Thank you, Steve Jobs
. . .for enlarging my brother's world []
KHN Column: Social Security's Disabled Adult Child Program: A Key Program Often Below The Radar
In this Kaiser Health News essay about Medicare and Medicaid benefits for older, disabled adults, Harold Pollack explains how Social Security has become an effective insurance policy that was patched together by Republican and Democratic leadership over the past 75 years. Yet, despite its centrality as a social support for disabled adults, it still falls short of providing security, and individuals are forced to rely on other help, especially family, to plug the holes. []
Death of Harriet Shetler, NAMI founder
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Harriet Shetler, a pioneer in the family advocacy movement, died yesterday in Wisconsin. . . []
Cultural difference and symptoms of mental illness
In a New York Times article titled, "The Americanization of Mental Illness," Ethan Watters discusses how America's "symptom repertoire" for mental illness has circled the globe and altered the expression of symptoms and their treatment. He . . . []
Anti-stigma campaign draws millions
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Screen and stage star Glenn Close, and an advocate for people with mental illness, is the moving force behind a public awareness campaign to undue stigma. . . []
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... []
New York's Timothy's Law for kids
New York's governor David Paterson announced support for making access to mental health treatment permanent for kids by extending Timothy's Law. The law is named after Timothy O'Clair, a 12 year-old who committed suicide and whose family ran into insurance barriers for mental health treatment. Paterson announced his support on what would have been Timothy's 21st birthday and on the heels of a report citing how effective the temporary law had been in getting kids services. The state subsidizes businesses... []
My Son's Name Was Fred, by Gwill Linderme York Newman
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"Gwill Newman was born into privilege," says Vi Orr, in a review of My Son's Name Was Fred. Yet wealth and advantage did not protect her son, Fred, from schizophrenia. In this memorial to Fred, Newman describes her passionate advocacy for brain research as the first president of NARSAD. []
NAMI under Grassley microscope
Bloomberg News reported yesterday that Sen. Charles Grassley expanded his inquiry about drug company influence and asked the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) about its funding. The Beltway nonprofit representing families with a mental illness has been the subject of previous articles about ties to pharmaceutical companies. The annual reports prominently list companies (not amounts). Disclosure is not the biggest issue it faces as much as the influence of these companies on its policies.... []
Awards for stories about mental illness
The Association of Health Care Journalists announced five of its annual awards will go to reporters who have written about mental illness. They are: •Mary Carmichael of Newsweek for a story detaiiling how bi-polar disorder dominates the life of one youngster and his parents. •Randy Dotinga, of Voice of San Diego, for a story about the bridge in San Diego which has been used by people intending suicide since 1973. •Sharon Salyer and Alejandro Dominguez, of the Daily Herald in... []
Making a difference: "The Soloist" and Steve Lopez
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Journalist Steve Lopez was looking for a story when he stumbled onto the life of a remarkable musician with schizophrenia. In a review of "The Soloist, soon to be released as a motion picture, Arlene Notoro Morgan, whose father had schizophrenia, writes about Lopez, her friend, and the impact of his work. []
New books about bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia
Two books have been published this month for an audience concerned about mental illness in their families. Author Michael Greenberg writes about his daughter and her hospitalizations, starting as a teenager, when she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Greenberg's discussed Hurry Down Sunshine, with radio host Lenny Lopate on WNYC. Researchers at New York State's Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Irene and Jerome Levine, wrote ... []
House passes veteran's mental health bill
A voice vote in the House approved a compromise for the "Veteran's Mental Health Bill" calling for improvements in treatment and research for PTSD, substance abuse disorders and for expanding the time when military families may seek mental health services. For updates on S. 2162, click here. ... []
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... []
Helping kids who witness violence
Children who witness violence at home, or in their community or school, are at risk for PTSD. The San Francisco Chronicle reports a bill is now on the desk of California's Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would provide mental health services to these youngsters. Some consider this the first step in acknowledging this as a public health crisis.... []
High suicide rates for Asian-American women
Language barriers, insurance costs and cultural values, including family honor and shame, often deter Asian-Americans from seeking help. According to an article in Newsweek, Asian-American women between the ages of 15-24 have the highest rates of suicide of women in the U.S., and those over 65 are ten times more likely to commit suicide than their Caucasian counterparts.... []
Changes at SAMHSA
Terry Cline, PhD, is leaving the helm of SAMHSA for Iraq where he will coordinate American efforts to rebuild a health system. His temporary replacement, Rear Admiral Eric Broderick, D.D.S., a dentist, is an expert in oral health, and the Indian Health Service. With a budget of $3.3 billion, SAMHSA is responsible for " improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation's delivery systems to prevent substance abuse, treat addiction and provide mental health services." In the past week,... []
Forum addresses police training in New York
New Yorkers want to know why their city does not have an adequate training program for police to respond to a psychiatric emergency. An open forum took place in which family, experts and authors discussed changes they would like to see. []
H.R. 4053
Rep. Shelley Berkeley (D-NV) introduced the Mental Health Improvements Act of 2007 on Oct. 31, 2007, “To improve the treatment and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, and for other purposes.” []
S. 2162
Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hi) introduced the Veterans’ Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008 on October 14, 2007: "To improve the treatment and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, and for other purposes." []
Senate bill expands treatment for vets
A Senate bill (S. 2162) to plug holes for vets with substance abuse disorders and PTSD was passed Tuesday by unanimous consent in the Senate. Problems resulting from the Iraq war have increased for soldiers and their families due to longer and multiple deployments, and insufficient treatment staff. Roughly 1,000 vets a month now attempt suicide. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs, said, “For too many veterans, returning home from battle will not... []
Schizophrenia studies
The March issue of Psychiatric Services (subscription required) focuses on schizophrenia, including research on antipsychotic drugs, the responsibilities of siblings who increasingly fill a void left by parents, and for the over-55 group which is expected to double in the next twenty years. ... []
Raw deal for vets' families
House subcommittee hearings addressed insufficient help for military families, including two million children, needing mental health services. More than half of today’s soldiers have families, yet VA medical facilities have limited their services and have not hired available family therapists. One-in-five soldiers who responded to a survey from the military’s Mental Health Advisory Team reported they were in planning a divorce. The Army Times reports that the Senate rejected a Pentagon request for increased co-pays for prescription drugs under the... []
Discharge planning
In Germany, doctors stumbled over something they think useful to promoting recovery – sending discharge letters to caregivers. ... []
Meeting family needs: Alameda County's new program
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A new program will offer flexible help for families in northern California. Rebecca Woolis, author of When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness, describes the service she helped design to meet diverse cultural and ethnic needs. []

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