My Support- July 20, 2010
I hope you are enjoying these lazy days of summer. You will see below the announcement of our Annual Pool Party - families are invited and encouraged to bring spouses, siblings, everyone!
Also, this Saturday, IBPF will have a resource table at
Stanford's Mood Disorders Education Day this Saturday, July 24 from 8:30a to 2:30p at William R. Hewlett Teaching Center, Stanford, CA
Five of Stanford School of Medicine's most esteemed doctors will talk with the community about mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder). The talk will include recent treatment advancements, mood disorders in children and adults, mood disorders with co-occurring alcohol and drug abuse, and creativity in mood disorders. Please join us! Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. This event is free.
Registration is required, please see www.bipolar.org.
Please join us! Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. This event is free.
Registration is required, please see www.bipolar.org.
P.S. Please contact me at anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAVE THE DATE
Annual Family Pool Party
Sunday, August 29, 2:00 - 4:00pm
Please contact Lisa at email@example.com
to RSVP & for directions.
Please bring your towels & an appetizer to share.
Therapist Competency Important for Treatment Success
By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
A new study underscores the benefit of receiving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) from a competent therapist who follows the guidelines for delivering CBT.
Prior studies have shown that while cognitive therapy is an effective treatment for depression, a clear understanding of the role therapists' training and expertise plays in making treatment successful was unknown.
The new study suggests therapist competence may be a particularly important determinant of outcome for some patients.
Researchers found that therapist competence was more strongly related to symptom improvement in patients who suffered from anxiety as well as depression, and for those who first experienced depression at an early age.
"People with depression who don't have complicating issues like anxiety are fairly likely to show benefit even if they don't see the most highly rated therapists," said Daniel Strunk, co-author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University.
"But people who have substantial anxiety or a history of depression that began at an early age really do best if they have the most highly rated treatment."
While the need for competent therapists might seem obvious, Strunk said there have been very few studies looking at whether the competence with which the therapy is delivered predicts subsequent outcomes.
Studies that have examined the issue have tended to examine the relation of ratings of therapists and the overall outcomes of their patients. But that ignores the possibility that the competence of the therapists may not have been responsible for their patients' improvement.
"Once patients have improved, they might help to make their therapists look more competent. If so, this could explain the competence-outcome relation. So, we wanted to see if we could rule out that possibility by examining whether competence predicted subsequent outcomes," Strunk said.
The research appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
In this study, two researchers examined videotapes of therapy sessions involving 60 adults with moderate to severe depression and their six therapists. The researchers rated competence using the Cognitive Therapy Scale, which is also used by the accrediting organization for cognitive therapists (The Academy of Cognitive Therapy).
The scale rates therapists on a variety of skills, including their interpersonal relations and their use of specific techniques thought to help patients facing depression.
The researchers rated the therapists' competence during the first four sessions with each of the 60 patients.
In addition, patients completed a questionnaire at each session that measured their depression levels.
Strunk and his colleagues then compared how competence scores given to the therapists for each session related to change in patients' depression levels from session to session.
The researchers rated competence levels without knowing how the patients were progressing and whether their symptoms were improving, Strunk said. This way, the researchers could later tell whether there was an association between competence and subsequent patient improvement.
Strunk said the strongest results came when they looked at how therapist competence was related to improvement in patients with specific characteristics. That is where they found that patients with high anxiety and early-onset depression benefited most from the highly rated therapy sessions.
In addition to looking at how therapist competence interacted with patient characteristics, the researchers also examined how competence, measured for each individual session, was related to patient improvement from one session to the next. Results showed that higher levels of therapist competence were related to more symptom improvement during the first four sessions.
The researchers also tested patients again after 16 weeks of treatment to see if competence predicted longer-term improvement. Here, competence was significantly related to patient improvement on just one of two measures of depression severity.
"When you look at how patients do after four full months of treatment, the importance of therapist competence was still there, but not as strong," he said.
Strunk said the results suggest that therapists may show higher levels of competence in some sessions compared to others, even with the same patient.
"From our results, you should expect that there will be a range of competence from session to session - even among good therapists," Strunk said.
"That may mean that the way we define competence is still not good enough, because we're finding that even highly trained therapists get below-average scores a fair number of times."
The results should encourage more study about the best way to measure competence in therapists.
"The field is still struggling to figure out how to measure competence, and that's one of the things this study is about," he said.
Strunk also said that, if replicated, these results would suggest that clinic directors should look at patient characteristics when deciding which therapists should treat individual patients with depression. Those patients with anxiety issues or early-onset depression should be placed with the highest-rated therapists to get the most benefit.
Co-authors of the study were Melissa Brotman of the National Institute of Mental Health, Robert DeRubeis of the University of Pennsylvania and Steven Hollon of Vanderbilt University.
