Bipolar News

May 9, 2005

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Tragedy illustrates need for empathy
Shepparton News - Shepparton,Australia
... Rivkin, who had spoken openly about suffering from bipolar disorder, had become a somewhat notorious figure after his conviction, with many doubting whether ...

Bipolar disorder tricky to diagnose, difficult to live with
Grand Island Independent - Grand Island,NE,USA
... a Central Nebraska man who preferred his name not be used, to describe what it's like when mania associated with his recently diagnosed bipolar disorder hits ...

Flag sheds light on mental illness
The .phper Star Tribune - .phper,WY,USA
... Then, in 1999, after seven years of living with mental illness, Worthen was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she finally got access to the medical ...

Drug Benefit Participation May Lead to Reduced Food Stamp Benefits

Older adults who have low incomes may lose some of their food stamp benefits if they sign up for the new Medicare prescription drug program (Medicare Part D), the Bush administration announced Saturday. Because participants in the new program will save money on prescription drugs, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Director Mark McClellan, they should have more money to spend on food and would therefore have less need for food stamps. (The New York Times, 5/8/05)

State Officials Draft Medicaid Reform Recommendations

In a draft proposal, the nation’s governors and state legislators have developed recommendations to reform Medicaid with a goal of not just saving money but also avoiding wholesale cuts in coverage. The draft recommendations would require some beneficiaries to pay more for services and would allow states to limit the scope of some services. They also seek to drop the requirement that states have to offer the same comprehensive set of benefits to all enrollees. Once finalized, these recommendations have a substantial chance of being passed by Congress, members of which are “just waiting for advice from state officials.” (The New York Times, 5/9/05)

Connecticut Withdrawals Medicaid Waiver on Nursing Home Care

Connecticut withdrew its waiver application with the federal government last week that would have allowed that state to tighten its rules governing the ability of older adults to transfer assets so that they could qualify for Medicaid, which would be used to pay for nursing home care. The application was withdrawn by Gov. M. Jodi Rell after critics expressed concern that it would unfairly harm people who become ill suddenly. Massachusetts and Minnesota are pursuing similar waivers and a dozen other states are “mulling changes” that would achieve similar ends, according to the National Senior Citizens Law Center. (Dow Jones Newswires, 5/6/05)

FDA Releases Proposals for New Drug Safety Web Site and Panel

Details of a proposed drug oversight board, which would be charged with examining emerging drug safety information, were released last week by the FDA. Board members would be charged with discussing emerging drug safety information and, if needed, referring that information to another part of the FDA for further study. The information that the board is studying will be posted to a new Web site, the proposed guidelines for which were also released last week for public comment. Once questions about a drug’s safety are resolved, the information would be removed from the new site. (Dow Jones Newswires, 5/6/05)

Accutane Remains Subject of FDA Investigation

A new consumer-oriented section of the FDA’s Web site mentions that the agency is continuing to monitor people who use the anti-acne drug Accutane to track the development of any psychiatric disorders and suicidal ideation in these individuals. Accutane, which is manufactured by a unit of Roche Group, has been closely monitored since its introduction in 1982 because it can cause birth defects. In recent years, there have been growing concerns that the drug may also lead to mental health disorders, as well. A Roche spokesperson said that the FDA information is consistent with what the company has been telling health providers. (Dow Jones Newswires, 5/5/05)

FDA Warns Pfizer to Stop Using Ad

In a letter to Pfizer last week, the FDA said that the company omitted the risk for suicide as a possible side effect for the antidepressant drug Zoloft in a 2004 New York Times Magazine advertisement. “The ad is concerning from a public health perspective because it fails to include a serious risk associated with the drug,” the agency wrote. The FDA wrote that the company must cease use of the ad, which it termed “false and misleading,” or similar ones. Pfizer officials had no comment on the letter. (Dow Jones Newswires/ABC News, 5/6/05)

Research

Sept. 11 Attacks Made Some NY Children More Prone to Psychiatric Disorders: Nearly one-third of New York City children in 4th through 12th grades had one or more of six anxiety or depressive disorders during the six months after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, according to Columbia University Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute researchers. The researchers concluded that these children, if they experience future violence or another terrorist attack, will be more vulnerable to psychiatric disorders. They also concluded that students of schools near the World Trade Center probably benefited significantly from early mental health intervention. (Dow Jones Newswires, 5/3/05)

Causality Between Early Marijuana Use and Mental Disorders Becoming Clearer: The federal government announced last week that it’s becoming increasingly clear, based on recent research, that early marijuana use can lead to the development of psychiatric disorders. This research seems to resolve the question of whether marijuana use leads to such disorders or if people who are prone to developing these disorders are just more likely to use marijuana than others. One SAMHSA study, for example, indicates that people who begin smoking marijuana before age 12 were twice as likely to have experienced serious mental disorders in the past year as people who started smoking after age 18. (USA Today, 5/3/05)

