January 3, 2006
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Relieving Bipolar Depression
ABC30.com - Fresno,CA,USA
January 1 - Nearly 8 million Americans are living with bipolar disorder.
Up to half of these patients will attempt suicide at some ...
Bipolar Disorder And The Miami Airport Incident
Medical News Today (press release) - UK
... shooting of Rigoberto Alpizar at the Miami International Airport by
US Marshals who thought he had a bomb offers an opportunity to discuss
bipolar disorder and ...
AstraZeneca Submits SNDA For SEROQUEL(R) For Bipolar Depression ...
Medical News Today (press release) - UK
... seek approval for a new indication for SEROQUEL(R) (quetiapine
fumarate) for the treatment of patients with depressive episodes
associated with bipolar disorder ...
AstraZeneca submits sNDA for Seroquel for bipolar depression treatment
PharmaBiz Sun, 01 Jan 2006 11:40 PM PST
AstraZeneca has submitted a supplemental new drug application (sNDA)
with the US Food and Drug Administration to seek approval for a new
indication for Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) for the treatment of
patients with depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder.
Psychiatry's sick compulsion: turning weaknesses into diseases
Los Angeles Times Mon, 02 Jan 2006 6:04 AM PST
By Irwin Savodnik, Irwin Savodnik is a psychiatrist and philosopher who
teaches at UCLA.
Depressed men often don't show typical symptoms
The Charlotte Observer Mon, 02 Jan 2006 8:12 AM PST
You might call it melancholy on steroids -- a muscular mixture of
fast-driving, heavy drinking, hard-charging cussedness. For perhaps 3
million American men yearly, that's the plotline for depression.
Pharma companies increase efforts to release new meds
The Manila Times Mon, 02 Jan 2006 6:57 AM PST
SUPERIOR health-care accessibility is one indicator of an economy's
vigor. But such a service can't be merely left for the government to
provide. The private sector has a hefty stake in ensuring that medicines
and services are available to the consumers.
Care for the mentally ill falls to jails
St. Petersburg Times Mon, 02 Jan 2006 0:09 AM PST
More than 10 percent of the 8,000 inmates in Hillsborough and Pinellas
jails are on psychotropic medication.
Talking to Your Children About Bipolar Disorder
HealthCentral.com Tue, 03 Jan 2006 7:17 AM PST
Chances are your children know something's wrong. Here's what to keep in
mind when you explain your condition to your children.
Events to educate on mental health
Brandenton.com Tue, 03 Jan 2006 0:03 AM PST
SARASOTA - Jamie C. Tate lives with bipolar disorder but she doesn't
understand bipolar disorder. "I know what I have," says the 24-year-old
Bradenton woman, "but I don't know why I feel the way I do."
Making sure their cups runneth over, too: Oak Cliff pastor, church
look beyond mental illnesses to help congregants worship, feel welcome.
The Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune
Business News); 1/1/2006
Byline: Kim Horner, The Dallas Morning News
Jan. 1--The Rev. Joel Pulis surveyed his congregation and asked: How
many people had felt unwelcome at other churches?
Nearly every hand among the 80 worshippers shot up in the air.
But for those living in boarding homes in South Dallas and around
north Oak Cliff, there is sanctuary at The Well. Mr. Pulis and his
brother, Joshua, operate the church for people with severe mental
illnesses, such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Delusional or manic behavior, as well as restlessness and diminished
concern for personal hygiene, is common among parishioners. During
recent services, one man slept on the floor. Another interrupted the
sermon. One churchgoer tried to borrow from the collection plate. And
others wandered in and out for cigarette breaks.
None of the behavior, which has gotten many of the worshippers kicked
out of other churches, fazes the 31-year-old pastor.
"Those things, in a traditional church, might be frowned upon," Mr.
Pulis said. "The thing that we do that allows them to fit in is to
understand mental illness -- and the symptoms that come with it -- with
grace and dignity."
Longtime member Ramona Russum puts it more simply: "You can be
Mr. Pulis said he discovered a large population of people disabled by
mental illnesses as a minister at Cliff Temple Baptist Church in the
heart of north Oak Cliff.
Many of the residents, who struggle to survive on disability checks
of less than $600 a month, regularly came to him for food and clothing.
Mr. Pulis said he invited them to church, but they would attend only
once before disappearing.
He realized the diverse group of newcomers didn't feel comfortable in
the congregation of middle- to upper-middle-class white parishioners.
Mr. Pulis, who has no formal mental health training and approaches
his parishioners as friends, chose not give up on the boarding home
residents. He left Cliff Temple in 2002 to start his own church, and
Joshua Pulis, a social worker, later became program director.