The research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health.
SPECIAL EDUCATION ADVOCACY SERVICES
· Free initial special education consultation*
· IEP preparation and representation
· Specialized consultations
· Support and follow-up
· Access to our interdisciplinary team
Provided by Special Education Advocates that have graduated from USD's Special Education Advocacy Certificate Program.
Who we serve:
· Families across San Diego County; our offices are located in San Diego (Mission Valley) and we see clients from across the county
· All ages, income levels and disabilities/special needs
How it works:
· You schedule an initial, free consultation and the opportunity to meet with an advocate; the decision to retain for services can happen any time after the appointment
· Further services are provided on a sliding fee scale based on income
· If we can't help you, we will do our best to refer you to someone who can
· We promote mediation, positive working relationships between all members of the IEP Team and when necessary, conflict resolution
For more information please visit our website at compassfamilycenter.org.
To schedule an appointment, contact Jennifer Johnston at (619) 446-6936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the COMPASS Family Center
The COMPASS Family Center is a San Diego non- profit organization dedicated to helping families caring for an individual with a disability to find direction and navigate the service system. We define disability and special needs broadly to encompass any challenge an individual may have in which they need increased assistance.
*Generously funded by a grant from the Day for Change Foundation.
Pharmacotherapy of Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents: Recent Progress
CNS Drugs, 06/21/2010
Pfeifer JC et al. - With the recent US FDA indication of risperidone, aripiprazole, quetiapine and olanzapine for the treatment of bipolar youth, the atypical antipsychotics are rapidly becoming a first-line treatment option. However, these agents are associated with adverse effects such as increased appetite, weight gain and type II diabetes mellitus. Although several evidence-based medications are now available for the treatment of bipolar disorder (BPD) in younger populations, additional studies to evaluate the short- and long-term efficacy and potential for adverse events of these and other medications are needed.
Overdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and Disability Payments
The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 06/23/2010
Zimmerman M et al. - The diagnosis of bipolar disorder has received increasing attention during the past decade. Several research reports have suggested that bipolar disorder is under-recognized, and that many patients, particularly those with major depressive disorder, have, in fact, bipolar disorder. More recently, some reports have suggested that bipolar disorder is also overdiagnosed at times. There are several possible reasons for bipolar disorder overdiagnosis. In the present study, the authors examined whether secondary gain associated with receiving disability payments might be partially responsible for bipolar disorder overdiagnosis...An unconfirmed diagnosis of bipolar disorder was significantly associated with receiving disability benefits.
The Mental Health of Our Children
In a week, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) holds its 2010 convention in Washington, D.C. This year's focus is on "Youth Mental Health."
It's a topic that needs to be addressed. Only one in five children who has a diagnosable mental illness receives treatment, yet children who receive earlier treatment interventions have better outcomes.
Unfortunately, most children with a mental illness go completely undiagnosed. This month, an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) mental health task force called for pediatricians to perform mental health screenings for children at each doctor visit. This is a good start. The AAP also underscored a need for more child psychiatrists and mental health professionals in communities - to overcome critical shortages.
Add to the mix, parents, who have to search high and low for reliable, science-based mental health information focused on children and adolescents - and you can see why so many mentally ill children are falling through the cracks. These parents face difficult decisions in finding help for children who suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and other serious mental illnesses.
At a time when our healthcare system is being restructured and the economy is in shambles, I'm wondering just how high a priority our children's mental health is to those who write checks. That's another reason why grass-roots organizations that offer local support groups and information - like NAMI, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Mental Health America, Anxiety Disorders Association of America, Children and Adults with ADHD (CHADD) and others - are more important than ever.
Are You Parenting A Child with a Mental Illness?
We have plenty of information on child and adolescent mental health in the HealthyPlace Parenting Community. Here are just a few of the articles you may find useful:
Your Child's Mental Health: 12 Questions Every Parent Should Ask
Children and Adolescents Can Have Serious Mental Health Problems
Guide to Treatment for Children With Mental Health Needs
Accepting Your Child May Have A Mental Illness
Parenting a Child with ADHD
Teen Depression: What Parents Need to Know
Parenting Articles Table of Contents (w/a list of all articles)
Mental Health Experiences
Share your thoughts/experiences parenting a child with a mental illness or any mental health subject, or respond to other people's audio posts, by calling our toll-free number (1-888-883-8045).
You can listen to what other people are saying by clicking on the gray title bars inside the widgets located on the "Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences" homepage, the HealthyPlace homepage, and the HealthyPlace Support Network homepage.
If you have any questions, write us at: info AT healthyplace.com
"PTSD: Dealing with Trauma in Your Life" On HealthyPlace TV
You've heard the term PTSD, but what does that really mean? What kind of traumas and how much trauma can lead a person to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? And how can you deal with it? on this week's HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show.
