Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Report: Patients Seek Information from Internet Nearly as Much as from Doctors

No surprise here. Often one can get answers more quickly than the waiting list time it takes many to actually get in to see their doctor. I know that with my family and friends, by the time we make it to the doctor's office (a month later?) the issue is often resolved...often from information off of chat boards or sites like Hey, I didnt say it was the best practice, but that is how it goes. Although the issue of mental health was not addressed in the study, I am sure it also reflects the liklihood of increased number searching out information on Mental Health issues as well., yesterday released the findings from a 2007 Consumer Medical and
Health Information poll
, commissioned by and conducted by Harris
Interactive. The study demonstrates that adults now rely on the Internet as a
primary source of health-related information nearly as much as they rely on
their primary doctors. Seventy percent of adults are now turning to the Internet
as one of their primary resources for medical and health information, surpassed
only slightly by their personal physician (72 percent). Results also cited the
Internet as a far more popular resource for health information than traditional
media outlets such as newspapers/magazines (30 percent), television (26 percent)
and books (25 percent) -- even surpassing friends and family (40 percent) as a
source to find the medical information people seek.Additional findings from the
Harris survey include:
Knowledge is Power: It's all about being informed. 73
percent of adults expressed a desire to be more informed about their personal
health, as well as the well-being of friends and family. Even those born well
before the Internet generation (ages 55+) feel the medium has helped them
diagnose and better understand their condition (76 percent).
That's What
Friends are For: Two-thirds of Americans search to help them diagnose or better
understand a condition (71 percent), and more than half of adults reporting
doing the same for friends and family members (55 percent).
For Your Eyes
Only: Adults aged 18-34 are still embarrassed when it comes to sharing personal
health information, and 21 percent noted they turned to the Internet for
privacy, stating that they were just too embarrassed to talk to anyone about
their medical or health issues.
What's the Alternative: Nearly 30 percent of
adults (28 percent) reported leveraging the Internet to find alternative (e.g.,
homeopathic) treatment options.
This survey was conducted online within the
United States between July 5 and July 9, 2007 among 3,389 adults (aged 18 and
over). Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and
race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their
actual proportions in the population. The data was also weighted to be
representative of the online population of U.S. adults on the basis of Internet
usage (hours per week) and connection type.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Baby Educational Videos May Be Harmful, Slow Development

Yahoo News! is reporting that educational videos currently gobbled up by parents in hopes of giving their children a educational head start may be failing. This is not the sort of study a parent wants to read about- especially if they have been in the practice of plopping their baby down in front of the television for some well- endorsed educational time. Every parent hopes to give their child the best developmental start. Some hope for a boost with these types of products.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Recordings that claim to stimulate baby brain development may actually slow vocabulary development in infants if they are overused, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.

For every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants aged 8 to 16 months understood an average of six to eight fewer words than babies who did not watch them, Frederick Zimmerman of the University of Washington and colleagues found.

Older toddlers were not harmed or helped by the videos, the researchers reported in the Journal of Pediatrics.

"The most important fact to come from this study is there is no clear evidence of a benefit coming from baby DVDs and videos, and there is some suggestion of harm," Zimmerman said in a statement.

"The bottom line is the more a child watches baby DVDs and videos, the bigger the effect. The amount of viewing does matter."

Zimmerman and colleagues conducted random telephone interviews with more than 1,000 families in Minnesota and Washington with babies and asked detailed questions about television and video viewing.

Parents of the 8- to 16-month-olds were asked how many words like "choo-choo," "mommy" and "nose" their child understood. Parents of the toddlers were asked how many words like "truck," "cookie" and "balloon" their children knew.

"The results surprised us, but they make sense. There are only a fixed number of hours that young babies are awake and alert," said Andrew Meltzoff, a psychologist who worked on the study.

"If the 'alert time' is spent in front of DVDs and TV, instead of with people speaking in 'parentese'-- that melodic speech we use with little ones -- the babies are not getting the same linguistic experience," Meltzoff added.

