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Thread: Happy Mental Health Day!

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    Happy Mental Health Day!

    Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to, doesn't mean
    they don't love you with all they have.

    Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were
    walking past the hospital swimming pool, Ralph suddenly jumped into the deep end.
    He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.

    Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled him out.

    When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna's heroic act she immediately
    ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be
    mentally stable.

    When she went to tell Edna the news she said, 'Edna, I have good news and bad news.
    The good news is you're being discharged, since you were able to rationally respond to
    a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love...I have concluded
    that your act displays sound mindedness. The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the
    bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he's dead.'

    Edna replied, 'He didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?'

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    Spotlight on mental health...

    World Health Authorities to Focus on Mental Health
    April 13, 2016 - Mental health and the costs and benefits of treatment are taking center stage at a Washington, D.C. meeting co-hosted by the World Bank and World Health Organization starting Wednesday.
    Academic experts, practitioners, development agencies, and ministers of finance are participating in the meeting designed to encourage governments, aid agencies, and civil society to invest in mental health. Organizers say good mental health care can result in real economic benefits. Nations that have improved their mental health care, such as Brazil, Ethiopia, and South Africa, will present their stories, discussing their particular challenges and solutions.


    A patient is seen walking toward a group therapy room at a mental health institution in the Balkans.

    Authorities from Brazil are expected to describe their psychosocial care network, while Ethiopian representatives are to showcase their country's program of nationwide mental health care training and practice. South Africans will talk about how they made mental health care an integral part of the nation's re-engineered primary health care system. The series of events is part of the annual spring meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and coincides with the release of a WHO-led study that shows every $1 invested in improving mental health treatment results in a return of $4 in better health and ability to work.

    The study says an estimated 10 percent of the world's population is affected by mental health disorders, and in emergency situations, as many as 1 in 5 people can be affected by depression and anxiety. Calculating the cost of treatment and health outcomes in 36 countries of all income levels over the next 15 years, the study predicted that the cost of scaling up treatment through counseling and anti-depressant medication amounted to about $147 billion. The study says the benefits of better mental health far outweigh the cost, noting that a 5 percent improvement in labor force participation and productivity is valued at $399 billion. Improved health is estimated to add another $310 billion in returns.


    Patients undergoing a rehabilitation program draw during a therapy session at the Sopi Jikko center for people with mental health and drug addiction problems in Dakar.

    The WHO says nations need to drastically upgrade their spending on mental health care. A 2014 survey shows governments spend an average of just 3 percent on mental health, ranging from 5 percent in high-income countries to less than 1 percent in developing nations.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/world...h/3283566.html
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    WHO: Better Mental Health Treatment Would Boost Nations' Economies
    April 12, 2016 — Every dollar spent on better treatment of anxiety and depression produces a return of $4 in better health and ability to work — a big boost for countries' development and economic growth, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.
    These disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion a year, according to a study led by WHO, which estimates for the first time both the health and the economic benefits of spending more on treating the most common forms of mental illness. Common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression are increasing worldwide, and the number of people suffering from them rose to 615 million in 2013 from 416 million in 1990, the U.N. agency said in the study.


    A sign on mental health awareness is posted in Cambodia.

    Last year, world leaders included mental health in an ambitious plan to end poverty and inequality by 2030, enshrined in 17 Sustainable Development Goals. "We know that treatment of depression and anxiety makes good sense for health and well-being; this new study confirms that it makes sound economic sense, too," said Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO. "We must now find ways to make sure that access to mental health services becomes a reality for all men, women and children, wherever they live," she added. The study, published in the same week as the World Bank and WHO hold a high-level meeting on mental health, is based on data from 36 low-, middle- and high-income countries.

    ‘Need to act now’

    Governments spend, on average, 3 percent of their health budget on mental health, ranging from less than 1 percent in low-income countries to 5 percent in high-income countries, according to WHO's survey Mental Health Atlas 2014. "Despite hundreds of millions of people around the world living with mental disorders, mental health has remained in the shadows," said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group. "This is not just a public health issue — it's a development issue. We need to act now because the lost productivity is something the global economy simply cannot afford," he added. The World Bank/WHO meeting takes place Wednesday, during the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings also taking place in Washington.

