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From Our Readers

Reaction to New York Post's ugly headline
This letter, written by Harvey Rosenthal, responded to an ugly headline in the New York Post. The article discussed New York's attempts to enhance community programs, improve hospital discharge planning, and make the lives of all New Yorkers better. The headline, "Cost Of Kooks & Junkies," brought this response from Harvey Rosenthal, NYAPRS. To the Editor, The quality of the Post's coverage has sunk to an outrageously low level in a headline editor's choice of 'Cost of Kooks and Junkies'... []
9-11 Healing and Remembrance: mental health resources
Dear MIWatch readers, The Mental Health Association of NYC (MHA-NYC) and its partners have launched a unique mental health program to assist the 9-11 affected community as they travel and participate in the 10th anniversary commemorative activities. Little is known about the mental health needs of victims ten years after a large scale traumatic event. The Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime have provided a grant that allows for mental health supports for those affected by 9-11 in... []
New website promotes youth sharing information in Australia
The following note pertains to a new Australian project promoting sharing of information based on gender, age, diagnosis, treatment choices. To MIWatch, The Mental Health Literacy research team at Orygen Youth Health Research Centre (Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne) have developed a website- whatworks4u.org- where young people can jump on and share what treatments have worked for their mental health problems and learn what treatments have worked for others. We hope to increase awareness of treatment... []
Harvey Rosenthal writes about improving behavioral health care
The following editorial originally appeared in the Albany Times Union on Feb. 22, and is reprinted with permission by Harvey Rosenthal. One of the most important considerations facing state budget makers this year lies in how to reduce costs and improve the care of "high cost, high needs" people with ongoing and serious mental health, substance use and medical conditions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is right to address concerns about both the cost -- these groups use 15 times the amount... []
Going AWOL to get help "a walk of courage," writes Lorre Leon Mendelson
The following comment comes from a reader who refers to a story about a soldier named Jeff Hanks who was deployed in Afghanistan and now faces disciplinary action. It appeared in the Tennessean on Veterans Day. "It was the desperate act of a father/husband/soldier: going awol to obtain mental health assistance: not borne of fear but a walk in courage. Millions are diagnosed with anxiety disorders, one of which is PTSD. Many of us try to "pass" as someone without... []
Priorities for national reform, writes Ron Manderscheid
Ron Manderscheid, PhD, Executive Director, of NACBHDD writes about "Implementing Service Improvements for Adults with Serious Mental Illness" On November 12 and 13, I served as convener and host for a major national meeting in Washington, D.C., designed to identify, build consensus, and prioritize needed improvements in services for adults with serious mental illness. The meeting, "National Action Meeting on Fostering System Reform for Adults with Serious Mental Illness", was convened because National Health Reform will provide a unique opportunity... []
Recovery, new health care law -- conference topics
Harvey Rosenthal, executive director of New York Association for Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) writes about an upcoming conference: "In our upcoming "6th Annual Executive Seminar on System Transformation," NYAPRS once again seeks to connect experts on the most promising trends supporting the advance of recovery. This includes discussions of wellness, community integration, self-determination, new federal health care law, and innovative service approaches. More than 50 speakers, who represent local, state and national leaders, will spend two days discussing these important... []
First psychotic breaks -- conference topic
Peter Stastny,* MD, writes about an upcoming conference (Nov 23): "Alternative responses to first psychotic breaks: Rethinking psychiatric crisis." After several years, there is a renewed focus on treatment for first psychotic episodes. An emphasis on early intervention and prevention of psychosis, with the goal of shortening the "duration of untreated psychosis" has obscured the view on the actual services that are being offered to individuals in the midst of a first episode. Recently, the National Institute of Mental Health... []
Care I receive in Canada
by Lou Ross-Johns I have always lived in a separate room. I look in the window and the rest of the world is in some strange and mysterious party which I cannot understand or participate in, only watch through the window. This has always been with me and will ever be. I was a child who stayed on the edges of the playground, and who sat silently in her mind in the schoolroom. My experience with the health care system... []
POLL results: primary care involvement