"Parents and caretakers are the baby's first and best teachers. They instinctively adjust their speech, eye gaze and social signals to support language acquisition. Watching attention-getting DVDs and TV may not be an even swap for warm social human interaction at this age. Old kids may be different, but the youngest babies seem to learn language best from people."

Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute who worked on the study, said parents frequently asked him about the value of such videos.

"The evidence is mounting that they are of no value and may in fact be harmful," Christakis said.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Projected Top 5 Breakout Technologies for 2012

Telemedicine ranks 4th in the top five of the projected technologies to come into their own in the next handful of years. IBM brought 150,000 people from 104 countries together to pitch their prognostications. They narrowed the list down to five innovations that were the "most impactful, and probably the most likely to be successful" by 2012, said George Pohle, IBM's vice president for business consulting services (Source).

  1. "The 3-D Internet: Pohle said this technology is "about translating the user
    experience on the Internet from being almost a replication of a piece of paper -
    a Web 'page' - to almost a three-dimensional experience on the Internet."
    Basically, a virtual world a la Second Life, with open borders."

  2. "Mind-reading cell phones: In the next five years, cell phones may well have a
    mind of their own - integrating location information with a database of your
    surroundings. If you're on the road at dinnertime, your phone could let you know
    where the nearest pizza place is, and what's on special...You could also point
    your camera phone at a nearby landmark, snap a picture, and have the network
    tell you everything it knows about what you're seeing.
  3. Nanotechnology for energy and the environment: "Over 2 billion people live
    without reliable water sources," Pohle said. "More people die from issues
    related to the lack of water than from any other cause." As a spin-off of its
    work with carbon nanotubes for electronics, IBM is looking into developing filters woven from nanotubes that could remove the salt and
    impurities out of salt water, at a lower cost than current desalination

4. Telemedicine: I am inferring that telemedicine as an umbrella term will continue to be
more and more inclusive of mental health. Once MDs use internet as mainstream
practice, mental health should be barking at their heels, especially since
insurance companies have to cover both types of health care visits (Halsey). " "Because many people now have Internet or even broadband connections, you can

start using those communication platforms, free or very cheaply, to connect
your doctor's office," Pohle said. Imagine having a setup at home that
can beam your vital
directly to the doctor's office, or alert a health-care provider if
something goes wrong. Patient information could be contained on an
bracelet - in fact, such bracelets have been in use for years already. Meanwhile, care providers in
remote areas
could use a "Doc in a Box" to transmit medical images and data to
specialists thousands of miles away for instant review."
The scenario may
sound like something from George Orwell's "1984" rather than IBM's 2010 - but
Pohle said technological shortcuts could actually create "a higher quality of
interaction between the doctor and the patient."

5. Real Time Speech Translation: This technology too will be able to pave the way for more accurate, timely and convenient mental health services via the internet (Halsey).

"This field is already a hot one, and over the next five years,
IBM predicts
that translators will be popping up in mobile phones, handheld
devices and
automobiles. "These services will pervade every part of business
eliminating the language barrier in the global economy and
the company said."

For More Info Link to Cosmic Blog MSNBC

Absent Military Parents Result in Higher Child Maltreatment Statistics

This news story came as no surprise. An absent parent generally increases stress and anxiety on the lone parent attemting to rear the household. The study was funded by the US Army and reported at Forbes.

""The practical implication is that child maltreatment incidents are much more likely to occur during soldier deployments than during other times, and this really underlines the necessity of formal and informal support for parents who are going through this," said Deborah A. Gibbs, lead author of the study and a senior analyst with the Children and Families Program at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C. "Our findings really put a number on the extent of the problem and suggest the areas in which supports are most necessary.

Although there is not a long history of research in this field, previous studies have found that children of parents in the U.S. military serving in Iraq and elsewhere have higher blood pressure, heart rates and stress levels than other youngsters, and that children from military families are twice as likely to die from severe abuse as other children are.
Gibbs and her colleagues looked at confirmed incidents of child maltreatment by a parent in 1,771 families of enlisted U.S. Army soldiers who had been deployed to combat at least once between September 2001 and December 2004."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dr. Albert Ellis Dies at the Age of 93

" July 24, 2007, New York City – It is with deep sadness that the Albert Ellis Institute announces the death of Albert Ellis, Ph.D. on July 24, 2007. Dr. Ellis, who was 93 years old, died of natural causes. At the time of his death, he was President Emeritus of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City.

