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In the news...NARPA Issues Call for Papers
The Clearinghouse Seeks Photos of Volunteers at Work for Mental Health
Writer Seeks Interviews for Book on Mental Illness and Spirituality
Contest Open to Artists with Disabilities
SAMHSA Revises Program Priorities
Military Forcing Troops with Mental Illness into Combat, newspaper reports
Botox Treatments May Alleviate Depression, Study Suggests
Research Links Brain Abnormalities to Decline in IQ in People with Bipolar Disorder
Paucity of Child Psychiatrists Takes Toll on Troubled Youth, Nevada news outlet reports
Former Drug Abuser Enlists Filmmaker to Document His Dying Days
Symptoms of Bipolar Mania Improve with Systematic Care, Study Finds
Deep Brain Stimulation Alleviates Depressive Symptoms in Small Study
Mother’s Infection May Increase Child’s Risk of Schizophrenia, Study Finds
Studies add steam to theory that efforts to prevent mental illness can produce positive results
New EEOC Fact Sheet Targeted to Lawyers with Disabilities
Clearinghouse Consumer-Driven Services Directory
The Key Update, Volume 2 No. 12, June 2006
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The National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) is soliciting workshop proposals for its 25th anniversary conference, to be held November 15-18 at the Tremont Hotel in Baltimore, Md., The theme is "Social Justice - The Time is Now," and the deadline is June 22. For more information, including a list of possible topic areas, visit http://www.narpa.org/.* * *
The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is asking mental health consumer groups around the country to submit photos of their volunteers at work. The Clearinghouse, which produces the Key Update, will choose at least one photo to be featured on the front page of its upcoming Key Assistance Report on volunteerism. The publication reaches approximately 22,000 subscribers, and the featured organization will receive a photo credit.
Submissions should be sent as attachments to email@example.com. Entries must be at least 6" and 300 dpi. Please write "volunteer photo" in the subject line and include a description of the photo and the names of people featured in the body of the email. Address any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Daniele Sadres at 1-800-553-4539, ext.281.* * *
Author Christopher D. Ringwald, visiting scholar and director of the Faith and Society Project at the Sage Colleges in Albany, N.Y., is seeking people with mental illnesses to talk about their spiritual beliefs and practices for a book and/or articles on the subject. Ringwald especially welcomes responses from members of traditionally underserved populations, those who work outside the mental health field, and people who have not received behavioral health services. Interested parties may send a phone number where they can be reached to email@example.com, or call the author at 518-292-1727. Participants may remain anonymous in the published works.* * *
Volkswagen of America and VSA arts, a nonprofit organization that promotes increased access to the arts for people with disabilities, invite artists ages 16-25 living in the United States to submit two-dimensional artwork for possible inclusion in a nationwide touring exhibit. Fifteen finalists will collectively receive a total of $60,000 at a Capitol Hill ceremony, and their works will become part of “Destination Anywhere,” to debut at the Smithsonian Institution.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a modified version of its "Matrix of Priorities," an evolving tool that illustrates the agency’s programs and goals.
Changes include the addition of suicide prevention and workforce development to the agency’s list of program priorities. Also, disaster readiness and response changed from a program priority to a "Cross-Cutting Principle," or issue that affects all programs. Other principles include combating stigma and improving cost-effectiveness.
The content of the Matrix is determined through discussions with advisory councils, lawmakers, people who work in behavioral health, researchers, advocates, family members of people with behavioral health issues, and people in recovery.
To view the updated Matrix, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/Matrix/Matrix_Brochure_2006.pdf* * *
NEWS AND REPORTS
The U.S. military has sent troops with serious psychological problems to Iraq or kept them in combat, in spite of the fact that those in command knew of their problems, according to the Hartford Courant.
Twenty-two service members - accounting for nearly one in five of all non-combat fatalities - died of suicide in Iraq in 2005. Also, some who died of suicide in 2004 and 2005 had been kept in the service with little psychiatric treatment in spite of clear indications that they had mental problems, the Courant reported.
According to the newspaper, the military is violating its own regulations by re-deploying troops who have illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Army’s top mental health expert told the Courant that this practice has been implemented in part because of a troop shortage.
"The challenge for us...is that the Army has a mission to fight," Col. Elspeth Ritchie told the Courant, adding that recruiting has been difficult. "And so we have to weigh the needs of the Army, the needs of the mission, with the soldiers’ needs."
A study of 10 people diagnosed with clinical depression found that nine who received Botox injections felt better after the treatment. When injected into facial muscles, Botox temporarily paralyzes them and makes frowning impossible.
The study was conducted by a U.S. derma-surgeon who hopes to patent the procedure as a treatment for depression.
Experts who criticized the study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, cite the small sample and the lack of a control group of people who did not receive the treatment, among other problems with the research.
Researchers at the University College London in the United Kingdom have found links between brain abnormalities and cognitive decline in people diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Writing in the journal Psychological Medicine, the researchers described changes in the areas of the brain known to have a relationship with such key functions as learning, memory and judgment. The study, included 23 women and 13 men with bipolar disorder. Twenty-five had been diagnosed with bipolar I, which is sometimes considered more severe than bipolar II because manic episodes tend to be acute with the former. The results indicated that the individuals with bipolar II had more extensive brain abnormalities than those with bipolar I, which would suggest that the brain changes may be more associated with depression than mania.