Watch the interview with our guests, Drs. Rosemary Lichtman and Phyllis Goldberg, currently featured on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show website until next Wednesday; on-demand after that.
PTSD and Trauma in Your Life (tv show blog, audio post, guest info)
Still to Come in June on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show
Mental Health and the Importance of Nutrition
Where Do You Get the Strength to Meet Life's Challenges
If you would like to be a guest on the show or share your personal story in writing or via video, please write us at: producer AT healthyplace.com
For previous HealthyPlace TV archived shows, click the "on-demand" button on the player.
From HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs
Your comments and observations are welcomed.
Adventures in Bipolar Diagnosis: How I Got Where I Am (Breaking Bipolar Blog)
7 Steps to Inbox Zero for the ADHD Mind (ADDaboy! adult ADHD blog)
Parents and Eating Disorders: What Not To Do (Eating Disorder Recovery: The Power of Parents blog)
My 2 Least Favorite Words: Just Relax! (Nitty Gritty of Anxiety blog)
Eating Disorder Treatment: Who's the Boss?
Managing Morning Anxiety: A Few Yummy Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.
Latest Mental Health News
These stories and more are featured on our mental health news page:
An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness
Seeking to Illuminate the Mysterious Placebo Effect
Plight of the Pretty Girls
Are You Envied?
Suicide By Violence, Not Overdose, The Likely Method For Veterans With Substance Use Disorders
"Lap Band" Weight Loss Surgery In Very Obese Adults Improves Mental Health
Metabolic Syndrome Under-Recognized in Bipolar Disorder
That's it for now. If you know of anyone who can benefit from this newsletter or the HealthyPlace.com site, I hope you'll pass this onto them. You can also share the newsletter on any social network (like facebook, stumbleupon, or digg) you belong to by clicking the links below. For updates throughout the week, follow HealthyPlace on Twitter or become a fan of HealthyPlace on Facebook.
Community Partner Team
HealthyPlace.com - America's Mental Health Channel
"When you're at HealthyPlace.com, you're never alone."
The Mental Health of Our Children
bp Magazine: The summer issue of bp, arriving in mailboxes next week, has some exciting new features, lots of old favorites and a powerful cover story on actress Glenn Close and her family's encounters with mental illness and stigma.
Glenn and her sister, Jessie Close, sat down with bp Executive Editor Nancy Tobin for an in-depth interview. Jessie survived years of alcoholism, "wildness" and several suicide attempts before finally receiving her bipolar diagnosis at age 47-shortly after her son, Calen Pick, was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Calen, now 29, also shares his story.
Seeing first-hand what Jessie and Calen have gone through inspired Glenn Close to become a mental health advocate. She recently used her resources and connections to create the stigma-busting website BringChange2Mind.org.
"For me, it was never about using my personal celebrity," Close explains to bp. "It was about connecting us to our family and presenting stigma in an authentic way. Jessie and Calen are my heroes."
Talking with Glenn & Jessie Close
By Nancy Tobin
[excerpt from Talking with Glenn & Jessie Close]
The Close sisters are a compelling study in contrasts, relaxing at either end of a sofa, dangling their bare feet. Jessie Close's small service dog, Snitz, is happily nuzzling Glenn's willing shoulder, while Glenn's two dogs-Billie and Jake-compete for room at her feet. Jessie's manner is easygoing, jocular, and familiar; Glenn is more reserved, a patient listener and a reflective speaker.
Two days earlier, Jessie and her 29-year-old son Calen Pick (now padding around the living room in shorts and checking his cell phone) were keynote speakers at the annual conference and workshop of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) in Chicago-their first experience at public speaking. Jessie and Calen are now visiting Glenn's New York City apartment from their home in Bozeman, Montana; their open suitcases add friendly clutter to Glenn's elegant living room. Calen's 18-year-old sister, Mattie, is expected to arrive soon from the airport, joining them for the coming week of travel and activism.
It has been a busy weekend and a very long day. At a luncheon earlier, Fountain House-a mental health support foundation based in New York-honored the Close sisters for their anti-stigma work. The event also recognized U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. A lengthy outdoor photo shoot followed. Now, early in the evening, the pair is settled in for an interview with bp Magazine in this sunny Manhattan apartment, where windows overlook the spring canopy of a tree-filled Central Park far below.
Since the fall of 2009, spurred on and supported by her doting older sister, Jessie has been in a whirlwind of highly visible, stigma-busting activity in the world of mental health... [end of excerpt]
IBPF will be hosting Glenn Close for a special evening, Friday, November 12, 2010 at the Grand Del Mar Resort in San Diego. Tickets will go on sale in August, watch for our announcement.