Dr. Ellis was born in Pittsburgh in 1913, grew up in New York City, and received a master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia University.

As a practicing psychoanalyst from 1947 to 1953, Dr. Ellis grew increasingly doubtful about the efficacy of that form of psychotherapy, concerned that no amount of talk would help his clients if they failed to take action against their habitual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. By late 1953, he had stopped calling himself a psychoanalyst and begun developing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), an action-oriented therapy aimed at making emotional and behavioral change through challenging self-defeating thoughts.

REBT is today widely acclaimed as a pioneering approach to psychotherapy and the foundation of all modern cognitive behavior therapies. In 2003, the American Psychological Association named Dr. Ellis the second most influential psychologist of the 20th century, second only to Carl Rogers. In 2005, Dr. Ellis’s 78th book, The Myth of Self Esteem, was published.

In 1960, Dr. Ellis established a nonprofit institute chartered by the New York State Board of Regents known today as the Albert Ellis Institute (AEI). Since its founding, AEI has provided educational programs and psychotherapy to hundreds of thousands of professionals, individuals and families.

“We all owe a great debt to Dr. Ellis,” said Robert O’Connell, Executive Director of AEI. “His students and clients will remember him for his tremendous insight and dedication as a psychotherapist. His innovations in the field will continue to influence the practice of psychotherapy for decades to come, and the institute he founded will continue to provide outstanding professional education programs and treatment based on the principles of REBT which he originated”.

During his career, Dr. Ellis served as President of the Division of Consulting Psychology of the American Psychological Association, as a member of the APA’s Council of Representatives, and as a Fellow and President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex. He was a Fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists; the American Orthopsychiatric Association, the American Sociological Association; the American Association of Applied Anthropology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Ellis was also a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology, a Diplomate in Clinical Hypnosis of the American Board of Psychological Hypnosis, a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Psychotherapists, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology, as well as a sex therapist certified by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists ("


Information provided courtesy of Albert Ellis Institute

Friday, July 27, 2007

Club Drug "Special K" Ketamine Found to Relieve Depression Within Hours

What is more commonly known as a horse tranquilizer used by veterinarians, as well as a illicit club drug known as "Special K" has now been found to reduce depressive symptoms in a matter of hours, rather than the days, weeks or months the more tradiational anti-depressants take.

However, side effects are far too dangerous to prescribe- so this finding will support further research into psychopharmacology that will have the similar positive effects, while leaving the dangerous ones behind.

"In the July 23 online edition of Biological Psychiatry, the researchers cautioned that ketamine itself is not appropriate as an antidepressant because of its side effects, which include hallucinations. However, understanding how ketamine operates will help with the development of faster-acting antidepressants, they reported.
Current antidepressants may take weeks or months to have an effect, leaving people suffering with depressive disorders frustrated and at risk for worsening symptoms, including suicide.
"In any other illness of depression's magnitude, patients aren't expected to just accept that their treatments won't start helping them for weeks or months. The value of our research on compounds like ketamine is that it tells us where to look for more precise targets for new kinds of medications that can close the gap," said NIMH Director Dr. Thomas R. Insel. "We're making tremendous progress (FORBES)."

An Enthusiastic Nod to Online Therapy

Thanks to Azy Barak for pointing me over to this interesting tidbit!

Regina Lynn over at Wired discusses how her 2am restlessness led to seeking counseling online- when her need was the greatest.

"My distress peaked one night and I found myself frantically searching the web for some kind of drop-in crisis counseling chat. I wasn't suicidal, so I didn't want to call a suicide hotline and tie up a volunteer who could be helping someone on the verge of ultimate despair. Yet I felt I would implode if I didn't immediately talk to someone neutral and anonymous...The wee hours are when we are too tired to filter ourselves, when we are most vulnerable to dropping our shields and exposing our rawest truths -- which so often, and I dare you to prove otherwise, revolve around love and sex."

