One quarter of Detroit-area Arab Americans reported personal or familial abuse because of race, ethnicity or religion since 9/11, leading to higher odds of adverse health effects, according to a new University of Michigan study. The study was published online in the American Journal of Public Health. Muslim Arabs also reported higher rates of abuse than Christians, said lead author Aasim I. Padela, M.D., a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar in U-M's Department of General Medicine and clinical instructor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Padela says those who reported abuse showed a higher probability of having psychological distress, lower levels of happiness and poorer perceptions of health status. What's disturbing about the findings is that residents in Greater Detroit live in a large, well-established Arab community, where they might be expected to be protected from abuse, Padela says. Most of the respondents also had access to health insurance. "Negative associations of perceived post-911 abuse or discrimination might be much worse in less concentrated Arab populations within the United States, " Padela says.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) praises a new report, Caregiving in the U.S. 2009, which offers a revealing portrait of the nearly one-in-three American adults who serve as a family caregiver. The study is based on interviews with 1, 480 caregivers chosen at random and offers a national profile of people caring for adults, the elderly and children with special needs. It follows similar studies conducted in 2004 and 1997, but for the first time, caregivers for children, as well as those caring for adults over the age of 18, were surveyed. The report echoes the findings of NAMI's own depression survey and schizophrenia survey, which include the perspective of caregivers for people living with these serious mental illnesses. All these reports suggest that caregivers face daily stresses that can impact their own health and other relationships. For example, NAMI's depression survey, released in November, found that while almost one-half (48 percent) of caregivers for people with depression have been diagnosed with depression themselves, only about 25 percent were engaged in treatment at the time of the survey.
Professional first responders are prepared, equipped and trained to handle various emergency situations, from car accidents to terrorist attacks and other major disasters. Today, however, this great responsibility can be particularly burdensome on one's emotions. "As first responders, part of our job is to run towards a bad or challenging situation to help out, while everyone else runs away, " says Officer Dan Ennenbach, a Kirkwood police officer. "However, the psychological repercussions of what we may experience in those situations can be overwhelming and, in some cases, even life-changing. In a sense, we also can become victims, simply because we're affected by what's happened. " According to Miggie Greenberg, MD, assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, different people react to traumatic situations differently. It's not uncommon to experience a broad range of emotions - it's actually quite normal and healthy. The challenge with first responders is that they are trained to deal with high-intensity situations without emotionally reacting.
Research by Binghamton University psychologist Brandon Gibb could provide new weapons for the fight against childhood depression. Working with colleagues around the country, he hopes to identify the causes of mental-health problems in kids and define trajectories of risk for depression. "We're hoping not only to identify which risk factors are most important but also to determine a developmental window that may provide the best opportunity for protective intervention, " said Gibb, associate professor of psychology and director of Binghamton University's Mood Disorders Institute. During the next five years, Gibb and his colleagues will study 250 8- to 14-year-olds and their mothers to develop a better understanding of the genetic, environmental and psychological variables that can lead to depression. Gibb is hoping that the study will provide a better understanding of the types of stress kids encounter as they enter adolescence and the factors that predict risk versus resilience in the face of this stress.
Americans do not believe that they know much about depression, but are highly aware of the risks of not receiving care, according to a survey released in November by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). See full survey results at http://www.nami.org/depression, an interactive Web site that includes resources for people of diverse communities. Though depression is a common and highly treatable medical illness, research demonstrates that people of different cultural groups are at increased risk for untreated depression and suicide. - One in five Latina teenagers in the United States has seriously considered or attempted suicide. - More than 15 million Asian Americans live with depression; it's the second leading cause of death for Asian American and Pacific Islanders. - Misdiagnosis and under-treatment are common in the African American community. Only 12 percent of women seek treatment. The survey provides a "three-dimensional" measurement of responses from members of the general public who do not know anyone with depression, caregivers of adults diagnosed with depression and adults living with the illness.
Congressional Quarterly : "Senate Democratic leaders reached a tentative agreement with Tom Coburn, R-Okla., on Tuesday night that averted the necessity of filing cloture on a veterans' health care omnibus measure and could lead to passage of the bill early next week. ... On Monday, Coburn said he objected to the bill because its five-year, $3.7 billion cost was not offset" (Oliveri, 11/10). CQ Politics : "The wide-ranging Senate bill focuses on caregivers of veterans injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It would provide caregivers with health care, counseling, support and a stipend. The legislation would also expand services in rural areas and ensure that veterans who are catastrophically disabled or who need emergency care in the community are not charged for those services" (11/10). Politico : reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Coburn "illogical" for blocking the veterans' legislation, "criticizing the Oklahoma Republican for supporting war funding while blocking health care funding for veterans.
Results from a large, retrospective analysis of inmates with a serious mental illness (SMI) underscores the financial burden of mental illness on the criminal justice and health and human services (HHS) systems, and may provide useful information to policy makers. The results of the analysis, which evaluated patterns of arrest, utilization of services, and corresponding expenditures among nearly 3, 800 inmates in a large urban county of Florida, were presented this week at the 137th American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Exposition. The estimated number of adults with a SMI incarcerated each year is approaching one million.1 Few jails have adequate funding to provide appropriate mental health care for these inmates. As a result, many may receive inadequate treatment and cause management and financial problems while incarcerated. Improved understanding of these individuals, and their diverse histories, problems and needs, may help in developing effective policies and programs.
Most adolescents who belong to an ethnic minority group wrestle not only with their self-esteem (like most teens), but also with identity issues unique to their ethnic group, such as dealing with social stigma. A new study tells us that young people's ethnic pride may affect their mental health. The study, carried out by researchers at Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, and Walden University, appears in the November/December 2009 issue of the journal Child Development. The researchers studied more than 250 African American youths from urban, low-income families in an effort to assess the unique effects of racial identity and self esteem on mental health. They found that when young people's feelings of ethnic pride rose between 7th and 8th grades, their mental health also improved over that period, regardless of their self-esteem. Even for those with low self-esteem, the investigators found, a sense of pride in their ethnic group served as a buffer to some mental health problems.
Queen's University researcher Steven Lehrer has won a prestigious international award in recognition of his contributions to health economics. A professor in Queen's School of Policy Studies and Department of Economics, Dr. Lehrer shares the RAND Corporation's Victor R. Fuchs Research Award with Jason Fletcher of Yale University. Their prize-winning paper, recently published in the journal Forum for Health Economics & Policy, examines the effects of adolescent health on educational outcomes. "Our study shows that poor mental health in children and teenagers has a large impact on the length of time they will stay in school, " says Dr. Lehrer. He notes a large number of school-based programs have recently been introduced to prevent childhood obesity through lifestyle changes, but suggests the net should be cast more widely. "It's important for policymakers to target health conditions that are not the easiest to identify - like inattention - but may have larger impacts on one's future.
Commenting on the announcement of a Government action plan to tackle the over prescribing of antipsychotic drugs to people with dementia, Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary said: "It is welcome news that the Government has made a commitment to deal with the overuse of anti-psychotic drugs. We look forward to working with the new National Clinical Director for Dementia on these ambitious proposals which offer hope for patients with dementia and their families. "Dementia, in the absence of a cure, will affect increasing numbers of people in the coming years. To ensure these patients receive the best possible care, it is vital that all health and social care staff working with dementia patients receive appropriate specialist training." Source Royal College of Nursing (RCN)