    It brings together ministers of health and finance, as well as donors and multilateral organizations, and aims to move mental health to the mainstream of the global development agenda from the margins. "Mental health needs to be a global humanitarian and development priority — and a priority in every country," said Arthur Kleinman, professor of medical anthropology and psychiatry at Harvard University and an expert on global mental health. "We need to provide treatment, now, to those who need it most, and in the communities where they live. Until we do, mental illness will continue to eclipse the potential of people and economies," he added.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/who-b...s/3283453.html
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    UN: Wealthy Countries Failing Disadvantaged Children
    April 13, 2016 — A U.N. children’s fund study has found a widening gap between poor and richer children in the world’s wealthiest countries. The UNICEF report ranking the well-being of children in 41 high income countries analyzes the consequences of this growing inequality.
    The gap between rich and poor in most wealthy countries is at its highest level in three decades. The new UNICEF study uses four indicators - income, education, health and life satisfaction - to measure the growing inequality between children at the bottom and those in the middle in high income countries.

    UNICEF social policy economic specialist Yekaterina Chzhen says the 41-country rankings are based on how far children at the bottom of the distribution fall below their peers in the middle. “Countries like Denmark, Finland, Norway, Austria and Switzerland do best overall, while countries like the United Kingdom and the United States are right in the middle. At the same time, at the bottom of the overall ranking, we have countries like Turkey, Israel, Bulgaria and Italy,” said Chzhen.


    Children at a predominately African-American Islamic school in Baltimore.

    The report shows income inequality has increased substantially in one-third of the countries studied between 2008 and 2013. It finds inequality gaps in educational achievement have narrowed. At the same time, inequality in children’s health has increased in almost all countries. It notes some improvements also have been made in physical activity and healthier eating among poor children in a majority of the countries.

    Chzhen told VOA some of the richest countries are letting their most disadvantaged children fall far behind all others; but, she says the report presents a mixed picture in that some nations that do badly overall do quite well on other indicators. “So, a country like the United States that is known for its high levels of income inequality overall, quite unsurprisingly, does quite badly on the measure of bottom-end inequality among children; but, at the same time, it ranks quite highly on the measure of inequality in education,” said Chzhen. Chzhen said poor children do better in countries that have well-established welfare systems and redistribution of income between the richest and poorest. The Nordic countries tend to fall into this category.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/un-we...n/3285173.html
    Last edited by waltky; 04-14-2016 at 04:22 AM.

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    Nasal spray for mental illness...

    Nasal Spray Device May Help People with Mental Illness
    June 02, 2016 - With new device, anxiety-reducing hormone flows more quickly into central nervous system than with other pumps, study shows
    A nasal spray device with the hormone oxytocin shows promise in helping people with certain types of mental illness improve their social skills. Oxytocin has been shown to play a role in relieving anxiety and promoting feelings of contentment. Scientists at the University of Oslo hospital in Norway worked with Optinose, a Norwegian biotechnology company, to create the device. "The patient inserts it into the mouth and one nostril," explained Dr. Per Djupesland, Optinose's co-founder. "The patient takes a deep breath, closes the lips around the mouthpiece, and exhales into the device. The airflow carries the drug particles deep into the nose."

    And that means oxytocin may be able to get into the central nervous system faster than with other spray pumps on the market. The device can also spray small doses of oxytocin, which is considered safer for the patient. "A lot of mental illnesses are characterized by deficits in social dysfunction, such as autism and schizophrenia," said Daniel Quintana, a research fellow at the Oslo hospital. "But there aren't any actual treatments which specifically target social dysfunction. So oxytocin has actually generated a lot of interest in its potential to treat social dysfunction."

