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Latest News Around the Web

Event Being Held In DC Today Will Try To Encourage Veterans With PTSD To Seek Help.

On its website, WUSA-TV Washington (6/27, Brikman) reports, “An event entitled ‘Visible Honor for Invisible Wounds’ will be taking place in Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning, June 27th. The idea is to recognize how post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, severe depression, and survivor’s guilt can wound our veterans as much as roadside bombs or a sniper’s fire.” During the event, there will be “an ‘open mike’ portion of the event in which any active duty service member or veteran can share his or her story, all in an effort to further chip away at the stigma of PTSD and to seek mental health help.”

Related Links:

— “Visible Honor For Invisible Wounds, “Anita Brikman, WUSA9, June 26, 2012.

Report: Virginia Spends $12M Annually On Unnecessary Psychiatric Hospitalizations.

The Washington Post (6/27, Vozzela) reports that in Virginia, “a shortage of group homes and other community-based housing for the mentally ill keeps many patients hospitalized far longer than needed — at significant state expense and possibly in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a report that will be presented to legislators Thursday.” Specifically, “it costs $214,000 a year, on average, to keep a patient in a state psychiatric hospital, compared with $44,000 a year for community-based housing, according to the report, prepared by the inspector general’s office for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.” Currently, “with at least 70 ‘discharge-ready’ patients stuck in state hospitals, the report says, Virginia is spending about $12 million a year on unnecessary psychiatric hospitalizations.”

Related Links:

— “Space in Va. group homes scarce, some mentally ill languish in state care, “Laura Vozzella , The Washington Post, June 26, 2012.

Report Identifies Barriers To Mental Health Services For Latinos.

The Fresno Bee (6/26, Anderson) reports, “Hispanics in the central San Joaquin Valley and the state are not getting the mental-health services they need, a UC Davis report released Monday said.”

In a front-page story, the Sacramento (CA) Bee (6/26, 1A, Craft) reports, “According to Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, the study’s lead author and director of the health disparities center, up to 75 percent of Latinos who do seek mental health services opt not to return for a second appointment.” The study, “based on input from more than 550 Latinos, including some in Sacramento, found that the current workforce of psychologists and psychiatrists is ill-equipped to penetrate the disparities and bridge the cultural gulf.” While “the law says mental health services must be provided in native languages of major immigrant groups, the study’s authors found Spanish-speaking professionals few and far between within Latino communities.”

Related Links:

— “UC Davis study: Hispanics shorted on mental-health care, “Barbara Anderson, The Fresno Bee, June 25, 2012.

Study: Prescription Painkiller Abuse On The Rise.

Bloomberg News (6/26, Ostrow) reports, “Taking prescription painkillers without a medical need increased 75 percent from 2002 to 2010, and most users were men, according to the first study to look at who is likely to abuse the drugs and how often it occurs.” A research letter published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that men and people between the ages 26 and 49 experienced the greatest increase in prescription medicine abuse, and that over 15,500 people died from overdosing on medicines such as oxycodone — more than twice the number recorded in 2002.

MedPage Today (6/26, Walsh) reports, “To see if this skyrocketing rate of fatal overdoses was accompanied by an overall increase in nonmedical use of these painkillers,” researchers “analyzed data from the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health. … The analysis showed no increase in the number of people reporting any nonmedical use of prescription painkillers, or use on 1 to 200 days in the past year. But the total number of days of use rose by 35% to 612,829,084 in 2010 from 451,031,411 in 2002.”

According to Medscape (6/26, Fox), the study’s lead author “reports that during the study period, the rate of chronic (at least 200 days per year) nonmedical use of the drugs increased significantly (P < .05), although the overall number of people using these drugs for nonmedical purposes did not change." WebMD (6/26) reports that the "study shows the number of people who abused prescription pain killers for more than 200 days in the last year rose by nearly 75% between 2002-03 and 2009-10." However, "estimates for overall past-year abuse have stayed about the same since 2002." Related Links:

— “Prescription Painkiller Abuse Surged In U.S., Study Finds, “Nicole Ostrow , Bloomberg News, June 25, 2012.

Teens Who Spend More Time Being Active Outdoors May Be Healthier, Happier.

HealthDay (6/23, Holohan) reported, “Teens who engaged in more moderate-to-vigorous outdoor activity reported better health and social functioning than their peers who spent hours in front of television and computer screens,” according to a study published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics. Of the 1,216 teens studied, those “who had the highest perceived health in the study spent an average of 2.5 hours more per day playing sports or doing other high-intensity activity than their least-active counterparts.” What’s more, “youths in the study overall spent an average of 3.3 hours a day playing video games, watching television or doing other sedentary activities, compared with only 2.1 hours in physical activity.”

Related Links:

— “Active, Outdoor Teens Are Happier Teens: Study, “Ellin Holohan, HealthDay, June 22, 2012.

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