Campaign Tells Teens With Mental Illness It’s ‘OK2TALK’

A national TV and radio campaign hopes to boost awareness about mental health issues among teens.

The day before his 22nd birthday, Garrett Smith had had enough. The college student swallowed a handful of sleeping pills and hanged himself in his closet, ending a long struggle with depression and forcing his parents, former senator Gordon Smith and his wife, Sharon, to consider whether they had done enough to coax their son out of depression.

A decade and one youth suicide-prevention bill later, his father, now head of the National Association of Broadcasters, is launching a multimillion-dollar television and radio campaign to encourage young adults to open up about their experiences with mental illness.

by Fatimah Waseem, USA TODAY

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Katie Bakalian: I Am Not My Disease

On October 26th, come to Houston to hear Katie Bakalian speak about her latest work.

The Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America proudly presents Shattering Stigma – Realizing Recovery Conference and the Jazz On My Mind Gala at the Houston Marriott Energy Corridor. This conference will feature keynote speaker Penelope Frese, PhD on “Enabling vs Helping: How We Can Really Help Our Loved One.”

Katie Bakalian’s most recent work, I Am Not My Disease, is a reflection on the stigma attributed to those diagnosed with schizophrenia. Struggling with the emotional and societal effects mental illness has had on her family, the piece was driven by her desire to change negative perceptions about the illness. It confronts the stereotypes associated with schizophrenia and bridges the gap between us and them. Bakalian completed her bachelor of fine arts in 3D animation from the University of Colorado Denver.

Geography May Determine Accessibility of Mental Health Care Under Medicaid Expansion

States that opt to expand their Medicaid coverage under the new health care reform law—the Affordable Care Act—will see an increase in the number of enrollees needing mental health care. This is significant because Medicaid already funds more mental health services than any other payer in the United States. But concerns have been raised over whether there are enough mental health clinicians and facilities that accept Medicaid available to serve those new enrollees.

–Psychiatric News Alert

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Philantro: A New Way to Connect With Your Favorite Nonprofits

Philantro logoSARDAA just created an account with Philantro and are impressed with their new website. Highly recommended.

“We’ve built a platform that empowers you to follow all your favorite organizations’ social networks in one place, follow your friends, donate time, money and skills.”

Kids ‘Hearing Voices’ May Be at High Suicide Risk

Among teens in a new study from Ireland, those who reported hearing voices were at greatly elevated risk of attempting suicide within the year compared to their peers with or without mental disorders who did not experience voices.

Considered a symptom of psychosis, hearing voices was linked to a nearly 70-fold higher likelihood of a suicide attempt over the course of a year in the study of 13-to-16 year olds. That could make the symptom a valuable early-warning sign for parents to act on, according to the study’s authors.

The relationship between suicide and these symptoms had not previously been known.

By Kathryn Doyle, Reuters

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Study Disputes Link Between Combat and Suicide

Combat appears to have little or no influence on suicide rates among U.S. troops and veterans, according to a military study that challenges the conventional thinking about war’s effects on the psyche.

Depression and other types of mental illness, alcohol problems and being male — strong risk factors for suicide among civilians — were all linked to self-inflicted deaths among current and former members of the military.

But the researchers found deployment and combat did not raise the risk.

….the military suicide rate climbed sharply between 2005 and 2009, to about 20 per 100,000 people followed for one year. At the same time, there was an increase in the number of people with mental illness in the military. The reason for that is unclear, the study authors said.

The suicide rate in the general population also increased in recent years, to almost 18 per 100,000 in 2010, according to a JAMA editorial.

….Hoge said service members are routinely and extensively screened for mental illness before enlisting and afterward and those who are seriously ill are rejected. But he noted that some mental illnesses typically emerge first in young adulthood.

By LINDSEY TANNER, Associated Press

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Eleanor Longden: The Voices in My Head

To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn’t know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.

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Academy Award Winner Talks Mental Illness, Hollywood

Lindsay Lohan completed a 90-day court-ordered stay in rehab this week. Meanwhile, Amanda Bynes remains in psychiatric care.

The list of celebs in treatment goes on and on, but HLN’s Dr. Drew posed the question Wednesday night: Does the business of entertainment make it difficult, if not impossible, to treat mental illness?

To help answer that question — Academy Award winner Patty Duke – who more than 20 years ago announced she had bipolar disorder. She had even written the book “Call Me Anna” in 1987 to tell the world about her struggles with mental illness, alcohol abuse and suicide attempts.

by Dr. Drew, HLN

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Lawyers of Sound Mind? I’m an attorney with bipolar disorder. That’s nothing to worry about.

LAST week, swarms of sun-starved, soon-to-be lawyers emerged from hiding to celebrate completing the bar exam. Passing the exam, however, won’t guarantee them admission to the bar. They also have to demonstrate that they possess the requisite fitness and moral character for the practice of law.

I worry for some of them. Specifically, I worry for those who have passed the exam and lived upright lives but may still be denied admission to the bar — not because of a criminal record or a history of academic misconduct, but because of a mental illness.

It could have happened to me. Shortly after graduating from law school in 2006, I completed the Certification of Fitness application from the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions, answering myriad questions and providing fingerprints, driving records and what seemed like everything short of a tissue sample.

As is the case in many states, my fitness application included the following question, drawn from the recommendations of the American Bar Association and the National Conference of Bar Examiners: “Within the past five years, have you been diagnosed with or have you been treated for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, paranoia or any other psychotic disorder?”

by Melody Moezzi, The New York Times

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Looking for Participants in Clinical Trial: Therapeutic Efficacy of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Schizophrenia

The aim of this study is to look at the effectiveness of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) as a therapeutic intervention for patients with schizophrenia. The primary outcome is improvement in negative symptoms related to schizophrenia. The investigators are focusing on negative symptoms given their greater resistance to pharmacological and other established therapies. If the investigators trial were to show beneficial effects, its clinical significance would be great.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age between 18-65 years
  • Diagnosis of schizophrenia according to DSM-IV criteria (by a board-certified psychiatrist)

Boston, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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