    Previous research has shown that with just a single dose of the drug, schizophrenic and autistic patients are more likely to look directly at someone during a conversation, rather than avoid the person's gaze. "Most information, when it comes to how others are thinking and feeling, is transmitted through this eye region," Quintana said, "so by improving gaze to the eye region, you improve your ability to understand how others are thinking and feeling."

    The Oslo scientists asked volunteer patients to react to photos of people with happy, angry and neutral facial expressions. "In our experiment, we found that people who were administered a low dose of intranasal ocytocin rated the neutral faces as less angry, compared to when they were given the placebo spray," Quintana said. The team will continue its research by giving autistic patients a low dose of oxytocin twice a day.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/nasal...s/3359323.html

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    Psychological first aid helps people at risk of a mental breakdown in emergency situations...

    Psychological First Aid Helps People Affected by Crisis
    October 10, 2016 — The World Health Organization reports psychological first aid can provide a mental health life-line to people affected by crises, including war, natural disasters or an individual trauma like a car crash. On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, WHO is calling for first-line responders to emergencies, such as police and fire fighters to be trained in this practical, helpful approach.
    Applying medical first aid in case of emergency can mean the difference between life and death. Less recognized is the important role psychological first aid plays in helping people cope with the trauma of sudden tragedies and in preventing them from turning into long-term mental disorders. World Health Organization Public Mental Health Adviser, Mark van Ommeren, says listening to people in crisis is key in any psychological first aid intervention. “Listening without pressuring people to talk about what happened. If people want to talk about what they went through, that is very fine. But, if one person does not want to talk, one just listens to whatever the person wants to discuss,” he said.


    Syrian refugee Tesnim Faydo, 8, shows her drawing of a mother crying for her wounded daughter, as she is surrounded by her friends in Yayladagi refugee camp in Hatay province near the Turkish-Syrian border, Turkey

    Van Ommeren says it also is important to ask people in crisis about their needs and concerns. The first responder should provide information so people can access services and get the social support that will help them. He says psychological first aid was applied in Haiti five years ago after the devastating earthquake. He says this approach now is being used to help survivors of Hurricane `Matthew, the latest disaster to hit this Caribbean island, deal with their emotional wreckage.


    An Afghan patient is seen on the bed as a father weeps in the Mental Health and Drug Addicts' Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    He says aid agencies used this approach some months ago in Greece. At that time, he says, it was assumed the refugees and migrants who had survived the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing would remain on the island for a short period. “So, psychological first aid was very popular and appropriate for the situation to help arrivals quickly with whatever practical needs they had and giving them information and, if necessary, offering a listening ear,” Van Ommeren states.


    Syrian refugee Mustafa Halebi, 16, holds a paper that reads in Arabic: "I am Syrian and I want to return to Syria" in Nizip refugee camp in Gaziantep province, Turkey

    However, the situation has changed. Most people are staying in Greece for much longer than expected. So, Van Ommeren says they are in of need more than a quick psychological fix to help them overcome their mental distress. Psychological first aid has been used with success in countries around the world, including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone during the recent Ebola epidemic. It is being offered widely in war-torn Syria and to thousands of displaced people in Greece and Nigeria.

    http://www.voanews.com/a/psychologic...s/3543841.html
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    'Mental Health First Aid' for All Is a Goal of Annual Observance
    October 09, 2016 — Health care professionals and public health advocates worldwide are celebrating World Mental Health Day Monday with an effort to promote awareness of mental-health issues as a factor in first-aid treatment plans.
    Mental illness does not discriminate among ethnic, cultural or religious groups, says the president of the World Psychiatric Association, Dr. Dinesh Bhugra, but political and social crises throughout the world can aggravate and intensify anxiety and stress. Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are among those whose mental health is particularly at risk, he notes. "Psychological first aid" is the theme of this year's observance, which the World Health Organization says addresses a need for both psychological assistance and social support for those who are in a crisis or are suffering from acute distress. "When terrible things happen in our communities," WHO says, "we can reach out a helping hand to those who are affected."

