Monday, April 7, 2008

Did You Know...Suicide Statistics for Georgia

Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States

The following statistics are relevant to the state of Georgia. More details can be found at the website , just enter suicide statistics in the search engine.

  • In Georgia, suicide accounts for 10.9 deaths out of every 100,000.
  • Each year, approximately 900 Georgians die from suicide
  • Each year, approximately 2800 Georgians are hospitalized
  • The cost of hospitalization due to self-inflicted injury is more than 32 million dollars
  • Suicide is the 3rd most common cause of death among Georgians ages 15-34
  • 9% of Georgia high school students have reported a suicide attempt
  • 69% of suicides in Georgia have involved firearms

If think someone you know is suicidal, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!!

Talk to the person about your concerns and make sure to LISTEN. Ask direct questions, do not leave the person alone, do not swear to secrecy, and GET professional help.

You can CALL 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK

Let's all do our part to help keep Georgians healthy and safe!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Post Partum Depression Conference

Don't Forget

This Friday, March 23, 2008 from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM
Managing Perinatal Depression: Reappraising the Risks

Featured Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey Newport

For more information please see the attached flyer in the previous post.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mental Health Day at the Capitol

Come join the Mental Health Services Coalition at the Capitol!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at 12:00 PM
The Freight Depot

Enjoy a hot lunch with your constituents!!

Our three legislative priorities for 2008:
  • Advance Directives for Mental Health Care
  • Funded, independent Mental Health Ombudsman Office
  • Mental Health equity for state employees

Mental Health in the News...

Week of February 18, 2008

…Caregivers tending to ill loved ones face an emotional toll that can affect the quality of care they provide. More

Support for “Socialized Medicine” Split Down Partisan LinesThe split in support for “socialized medicine” among Americans is largely based on partisanship, with Democrats generally voicing support for the concept and Republicans voicing opposition, the results of a Harvard School of Public Health survey shows. Seventy percent of respondents said that they understood “socialized medicine” to mean that the government ensures that everyone has health insurance. Overall, 34 percent of respondents said that such as system would be better than what the United States has now; 39 percent said it would be worse. (Reuters, 2/14/08)

Explanation, Motives Sought for Recent College ShootingsSteven Kazmierczak, who shot and killed five students at Northern Illinois University last week, apparently resisted the idea of having a mental illness. "He never wanted to identify with being mentally ill," his mother said. "That was part of the problem." His parents had placed him in a residential treatment center after he graduated from high school because he had become "unruly" at home and had resisted taking his medications. He had stopped taking his medications two weeks before the shootings. (The Baltimore Sun/The Associated Press, 2/17/08)

Suicide Prevention Efforts in Tenn. Refocus to Include Middle-AgedMost Tennessee residents who die as a result of suicide are white, middle-aged men, according to a series of articles highlighting the state of suicide and suicide prevention efforts in Tennessee. A significant challenge to these efforts is the stigma that still surrounds the issue of suicide, especially among middle-aged men who more than likely grew up regarding suicide as a taboo subject. Another problem, according to experts, is that many outreach programs designed to reduce suicide have traditionally focused on either much younger or much older residents. (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 2/18/08)

Latest Research
Low-income Teens More Likely Than Others to Cite Mental Health Importance: When asked to assess their own health, most teenagers consider any number of factors, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. Teens from low-income families, however, are more likely than teens from high-income families to include mental health factors in making their personal health assessment. And, the researchers found, low-income teens who’ve received mental health treatment are more likely than their higher-income peers to report good overall health. These teens’ parents, though, are likely to view their kids’mental health treatment as a sign of poor overall health. (Reuters, 2/14/08)

Smoking Deaths in India Caused by Tuberculosis: Smoking kills about 1 million of the 120 million people in India who smoke in a given year, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates. Unlike Americans and Europeans who primarily die of smoking-related cancer and emphysema, however, the primary cause of death among Indians who smoke is tuberculosis. Their cigarettes apparently damage the lungs to such a degree that an otherwise latent tuberculosis infection can no longer be contained, the researchers concluded. (Reuters, 2/13/08)