Regina Lynn goes on to share that writing is often more a natural way to communicate rather than talking...sometimes it is harder to stay engaged with your full self, rather than worrying about what, or how you are presenting to a therapist (my interpretation). As Ms. Lynn said, online therapy is like a "diary that writes back." And we all know that you certainly write things differently in a diary than in a regular conversation, even about the same subject.

Lynn states, "If connecting online feels natural and right to you, the internet is a natural place to seek therapy. You're already accustomed to peer support through online interaction; why wouldn't you reach for a professional in the same way?" Lynn contacted Susan Mankita, a social worker with ten years experience in the field who commented, "(Online counseling) teaches clients to be aware of what's coming out of their mouths, what they're feeling and thinking, their wholeness and whole bodies," Mankita said. "It's an exciting and empowering thing that we haven't done in the past (in person) the way we can with text. Text is really powerful."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Problem Drinkers Find Help over the Phone

Dr. Grohol over at Psych Central reviewed a study that comes out in the August issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research that found that participants in the study were drinking less after three months.

"The researchers studied 897 people who went to see their primary care physician or family doctor for a non-alcohol related issue.
The people in the study received up to six sessions of protocol-driven telephone counseling based on principles of motivational interviewing and stages of readiness to change. Each telephone call was followed by a letter from the therapist that summarized the conversation.
The comparison group only received a pamphlet on healthy lifestyles.

After three months, patients in the counseling group were drinking less, the study found.Lead researcher Richard Brown, M.D., said that the study could empower time-strapped doctors to persuade reluctant alcoholism patients to seek treatment.

“The study shows that we shouldn’t just give up on those alcohol-dependent patients who cannot or choose not to get treatment. If we can identify these folks in primary care waiting rooms and provide telephone counseling … we can start to help many of these patients,” said Brown, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Adoption Refused Due to Overweight Caregiver?

Story Courtesy of Fox News

"There are thousands of children that need loving families and a married couple said they can provide a great home to a child.But a Metro man said he is being discriminated against because he is overweight.Gary and Cynthia Stocklaufer said they were asked to adopt a relative's son and never expected the justice system to weigh in on Gary's size."I adore him, I love him, he's everything," Cynthia said about three-month old Max, the biological son of Gary's cousin.Gary said his relative asked him and his wife Cynthia to raise the boy because she couldn't. "We wanted to do it legally and we wanted to get some type of custody so we could get him on our insurance," Cynthia said.

What Cynthia and Gary thought was a easy adoption turned into what they're calling "a degrading ordeal.""They came right out and told us that Gary's weight was an issue," Cynthia said. Gary said he weighs around 500 pounds but it hasn't stopped him from working as a truck driver or playing with his 7-year-old son Bobby, who they also adopted. "I've been big all my life and my family is large and we've adopted once before the same judge and I am the same size that I was approximately six years ago when I adopted my other son," Gary said.Cheri Simpkins, the baby's court appointed guardian said weight was not the only concern in this case.

While Simpkins said she can't talk specifics, she went on to say "there was concern that Gary may develop diabetes or sleep apnea because of his size.""My weight has never kept me from doing anything I've wanted to do," Gary said."Size doesn't dictate the kind of parent that you are," Cynthia said. "We're good people."Gary said he's lost 35 pounds and he's trying to lose more. The couple said their attorney has filed a motion for a new hearing and said they'll do whatever it takes to get their son back."

Video Link here.

Scandal at UCLA:Research Associate Steals Participant Funds

Well, this is embarassing! I suppose this could turn into one of those finger-pointing things. You just don't expect it from those working in our just goes to show that this type of thing can happen anywhere...

Story courtesy of the Los Angeles Times...