In July, the brothers opened a Community Life Center, where people
can go during the week for food, games, prayer and a chance to earn
money by doing jobs at the center. The church services and the life
center all meet at Cliff Temple, which leases the space to the brothers.
Raising enough money to pay for the programs has been a struggle.
Despite its parishioners' great needs, The Well survives on a $136,000
annual budget funded by donations and grants. Unlike many churches, The
Well cannot rely on members' financial support. The collection plate
raises $10 at the most after the first of the month, when people get
their disability checks, Joel Pulis said.
"If they give a dollar, that's huge to them," he said.
Parishioners don't have cars, so Joel and Joshua Pulis pick them up.
Nearly everyone wears jeans and T-shirts -- although one man wore pajama
bottoms to a recent service. Instead of pews, worshippers sit at round
tables and sing along to words projected on a large screen. Sometimes,
Joshua Pulis plays his guitar and members join him at the front of the
room and do hand motions to the music.
The Well is taking a unique approach by ministering to people with
mental illness, mental health advocates said. The National Alliance for
the Mentally Ill in Arlington, Va., is not aware of any other churches
in the nation specifically for the mentally ill, spokesman Bob Carolla
said. The alliance's local chapter gave The Well a Community Support
Award last month.
The sermons at The Well offer simple and concrete lessons, such as
being thankful for what one has. During prayer requests, parishioners
ask for everything from alcoholism recovery to getting a husband to
moving out of the boarding home.
Services are followed by a meal brought by volunteers from other
churches. Sometimes The Well also hands out necessities, including
Joel Pulis' sermons rarely mention mental illness. He said one of his
main goals is to help congregation members connect with others,
something he says is lacking in the public mental health system. One
night, he passed out sheets with Bible passages about friendship.
"We want this to be a place where you can come and meet friends and
be encouraged by the people around us," he told parishioners.
Joshua Pulis carried on that theme at a Life Group meeting at the
church's day program, at which some members cried as they shared their
"When you're having a bad day, say, 'Wait a minute. I am Christ's
friend, that's who I am,' " he said.
The Pulis brothers' work goes beyond ministering to their
Spreading their message
The brothers went before the Baptist General Convention of Texas in
November to advocate for a resolution, which passed, to encourage other
churches to create mental health ministries and to ask Texas legislators
to increase funding for mental health services.
Those services have been cut in recent years, and Texas ranks 49th in
the nation in spending per capita on such programs, according to the
Mental Health Association in Texas.
Joel Pulis said he became concerned about the public mental health
system after taking worshippers to psychiatric hospitals for care and
seeing them turned away for not being ill enough. Eventually, those
parishioners met the criteria -- but only after their conditions
He said that in a perfect world, he wouldn't need to create a
separate church for people with mental illnesses. But he said the strong
stigma associated with mental illness leaves few options.
"Until things change, I feel we're providing an opportunity for
people to worship that they wouldn't otherwise have," he said. "When our
volunteers leave, the consistent remark I get is that the people here
are so gracious, they're so thankful."
Among them is church member Jason McCullough, who said he has finally
found a place where he belongs.
"With Joel and Josh, you find unconditional love, acceptance and the
opportunity to better yourself," he said.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Dallas Morning News
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.
For information on republishing this content, contact us at (800)
661-2511 (U.S.), (213) 237-4914 (worldwide), fax (213) 237-6515, or
COPYRIGHT 2006 The Dallas Morning News
Jail suicide watch 10 inmates kill themselves in metro-area lockups
in '05, an all-time high that raises questions
Denver Rocky Mountain News; 12/31/2005; Chris Barge, Rocky Mountain
Jail suicide watch 10 inmates kill themselves in metro-area lockups
in '05, an all-time high that raises questions
More inmates have committed suicide in metro-area jails this year
than any year on record.
In all, 10 inmates killed themselves this year, nearly triple the
average number during the past 10 years, according to records obtained
by the Rocky Mountain News through the Colorado Open Records Act.
The tally does not include a homicide in a Denver jail cell, a female
inmate who died when a packet of cocaine hidden in a body cavity burst,
or the man who died in his cell after choking on his tracheotomy tube.
Those cases raise their own troubling questions about the level of
supervision in local jails.
Besides the grief and loss to surviving family members, inmates who
commits suicide leave behind a host of unanswered questions about their
crimes and a feeling of justice short-circuited for victims.
When Bradford Wagner, 37, hung himself in his Boulder County Jail cell
last summer, the 30 women he was suspected of raping were left without
the chance to see him tried.
