World Bipolar Day logoWorld Bipolar Day is celebrated annually on March 30, the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who is believed to have had bipolar disorder. World Bipolar Day is a day to remember that those who have bipolar disorder are capable of achieving great things and to remind them that they are not alone, for the general public to learn more about the disorder from people who live with it, and to learn the importance of fighting the stigma associated with bipolar disorder.  –

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SARDAA Health Storylines – The polls are in!!!

The polls are in

Have you seen the new polling feature now available to you on your SARDAA Health Storylines app? Located on the left sidebar in your app, you can now participate in community polls and see how others like you are doing.

If you need any assistance, whether it be with the new polls, another app feature, or just someone to talk to, don’t be shy to contact us at (844) 475-4637. We are here to help you make the most out of your SARDAA Health Storylines app!

Experimental Combination Surprises with Anti-HIV Effectiveness

A compound developed to protect the nervous system from HIV surprised researchers by augmenting the effectiveness of an investigational antiretroviral drug beyond anything expected. The potency of the combination treatment, tested so far in mice, suggests that it would be possible to rid the body of HIV for months, reducing the frequency with which patients must take these medications from daily to several times a year.

Even when people with HIV infection take antiretroviral drugs, more than 50 percent have HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), which can result in any of a variety of symptoms, including confusion and problems with memory. NIH-supported scientists led by Harris A. Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry developed the compound URMC-099 to protect against HIV-associated neurologic damage. This and similar compounds would always be administered with an antiretroviral medication; the objective of this research was to test URMC-099 as such an adjunct.

Click here to read the complete article on National Institute of Mental Health website.

Emergency Department Visits Related to Schizophrenia Among Adults Aged 18–64: United States, 2009–2011

A new NCHS report describes the rate and characteristics of emergency department (ED) visits related to schizophrenia among adults aged 18–64.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • During 2009–2011, an estimated 382,000 ED visits related to schizophrenia occurred each year among adults aged 18–64, with an overall ED visit rate of 20.1 per 10,000 adults.
  • The overall rate for ED visits related to schizophrenia for men (26.5 per 10,000) was approximately double the rate for women (13.8 per 10,000).
  • Public insurance (Medicaid, Medicare, or dual Medicare and Medicaid) was used more frequently at ED visits related to schizophrenia compared with ED visits not related to schizophrenia.
  • About one-half of ED visits related to schizophrenia led to either a hospital admission (32.7%) or a transfer to a psychiatric hospital (16.7%); these percentages were higher than for ED visits not related to schizophrenia.

Click here to view the full report.


Schizophrenia Treatment: How does your state rank?

Clozapine is an antipsychotic medication used to treat the 20 to 30 percent of Schizophrenic patients who do not respond to other medications. This medication is referred to as the “gold standard” of Schizophrenia medications and, according to an expert on Schizophrenia, should be prescribed to at least 10% of people with Schizophrenia. A report by the Treatment Advocacy Center’s Office of Research & Public Affairs  shows how each state in the U.S. ranks for Clozapine subscriptions. States with the highest percentage of prescriptions for Clozapine include South Dakota, Connecticut, and Colorado, while the states with the lowest percentages include Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona. The report suggests that the reason psychiatrists are not prescribing the medication is due to the blood tests and monitoring required with use of the drug. Similarly, patients are reluctant to agree to ongoing blood tests and monitoring associated with the drug. Compared to the recommended 10%, less than half of US States prescribe Clozapine 10% of the time or more.

How does your state rank? Click here to view the full report.

Can playing video games improve your health?

A new study posted in Psychiatric Services has linked playing video games to better health. In the study patients with Schizophrenia participated in a 12 week program where they exercised for 1 hour, three times a week. The study found that the patients, who were given multiple choices of aerobic exercise options, chose active-play video games more than any other option. The study also reported that patients’ heart rates while playing the games was similar to other aerobic exercises. The patients reported that they enjoyed the games and were willing to recommend them to others. People with Schizophrenia are more likely to be sedentary than most of the population. The study shows promising evidence that active-play video games, such as Xbox 360 with Kinect are a good way to get schizophrenic patients to be more active and may improve neurocognition.