Caregivers Face Emotional Toll: Providing care to men who have prostate cancer can exact a toll on the emotional health of wives and others who provide that care, a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology indicates. This toll includes anxiety, depression, substantial fatigue and bodily pain. Because these symptoms and problems can interfere in the quality of care that they can provide, ensuring that these caregivers get the emotional help that they need is not just important for their own health, the researchers write, but also for the health of their loved ones with cancer. (Reuters, 2/13/08)

Drug Warning Highlights Smoking Habits of People With Mental Illnesses: Word that a smoking-cessation drug may cause erratic and suicidal behavior among some people highlights the strength of nicotine addiction, a columnist, Melinda Beck, writes. Stopping smoking can cause severe depression, particularly among those who’ve had depression before, she notes. And, 44 percent of all cigarettes smoked in the United States are smoked by people who have been diagnosed with mental health disorders. What prompted the warnings about the drug, Chantix, however, were studies that didn’t involve people who had been diagnosed with psychological problems. (, 2/18/08)

Pollution Affects Kids’ Intelligence: The more heavily exposed children are in their neighborhoods to air pollution in general and black carbon, a component of vehicle exhaust, in particular, the lower their scores on several intelligence tests, researcher report in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The effect on kids’ intelligence is similar to that found among kids whose mothers smoked 10 cigarettes a day while pregnant or kids who’ve been exposed to lead, the researchers said. Pollution may harm intelligence by causing inflammation and oxidative damage to the brain, they said. (Reuters, 2/15/08)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mental Health in the News...

Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of February 11, 2008

Mental Health in the Headlines offers summaries of the latest news and views in the mental health field. Coverage of news items in this publication does not represent Mental Health America's support for or opposition to the stories summarized or the views they express.

…Nature and nurture together play a role in the development of mental illnesses. More

Health Groups Oppose President’s Budget ProposalMany health-related nonprofit organizations have expressed opposition to President Bush’s proposed FY09 budget and said they will look to Congress to ensure that health programs and agencies have sufficient funding. The budget proposal, which Bush released last week, would cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget by 7 percent and would provide less money this year to the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Although both the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration would get funding increases, critics of the proposal say that the increases would be less than the inflation rate, which would amount to a de facto cut. (Reuters, 2/4/08)

Marines, Navy to Add Mental Health Professionals to the Front LinesPrompted by studies showing an increase in the number of combat veterans with PTSD and other psychological problems, the Navy and Marine Corps plan to include teams of mental health professionals in combat zones to allow Marines and sailors to get psychological help immediately, or connect them to someone with whom they can talk. “Now is the time to adjust fire,” three top Marine generals wrote in a letter to Marine commandant Gen. James T. Conway. “We must shift the current direction of combat/operational stress control efforts to a more holistic, nested enabling strategy that provides a sound, unified approach.” (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/10/08)

Chinese Officials Seek to Regulate Surgical Procedure Used on People With Mental IllnessesSenior Chinese government officials met last month to discuss regulating a surgical procedure performed in China on the brains’ of people who have mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia. The procedure involves drilling holes in the skull to burn away some of a patient’s brain. Thousands of people have undergone the procedure in China, leaving many people with their mental illness intact but unable to use their arms and their legs, some say. The procedure is done in the United States, too, but it is very rare, and conducted after rigorous screening and never for schizophrenia. (The Wall Street Journal, 2/5/08)

Latest Research
Smokers’ Sleep Disturbed by Nicotine, Withdrawal Symptoms: Nicotine, which is a stimulant, appears to interfere with smokers’ sleep patterns in part by making it more difficult to fall asleep, a study published in the American College of Chest Physicians’ journal Chest, indicates. The study’s researchers found that smokers tend to spend less time in deep sleep than do nonsmokers and were about four times more likely to report that they do not sleep well. Smokers also appear to experience minor withdrawal symptoms as they slumber, which can also interfere with normal sleep cycles. (Reuters, 2/4/08)