    Promoting mental health

    This is the 25th annual observance of World Mental Health Day by the global organization that has been working for more than 70 years to promote mental and emotional health and ensure access to appropriate care for people throughout the world. This year, the World Federation for Mental Health aims to expand the definition of first aid beyond physical health. WFMH, a private group separate from WHO, gathers and coordinates financial resources from organizations and individuals in more than 150 countries, to help reduce the global personal, social, and economic burden associated with mental disorders and emotional ill-health. One of its members is the national mental-health federation of South Africa, a country that ranks near the top of lists of "most stressed-out nations." "High stress levels have been linked to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and can also lead to substance abuse. In severe cases, these problems can lead to a person becoming suicidal," said South African researcher Lourens Schlebusch, of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.


    A man suffering from mental illness sits chained on a bed in his room inside his family home in Curug Sulanjana village in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia

    The deputy director of the South African Federation of Mental Health, Leon de Beer, said the notion of mental-health first aid is still a bit foreign, so his organization is conducting a month-long campaign focusing on all patients' dignity, and for appropriate mental-health care to preserve life, provide help, promote recovery and provide comfort.

    Providing help

    One in every four persons worldwide is believed to experience some form of mental illness at some point in life, and the world federation said this year that the need is crucial to offer help to those "developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis." World Psychiatric Association president Bhugra also is a professor of mental health and diversity at King’s College London. "People both in the workplace and at home need to develop skills to provide mental health first aid the same way people do for physical health,” he said, by "helping people identify stress ... [and] early stages of anxiety and depression."


    Patients are treated in the Mental Health and Drug Addicts' Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 17, 2016. After almost 40 years of conflict and crisis, experts say the vast majority of the Afghan population suffers from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Caregivers then can help patients patients select useful support and treatment methods. WPA launched a "bill of rights for people with mental illness," last month, which asks governments to meet certain standards for patients' services and rights. “It’s a global initiative,” Bhugra said, that 32 organizations worldwide have already signed on to support. Workplace pressures are a particular problem in stress-filled South Africa, mental-health advocate de Beers said. “We’ve had a massive influx of inquiries from corporates," he said, asking the national federation "to come in and do mental health awareness talks about elevated stress levels.”

    http://www.voanews.com/a/world-menta...y/3542810.html
    Last edited by waltky; 10-11-2016 at 03:39 AM.

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    Senator John Boozman speaks about expanding Veterans' Mental Health Care...

    Expanding Veterans' Mental Health Care
    16 Mar 2017 | The brave men and women who stand in defense of our nation have experienced the unfortunate realities of combat that most of us only see portrayed in war movies. Many of these heroes who have displayed immense strength and courage often are living with unseen injuries.
    According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as many as 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These invisible battle scars make it difficult to identify veterans and active duty service members living with mental illness. Too often we learn who needs help too late. According to the VA's 2016 veteran suicide report, an average of 20 veterans commit suicide each day. In my home state of Arkansas, veterans represent about eight percent of the population, but about 20 percent of suicides. Veteran suicide is an epidemic. Two years ago, Congress passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act to deliver help to veterans who live with mental illness. This provided a good foundation for improvement, but VA continues to struggle to meet the needs of our veterans.

    Offering access to doctors outside of VA is essential to rural states like Arkansas, but the tremendous shortage of mental health providers in our nation negatively affects veterans and individuals all across the country. Cancelations by a very short supply of doctors continue to make scheduling difficult. These scheduling appointments are much too critical to delay. We must ensure that veterans who ask for help receive it and we must do more to identify at-risk individuals who would benefit from this support. An investigation by National Public Radio found that since 2009, the Army has separated more than 20,000 veterans diagnosed with mental illness or traumatic brain injury (TBI) for alleged misconduct. This left these men and women without access to critical mental health services because of their other-than-honorable (OTH) discharges.


    Senator John Boozman speaks with members of the VFW.

