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Hogg Foundation for Mental Health News
Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

August, 2011

Today's Clips - August 8, 2011


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. Stories from other media sources do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of the foundation and its staff. Media sites may require a one-time free registration and academic and science journal sites may require a paid subscription to access articles.


Subscribe to more Hogg Foundation news and updates -- click on the link at the bottom of the page to manage your subscription.




The Criminalization of Mental Illness

Hogg Blog

August 8, 2011


The Hogg Foundation's Executive Director Dr. Octavio Martinez discusses a recent article in Psychiatric News highlighting the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that California must reduce its prison population due to substandard general and mental health care. He blogs about the implications of the ruling and how it indicates that substandard care violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. 



Hogg Foundation and the Charities Join Forces to Fund Children's Mental Health Training for Houston Adults

The Charities

August 7, 2011


We at the Charities are keenly aware that the long-term effects of untreated mental health issues are devastating, both to the individuals dealing with the health issues and to their communities. The future health and well-being of our community's children and families depend on our addressing these critical needs now. ... We are thrilled to partner with the Hogg Foundation to aid in training mental health workers in an effort to identify needs early and refer to appropriate services. 





Day 6: Some Texans Will Lose Mental Health Funding

Texas Tribune

August 6, 2011


State lawmakers kept funding for mental health services mostly level, but some Texans will still lose aid they've come to rely on. 



JPS budget would close several community clinics

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

August 6, 2011


FORT WORTH -- The JPS Health Network board of managers unanimously approved a $680 million budget Saturday that includes money to "go live" with an electronic medical records system and proposes closing four community clinics. 



Shelter gets packed as funding gets tight: A year after opening, Haven for Hope's partners are scrambling to raise money

San Antonio Express-News

August 7, 2011


Haven for Hope, the city's year-old homeless center, is bursting at the seams at the same time money for such services from city, state and federal coffers is becoming less plentiful, in part because of the economic downturn. ... In the midst of an unexpected influx of clients, funding cuts stand to affect the more than 70 nonprofits that operate under the Haven umbrella and whose job it is to transform homeless people into productive citizens. 



Austin center for people with disabilities struggles to comply with federal requirements

Austin American-Statesman

August 8, 2011


Two years after Texas agreed to revamp institutions for people with intellectual disabilities, the Austin State Supported Living Center is still struggling to protect its residents, provide adequate nursing care and accurately document restraints, according to independent monitors. 



No respite from heat for Austin's homeless

Austin American-Statesman

August 6, 2011


... A scorching heat wave that shows no signs of flagging has killed scores of people across the country over the past few months, and homeless people are among those most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. Although about 700 of the city's estimated 4,000 homeless people sleep in shelters, many others live in the woods, in cars or under bridges, where respite from the heat is nearly impossible. 



Full speed ahead for Fort Worth medical school

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

August 5, 2011


The Texas Legislature's recent failure to approve an M.D. program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth won't derail the institution's growth, its president says. "Everything we produce -- as far as doctors, and physician assistants, and physical therapists -- this state and the country need a whole lot more of," said Dr. Scott Ransom, who has headed the center since 2006. 



Fired Parkland psychiatric official gets a top job at Timberlawn Mental Health System

Dallas Morning News

August 8, 2011


A prominent private psychiatric hospital in Dallas has awarded a key management job to a nurse whom Parkland Memorial Hospital recently fired for "repetitive at risk behavior," records and interviews show. Nancy Schierding is the new chief operating officer of Timberlawn Mental Health System. Its officials would not answer any questions about the hiring. Parkland has sent adolescent psychiatric patients to Timberlawn for years, and "we don't anticipate any changes," Parkland spokeswoman April Foran said in an email Friday. 





Army to reduce deployment time in war zone to 9 months


August 5, 2011


Washington -- The Army announced Friday that it will reduce the typical soldier's deployment time in Afghanistan from one year to nine months, a move that could help soldiers better deal with stress and help reduce family problems at home. 



Concerns raised over NH mental health patients

Boston Globe

August 8, 2011


CONCORD, N.H.-Officials at a Concord psychiatric care center say they are concerned that possibly dangerous and unstable patients are being discharged from the state hospital within hours of admission, possibly because of state budget cuts. Louis Josephson, chief executive of Riverbend Community Mental Health, sent a letter to state hospital officials last month expressing his concerns. He says a Riverbend client who suffered a gunshot wound to his chest during a suicide attempt was released in less than 24 hours. 



Former patients in Tuscaloosa's Bryce build life outside mental hospital walls

Birmingham News (Ala.)

August 7, 2011


TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- ... Since the downsizing began just over a year ago, 140 people have been released and placed in communities, and state mental health officials hope to move about 50 more by this fall. Bryce, which dates back 150 years, has to shrink in part because it will be replaced in 2013 by a new, smaller $81 million psychiatric hospital with 268 beds, compared with about 350 people housed at Bryce before the downsizing began. 



Mo. doctors get paid while sleeping

San Antonio Express-News

August 7, 2011


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - As a doctor at one of Missouri's psychiatric institutions, Hungi Sripal has been paid thousands of dollars while sleeping on the job. His round-the-clock wages helped make Sripal the state's highest paid employee, earning more than double the governor. ... The Department of Mental Health defends the wage arrangement as a necessary price to pay to entice skilled professionals to work undesirable hours attending to sometimes unstable patients at institutions that might be more than an hour away from the doctors' homes in Missouri's major metropolitan areas. 