"A UCLA research associate tampered with data in a study of drug users and stole money intended for study subjects, a federal oversight office said Monday.According to a notice in the Federal Register, James David Lieber, staff research associate at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, "knowingly and intentionally falsified and fabricated" interviews, urine samples and urine sample records. The project, which received funding from the National Institutes of Health, was led by Christine Grella, a UCLA research psychologist. The study looked at what happened to female opiate addicts who had visited methadone clinics in Central and Southern California counties in the late 1970s."This is something we're quite unhappy about, obviously," Grella said of the notice.

Attempts to contact Lieber were unsuccessful.Grella said Lieber was falsifying the information over a six-month period in 2005.UCLA learned of the misconduct allegations in early 2006 and convened a panel to review his work, said Roberto Peccei, vice chancellor of research. Peccei said researchers removed the compromised data from the study and continued with their work. Lieber was discharged from the university."Ensuring the integrity of research conducted at UCLA is a duty of paramount importance, and this incident is a reminder that we must remain vigilant in fulfilling that obligation," Peccei said in a statement.

Lieber was assigned to interview 53 people in the study. He claimed to have met with them face-to-face, but the participants said that he had not interviewed them, according to the federal notice. According to the Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Research Integrity, which investigated the incident, Lieber made up accounts of interviews and tampered with urine samples for 20 of the participants. He also stole $5,180 intended to cover stipends and travel expenses for subjects in the study, the notice said.The Office of Research Integrity has barred Lieber from participating in any federal government contracts or serving in any advisory capacity to the U.S. Public Health Service.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Helpful Guide to Grief Counseling

Grief Counseling Resource Guide
A Field Manual
from New York State Office of Mental Health
Susan Wheeler-Roy, Ed.D.
Bernard A. Amyot, M.S., M.A.

This resource has lots of helpful tips for the beginner, and aid for the rusty professional

helpful comments/phrasing:
  • Tell me about...
  • What works for you...
  • How do you react when...
  • I’m wondering...
  • Have your feelings changed?
  • What are your most difficult times?
  • Could you be more specific?
  • Do you feel like talking about it today?
  • I encourage you to...
Non-Supportive Behaviors

Verbal Behaviors:
Rituals provide us with acts to engage in for the purpose of meaning-making (Neimeyer). Dr. Kenneth Doka discusses ritual as giving extraordinary meaning to the commonplace. Ritual provides symbolic connection to the lost persons. For example, on Thanksgiving a woman makes her deceased mother’s recipe for cranberry relish. Only a few people in the family enjoy this dish but she continues to prepare it because during the preparation she feels connected to her mother and feels her mother is within her and thus, present at the holiday.

Dr. Kenneth Doka has identified four functions of ritual that may help in a variety of situations:
  • Rituals of Continuity – This type of ritual implies that the person is still part of my life and there exists a continuing bond. The Thanksgiving ritual described above is an example of this.
  • Rituals of Transition – This marks that a change has taken place in the grief response. For example, parents who have lost a child marked a transition in their mourning by cleaning out their deceased child’s room after a period of time acceptable to them.
  • Rituals of Affirmation – This is a ritual act whereby one writes a letter or poem to the deceased thanking the person for the caring, love, help and support. This is especially useful for those who never said “thank you.”
  • Rituals of Intensification – This type of ritual intensifies connection among group members and reinforces their common identity. For example, the AIDS Quilt, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Oklahoma City Memorial Park.

Rituals must fit the story. They must be planned ahead and thoroughly processed after completion.

Certain dates are particularly troubling and anxiety producing for the bereaved. These include birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, religious celebrations, Valentines Day, anniversary of the death and other specific family markers.

The goal is to plan ahead a remembrance ritual in order to acknowledge the day both cognitively and symbolically. Utilizing any of the above mentioned rituals will help acknowledge in some personal way the relationship and life that was shared. The day is best confronted and dealt with through ritual rather than avoided. Following is a list of rituals...

Want to read here.

Los Angeles Settles after Being Sued for Inadequate Care for Foster Children

Jack Leonard at the Los Angeles Times reports:

"In response to a federal court order, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an initiative of up to $90 million on Tuesday aimed at improving mental health services for thousands of children monitored by the county's child welfare system.