To learn more, click here to read the study.

What Does Schizophrenia Feel Like?

“Olfactory hallucinations have to do with smelling things that aren’t there. I frequently smell things my husband can’t smell and if it is a chemical smell I will develop some paranoia about it. I may even think I have accidently eaten it and that I am dying.”

What is it like to experience the symptoms of Schizophrenia? What is it like to experience visual and auditory hallucinations? What is psychosis like? Read about what Schizophrenia looks like in a blog by “A Journey with You,” a person living with Schizophrenia.

To read the rest of the blog click here

Amazing Triumph for the Most Seriously Ill

“After nearly 12 hours in markup, the bill was moved to the Energy and Commerce Committee with a bipartisan vote of 18 ayes and 12 nays,” said the Treatment Advocacy Center. “All provisions to help the most severely mentally ill remain.”

Treatment Advocacy Center captures the victory:

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646) made it out of the health subcommittee markup yesterday with all provisions intact to help the most severely mentally ill.

Introduced by Representatives Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), this landmark bill has the tremendous bipartisan support of 162 Representatives, and focuses on mental health reform for those with severe mental illness and their families who are struggling to get necessary care for their loved one.

“The whole point of advancing mental health reform is to help people most in need — the severely mentally ill, particularly people who may not understand they have an illness,” said Treatment Advocacy Center Executive Director John Snook. “Keeping these vital provisions intact means that for the first time, evidence-based mental health services will be targeted to help those with severe mental illness and the families who care for them.”

Key provisions for the most severely ill that will remain in the bill as it advances include:

  • Creates an Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders to coordinate efforts and elevate the importance of mental health and severe mental illness in the federal government;
  • Awards funding to states and local jurisdictions to implement lifesaving, evidence-based treatment programs, called “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) laws for people who are too sick to maintain treatment themselves;
  • Reforms the IMD exclusion to increase the availability of psychiatric inpatient beds; and
  • Clarifies HIPAA to ensure mental health professionals are legally permitted to share critical diagnostic criteria and treatment information with parents or caregivers of patients with serious mental illness.

At yesterday’s markup, lawmakers heard from an audience of families who have felt powerless to prevent their loved ones’ deterioration.

Mothers of children battling mental illness were among those who attended the committee markup to show their support for the bill, wearing neon pink stickers that said “Show Compassion Not Politics” urging members to keep provisions that would protect their loved ones.

Tanya Shuy, a Maryland resident who lost her 26-year-old daughter, Caitlyn, to suicide this year said she is determined to see a change in the system that sent her daughter to the grave.

Maintaining the bill’s focus on severe mental illness during the markup process was one of the most important steps toward meaningful mental health reform. After nearly 12 hours, the bill moved to the Energy and Commerce Committee with a bipartisan vote of 18 ayes and 12 nays.

To become law, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act also requires approval by the Energy and Commerce Committee, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and President Obama.

[Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America] and The Treatment Advocacy Center are among the many groups who applaud Representatives Murphy and Johnson. We also applaud the mental health advocates and families affected by serious mental illness for rallying together during this watershed moment for mental health reform and giving a voice to the voiceless.

Can Prenatal Choline Cut Schizophrenia Risk in Kids?

New research shows what is proving to be a promising link between pregnant mothers taking supplements containing Choline and reduced risk of Schizophrenia in their children. Choline is an essential nutrient that can be made in the liver, and is naturally found in such foods as liver, fish, nuts, beans, peas, spinach, wheat germ, and eggs. In the study, children whose mothers had taken supplements containing Choline while during their second and third trimesters showed fewer early signs of Schizophrenia. The children were determined to be at risk of developing Schizophrenia based on their mothers being diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or psychosis.

Researchers believe that the Choline may help block certain signals in nerve cells which may make it easier for them to focus their attention. It isn’t yet clear whether prenatal Choline will prevent Schizophrenia diagnosis later in life, but researchers believe that it may allow healthy cells to develop that will alleviate symptoms.

Read more about it here