Category: Public Policy

Robert Ethan Saylor in his happy times

Man with Down Syndrome Dies in Police Custody

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. […]

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AMA and New CPT Codes

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 […]

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A novel sensitively adapted by Millen Brand, from a year that AMHF flourished

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “The Snake Pit” (1948)

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 […]

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Elders’ Brains and Scams

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 […]

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"Three generations of imbeciles are enough." (OWH)

Eugenics: Beware of History Repeating Itself

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, […]

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The major developer of tests of all kinds

Reasons for Doing Psychological Testing

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 […]

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Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord

“I Have Been to the Mountaintop”

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 […]

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Eugene Kennedy, Love, Newtown: A Blow to the Heart

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 […]

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Letter by American Psychiatric Association to Congress Regarding Newtown

On December 20, 2012, the American Psychiatric Association sent the following letter to Congressional leaders in Washington: To:

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Lonnie Snowden

Disparities in Mental-health Care for African Americans

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, […]

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Girl Scouts Honored

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 […]

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Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields….

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 […]

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Asian-American Mental Health

“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, […]

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A Current Look at Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in Schools

Public Law 94-142, passed by the Congress in 1976, and following legislation including Individual Education Disabilities Act (IDEA), defined different handicapping conditions for which a child could receive additional support (and therefore additional funding) in the public school system. A continuum of extra supports was initiated. This could range from being in a smaller class […]

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Combating Autism Act of 2006: PL 109-416

Although the education of children and teens with autism is covered both in Public Law 94-142 and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), even with these supports some parents and advocates worried that the intense needs of those with autism were not being fully addressed. This led to the passage of PL 109-416. This act: […]

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One Less “Big Brothers Big Sisters”

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national organization which matches volunteers to children who could use a supportive adult in their life. Children in foster care, in single parent families, children with an incapacitating illness–are the kinds of youngsters who might be given priority status. The sponsoring agency has been known to do a careful […]

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Long lines like this at the VA?

Not Your Grandfather’s VA

In yesterday’s blog I noted the level of professionalism and service that was accorded to veterans in the VA system after World War II. My grandfather, a World War II vet, received one of the earliest heart pacemakers as well as top-notch cardiac care, all at no cost (although one might view the treatment as […]

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Benjamin Bloom. He had hope for little children...

Pre-School and Later Incarceration

When I worked in the Astor Day Treatment Program many years ago, our program shared a large inner-city school building with a Head Start Program. It was heartwarming to see young children learning the skills and developing the kinds of relationships that would lead to later success in life. Many didn’t get proper nutrition and […]

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She had to ask for a pension.

Mary Todd Lincoln’s Sanity Trial to Be Reenacted

By all accounts Mary Todd Lincoln led a difficult and tragic life despite her early upbringing with material comforts and blessings. She married Abraham Lincoln when she was twenty three and was often alone rearing four sons while Lincoln embarked upon his upward political climb. Of her four sons, one died in 1850, another during […]

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Seziure Disorders and Epilepsy: Part 1

The Merck Manual provides helpful and detailed information about these conditions. In seizure disorders, the normal electrical activity of the brain is periodically disturbed, resulting in some degree of temporary brain dysfunction. In many persons, there are premonitory cues or auras which alert the person to an impending seizure. Some seizures (grand mal) result in […]

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