Single MRI Scan 'Could Help Diagnose Bipolar Disorder'
A single MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan may soon help hundreds of
thousands of people with bipolar disorder to get a faster, more accurate - and
possibly life-saving - diagnosis, a leading researcher reported at the Royal
College of Psychiatrists' International Congress.
Psychiatrist Calls For More Research Into Combination Treatments
Better treatment for people with bipolar disease and other mental illnesses is
likely to come from properly tested combinations of existing therapies,
according to leading psychiatry researcher Professor John Geddes.
Shedding Light On How Psychiatric Risk Gene Disrupts Brain Development
Scientists are making progress towards a better understanding of the
neuropathology associated with debilitating psychiatric illnesses like bipolar
disorder and schizophrenia. New research, published by Cell Press in the July 15
issue of the journal Neuron, reveals mechanisms that connect a known psychiatric
risk gene to disruptions in brain cell proliferation and migration during
Psychiatrist calls for more research into combination treatments
Better treatment for people with bipolar disease and other mental illnesses is likely to come from properly tested combinations of existing therapies, according to leading psychiatry researcher Professor John Geddes.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Better treatment for people with bipolar disease and other mental illnesses is likely to come from properly tested combinations of existing therapies, according to leading psychiatry researcher Professor John Geddes.
New research led by Professor Geddes at Oxford University has revealed that bipolar disorder - suffered by 1 in 100 people including Stephen Fry and actress Carrie Fisher - is optimally treated by a combination of lithium and sodium valproate. Professor Geddes told delegates at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' 2010 International Congress in Edinburgh: "We showed that this combination is substantially better than valproate on its own, and may be slightly better than lithium on its own."Professor Geddes called for more research into the development of combination therapies. He said: "Cancer and heart disease are now routinely treated with combinations of drugs, following well-conducted trials to identify medications that work best together. But psychiatry has lagged behind in the development of sound evidence-based combination therapies."Psychiatric patients are often prescribed several drugs to control symptoms. But they are rarely tested combinations, and more frequently come about when an extra drug is added by the doctor when the existing medication is failing to work."
LICAVAL (efficacy and tolerability of the combination of LIthium and CArbamazepine compared to lithium and VALproic acid in the treatment of young bipolar patients) study aim to evaluate acute and maintenance phase of BD treatment with two combined drugs.
Conclusions: Trials comparing specific treatments efficacy in BD (head to head) can show relevant information in clinical practice. Long term treatment is an issue of great important and should be evaluated carefully in more studies as long as BD is a chronic disease.Trial registrationClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00976794
Author: Rodolfo CamposLuis CostaDanielle BioMarcio Soeiro de SouzaCarla GarciaFrederico DemetrioDoris MorenoRicardo Moren
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) has decided to cancel a late-stage clinical trial of a new antipsychotic drug called Geodon which was slated to treat children with bipolar disorder.
The New York-based pharmaceutical company says that it still plans for pediatric approval of the drug, which had 2009 sales of $1 billion, according to a spokeswoman. The drug suffered a setback in 2009 when the FDA declined approval and requested more information about the drug.
Geodon is marketed by Pfizer to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in results. One of the factors which lead to the cancellation of the test was the company's inability to meet the deadline that the FDA had for obtaining what's called pediatric exclusivity. Drug makers can get as much as six months of market exclusivity from the FDRA for studying safety and effectiveness of a drug in children upon the request of the agency. Geodon currently expires as exclusive for Pfizer in March 2012.
Pfizer said in a statement that the company had begun preparing for the trial but never started and had no enrolled patients.
In April, the FDA warned Pfizer of violating rules involving pediatric trials of Geodon which were found during several clinical inspections of the studies. he agency said there was "widespread overdosing" of patients as a result of inadequate monitoring by Pfizer.
Pfizer is hoping to win FDA approval of the drug to treat bipolar disorder in pediatric patients between ages 10 to 17. Last year, the FDRA declined to approve the product for pediatric use and requested additional information about the drug. The FDA's panel said that Geodon was shown to be effective at treating bipolar but questioned the safety of the drug.
Update on Capitol Hill
ADVOCACY WORKS! .... But we aren't done yet.
The Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services and the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee in their final hearings for this budget year, voted to reject the Governor's proposal to reduce by $602 million funding to the counties for mental health community services. The Subcommittee also rejected the Governor's Medi-Cal "cost containment" proposals that included putting a hard "cap" on the number of prescriptions per month, limiting to 10 physician visits per year, and imposing co-payments on several services. The actions by the Assembly budget subcommittee is identical to the actions taken earlier by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.
In Sacramento, we are working hard to make sure your voice is heard by doing our part. We participated in Disability Capitol Action day on Wednesday (thanks to NAMI CA staff) with an exhibit table and by engaging our NAMI members in advocacy at hearings and at legislative visits. I, personally, was in a hearing from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and testified on your behalf, long after others had gone home. We absolutely MUST do all we can to SAVE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN OUR COMMUNITIES.
