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Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Communications
Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

December, 2009

This summary of recent news and research articles on mental health topics was prepared as a public service by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. To subscribe to this service or to change your subscription, please contact


NOTE: Media sites may require a one-time free registration and academic and science journal sites may require a paid subscription to access articles. 




Years after mental health overhaul, new picture of needs emerging; Waiting lists have ballooned

Austin American-Statesman

December 6, 2009


Six years ago, Texas leaders knew the state mental health system was in bad shape. They knew it couldn't help everyone; that patients got few services; that community mental health centers didn't consistently measure how well programs worked; that care varied from center to center. They knew it was bad. But they couldn't tell exactly what was happening at the 39 state-funded community mental health centers, which serve indigent, low-income or uninsured people. Now they know.



Register Now for the Texas Summit on Mental Health and Juvenile Justice

Texans Care for Children

December 2009


Join Texans Care for Children and Texas Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Action Network for a free summit with presentations, panel discussions, and more with Texas parents of systeminvolved youth and national experts from the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and New York State Office of Children and Family Services. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Thursday, January 28, 2010 In the Capitol Building Auditorium in Austin. Please RSVP at the following link.



Travis County Healthcare District gets new name; Central Health moniker is aimed at clearing up confusion, better defining what district does

Austin American-Statesman

December 7, 2009


Responding to an "identity crisis," the Travis County Healthcare District has changed its name — for the second time. The district, originally named the Travis County Hospital District, is now Central Health, a name that officials say better describes what the district does.



East Texas faces mental health services shortage

Longview News-Journal

December 6, 2009


East Texans seeking mental health services face the same sort of delays as people in other parts of the state, local providers said. David Deel, director of crisis services for Community Healthcore, said the agency did crisis screenings on about 4,500 people in its nine-county coverage area during 2008. The organization offers mental health services to people in Gregg, Marion, Rusk, Upshur, Panola, Harrison, Cass, Red River and Bowie counties.



Interfaith Housing Coalition and Vogel Alcove help family find home together

Dallas Morning News

December 7, 2009


… The Interfaith Housing Coalition gave the family a rent-free apartment for three months and then charged a low fee after that. Webb met with a caseworker there who helped her get treatment for depression, which she said caused her to leave her husband



After suicide, parents plead for understanding

San Antonio Express-News

December 6, 2009


… Jonathan jumped off the interchange at Loop 410 and Interstate 10 near Cherry Ridge, falling to his death. His suicide halted freeway traffic for hours, and the spectacle was replayed through the day on local TV and radio news. Today, seven months after his death, his parents in their grief want the world to know their son wasn't just some anonymous disturbed person who took his life one fated spring morning. He was a real human being with a lot of potential and a family who loved him dearly.



Father gets 50 years for starving 7-month-old son

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

December 4, 2009


… Gallagher sentenced Foster to 50 years in prison despite requests for probation or a light prison sentence from defense attorney Fred Cummings, who argued that Foster, like the child’s mother, has mental-health issues. "We had two mentally ill parents who were not capable of dealing with their responsibilities as parents," Cummings said.





Military Confidentiality Rules Raise Counseling Questions

New York Times

December 6, 2009


Many soldiers, lawyers and mental health workers say that the rules governing confidentiality of psychotherapist-patient relations in the military are porous. The rules breed suspicion among troops toward therapists, those people say, reducing the effectiveness of treatment and complicating the Pentagon’s efforts to encourage personnel to seek care.



Mental health unit that lost three members in Fort Hood shooting deploys to Afghanistan

Austin American-Statesman

December 5, 2009


Less than a month after losing three of its members to the worst mass shooting on an American military base, the tiny 467th Medical Detachment — made up of fewer than 50 mental health professionals — boarded a plane for Afghanistan in the chilly, predawn hours Friday.



Shortage of caregivers scrutinized

Stars and Stripes
December 6, 2009


The Army is severely short of enough mental health professionals to properly attend to soldiers after eight years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Pentagon and Congress are asking whether that shortage may have played a role in the ability of the accused Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, to elude detection despite a spotty work record and suspicious behavior.



Gawande: A 'Hodgepodge' Of Pilot Programs May Be The Right Approach To Cut Health Costs

Kaiser Health News

December 7, 2009


Legislation to overhaul the American health system lacks an overarching plan to curb the rising costs of medicine, according to Atul Gawande, the influential surgeon and writer, in an essay for the Dec. 14 issue of The New Yorker.



Hoarding disorder gets prime-time treatment

Austin American-Statesman

December 6, 2009


… An estimated 2 million people in the U.S. suffer from compulsive hoarding, according to mental health groups that treat the afflicted. Hoarding is an obsessive-compulsive mental health disorder defined as the acquisition of, and inability to discard, things.