Some have spoken about how they will never get to see his unmasked face
in court, never get the chance to see him answer for the crimes he was
suspected of committing.
Wagner committed suicide the same day he learned that authorities had
matched his DNA to sex assaults in 10 states, not just Boulder.
Suicides trouble jail officials, whose job includes ensuring that
inmates survive their incarceration.
"They're all human beings," said Fred Oliva, director of corrections for
the Denver County Jail, where two inmates have killed themselves this
year and another two have died from other causes.
"Every individual coming in here is a father, mother, brother or sister
of someone on the outside," he said.
But throughout the metro area, Oliva and other officials echoed a sense
that if an inmate really wants to die, he or she will find a way.
"I think the entire corrections community would like to say we can
prevent this from happening, and, I think, the fact is we cannot," said
Jacki Tallman, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
National experts on jail suicide prevention say that's the wrong
attitude to take.
"It's sort of a common misbelief that no matter how hard you try (to
prevent suicide), it always could happen," said Kevin Smith, who
directed mental health services in Orange County, Calif., jails from
1987 through last year.
While Orange County's population of nearly 3 million is about the size
of the Denver metro area, just seven inmates have killed themselves in
Orange County jails during the past 12 years.
Smith said he thinks even those could have been prevented.
By comparison, in metro-area jails, 40 inmates, more than five times as
many, have taken their lives during the same period.
Jefferson County Jail this year had four inmate suicides. Prior to 2005,
the jail had not seen a suicide since 1998 and never had had more than
two in a year.
"We don't want one; we're not happy with four," Tallman said.
Jefferson County jail officials will fly to Orange County next month, in
part to search for answers about how they might have prevented this
Some clues can be found in the reports generated after the jail deaths.
On the evening that she killed herself, Jefferson County inmate Sandy
Hurtado told a nurse she didn't want to take her medication because she
wouldn't "be here anyway."
This concerned jail officials. The 20-year-old had been on and off
suicide watch since she was arrested four months earlier for threatening
to kill federal officers and trying to blow up a federally owned
Authorities had taken Hurtado off suicide watch that morning. And
despite her statement to the nurse, they decided against putting her
"Every day in our jail I think we have someone who is talking about
ending their own lives," Tallman said. "How do you know which ones are
just talking and which ones are not?"
Hurtado had kicked her cell door and screamed herself to sleep many
nights. She even had been found with ligature marks around her neck.
One thing that made this day different, however, was that she had
received legal papers informing her she faced additional charges.
That night, after Hurtado told the nurse that she wouldn't "be here
anyway," the nurse "asked what she meant by that," according to police
reports. Hurtado said, "Nothing."
The nurse then asked Hurtado twice if she was planning to hurt herself.
Deputy Thomas Saggau, who was with the nurse, asked Hurtado the same
question a third time.
"Hurtado looked directly at me and said, 'No, I am not going to hurt
myself.' " Saggau wrote in his report.
Saggau and the nurse conferred with each other and agreed that "Hurtado
didn't seem to be a threat to herself at the time."
But as soon as they left her cell, Hurtado began to scream and kick the
door. About 20 minutes later, it stopped. Hurtado was found unconscious
with three socks tied around her neck.
She was taken to a hospital where, three days later, she died.
One of the biggest mistakes made by deputies is taking inmates who
display risk for suicide at their word when they say they won't kill
themselves, said Lindsay Hayes, of Mansfield, Mass., a national expert
on jail suicides.
"We are still preoccupied by, and largely accepting of, the inmate's
denial that they are suicidal," Hayes said.
"We need to continue to be very careful on not exclusively accepting an
inmate's denial that they are suicidal when we are presented with
Jefferson County Jail Division Chief David Walcher has invited Hayes to
come to Golden next week to evaluate the county's suicide prevention
Hayes, a project director at the National Center on Institutions and
Alternatives, has devoted the past 27 years to studying and preventing
He says suicides often occur during a three- to four-day window
surrounding court hearings, particularly hearings in which defendants
learn disappointing news about their cases.
Both Wagner and Hurtado strangled themselves after hearing news about
their cases that upset them.
So did Jefferson County inmate Everett Horton, who hung himself the day
after attending a hearing where his lawyer failed to convince a judge to
suppress evidence against him.
Donald Price hung himself July 10 in the Douglas County Jail, the day
before he was to testify as a witness against a co-defendant.
He was the second Douglas County inmate to hang himself in a little more
than seven months by tying a bedsheet to a vent in the wall.
