Victims of child sexual abuse are at increased risk of suicide and accidental fatal drug overdose later in life, according to the authors of a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Dr Margaret Cutajar, a psychologist from the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science at Monash University, Melbourne, and her co-authors, Professors James Ogloff and Paul Mullen, investigated rates of fatal self-harm in 2759 people who were medically ascertained as being victims of child sexual abuse (CSA) between 1964 and 1995. They found significantly higher rates of suicide and accidental fatal drug overdose in the CSA cohort compared with age-limited national data for the general population, with relative risks of 18.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) urges individuals and families to familiarize themselves with the draft of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), which is used by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to classify and diagnose mental disorders in children and adults. The DSM historically has had a very significant impact on the treatment of mental illnesses and on the payment of mental health treatment and related services. A committee created by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has been working on a DSM revision to reflect current scientific understanding about mental disorders. Earlier this week, the APA posted the draft of the revised DSM, known as the DSM-5.
Two new European studies show how The University of Queensland's Triple P - Positive Parenting Program can treat childhood depression and tame out-of-control teenagers. The findings of the independent Belgian and Dutch research projects will be presented at Helping Families Change, an international parenting conference at The University of Queensland on Wednesday, February 17 and Thursday, February 18. In the Belgian study, conducted at a youth mental health unit at the University of Antwerp, mothers who had a child receiving psychiatric care (for conditions including depression and anxiety) completed an eight-week Group Triple P program, in addition to their own regular therapeutic support and the child's usual treatment.
Health Affairs: Trends In Health Care Spending For Immigrants In The United States This paper examines the spending for health care of adult naturalized citizens and immigrant noncitizens (including some undocumented immigrants) compared to U.S. natives, as documented in data from the 1999-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (MEPS): "inflation and age-adjusted health care expenditures among noncitizen immigrants were consistently ... lower than those of naturalized citizens and U.S. natives during 1999-2006." However, "noncitizen immigrants were more likely than U.S. natives to have a health care visit classified as uncompensated care, " the authors note (Stimpson, Wilson and Eschbach, 2/11).
The New York Times: "The State of New York does not have a single full-time staff psychiatrist charged with overseeing the treatment of the 800 or so young people who are detained in state facilities at any given time." The Times reports that all 17 psychiatrists at the detention facilities in the state's juvenile justice system are working either on contract and part time. "Weeks often pass between their visits with each troubled youth, and state officials say their turnover rate is very high." A report in August by the federal Justice Department "criticized the state for failing to properly diagnose juveniles' mental health problems, administering medication inappropriately and making inadequate treatment plans.
The New Mexico Independent: The state's Medicaid Fraud Division said two state agencies, the Health Department and Human Services Department that administer the Medicaid program, "'filtered' and 'sanitized' information and documents requested by investigators, hindering numerous investigations." The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wil investigate the allegations (Furlow, 2/10). Anchorage Daily News: "An Alaska mental health advocacy group that has spent years battling the pharmaceutical industry over medication is suing more than a dozen Alaska child psychiatrists, saying the doctors unnecessarily drugged children and committed Medicaid fraud" (Holland, 2/10).