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Mental Health Year in Review: 2009


An academic controversy erupted when JAMA editors flailed around because an academic called them on the carpet about their failure to objectively peer-review a JAMA-published research article. Their handling of the situation in a very public and embarrassing manner was a clear demonstration of how journals are not some unbiased bastion of objectivity.

A Swedish study that appeared in JAMA put to rest the false conventional wisdom that people with mental illness are more likely to commit violent crimes (again).

A significant review of fMRI research demonstrated that much of the fMRI research is fundamentally flawed. Those pretty pictures of brains lighting up are compelling, but too often tell us virtually nothing of value.

New research published showed antidepressant use up 75% over the past decade, while psychotherapy use was down 35%. Guess who does more direct-to-consumer marketing, therapists or drug companies? And of course, we couldn’t help but note that not only drugs can change your brain chemistry, but psychotherapy can too!


It’s been another tough year for the military and its mental health. In May, we recounted how soldiers were ordered not to commit suicide, as though duty alone would cause someone to change their mind. This year will mark the military’s highest suicide rate ever. This year also saw the sad loss of 13 lives due to Major Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood Army psychiatrist who went on a killing rampage.

February saw one of our most commented-on topics of the year, Suicide: When It Hurts Too Much To Live.

February saw the launch of our first new blog of the new year by Elisha Goldstein, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. We followed by the launch of another half dozen blogs this year (and we have more on the way!).

In June we launched our first annual mental health journalism awards to recognize outstanding mental health journalism online. Why? Because old-school organizations don’t recognize online media and we’re sick of having great online writers ignored just because they’re writing online.

June also saw the 100th anniversary of the organization formerly known as the National Mental Health Association (NMHA), Mental Health America.

Texas finally fired or suspended 286 abusive employees who cared after the vulnerable patients in their state mental hospitals. Georgia has had similar problems with its state mental health hospitals, and I’m sure those aren’t the only two states who have these sorts of problems. Philadelphia has an approach that tries to keep people with mental illness out of prisons that we’re hoping other cities and states consider.

We lost a true advocate for mental health in the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy last year. Without his tireless efforts and support for many, many years, last year’s national mental health parity bill may have never passed.

The revision of the diagnostic bible for mental disorders lumbered along in 2009, and we noted its progress, especially when it came to its lack of transparency in its updates. It’s publication date has been pushed back another year, until 2013. A few days ago, we published some suggestions for change for the DSM-V and beyond.

In September, we noted the future publication of Carl Jung’s Red Book. While now available for purchase, your order may be delayed for months still due to the huge, unexpected demand for this book. An interesting insight written by one of psychology’s most interesting characters.

We published the prevalence of common mental disorders graph last year, because while information is knowledge, useful infographs hold even more knowledge.

The sad saga of Balloon Boy made the rounds at the end of October.

And where would our sanity be without learning that another celebrity — this time, golfer Tiger Woods — hasn’t lived up to the unrealistic expectations of his fellow humans?

5 Most Popular Blog Entries for 2009

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12 Most Annoying Bad Habits of Therapists

Teens, Sex and Technology

8 Steps to Closure When a Friendship Ends

10 Secrets Your Therapist Won’t Tell You

5 Most Read News Stories for 2009

Do we see a pattern?

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Older Women Still Enjoy Sex

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Dangerous Teen Sex

Mental Health Year in Review: 2009

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Mental Health Year in Review: 2009. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 10, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 20 Dec 2009)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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