Early Alcohol Use Tied to Later Risky Behavior and Alcohol Abuse: Teenagers who report that they began drinking in seventh grade are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, than other teens, a report in the American Journal of Public Health indicates. The researchers of a separate study appearing in the same issue found that teens whose parents are more involved in their lives are less likely to have tried binge drinking in middle-school than teens whose parents are less involved. Those teens whose parents are less involved are also more likely to continue binge drinking in high school than the others. (Reuters Health, 5/6/05)

Depression Linked to Hospitalization of Children With Diabetes: Children who have Type 1 diabetes and have depression are much more likely to be hospitalized for their diabetes than teens who have diabetes but do not have depression, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. It’s important for the parents of children who have diabetes to “know that these teens are more likely than kids without diabetes to become depressed,” the study’s author, Sonita M. Stewart of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said. (Reuters Health, 5/6/05)

State News

District of Columbia: Ongoing problems with the city’s Department of Mental Health services raises “serious public safety concerns” and questions of whether the city is meeting its legal obligations in providing services to residents who have mental illnesses, Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus G. King III wrote in a letter to the federal judge overseeing the department’s efforts to reemerge from years of court intervention. Specifically, King criticized the agency’s problems in paying doctors; the city’s decision to sharply curtail admissions to St. Elizabeth’s, the city’s only public psychiatric hospital; and an "alarming and apparently increasing number" of cases in which people are being readmitted to St. Elizabeth’s within a few days or weeks of their discharge. (The Washington Post, 5/5/05)

*NMHA MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS

An article about suicide credits NMHA with organizing the annual Mental Health Month observance and cites NMHA as the source for a statistic on the prevalence of teen suicide. The Kristin Brooks Hope Center’s 1-800-SUICIDE crisis phone number was also listed. (“Suicide, the Killer That Lurks Inside,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 5/1/05)

In an article about people with mental illness who are homeless, readers are referred to NMHA’s Web site and toll-free number. (“The Homeless Mentally Ill,” Harvard Mental Health Letter, 5/1/05)

In an article praising two of NMHA’s 2005 mpower award winners, Emily Rose and Lori Pede, for speaking out about cutting, NMHA’s Hazel Moran describes the two young women as youth who “courageously speak out about children’s mental health and share personal stories with others to help them understand childhood and adolescence.” (“The Truth Hurts,” The Tulsa World, 5/1/05)

NMHA’s Web site address and toll-free phone number are listed as resources in an article about Children’s Depression Awareness Day. (“Family Ties – Kids Need Mental Health Checkups Too,” East Valley [Mesa, Ariz.] Tribune, 5/2/05)

An article announcing the establishment of Children’s Mental Health Week in Tennessee’s Maury County includes NMHA statistics on prevalence of childhood mental health disorders and treatment rates, and highlights NMHA’s “Tips for Working Parents.” NMHA’s Web site address and toll-free number are also listed as resources. (“National Children’s Mental Health Week Will Be Observed May 1-7 in Maury County,” The Daily Herald [Columbia, Tenn.], 5/2/05)

In an article about Mental Health Month, NMHA is mentioned as a sponsor of the national observance, which is “dedicated to spreading the message to ‘MIND Your Health.’” (“Center Celebrates Mental Health,” The Leavenworth [Kan.] Times, 5/2/05)

In an article about men and depression, NMHA’s President and CEO Michael Faenza said that “[t]reatment works, and it works well. Eighty percent of people who seek treatment recover from their depression completely.” (“The Great Depression,” SLY Magazine, May/June 2005)

NMHA’s Dianne Dorlester was interviewed live about her experience with depression and about stigma associated with mental disorders. The interview, which focused on the beginning of Mental Health Month, also explored treatment options for people with mental illnesses. (WWTG [Washington, D.C.] 5/4/05)

In a story about Mental Health Month, NMHA’s Lea Ann Browning-McNee discussed changes in attitudes about mental health and illness since the inception of the observance. [WWNC Radio [Asheville, N.C.], 5/4/05)

An advice columnist refers readers to the Kristin Brooks Hopeline Network’s 1-800-SUICIDE crisis phone number for help. (“Princess Breaks Up With Beau but Accepts Gifts, Sex,” The Chicago Sun-Times, 5/3/05)

In an article about college students’ stress, NMHA is designated as an “outside of campus” resource and lists NMHA’s toll-free number. (“Counseling Clinic Helps Student Cope With Stress,” The Jambar [Youngstown State University, Ohio], 5/3/04 (5,500)

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If you are in a crisis please call:
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1-800-273-TALK (8255)


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