Health America. They discuss the origins of Mental Health Awareness Month and the MHA Bell. The understanding and acceptance of mental illness has come a long way in our society, but there is still much room for improvement. Listen as these issues are discussed in depth. And check out these great links:


MHA Mental Health Screening Tools
Real Schizophrenia Stories

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