Experts say a shortfall in child psychiatrists is driving youth with treatable mental illnesses into juvenile justice and child welfare systems because they don't get adequate treatment, according to a report by Las Vegas, Nev., news outlet KLASTV.com.
The U.S. Bureau of Health Professions expects that child psychiatrists will number about 8,300 by 2020-about two-thirds of the approximately 12,600 needed, according to the news report.
Experts suggest two reasons for the shortfall: the extensive training beyond medical school required for child psychiatrists, and inadequate insurance reimbursements, the report states.
The dying wish of a 34-year-old former methamphetamine, or meth abuser in Missouri has resulted in a 29-minute documentary to dissuade others from following his example, the Associated Press reports. The trailer for the film, "No More Sunsets: The Last Days of a Meth Addict," shows a gaunt, bedridden Shawn Bridges with a catheter to drain his urine and feeding tube attached to his stomach.
"I’d say he’s got a 34-year-old body on the outside with a 70- to 80-year-old man on the inside," said Shawn’s father, Jack Bridges. He added that "If the documentary helps just one person stay away from this terrible poison, it’s worth it."
According to the news story, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in a 2002 national survey that 12 million people ages 12 and older in the U.S. said that they had used meth at least once in their lifetime; and indications are that the number is growing.
Copies of Bridges’ documentary are available for $20 at http//www.rossettiproductions.com.Source:
http://www.rossettiproductions.com/rossetti_productions_new2_001.htm * * *
A two-year study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry has found that a structured treatment program can help control manic symptoms in people with bipolar disorder at a “modest” cost.
Researchers from University of Washington studied a program led by nurses and consisting of group psychoeducation, monthly telephone calls, reports to health professionals, facilitated follow-up treatment, and outreach/crisis intervention on an as-needed basis. They found that the people who were randomly assigned to receive the enhanced treatment experienced significantly fewer and less severe manic symptoms than did the control group, who received standard treatment.
The systematic care had no significant effect on symptoms of depression, the researchers said.
Source: Arch Gen Psychiatry 2006; 63: 500-508
Four of six people who had major depression felt better after having "pacemakers" implanted that electrically stimulated their brains, according to a study by a Cleveland Clinic Foundation neurosurgeon. The researcher noted that the treatment was only administered to people whose symptoms had not been relieved by medication, psychotherapy or electroconvulsive therapy. The journal Neuron published information about a similar study last year.
At least one expert, who had not seen the study, expressed concern that any invasive procedure might do more harm than good. He also noted that people are often misdiagnosed with depression when a different diagnosis might lead to more effective, non-invasive treatment.
A recent study found that offspring of mothers who had genital and reproductive infections around the time their children were conceived were five times more likely to develop schizophrenia in adulthood than the children of mothers who did not have such infections. In the study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers found 71 cases of schizophrenia spectrum disorders among a sample of 7,800 cases.
The authors of the study, from New York State Psychiatric Institute, note that no increased risk of schizophrenia was associated with infections during the rest of the pregnancy. They urge diagnosis and treatment of such infections before conception.
Sources: Am J Psychiatry 2006; 163: 927-929
Three recent trials of specific prevention tactics for mental illnesses have added to growing evidence that early intervention aimed at particular disorders can produce positive results, according to a story in the Psychiatric News.
One study, by researchers at Trimbos Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands, found that prescribing an enhanced intervention for primary care patients on the brink of clinical depression kept many from developing the illness.
Approximately 200 people who exhibited early signs of depression randomly received either standard care from a general practitioner or such care with guidance for using self-help techniques A year later, 12 percent of the group that received the enhanced care had developed full-blown depression, compared with 18 percent of the control group.
Another study compared primary school students who received services aimed at helping them develop socially and emotionally with students who did not receive the services. A goal of the study was to determine if the intervention helped develop the children’s self-control. The Prevention Research Center at Pennsylvania State University found that, a year later, the study group fared better than the control group.
A third study found that early screening lowered the suicide risk among people with schizophrenia. Researchers from Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo, Norway, found that a detection program comprising information campaigns targeted to the general public, schools and healthcare service providers, as well as the availability of clinical teams with diagnostic expertise, lowered the risk of suicide attempts and suicide plans among people with schizophrenia.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a fact sheet covering how the reasonable accommodation rules of the Americans with Disabilities Act affect attorneys who have disabilities and their employers. The fact sheet is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/accommodations-attorneys.html.Source: http://www.eeoc.gov/press/5-23-06.html
Source: Mental Health & Rehabilitation eCast, April 2006, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation* * *
The Clearinghouse welcomes all programs in which consumers play a significant role in leadership and operation to apply for inclusion in its Directory of Consumer-Driven Services. The directory, accessible at http://www.cdsdirectory.org, is searchable by location, type of organization, and targeted clientele and serves as a free resource for consumers, program administrators and researchers.
Apply online at http://www.cdsdirectory.org/contact, via fax at 215-636-6312, or by phone at 800-553-4KEY (4539). To receive an application by mail, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or NMHCSH Clearinghouse, 1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19107.***
The Key Update
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