    VA recently announced an expansion of mental health services to the 500,000 who fall into this category. Granting veterans with OTH discharges access to the network of programs and resources that have proven successful is critical to addressing this crisis. I support this initiative and look forward to working with VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin and my colleagues on the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees to implement a plan that breaks down the barriers preventing access to mental health services for these vulnerable veterans. Many Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) identified suicide prevention and awareness as one of their top priorities in recent presentations to Congress. I believe it is vital to collaborate with VSOs to recognize and reach veterans in need. Programs like peer-to-peer support have been successful for VSOs so there is no reason why VA shouldn't be able to achieve the same success with similar initiatives. Our veterans should never face an uphill battle when seeking access to mental health care. We have a responsibility to provide care that supports the needs of those who have served in the defense of our nation.

    John Boozman is Arkansas's senior U.S. Senator and the dean of the state's Congressional delegation. Boozman is a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. As the son of an Air Force Master Sergeant, he learned at an early age about the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, as well as the unique challenges military families face. He brings these values with him to Washington where he is committed to enhancing the quality of life for both our veterans and their families. He has authored provisions to extend successful federal homeless veteran programs, expand treatments for our wounded warriors and modernize educational benefits under the GI Bill.

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2...alth-care.html

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    Beating mental illness by helping others...

    How one woman beat her mental illness by helping others
    Mon, 20 Mar 2017 - Australian Jessica May overcame acute anxiety by setting up a recruitment firm for people with mental and physical disabilities.
    Jessica May was moving quickly up the career ladder until she was tripped up by mental illness. Following the birth of her first child, Jessica developed a problem with her thyroid gland that greatly exacerbated her pre-existing anxiety disorder. "I've had anxiety my whole life," says the 36-year-old from Canberra, Australia. "The [thyroid] condition meant that my anxiety got out of control." This was back in 2012, and Jessica decided to return to her civil service job sooner than originally planned, after she and her doctor agreed that getting back to doing the work she loved would keep her focused and hopefully mitigate her anxiety.


    Jessica's own troubles inspired her to set up a business to help others in a similar situation

    But Jessica, who had to reveal her mental health problem to her employers to receive the flexible schedule she needed, claims that her managers and colleagues started to make negative assumptions about her capabilities, and began to exclude her from projects. "Because of how I was treated... I didn't really get better," she says. Having previously managed 17 staff, Jessica says she felt disheartened and devalued. However, the bad experience did ultimately have a positive impact - it made Jessica determined to help other people with mental or physical disabilities, and gave her the idea for setting up a business to do this. "I knew there needed to be something for people with disabilities who just need a little bit of flexibility from their employers," she says.


    The late Australian comedian Stella Young (centre) was an Enabled Employment ambassador

    So she decided to quit her government job and launch Enabled Employment, a recruitment consultancy that helps people with a disability find paid work. Today, the Canberra-based company helps thousands of people find work at more than 400 businesses in Australia, including accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers, taxi hire service Uber, and even the Australian Defence Force. To help get Enabled up and running, Jessica successfully applied for a small entrepreneurship grant from the Australian Capital Territory government. She left her civil service job one Friday in December 2012, and started work at Enabled the following Monday, with help and support coming from a local start-up support initiative called the Griffin Accelerator. The number of people and companies using the business then slowly started to grow.


    Enabled helps people with disabilities find employment

    The business is similar to a regular recruitment agency, in that it maintains an online listing of available jobs, and acts as a mediator between would-be employees and hiring managers. However, Enabled also offers what it calls "accessibility brokering", which means that it works to ensure that businesses are able to offer employees the working conditions they need to perform at their best. This includes checking on flexible working hours and ensuring that offices have disabled access and toilets. Jessica is keen to stress that the company is not a charity. Instead it is a for-profit business. She believes that charities that pay businesses to take on disabled staff can reinforce negative stereotypes about disabled people. "It really devalues people with disabilities who are totally capable," she says. "We don't want anyone to feel like a charity case."

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