The plan follows criticism that the county has been slow to reform the way it provides mental health care to foster children living with families.

County mental health officials said the plan would allow them to better assess the mental health needs of all children who come into contact with children's social workers, not just those who were removed from their parents. It also calls for an expansion of intensive mental health services to kids at home, thereby helping them remain with their families.

The initiative stems from a 4-year-old legal settlement between the county and children's rights groups. The groups alleged in a 2002 class-action lawsuit that the county routinely failed to provide foster children with adequate mental health care.

Lawyers who brought the lawsuit welcomed the county's latest initiative, which was approved unanimously by the board, but said it did not adequately address how to treat thousands more children who were severely traumatized by abuse, neglect and abandonment.

"It is progress, and we encourage that, but I wouldn't say that it meets their entire obligation. There's a substantial way to go," said Kimberly Lewis, an attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, one of the groups that sued the county."

Monday, July 16, 2007

What is a Pinkberry?

I finally happened into this frozen yogurt shoppe (more like hip nightlub with too many lights- vibe) with a long line after shopping at my dearly loved Trader Joe's. I was confused/puzzled/relieved at the only two choices of yogurt- plain and green tea. I saw a customer's order go by me (plain topped with fruit) sporting a computerized label on it with their name on it as well as the price : $9. Huh? What is now called "Crackberry" seems to be popping up all over Los Angeles and apparently NYC. (I think "Crackberry" also refers to Blackberries- the phone things). I looked it up on the net when we got home and found enormous amount of type devoted to this frozen desert. One person implied that since Pinkberry won't allow photos, nor will they share ingredients, there must be something addictive added.

I thought it tasted much like plain yogurt with the icy- soft serve consistency (I like that) but I didn't really get it. I admit, I was a bit snide about the craze that surrounds this place. However I was sitting here at 8:45pm on a Monday night, thinking about this "yogurt" (or whatever it is) as I have all day, wanting a little more. My husband was sweet enough to go and get it for me. But, he just called and said there were 32 people in line ahead of him. Are you kidding me?


Record Payout from Catholic Church over Priest Sexual Abuse Cases

"LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The leader of the largest U.S. Roman Catholic archdiocese apologized on Sunday for what he called a "terrible sin and crime" as the church confirmed it would pay a record $660 million to people who were sexually abused by priests."

..."The abuse scandal prompted a decline in donations at churches across the United States. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops acknowledged in 2004 that this was its worst scandal and vowed to "heal the hurt that has happened (Reuters Factbox) ."

I am relieved to see the acceptance of wrongdoing...but what is the systemic cause, and what is being done about it?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mega Online Mental Health Partnership to Launch

According to Medical News Today, "Mental Health America, the nation's leading non-profit mental health organization, and Psych Central® ( announced that the two organizations are partnering to create a comprehensive online mental health social and information network. Planned for launch later this year, the partnership will create the nation's leading network to provide consumers with the most credible, trustworthy and high-quality mental health information and community on the Internet."

Congrats Dr. Grohol!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Online Shorthand...What You Should Know Before Guessing at Chat Acronyms

Parents and professionals alike should know some of the Acronyms used by the younger set (and increasingly the older set as well!) so that you can communicate effectively online. It may also give you a head's up if you are a parent as to what your child is doing, when they think that you don't.


1. POS: Parent Over Shoulder
2. LMIRL: Let's Meet in Real Life
3. NAZ: Name, Address, Zip Code?
4. WYRN: What is Your Real Name?
5. ASL: Age, Sex, Location
6. F2F: Face to Face
7. S2R: Send to Receive (Pictures)
8. PIR: Parent in Room
9. P911: Parent Emergency
10. PRW: Parents are Watching

I am sure there are plenty of variations as well (WIR: Wife in Room etc.)...

You can see more at

Trauma from a Trampoline?

PARENTS CORNER: According to Parent's Magazine, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends never letting your child play on them. Injuries are just too common. If you seems that all of the precautions take much of the fun out of being on one in the first place. There shouldn't be more than one child on it at a time, no somersaults or stunts, make sure there is a new around it and of course be sure that all of the springs and hooks are properly covered with shock absorbing pads.