Conn. police suicides prompt conference

San Antonio Express-News

August 7, 2011


NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) - Several recent suicides among Connecticut police officers have prompted experts to organize a conference to help officers deal with job stress and other mental health issues. 



Mentally ill man's death in fight with Calif. police focuses attention on training

The Washington Post

August 6, 2011


FULLERTON, Calif. - Police should have been intimately familiar with Kelly Thomas and his history of mental illness. Thomas had symptoms of schizophrenia and a 16-year string of arrests for everything from assault with a deadly weapon to public urination to jaywalking. But somehow, things ended differently this time. Six officers who were trying to search Thomas' backpack after reports of break-ins at a Fullerton, Calif., transit hub got into a violent fight with the 37-year-old. He later died of severe head and neck injuries. 



Kelly Thomas' father fights for justice

Los Angeles Times

August 6, 2011


Ron Thomas, a former cop, can't understand why his mentally ill son became the victim of a violent confrontation with Fullerton police. He won't rest until he finds answers.,0,5525718.column 



New approach launched to reduce tribal alcohol and substance abuse problems


August 5, 2011


A new federal framework to assist American Indian and Alaska Native communities in achieving their goals in the prevention, intervention, and treatment of alcohol and substance abuse was announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar, and Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder. 



Hearing set for soldier in health clinic shootings

Houston Chronicle

August 8, 2011


FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - A key military hearing will begin Monday for a U.S. soldier charged in a 2009 shooting that killed five service members at a mental health clinic in Iraq. Army Sgt. John Russell is accused of carrying out the deadliest act of soldier-on-soldier violence during the war in Iraq. The case brought attention to the issues of combat stress and morale as troops increasingly served multiple combat tours. Russell had gone to counseling to deal with combat stress, but an investigation found lapses in how the military monitored him and how authorities responded once the shooting began at a base on the edge of Baghdad. 





Pawlenty Points To Minn. Health Law As Model For U.S.

Kaiser Health News

August 8, 2011


... Pawlenty, who was governor from 2003 to 2010, boasts that he "passed health care reform the right way. No mandates. No takeovers. If I could do it in Minnesota, we could do it in Washington." 



States Face Challenges In Controlling Health Insurance Premiums

Kaiser Health News

August 7, 2011


For many consumers, the ultimate test for the embattled health-care law is simple: Will it push down insurance premiums -- or at least slow their relentless rise? It's a pressing question for the Obama administration, which is hoping its signature domestic policy achievement doesn't end up as an election year albatross. 





Birkman: Suicide is preventable

Austin American Statesman

August 5, 2011


Thirty-nine people committed suicide in Williamson County in 2010. According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the third leading cause of death for Americans aged 14 to 24 and the eleventh leading cause across all ages. One person commits suicide in the USA every 15 minutes and that person is four times more likely to be male than female. ...Williamson County's Mental Health Task Force, a group of mental health professionals, elected leaders, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, mental health patient advocates, and others, is committed to promoting mental health and strategies for improvement, including preventing suicides in Williamson County year round. 



Welcome change to prison system

Austin American-Statesman

August 7, 2011


... There is no doubt that we still have a lot of bad actors who need plenty of years behind bars. But, save for the ones who die in prison, everyone we send to prison will be released at some point. With that in mind, it behooves us to make sure there is a rehabilitation component where appropriate. That seems to be happening both in our prison system and the Texas Youth Commission, which has closed three juvenile prisons as the state moves to community-based rehabilitation and treatment programs for troubled youths. Until the recent closures, the state never had shut down a state-owned youth lockup. 



The Voice and Ears of NAMI

National Alliance on Mental Illness

August 5, 2011


I first started at NAMI as a volunteer nine years ago. I was so moved by working on the HelpLine that I stayed to become a staff member. ... Almost all of the people working on the HelpLine, myself included, have been touched in some way by mental illness. This ability to form a connection to the people who contact us helps create a bond that gives power to our mission that we advocate here at NAMI. Whether our stories are joyful or sad, our ability to understand the stigma so often strongly associated with mental illness is an important skill we all want to share. 





Gene Study Identifies Non-Hereditary Links to Schizophrenia

Health Day News

August 7, 2011


More than half the cases of non-hereditary -- or sporadic -- schizophrenia are caused by "new" protein-altering gene mutations, researchers have found. These gene mutations, called "de novo" mutations, are new genetic errors that appear in patients but not in either of their parents, the researchers explained in the report published in the Aug. 7 online edition of the journal Nature Genetics. 



Learning to Cope With a Mind's Taunting Voices

The New York Times

August 6, 2011


...In recent years, researchers have begun talking about mental health care in the same way addiction specialists speak of recovery - the lifelong journey of self-treatment and discipline that guides substance abuse programs. The idea remains controversial: managing a severe mental illness is more complicated than simply avoiding certain behaviors. The journey has more mazes, fewer road signs. Yet people like Joe Holt are traveling it and succeeding.



Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce to host health-care meeting

El Paso Times

August 8, 2011


... On Aug. 10, the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce will host a health care conference that will feature four experts in the health care industry who will discuss the impacts of the recent state legislative session on their respective industry, as well as elaborate on how health care reform will also influence these legislative changes and funding formulas. 



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