In response, the county has retrofitted all cells with vents that can't
be used for that purpose.
Jail suicides can be costly to taxpayers.
Adams County has agreed to pay the family of Hugh Conner $50,000 as part
of a settlement reached last week.
Conner killed himself last year while under 24-hour suicide watch,
according to the notice of intent to sue filed by the family earlier
"The employees of the Adams County Detention Facility failed to meet the
required protocol required for inmates requiring heightened observation
and treatment and therefore are the direct and proximate cause of the
death of Hugh Stewart Conner," the notice said.
Farther north, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden, six deputies and two
nurses are embroiled in a civil lawsuit brought against them by the
mother of a man who committed suicide in jail in 2003.
Tresea Mulqueen alleges that the system had a responsibility to keep her
son, Bradley Briggs, from killing himself.
Briggs, 24, had attempted suicide four days before his arrest on charges
of first-degree assault, resisting arrest and threatening an officer. A
jail intake evaluation found that he was suffering from bipolar disorder
and attention-deficit disorder. He was placed on suicide watch.
Nevertheless, a nurse gave Briggs a plastic bag and a rubber band so he
could keep an injured arm dry while showering. A week later, he was
placed on a reduced suicide watch and housed with the general jail
Two days after that, on Dec. 14, 2003, Briggs killed himself by putting
the plastic bag over his head and securing it to his neck with the
The suit claims Larimer County chronically fails to properly assess and
monitor those at risk of suicide, fails to train to prevent suicides,
fails to hire employees qualified to deal with suicide risk and fails to
provide psychiatric counseling to known suicidal inmates.
Sheriff Alderden and his deputies have denied any wrongdoing.
"Even the one suicide is tragic, but we have done a really good job in
preventing suicides and hand out several awards each year to deputies
who have prevented suicides through their observations and quick
actions," Alderden said.
There aren't many lawsuits over jail suicides in Colorado, mainly
because the State Governmental Immunity Act of 1994 makes it nearly
impossible to win in state court if an inmate died while awaiting trial,
according to Jim Sherer, the lawyer representing Briggs' family. Most
county jail inmates are awaiting trial.
The only other way to sue a Colorado county jail is in federal court, on
the grounds that the jail violated the inmate's constitutional rights,
he said. The burden is on the family, however, to prove that jail
officials were not just negligent, but deliberately indifferent to an
inmate's serious medical needs.
Sherer, who specializes in in-custody death litigation, said metro-area
jail officials should be concerned by the increasing suicide numbers.
"It reflects a number of factors," he said. "It reflects overcrowding, a
lack of awareness of a problem and a lack of taking the problem as
seriously as it should be taken."
Relying on instinct
Of the 10 suicides in Denver-area jails in 2005, nine inmates killed
themselves by strangulation. Seven used bedsheets and two used socks.
The 10th inmate, in Denver County Jail, killed himself by jumping off a
third-story tier on his first day in jail.
Five months later, the inmate's life partner tried to kill himself the
same way while housed in the same building.
"He was clearly upset," Sheriff's Sgt. Paul Murphy wrote in his report.
"He told me that he had nothing to live for, that he was tired and
wanted to die."
Murphy managed to grab the man from the ledge before he could jump.
Murphy has seen a number of jail suicides in his 18 years in law
enforcement. Most times, he said, the inmates aren't nearly so
expressive about their desires.
"A lot of it is instinctive," he said. "We deal with so many thousands
of people that really it's intuitive. It might not just be what they
say. It might be the way they drag their feet. The look on their face.
Just the look of despondency."
Jail suicide expert Hayes gives county jails credit for improving their
prevention programs over the years. In the 1980s, he said, the rate of
suicide in U.S. jails was about 109 per 100,000 inmates. Today, it is
about 47 per 100,000.
That improvement is mostly due to an increased emphasis on screening
inmates for mental health issues, he said. As a result, inmates don't
kill themselves within the first 24 to 48 hours of their incarceration
as often as they once did.
Of the 10 Denver-area suicides this year, two inmates killed themselves
within their first 48 hours in jail. Those were Denver County inmate
Daniel Lopez, 42, who jumped from the third-story tier, and Broomfield
County inmate Bryan Martian, 21, who hanged himself the day after he was
Still, the suicide rate in U.S. jails remains about three times higher
than in the general population, Hayes said.
The key to lowering it, he said, is getting sheriffs to mandate zero
tolerance for suicides in their jails.
"When the opinion comes from the top of the food chain - when the
sheriff says we're not going to have suicides - then it gets wings," he
Copyright ę 2005, Denver Publishing Co.
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