Have you ever felt that you were in hell? As the word pandemonium derives from John Milton’s Satan and his crew in Paradise Lost—in The Screwtape Letters C. S. Lewis refers to the environment/condition as “The Kingdom of Noise” (“the mind is its own place, and can make a heaven of hell and a hell […]By: Evander Lomke
A young man with Down syndrome has died at the very hands of the police he idolized, the Washington Post reports. The death of Robert Ethan Saylor, aetat. twenty-six, occurred while being handcuffed with at least three set of cuffs as he was being taken by three deputies from a theater in Frederick County, Maryland. […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Consumers of mental-health services may not realize the extensive system of codes that go into insurance billing and medical records, both for mental-health services and other medical services. For mental health, every person who receives insurance reimbursement receives a diagnostic code from the most current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, as […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The current February 25, 2013, issue of The New Yorker contains a review of UK psychoanalytic-writer Adam Phillips’s latest book Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life. The always-interesting Joan Acocella gives and takes in her notice regarding Phillips’s “invitation” to consider Freud as a philosopher. “Phillips loves Freud. He cites him again and […]By: Evander Lomke
“Where’s the rest of me?” Ronald Reagan implores, having had legs amputated. Former President Reagan even used this famous line as the title of a 1960s memoir. Goethe essentially asks the same question in his 1773-74 Goetz von Berlichingen; or, the Man with the Iron Hand. Are we our legs? Our arms? Our faces? Even […]By: Evander Lomke
I feel unusually close to The Snake Pit, personally, if not intimately and daily, working with one of the writers, Millen Brand, during my early days in book publishing. This, the tenth film out of twenty-one in the AMHF series, required significant research from the filmmakers in adapting an autobiographical novel by Jane Ward. The […]By: Evander Lomke
Amygdala. Corpus Collosum. Dendritic Spines. Voxel. These are words Ferris Jahr, writing in Scientific American, had to add to his Microsoft program in order to avoid all those red squiggles. “Neuron” his program knew, and he thought he knew (May 14, 2012). He did not. Now, Mr. Jahr has begun to appreciate the extraordinary diversity […]By: Evander Lomke
Brains, like all human organs and body parts, wear down with age. As the population ages, as Boomers retire in droves and the sheer numbers of elders increase, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports from September 24, 2012 on a man in his eighties, without dementia, who started making a series of bafflingly bad financial decisions. Told […]By: Evander Lomke
After physicists split the atom, unanticipated positive effects emerged—such as medical isotopes—and many negative ones as well. Where do we store the waste? How do we understand fallout and its deadly effect? What happens when there are nuclear plant accidents? Biologists work in a similar environment as they work to split the genome. Once again, […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
More and more in our society, any kind of testing that compares people with each other is viewed negatively. Different kinds of testing: No Child Left Behind, End of Year testing, and Intelligence Testing are all types of testing that come under criticism. Here is a different spin on the kinds of tests given by […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
A new documentary film presents the emotional health history of a famous American family of artists—the Hemingways—according to CNN, whose sources we quote. This film, Running from Crazy, premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival. Oprah Winfrey is executive producer. “‘Suicide has no rhyme or reason,’ [Mariel] Hemingway said. ‘Some people, it’s 20 dark […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. When I was in college (several years after Dr. King’s assassination), I took a bicycle trip down the East Coast. One of the stops was Washington, DC. There, I stood on the steps of the Lincoln memorial and had the same view King had when he gave his […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is the eighth of twenty-one films discussed in this blog. It is the earliest movie and the only silent one. It works by flashback and is a vivid visual re-creation of intensely scrambled mental states. The story line, somewhat condensed from Wikipedia, is as follows: The main narrative is introduced […]By: Evander Lomke
This is the seventh film under under close scrutiny in the AMHF series of films. (We “analyze” other movies in different blogs. But not all are come within this series of, eventually, twenty-one.) Alfred Hitchcock had worked under David O. Selznick five years before, directing Rebecca. The association of two such egos was more a […]By: Evander Lomke
This month governors and the President are reflecting on what is going on in their respective territories. I thought this would be a good time to look at the state of the state of mental health and to offer my own reflections. DSM V Will Be Issued This year will inaugurate the new DSM V. […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