No Action At This Stage of the Budget Process is Final
No action at this stage of another year of drawn-out budget battles is absolutely final until a budget is actually passed by the Legislature and signed into lawby the Governor. The next phase of the budget process is the Budget Conference Committee, composed of 6 members - 3 members from the Assembly (2 Democrats and 1 Republican) and 3 members from the Senate (2 Democrats and 1 Republican) to review those budget issues where each house took a different action. The Budget Conference Committee is critical because it keeps a budget item open for potentially larger cuts or other major policy changes. During that phase of the budget process, this committee made up of members of both houses will have to strike compromises to fill the shortfall of $20 billion in the state budget.
Keep writing to your legislators and don't lose any momentum. We need to keep the pressure on. Be sure to mention that you are a NAMI member. If you believe in a balanced approach to the state budget, meaning budget cuts plus enhanced revenues from fees and taxes, then this is the time to say so.
Remember, use the CapWiz tool by going to: http://www.nami.org/stateadvocacy
Click on the map of California. Plug in your zip code and take it from there. Your personal appeal is most powerful. Also, sending handwritten letters to your representative or visiting the district office of your representative makes for much stronger advocacy.
A Celebration of Psychology and the Indian Health Service
Join your colleagues for this unique five-hour program describing the ongoing development of Prescribing Medical Psychologist services on behavioral health teams in the Indian Health Service. This program is sponsored by Divisions 55 and 18, with support from CSPP at Alliant International University, the California Psychological Association Foundation, APA Divisions 17, 44, 45, 56, Division V of the California Psychological Association, the Minnesota Psychological Association, the Florida Psychological Association and the Indian Health Service.
:: Symposium: Speakers on Mental Health in Indian Country, Using the "Talking Circle,"
Protecting Communities Using Tribal and Federal Law, and other topics
:: Hear Rose Weahkee, PhD, Director of Behavioral Health, Indian Health Service;
and Melba Vasquez, PhD, APA President-elect
:: Native American Cultural Festival: Dancing, Drumming, Storytelling, and
Grammy award winner, Michael Brant DeMaria
:: Buffet Luncheon including speaker from the Surgeon General's Office
Saturday, August 14th, 2010
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM · San Diego Marriott
Cost: $10 Registration Fee covers full buffet luncheon and all CEU programming.
We encourage larger contributions, when possible, to help with Conference costs.
Advance Registration Required
Register on line at: http://www.alliantconnect.org/donations/fund.asp?id=3733
Or mail your check to Steven Tulkin, PhD, CSPP, One Beach St., San Francisco, CA 94133
Check should be made out to "Native American Health Services Initiative."
For more information email Steven Tulkin email@example.com or Beth Rom-Rymer firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call for entires: Share Your Journey
In the same way everyone has different definitions of success, everyone has different talents. That's why AstraZeneca has partnered with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) to find and showcase stories that inspire hope and show the importance of seeking help for the unresolved symptoms of depression and developing an appropriate treatment plan with a health care provider in an effort to successfully manage the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder. Whether you choose to write an essay, produce a video, create a piece of art, craft a poem, or sing a song, get ready to SPEAK out and share your story.
If you have experienced and are now successfully managing the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder, often referred to simply as depression, we invite you to be an encouraging role model for others by telling the story of your journey as part of the SPEAK and Be Heard... Living With Depression campaign.
Reaching success was probably not an easy journey for you. Success may be measured in many ways: from the basics of feeling well enough to get out of bed, to the complexities of maintaining meaningful work, fulfilling relationships, and personal happiness. All these, and many more unique to you, are possible definitions of success-yours. You found a way to successfully manage your symptoms and your personal story-no matter how big or small-should be celebrated!
Share your story about how you overcame your unresolved symptoms of depression. Maybe it was with the help of your doctor or family and friends. Share hope when you share your story as part of SPEAK and Be Heard... Living With Depression. You can be the inspiration for someone to recognize and seek help for their unresolved symptoms of depression.
For more info: http://www.speakaboutdepression.com/
Dear Friend & Advocate
It's time to relax, recharge, and ratchet down that stress level. Raising a child with special educational needs can be overwhelming. If you are not careful, special education can consume your life. http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/10/nl.0720.htm
Please Call Your Senator Now!
Senators: Please Do Not Allow Restraint/Seclusion to be Added to the IEP in S.2860.
S. 2860 should require that all students receive IEPs which treat them with dignity, with positive interventions, and appropriate services.
Putting R/S in an IEP Is NOT necessary to plan for crises.
Schools have the upper-hand in IEP negotiations; parents rarely are equals.
