Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mental Health News April 2013

Will gun control laws actually prevent psychiatric treatment? How many veterans and others will avoid seeking psychiatric help because they fear being disarmed? That question was raised by Dr. Scott Mendelson, a psychiatrist for the Veterans Administration, in a Huffington Post article.
"Mental Health and Second Amendment Fears"

Excerpt: "The recent gun tragedies have spurred us to pursue new controls on who can purchase a firearm. A major focus of this effort is to make certain that individuals who might pose a danger because of mental illness do not have access to weapons. I wholeheartedly agree with this effort. However, in recent weeks I have become aware that many of the veterans I see are starting to fear that merely coming for psychiatric help will cost them their right to own a gun."

(Unsubstantiated Report) New York Governor Cuomo has ordered state officials to confiscate private patient records from psychiatrists, meaning that all your assumed "doctor-patient confidentiality" is now a fairytale. Everything you've ever told a psychiatrist, psychologist, doctor or therapist is now subject to government confiscation, and whatever they find will be used against you. And it's all being done to "save the children," of course!

ABC News Videos - An NYPD officer kills boyfriend, infant son, and self; Las Vegas police officer and family dead in apparent murder/suicide; Maryland star high school student and army officer dead in apparent murder/suicide; Jovan Belcher, of the Kansas City Chiefs, kills girlfriend and self with butcher knife

This writer recommends that all police officers be given psychological evaluations periodically, not just during the hiring phase, and that they be tested for drugs and alcohol immediately after all violent incidents that result in catastrophic injuries or deaths. Police officers and military people work in stressful, volatile situations requiring quick decisions. Mental illness and drug or alcohol addictions can negatively impact their ability to accurately comprehend and respond appropriately to stimuli. For example, steroids are often used by police officers as well as sportsmen and can cause brain damage and feelings of aggression.

MENTAL HEALTH LAW reports that the Iowa State Senate voted 33-17 Tuesday to pass a $42.8 million appropriations bill aimed at supporting the redesign of Iowa’s mental health system. Hatch said the Senate bill spends $13 million more than the House version to insure that no counties have waiting lists for mental health services or an interruption of services. The bill now goes to the House.

One can trace America's booming prison population growth to the "de-institutionalization" of the mentally ill in the 1970s, which actually transferred acute mental patients to prisons rather than hospitals and community care. This was done in large part to facilitate private prisons and meet the guaranteed occupancy levels municipalities promise private prison owners. Today, 1.25 million of America's inmates are mentally ill. Sixty percent of those in solitary confinement are sick people, and eighty percent of prisoners in cruel solitary confinement are minorities. Having an obviously racist and health conscious prison system negatively impacts America's ability to advocate for human rights around the world, and it makes military intervention based on human rights seem hypocritical. Moscow pointed to this country's record-high incarceration rate and the torture and frequent deaths of inmates (within the USA and abroad) in its response to President Obama.
"Moscow Calls Obama's Human Rights Bluff"

Music is a relatively common and very traditional therapy used to achieve a calmer state of being. One mental health clinician, who is also an experienced music therapist, uses music to help her patients stir up emotional images and claims “the vibration in music releases tension in the cells and organs,” thus creating a feeling of relief. One musical group has dedicated its time to playing in nursing and convalescent homes and say they have observed their music help elderly people living there achieve a feeling of calm. Dentists and surgeons also cleverly use music to decrease their patients’ worry and increase their pain threshold. The type of music playing in the elevator and lobby are not accidental, and the type of music played during surgery prep is considered as part of the prep itself. Biblical David played his harp to assist King Saul's emotional troubles, and later King George commissioned similar musical therapy to aid in stress reduction. Read more

Enjoy a six-hour jazz mix, which is very relaxing and soothing (at YouTube link and embedded below) as you continue to read mental health news in DogJustice blog. The articles are listed in the blog index on your right. You can also leave this blog open and the music playing while you visit more blogs carrying news about the incarcerated mentally ill listed below. Thank you for coming to learn more about the challenges facing mentally ill people and their families and to give Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill.

Mary Neal, director
Dog Justice for Mentally Ill

Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill (AIMI) at Care2, where 305 members invite you

Please also visit AIMI at Google+, where we recently started at this new advocacy site

And visit Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill at Facebook, with 166 members who invite you

A burden shared is a burden lessened. Lately, I have been worried about a friend of mine who faces prison for overdue probation fees. See "Save Katherine Conner from Prison Slavery" at

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