Financial therapy blends mental health, money help

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

December 7, 2009


KANSAS CITY, Mo.(AP)  — … In the past, people like the Fields, struggling with financial issues that put a strain on their marriage, have left both therapists and financial planners with questions unanswered. Experts say therapists are taught to look for mental health causes for problems, not monetary ones, and haven't traditionally learned how to help their clients budget or reduce debt. So questions would arise when counselors met with widows consumed with grief who were also nervous about learning to manage their finances.



Norman mental health workers, clients protest cuts

The Oklahoman

December 5, 2009


A group of mental health and substance abuse treatment advocates gathered this week to voice their concerns about proposed state budget cuts that will affect services at Norman treatment centers.



Professor sees Nancy Grace involvement in suicide

Associated Press

December 7, 2009


A Harvard professor says CNN Headline News host Nancy Grace's relentless questioning of a Florida mother three years ago contributed to her suicide, according to a filing in the family's wrongful death case.





Ministers target depression in government policy shift


December 7, 2009


Schools, employers and GPs all have more of a role to play in mental-health care in the UK, ministers say. Investment in recent years has focused on improving treatment, but the new 10-year strategy calls for more emphasis on prevention and early intervention.



Plans to triple funding for mental health research

December 6, 2009


Funding for research into mental health is to be more than tripled by the Department of Health. The move, to be announced on Monday in a report called New Horizons, will take money committed to research on depression, schizophrenia and other aspects of mental health from about £50m a year to £150m. The dramatic increase in funding reflects a recent recognition by ministers and senior health officials that the impact of illnesses such as depression on Britain has been seriously underestimated.



Psychiatric patients still given ECT treatment without consent

Irish Times

December 7, 2009


PATIENTS INVOLUNTARILY detained in psychiatric hospitals last year received hundreds of treatments of electric shock therapy against their will. Official statistics compiled for the first time show that about 400 psychiatric patients received 2,700 electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments during 2008. Of these, at least 43 involuntarily detained patients were either unable or unwilling to consent to about 300 doses of the treatment.





Mental illness needs treatment, not prison

Des Moines Register

December 4, 2009


Dec. 15 will be the formal sentencing of Michelle Kehoe to life in prison. The guilty verdict was based on the concept that she knew the action of killing her child was wrong. The defense did its best to show that any remnant of knowing was overridden by the psychotic element - that what little sense of self she had left was "calculating" to try to "normalize" or redirect the act, not commit it.





FDA Panel Recommends Antipsychotic-Drug Review of Kids' Weight Gain

Wall Street Journal

December 4, 2009


Food and Drug Administration medical reviewers said Friday the agency should conduct an additional review of antipsychotic drugs to look at the impact of weight gain in children, a common side effect of the drugs. Labels for the drugs, which include AstraZeneca PLC's Seroquel and Eli Lilly & Co.'s Zyprexa, already warn of increases in weight gain and other side effects, but the FDA said the warnings aren't specific to younger patients. The drugs are used to treat a variety of mental illnesses including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression.



Seroquel Gains FDA Approvals for Add-on Depression Treatment, Pediatric Schizophrenia

Psych Central

December 7, 2009


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this past week that two types of Seroquel-brand (quetiapine fumarate) atypical antipsychotic medications have been approved for two different mental health treatments — for use as an add-on treatment for depression, and for pediatric schizophrenia and bipolar mania.



FDA Approves Zyprexa for Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder in Teens

Psych Central

December 5, 2009


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handed Eli Lilly & Co. approval to market its best-selling medication Zyprexa to teens with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The FDA approved the drug for treatment of schizophrenia or manic/mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder in adolescents aged 13-17 years old. The recommended starting dose for adolescents is lower than that for adults.



Major Impacts of Climate Change Expected on Mental Health

Medical News Today (Psychological Medicine)

December 5, 2009

Leading mental health researchers are warning that some of the most important health consequences of climate change will be on mental health, yet this issue is unlikely to be given much attention at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen next week. Dr Lisa Page and Dr Louise Howard from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King's College London reviewed a range of recent research by scientists into the potential mental health impacts of climate change.





NAMI FaithNet Newsletter

National Alliance on Mental Illness

December 2009


In This Issue:

    * Happy Holidays from NAMI!

    * Interfaith Spiritual Support in Seattle's House of Healing

    * Faith, Delusion and Forgiveness

    * Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder

    * Coping with the Holidays

    * Blue Christmas Services



Holidays Extra Stressful for Solders With PTSD

State Journal (W. Virginia)

December 4, 2009


The recent military violence in Texas has brought extra attention to the needs of veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. And now the holidays are stressful for everyone, but they're especially trying for men and women suffering from PTSD. Thanksgiving and Christmas can be especially stressful for soldiers with that disorder.



Food and mood

Boston Globe

December 7, 2009


Not all foods are created equal, whether the goal is having a healthier heart or losing weight. And the same could be true when it comes to what we eat and how depressed or happy we feel, how well we learn, and whether we suffer from mental illness.


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