Latest News Around the Web
Medscape (5/3, Davenport) reports, “Severe mental illness need not be considered as a barrier to undergoing bariatric surgery,” researchers found after studying “patients who underwent bariatric surgery in 2012–2013 in seven US healthcare systems in the Patient Outcomes Research to Advance Learning (PORTAL) network.”
The study revealed that “patients with preexisting mental-health disorders can achieve comparable weight loss to those without mental illness.” The findings were published in the May issue of Obesity. The author of an accompanying editorial wrote that a diagnosis of mental illness “can no longer be considered a viable exclusion criterion.”
— Medscape (requires login and subscription)
STAT (5/3, Joseph) reports there are now 71, up from four, residential treatment programs for substance abuse for Medicaid beneficiaries in Virginia, “made possible in part by a new type of ‘waiver’ from federal rules that has dramatically expanded treatment options.” According to STAT, up to 200,000 of Virginia’s “1.1 million Medicaid beneficiaries have a substance use disorder, and fatal opioid overdoses doubled from 2010 to 2016.” The “growing opioid epidemic…stirred federal Medicaid officials to take action and widen access to care.”
— “How Virginia dramatically expanded treatment options for addiction (and skirted federal law),” ANDREW JOSEPH, STAT, May 3, 2017.
HealthDay (5/2, Dallas) reports, “Gender differences in depression diagnosis and symptoms start to appear around the age of 12,” researchers found after “reviewing existing studies that involved a total of about 3.5 million people from more than 90 countries.” The meta-analysis revealed not only that “depression affects significantly more women than men,” but also that “the gender gap appears two to three years earlier than previously thought.” The findings were published online April 27 in the Psychological Bulletin.
— “Depression’s Gender Gap Shows Up in Pre-Teen Years,” Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay, May 2, 2017.
HealthDay (5/2, Preidt) reports that a Michigan State University survey indicates “ignorance, myths and stigma are still common among Americans when it comes to mental health.” The online survey of approximately 4,600 people nationwide found, among other things, that “most people don’t know what to do about depression even if they recognize it.” Meanwhile, “nearly 80 percent don’t believe prescription drug abuse is a treatable problem.”
— “Mental Health Myths Abound in the U.S.,” Robert Preidt, HealthDay, May 2, 2017.
The AP (4/29, Balsamo) reported from Los Angeles, CA that “the Twin Towers Correctional Facility is home to about 4,000” inmates with mental illness, about 30% of the inmate population there. That increase in prisoners with mental illness “has led the sheriff’s department to adapt its policies as deputies and clinicians work to treat people dealing with both psychiatric disorders and substance abuse.”
In fact, “over the past year,” the Los Angeles County “sheriff’s department has rolled out new training programs that focus on de-escalating potentially violent situations and teach deputies to handle mentally ill inmates…said” Kelly Harrington, “the assistant sheriff in Los Angeles who oversees the county jail system.” What’s more, “county officials have launched a program to transition” inmates with mental illness and comorbid “substance abuse problems to continue their treatment in community programs so they don’t return to a life of crime to get quick cash to buy drugs.”
— “SPIKE IN MENTALLY ILL LA JAIL INMATES LEADS TO NEW POLICIES,” MICHAEL BALSAMO, Associated Press, April 29, 2017.
The Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry, Inc.’s latest public service announcement on local Maryland radio stations focuses on how how various illnesses can be linked to depression. Being ill by itself can often be enough to cause depression, but many illnesses can affect the brain and lead to depression, too. The spot urges people to seek help when needed.
Illness and DepressionIllness and Depression
The Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry, Inc.’s latest public service announcement on local Maryland radio stations focuses on guns and mental illness, and specifically on the role guns play in depression and suicide.
Guns and Mental IllnessGuns and Mental Illness
The Maryland Parity Project is an initiative of the Mental Health Association of Maryland that “works to educate insured Marylanders of their new rights in accessing mental health and addiction treatment under The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.”
Their website says understanding the complex system of state and federal rules governing mental health coverage can be very difficult. Their staff hopes to alleviate concern and stress by answering questions for insured Maryland citizens. They will provide case assistance as well as evaluate complaints, help with appeals to an insurer’s decision, and assist filing complaints with the proper government authority.
You can find more information at their website here: Maryland Parity Project
The Maryland Parity Project is a featured link on our Links page.
The Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry, Inc.’s latest public service announcement on local Maryland radio stations focuses on the real statistics concerning mental illness and violence. It discusses the problem of cuts in mental illness coverage by insurance companies and less focus by government.
Nominations are now being accepted for the Foundation’s 2013 Outstanding Merit Award.
The annual Outstanding Merit Award is given for a worthy endeavor in Maryland that accomplishes one or more of the following:
- Increases public awareness and understanding of mental illness
- Enhances the quality of care for psychiatric illness
- Reduces the stigma of mental illness
Nominations for this award of $1000 are being invited from the entire Maryland community. A short nomination form must be submitted with a cover letter by March 1, 2013, to the Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry, 1101 Saint. Paul Street, Suite 305, Baltimore, MD 21202-6405. The form is available as PDF or Word document.