How to Call Your Senator
Always use the bill number, S. 2860, Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act. Please call; Senators pay more attention to calls. Email may get lost. Use Email only if you must.
Dial 202-224-3121 (TTY 202-225-1904) or go to www.senate.gov, click on Senators for contact information (including local numbers). You will have 2 Senators. When you call, ask for their Education or Disability Aide. Leave a detailed voicemail message if they are not available. Be sure to identify the bill by name, Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act and use the number, S. 2860.
Please call your Senators - but especially if you live in these states on the Senate HELP Committee: AK, AZ, CO, CT, GA, IA, KS , MD, MN, NC, NH, NM, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, TN, UT, VT, WA, WY. If you are in these states, check the HELP Committee website so you call the Senator on the Committee, http://help.senate.gov/. If you have friends or family in the Committee states, please get them to call. And even if you are not in a Committee state, please call. Senators from all over the country are impacting this bill.
Call Senator Tom Harkin and ask for his disability counsel (phone 202-224-3254, fax 202-224-9369). Senator Harkin chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, http://help.senate.gov/ and has much power over this bill. He needs to hear from parents and advocates from around the country; he certainly is hearing from the other side.
Coping on campus
What does it take for a college student with bipolar to thrive? That's the subject of "Facing College: Making the Grade With Bipolar," a feature story in bp's Summer issue.
It's a biological fact that the late teen and early adult years are prime time for the onset of bipolar. And the lifestyle triggers so typical in those years-erratic sleep patterns, plenty of alcohol and maybe other drugs, lots of academic and emotional stress-are also the enemies of mood stability.
Still, getting a bipolar diagnosis "isn't a sentence," Russ Federman, PhD, tells writer Elizabeth Forbes. "I feel very optimistic about students' ability to lead satisfying and productive lives."
After all, he's seen in happen. Federman is director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Virginia and knows what it takes for students with bipolar to succeed at the academically demanding institution.
He's also co-author of Facing Bipolar: A Young Adult's Guide to Dealing with Bipolar Disorder, which sympathetically lays out the "four S's" of success: creating structure, managing stress, getting good sleep and learning to self-monitor (click here to read an excerpt). Our article "Facing College" lays out a few more, like staying flexible about your path to graduation and getting support from family and peers.
"Get in touch with any kind of peer support that's going to be out there," advises Jeremiah B., now a 28-year-old graduate student at York University in Toronto. Not only can you get "been there, done that" details about navigating life at your college, he says, but it's also great "not to have to worry about disclosing [your diagnosis] to friends, to potential romantic interests."
IEP Checklist iPhone Application
By Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC, www.peatc.org) and Nurvee (www.nurvee.com)
DESCRIPTION: Offered free of charge in both English and Spanish, this new IEP app helps parents of students with special needs become better informed advocates by keeping IEP information organized and making it easier to access. It displays 13 primary categories that relate directly to IEP meetings. Each category displays a quick reference guide of essential information and has room for a parent's own notes. Some comments on the application: "This is just the sort of tool that families that have children in special education need to prepare and participate in the IEP. It not only gives them the information on IDEA 2004 and the IEP but also assists in keeping their child's information organized and easily accessed." "I really like that the ed code citations are embedded in it."
For more information and free download:
Also available for free download from iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iep-checklist/id348702423?mt=8
Could an MRI Diagnose Bipolar Disorder?
Sunday June 27, 2010
It's possible - and with today's technology. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have found that there is a clear difference between brain activity in patients who have unipolar depression from those who have bipolar disorder.
Right now it can be difficult to diagnose bipolar disorder. And since bipolar disorder is so often misdiagnosed as clinical depression at first, and it can take months or years for the correct diagnosis to be made, a test like this could make an enormous difference to people haven't been diagnosed correctly - even saving lives.
All this is according to Professor Mary Phillips, professor of psychiatry and director of the Clinical and Translational Affective Neuroscience Program at the University of Pittsburgh, who spoke at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' International Congress in Edinburgh last week. She told the Congress, "Only one in five sufferers are correctly diagnosed at first presentation to a doctor and it can take up to ten years before suffers receive a correct diagnosis."
Professor Phillips went on to say, "The problem is that sufferers [of bipolar disorder] frequently fail to tell their doctors about hypomanic phases because they can be experienced as quite pleasant or judged not to be abnormal at all."
Professor Phillips also raised the possibility that in the future such tests could be used to predict future bipolar disorder in young people who haven't shown any symptoms. For those who are at risk of developing BP due to family history, this could be of enormous benefit by helping them to get early and accurate treatment.
Since the technology is already available to perform the necessary testing, I expect one big stumbling block, at least in the United States, will be the insurance industry. MRIs are not inexpensive, and getting insurance companies to approve them to help diagnose a mental illness could be mighty tough. I hope I'm wrong, because this a tantalizing look into the future that could be a major breakthrough.