New Studies Add to Understanding of Mental Illness Development: Two studies published in the Archives of General Psychiatry add to a growing understanding of how genetics and environment interact in the development of mental illnesses. The first found that adults who are abused as children and who have a variation of a gene that regulates a specific stress hormone are less likely than those without the variation to develop depression. Researchers in the second study found that children born to women who suffered major emotional losses early in pregnancy are more likely than other children to develop schizophrenia as adults. "It is not a question of genes versus environment. It is a question of how genes interact with whatever the environmental factors might be. And that is probably true of all of the disorders that we call mental illness," said National Institute of Mental Health Director Thomas Insel. (Reuters, 2/4/08)

Why Chronic Pain Can Lead to Depression Is Revealed: People who are in chronic pain may have high rates of depression and anxiety because areas of their brains that would normally be at rest are constantly active, a study in the Journal of Neuroscience indicates. "These findings suggest that the brain of a chronic pain patient is not simply a healthy brain processing pain information but rather it is altered by the persistent pain in a manner reminiscent of other neurological conditions associated with cognitive impairments," the researchers wrote. (Reuters, 2/5/08)

Persistent Depression After Heart Problems Linked to Worse Physical Health: People who have depression associated with a heart attack or severe chest pain a year after the heart event tend to be in worse physical health than are people who had similar heart problems but who didn’t have depression or experienced only fleeting symptoms, researchers report in the American Journal of Cardiology. The researchers recommend that physicians assess patients’ symptoms of depression during their initial treatment for heart problems as well as during subsequent follow-up visits. (Reuters, 2/5/08)

Suicide Risk Factors Common Throughout World: A large World Health Organization study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry indicates that the risk factors for suicide are the same in 17 nations but the likelihood of suicidal behavior varies from country to country. Overall, 9.2 percent of the world’s population has thought about suicide and about 3 percent have actually made suicide attempts. The researchers also found that while mood disorders are most often linked to suicidal behaviors in wealthy countries, impulse control disorders are more strongly tied to suicidal behaviors in less wealthy nations. (Reuters, 2/6/08)

Bullying Definitively Linked to Psychological Problems: Researchers have known for some time that kids who are the targets of bullies are at an increased risk for developing depression, anxiety and other psychological problems, but they weren’t sure whether the bullying itself or some other factor was responsible. A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine appears to answer the question. The study’s researchers examined sets of twins—with one sibling a bullying victim and the other not—and found that bullying itself can cause depression and anxiety. (Reuters, 2/8/08)

*Stay Up to Date With More News, Views and Tools
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Check out previous issues of Mental Health in the Headlines
Mental Health in the Headlines is produced weekly by Mental Health America. Mental Health America's Mental Health in the Headlines staff: Holly Seltzer, senior editor; Ken Chamberlain, researcher/writer; Jason Halal, manager, Media Relations; and Julio Fonseca, director of training for Healthcare Reform.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Building Relationships

One aspect of MHA of Georgia's mission is to reach out to the community to educate and inform citizens about mental health issues. This February, MHA of Georgia is participating in the Georgia Free Clinic Network's 2008 Annual Conference on Building Relationships. This annual conference allows local, state, and national health care and policy leaders to share best practices, to network, and problem solve. The conference is open to anyone interested in building, strengthening and promoting the charitable clinic movement in Georgia.

The Executive Director of MHA of Georgia is speaking at the GFCN conference about Mental Healthcare in a Clinical Setting. Topics being discussed include the relationship between mental health and overall health. There are direct ties between physical and mental health and these should not be separated in practice or reimbursement. Another topic looks at the treatment for mental illness through primary care service providers. PCP's have the broadest reach among the existing public health infrastructure and are an important resource for mental health treatment. The final topic being covered is mental health services in the free clinic setting. The benefits of tele-psychiatry will be discussed. One example of a benefit is increased access to consumers in rural areas.

For more information about the GFCN annual conference please go to the Georgia Free Clinic Network website at .