As readers of this blog and followers of the AMHF Web site know, in August 2012 the foundation embarked on a two-year study of at-risk youth, in partnership with Astor Services for Children & Families of Rhinebeck and the Bronx, New York. Herewith a report, from Dr. Suzanne Button of Astor, on hopes for this […]By: Evander Lomke
From Counseling Today, some recommendations of new books: *The Danger-to-Self-or-Others Exception to Confidentiality (C. Ahia, University Press of America) This topic has been one that has been in the news this past year with tragedies including the movie theater shooting, train deaths in NYC, as well as the Newtown tragedy. The subject is an important […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Peggy Noonan, writing in the Wall Street Journal, suggests that we listen to Eugene Kennedy, who spoke about the Newtown tragedy in a much different manner from other commentators: He does not believe that the many “solutions” bandied about will make children (or ourselves) safer. Rather, it is time for us to reflect on this […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
On December 20, 2012, the American Psychiatric Association sent the following letter to Congressional leaders in Washington: To:By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Word from ABILITIES FIRST in Poughkeepsie, NY October 5, 2012, Poughkeepsie, NY—As Dr. Lori Crispi’s term on the board of Abilities First, Inc., a Dutchess County based nonprofit that serves children and adults with disabilities, was coming to an end, she felt that she couldn’t just walk away. “I enjoyed being part of the organization […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Since the Supplement to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity—A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, several events have occurred. These, say Lonnie R. Snowden, have established a national commitment to understanding African American-White American treatment disparities, their consequences, and opportunities for their reduction. Snowden’s article, […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Two important areas in mental health are prevention and resiliency. Prevention includes all efforts to prevent a person from developing a mental-health problem. One of the most effective prevention programs has been Head Start—from the 1960s, these centers have been a path for positive adjustment for many young persons of disadvantaged backgrounds. Another prevention program […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Although the therapeutic dimension of sports on the highest level, which is usually the professional, is well accepted, players are often assessed—or worse, judged—by club executives and fans alike based on issues or “characteristics” of mental health. This can be unfortunate. As the Major League Baseball Cy Young (for pitchers) and Most Valuable Player Awards […]By: Evander Lomke
For Epilepsy Awareness Month, do check out the great Dr. Oliver Sacks, Hallucinations. Sacks discusses the more unusual aspects of this condition (and others) as it affects behavior, and as neurology rubs against the field of psychiatry and even that of theology. You will not be disappointed. Sacks delves into the desperately misunderstood and stigmatized […]By: Evander Lomke
Successes of all kinds—academic, vocational, monetary, and material—are highly valued and obsessively pursued. But even those who “have it all” may find themselves spiritually adrift and existentially empty. Paul Wright, M.D., a cardiologist, found himself in this position after having made it to the top in a demanding medical specialty. On November 9, 2012, I […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
This poem was written by Lt. Col. John McRae and read at the funeral of a friend who was killed in battle in World War I: In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Today, October 31, is the twenty-eighth birthday of William Van Ornum Jr. Last year, the directors thanked this remarkable young man for his especially terrific work at the AMHF Stefan de Schill Award ceremony, a research prize granted to Suicide Prevention Initiatives. In 2011-12, William (who has a perceptive interest in filmmaking and theory when […]By: Evander Lomke
Steven R, Lopez, Concepcion Barrio and colleagues address an important cultural topic in the October 2012 edition of American Psychologist: From Documenting to Eliminating Disparities in Mental Health Care for Latinos. The U.S. Surgeon General’s report from 2012—Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity—A Supplement to Mental Health: Report of the Surgeon General—documents significant disparities in […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
“Asian Mental Health” is a timely and important article by Stanley Sue and his colleagues, just published in the October 2012 edition of American Psychologist. This is one of three articles recently written that address mental health disparities occurring in cultural groups. Ten years ago the U.S. Surgeon General wrote a report Mental Health: Culture, […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Timothy Schriver, writing in the Huffington Post (Oct. 27, 2012), forwards to writer Ann Coulter a letter from a young man with Down syndrome. Recently Ms. Coulter used the “R” word while criticizing the President of the United States: “Dear Ann Coulter, “Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.