Source: Royal College of Psychiatrists
Life Expectancy in Mental Illness
By JESSICA WARD JONES, MD, MPH Associate News Editor
Mental illness can take years off a person's life, but perhaps not as many as previously thought.
Recent research shows that serious and persistent mental illness can result in patients losing up to four years of life compared to individuals without mental illness.
Dr. Elizabeth E. Piatt from the Department of Behaviors and Community Health Services at Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy in Rootstown, and her colleagues, examined death records of patients from a community mental health center, and from the general population. The researchers found an increase in premature mortality in the mentally ill patients, not only from suicide, but also cancer, accidents, liver disease and septicemia.
"We found that a community-based sample of adults with severe and persistent mental illness lost 14.5 years of potential life, a difference of 4.2 years from the (control) sample," said Piatt.
It has been known for years that people with severe psychiatric illness have shorter lifespans, thought to be from 13.5 to 32 years shorter. More than 90 percent of suicides are as a result of a mental illness, and persons with bipolar disorder, for example, have a 10 to 20 percent lifetime risk of suicide. However, recent research has made clear that there is an increased mortality in patients with mental illness that is not directly explained by mental health issues, and is related to general medical problems.
However, most studies have tended to focus on inpatients. In addition, previous research has not directly compared years of potential life lost between mental health patients and individuals without mental illness. Thus the number of potential years of life lost may be lower than previously suggested.
"By not examining differences in premature mortality, the results of these studies may have overestimated (this outcome) in the population with serious mental illness," note the authors.
To accurately assess the true impact of serious and persistent mental illness on years of potential life lost, Piatt and her colleagues retrospectively matched 647 case management files from patients who had been treated at a community health center prior to their deaths to 15,517 state death records from the general population.
The authors defined serious mental illness as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, dysthymia, major depression, anxiety disorder and personality disorders. Individuals with dementia and substance abuse disorders were not included in the study.
They found that the mean number of years of potential life lost for decedents with serious and persistent mental illness was 14.5 (standard deviation ± 10.6) compared to 10.5 (± 6.7) for the general population. The mean age of death for the psychiatric patients was 73.4 (± 15.4) years compared to 79.6 (± 10.9) years.
Heart disease was the leading cause of death for each group. After statistical adjustments were made for gender, race, education and marital status, the greatest differences in cause of death between the two groups were seen in suicide, cancer, accidents, liver disease, and septicemia.
Differences were also seen in every leading cause of death. However, even after adjusting for all the differences in cause of death, there was still a increased number of years of potential life lost that was not explained.
"Differences in cause of death did not explain the difference in years of potential life lost," said Piatt.
These results are important in giving a more accurate picture of the true impact of serious and persistent mental illness on life expectency, and the nature of that impact. Patients with psychiatric disorders are not only at risk for psychiatric complications, but are also at greater risk for medical illness, and at an increased risk for more complicated medical disease and worse outcomes.
Patients with psychiatric illness may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors that result in accidents, or to smoke, or be less compliant with medications. Another recent study showed that patients with bipolar disorder are at an increased risk for heart disease. Other research has shown that patients admitted to psychiatric hospitals are at risk for increased mortality from general medical problems. In addition, some psychiatric medications, notably antipsychotics, can increase the risk of diabetes, or heart disease.
Mental health practitioners have an opportunity to intervene not just in preventing suicides, but also in discouraging risky behavior, encouraging a healthy lifestyle, and general primary medical care.
"Integrating mental health care, primary health care, and wellness-promoting activities....may ensure access to the interventions needed to reverse the causes of preventable early death," say Piatt and her team. "Morbidity and mortality from the most common causes of death in this sample...may be reduced by effective medical care that attempts prevention, early detection, and chronic disease management."
The authors conclude: "Our work adds to the growing body of literature that highlights the need for better preventative health care for persons with mental illness. Along with ongoing suicide prevention programs, efforts to integrate primary and psychiatric care should focus on these preventable causes of death."
Dr. Piatt's results are published in the July issue of Psychiatric Services.
Celebrities in the News
Robert Pattinson claims he is manic-depressive
Robert Pattinson is the object of desire for thousands of girls around the world. The sexy 'Twilight' star has oodles of fans following his every step, with many keen for an opportunity to see, touch or speak to the actor in person, let alone the ultimate dream come true: a date with Robert Pattinson.
Admiring the 24-year-old English actor from a distance might be a cleverer option, as Robert has recently revealed he believes he is manic-depressive, a condition he feels has a huge negative impact on his relationships.
While he has never been officially diagnosed, Robert is convinced his mood swings and bouts of depression mean he suffers from the illness, otherwise known as bipolar disorder.