Chronic health problems associated with mental illnesses and substance use disorders underscore the need for coordination between psychiatry and primary care providers. Yet shortages of primary care physicians have made it difficult for people needing regular check ups to prevent or monitor diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer -- all leading to an average 25-years shorter life expectancy -- are well known. An informal, unscientific poll of MIWatch readers indicates three out of four do not have primary care involvement. The... []
Chronicle narratives: Recovery from Dissociative Identity Disorder
MIWatch received this story about recovery from a reader in Canada. STORMS AND BLESSINGS THE RECOVERY OF LOU, FROM DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER The young, sullen man leaned back in his chair, gazed at me with his moody, dark eyes, and said calmly, "You are hopeless, you have no hope." I sat in the circle, and noted that nobody was contradicting him, even the group leaders. I adjusted my arm, which was in a sling. Underneath the sling, a bandage, wrapping... []
Apology to Infinite Mind
Bill Lichtenstein sends this note about an apology from On the Media, the NPR program about journalism. [March 19, 2009] NPR's "On The Media" this week corrected its November 28, 2008 report that accused the executive producer of "The Infinite Mind" public radio series of having known that the show's host, Dr. Fred Goodwin, had received $1.2 million in fees for giving marketing lectures on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, while he was hosting the program. In its on-air correction, "On... []
Mental health advocate attends health summit
Friends: It was my privilege to be at the White House this afternoon for the President's Health Summit. The President opened the Summit by talking about the Report on Health Care Community Discussions that was distributed to participants and then introducing a firefighter/EMT from Indiana who talked about his experiences dealing with so many people with inadequate or no health coverage. Following the opening session with the President, the Summit moved to five breakout sessions. I can only speak to... []
Threats to rehab in Kansas City, Mo., jails
Anne Lesser, Interim Director of the Homeless Services Coalition of Greater Kansas City, writes: Like every city, Kansas City, Missouri, is suffering from budget short falls. Among the solutions the Kansas City City Council is considering to save $1 million is regionalizing the municipal jail (MCI), known for its innovative programs for mentally ill inmates. The City Council's previous plan was privatization which was squelched almost a year ago. The threat is if regionalization fails, privatization returns. As someone who... []
From Louisiana, Daily Dupre` asks where the money goes for services
Increased funding for Nicola Law; decreased in-patient beds in New Orleans...hmmmn...is this a disconnect? "Those vicious, atrocious, mental patients need to be off the streets, so our FAMILIES, can rest well at night." View the videos and see what the New Orleans police spokesperson, & Bobby Jindal, LA. Governor, etc. have to say about we who are mentally ill. Much is made of that horrible 'paranoid schizophrenic' who committed the 'atrocious' or horrible 'crime'. What is not being said, what... []
Bill Lichtenstein, The Infinite Mind, responds to MIWatch
Dear Editor, I am responding as executive producer of the public radio series The Infinite Mind to two issues you raised in your posting of November 25, 2008 regarding the $1.2 million in undisclosed speaking fees paid to the program's host, Dr. Fred Goodwin, by GlaxoSmithKline. First, I want to respond to your assertion that I "ignored ominous signs" about Goodwin's acceptance of the speaking fees. This is not true. In fact, the staff and I acted affirmatively and diligently... []
Esmin Green remembered
David Gonzalez writes about a demonstration remembering Esmin Green. []
Angry about the death of Iman Morales
A statement prepared by Mary Dougherty, on behalf of Rights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities (RIPPD) about the death of Iman Morales. Morales died as a result of a taser gun used by the New York City Police Department, Sept. I write this today in solidarity with the family of Iman Morales, a 35-year-old man with mental illness who was tasered to death by police. As community members and activists, we are outraged by yet another instance of... []
Peer-support groups release medication guide
Will Hall writes that peer-run support groups, Freedom Center and the Icarus Project, recently released a 40-page guide, the Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Medications. Hall notes that he wrote the guide, with a 14-member health professional Advisory Board providing research assistance and 24 other collaborators involved in developing and editing. Editorial advisors include David Cohen, Daniel Fisher, Rufus May, and Joanna Moncrieff, MD. You can download and free copy at: http://theicarusproject.net/HarmReductionGuideComingOffPsychDrugs ... []
Michelle D. Sherman writes:
Many Americans are joining in the important and much-deserved recognition and celebration of our troops upon homecoming from war. Most people know someone who has been deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism...a relative, friend, neighbor, or co-worker. We are bombarded by images and stories of the war in the media, and the internet and advances in communication allow for almost instant connection with people and events half way around the world. The Global War on Terrorism is... []

Phyllis Vine

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