Friday, July 13, 2007

MD's are Actaully on the Front Line of Mental Health Treatment: (or should be)

A new Brandeis University study published in the July issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine shows that 68% of the American population had an appointment with their medical doctor in the last year. The lead author Constance Horgan and her colleagues recommend that patients be routinely screened in primary care settings to get the proper early detection and referrals in place.

Science Daily reports, "I think it's time we made screening for behavioral health problems as routine as it is for cancer and other major illnesses," says Horgan. "Detection is where treatment really starts."

The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Is Suicide an Acceptable Way Out in Japan?

Understanding how cultural differences make viewpoints radically different is a key in being able to work with a client or professional who is of a different culture. Today, ABC news reports of a sad story of a cabinet minister in Japan.

"Japan's ancient Samurai culture and its Buddhist religions make suicide acceptable here. Americans may find suicide shameful. In Japan, suicide is an honorable way to alleviate shame. But things are changing. Japan's mental health experts were shocked when a cabinet minister hanged himself hours before facing a bribery probe. The shock was over praise from Tokyo's governor, calling the dead man a real samurai.

"For the for the first time ever, Japan is looking at suicide as something perhaps caused by mental illness. Suicide is finally being viewed, not an act of glory, but the last act of despair.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pentagon Wants to See Better Mental Health Assessments for our Military

The Sun Herald reports that 95 recommendations were made by a task force in order to improve mental health assessment and treatment, including a "buddy system" recommendation that has soldiers watching out for each other's possible symptoms while deployed. "About 38 percent of soldiers and 31 percent of Marines report psychological conditions such as brain injury and PTSD after returning from deployment. Among members of the National Guard, the figure is much higher - 49 percent - with numbers expected to grow because of repeated and extended deployments."

Interactive Mood Gym- One of My Favorites

Need something new to do with clients? Geared towards a younger set, "Mood Gym" is web based and has interactive quizes and tips related to depression and anxiety. Mature adults can also find this a fun intervention. A clinician guide is also available to help you make the experience didactic. I have used it in my practice- not as a sole treatment but it is a great way for a client to get started with you...especially if they are slow in being forthcoming. During one of your initial sessions, they can share quiz results and scores with you. For curious folks who may need a lift, the format is user friendly and doesn't need a treating therapist to guide. Best of all, it is free.

Sound Familiar? 43 Psychiatrists Quit in Australia Due to Workload

If you have ever worked for the government, a government contract or an agency with not-enough-funding, it is an all too familiar story that Mark Colvin reports over at PM.

Depression Screener Quiz

Dr. Goldberg over at Psych Central has designed a depression screener for adults. Psych Central is full of helpful information on diagnosis whether your are a professional or client seeking information.

How Do You Know How Your Virtual Office (Page) is Ranked?

Some search engines look at time spent on a page, vs. page views. Confusion comes in with tabbed browsing which makes it so consumers can have sites open all day, but not actually be looking at them. With the onset of sites like Utube, media is changing. Stay tuned.

Read more about this at The Register.

Processing Grief Online?

Online Mental Health Serivces are becoming more common, as well as an accepted way to deal with issues that come up without setting foot in a clinic or private office.

According to ABC News "Logging On and Letting It Out" People have taken to processing their grief in a virtual community, making tribute pages to loved ones using various services. The death of Chris Benoit (and his wife and child by murder suicide) caused a flood of comments to the site, showing a "new" way of processing death in an anonymous, and public way.
"Web sites and message boards allow users to control how much they share or express, rather than feeling pressured to perform during in-person therapy groups. "

Having your License Available to Check Online

Make it easy for potential clients to check you credentials online before contacting you (if your state board has the service available)- whether or not you practice in the online modality. It is free and gives your client additional comfort in your qualifications.

Here is California's Link:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Welcome to my Blog

This is where I will be posting helpful tools in the Field of Mental Health...