John Travolta On Psychiatric Medicine: No, Thanks
By ALICIA SPARKS
It's one thing for a celebrity to advocate for mental health awareness and education; it's quite another for a celebrity to advocate for the use, or nonuse, of certain mental health treatments, which is what some folks in the mental health world feel actor John Travolta did when he told CNN that his way of thinking about psychiatry and psychiatric medicines lines up with the stances taken by Tom Cruise and Travolta's religion, Scientology.
In other words, psychiatry and medicine are no good.
Folks involved in the mental health world might be quick to lash out at Travolta for having this opinion. Fighting the Darkness, a PsychCentral.com member blog, points out that these celebrities are speaking out about "treating an illness they have never experienced and have no real education about."
This is a slippery turf, though, I think.
On the one hand, Travolta made a good point when he said:
I don't want to create controversy; I just have an opinion on things, and there is nothing wrong with stating your opinion if you are asked [...] Everyone wants that right, and because you are famous doesn't mean you have less of a right.
On the other hand, Jamie, the blogger behind Fighting the Darkness, made a good point with:
I do agree that he has a right to his opinion, but worry about the dangers of sharing such a narrow minded opinion with the public.
I don't know if Cruise or Travolta have ever dealt with depression or any other mental health issue, but, even if they have, my own opinion on the matter lines up with that of PsychCentral's Dr. John Grohol's: When it comes to psychiatric medications, we'd do better to care about what scientists and researchers have to say than what a celebrity has to say.
Mel Gibson -
HollywoodLife.com spoke with top psychologists, psychiatrists and an anger management and addiction expert about Mel Gibson's shocking rants - and learned what they reveal about his mental health!
Mel Gibson is a recovering alcoholic and an alleged manic depressive, but does that explain his horrific ranting at his now ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva?
In four recorded phone-wars that have now leaked on the Internet, the 54-year-old screams racial slurs, drops the C-word and threatens to kill the mother of his eight-month-old child, Lucia - all the while huffing and puffing like he's having a panic attack.
Some are saying Mel's abusive behavior can be partially blamed on his mental health. Nearly ten years ago Mel admitted in a documentary called Acting Class of 1977 (released in 2008) that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
"I had really good highs but some very low lows," the Braveheart actor said. "I found out recently I'm manic depressive."
HollywoodLife.com consulted with top doctors and therapists in the psychiatric field and the response was nearly unanimous. Despite his alleged diagnosis, Mel's mental instability cannot be completely to blame for his abusive and offensive behavior.
Rage is not a symptom of bipolar disorder:
"I don't know if it's a panic attack or if it's just more uncontrolled rage. Rage isn't a symptom and doesn't stem from bipolar disorder - but if you take into account his issues with his relationship with Oksana, on top of everything else, his mental health could be in part [to blame]." - Clinical psychologist and host of VH1's Dad Camp Dr. Jeff Gardere
"If Mel has said that he has been diagnosed as a manic depressive with bipolar disorder, then yes, it might contribute, but it doesn't exonerate him. There are a lot of people who have bipolar disorder and are not abusive like this. A manic depressive can have very intense feelings, but plenty of people who have been diagnosed and are NOT abusive. They don't threaten to burn down the house or use racial slurs." - Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Berman
"You cannot diagnose him as a manic depressive just from these tapes. He feels used and abandoned. Mel Gibson's rage is pure sexual frustration. In the fourth tape where he talks about not getting sexually pleasured, it makes it even clearer that it's just extreme sexual frustration ... and that can push someone over the edge." - Psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman
Mel Gibson exhibits signs of narcissism - which also isn't a symptom of his alleged disorder:
"One of the things that you hear in all of the audio tapes is that everything is about HIM. He says she embarrasses him. HE wants sex. There's nothing about her. He obviously has no ability to communicate. It's all me, me, me." - Dr. Berman
"Mel Gibson was narcissistically wounded and he was trying to wound her. He was trying to wound her with his words the same way she wounded him by abandoning him." - Dr. Lieberman
Crazy or just angry, Mel Gibson needs help NOW:
"People who have any kind of disorder and go untreated tend to just get worse. First, he needs to get his mood and his mental state in a better place. He needs to be stabilized before he can even address where all this hate and rage is coming from. He definitely needs some kind of psychological intervention." - Dr. Berman
"If Mel has a disorder, he needs to take his medicine and go to therapy. THEN he can follow up and figure out what's causing this." - Dr. Gardere
"I don't care if he is manic. What I hear in those tapes is really rage. Mel is full of rage and anger. He's controlling and he's abusive. He needs help." - Addiction expert and anger management specialist Marty Brenner
About the International Bipolar Foundation
International Bipolar Foundation is a not for profit organization based in San Diego whose mission is to eliminate Bipolar Disorder through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support services for all affected; and to erase associated stigma through public education.
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