President Barack Obama made headlines with his proposal to encourage American scientists to work toward understanding the great mysteries of the brain. Done as a massive project, this could rival past collective enterprises such as Getting a Man to the Moon; when President Kennedy suggested this, it took everyone’s breath away. It looked unattainable in […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
In part 1 of this essay we examined the nature of psychological trauma, an individual’s physical and psychological response to sudden, usually unexpected, potentially life-threatening events, and the emergence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) thirty-one days later. We reviewed the disruptions that may occur in the domains of good physical and mental health (reasonable mastery, […]By: Dr. Raymond B. Flannery Jr.
Do you know what acrophobia is? The 1950s, like the 1940s, was a rich era for Hollywood depictions of “psychological problems” and themes—especially around words, terms, and concepts not generally known to audiences as such are today: in part, though we often do not realize it, thanks to the very movies we are putting “on […]By: Evander Lomke
This is the fifteenth movie in the AMHF series of twenty-one. Rain Man won four Academy Awards at the sixty-first Oscars show: Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Director, and Actor—Dustin Hoffman’s second in a remarkable performance. The film revolves around the relationship between a younger, self-centered brother, likewise played to perfection by Tom Cruise, an inheritance, […]By: Evander Lomke
It was seven o’clock in the morning when she awoke, after yet another terrible night’s sleep with her recurring nightmares. As usual, fifteen-year-old Maureen was paralyzed from the waist down. This paralysis had terrified her at first but now she was used to it. It would go away when he left for work. The “he” […]By: Dr. Raymond B. Flannery Jr.
This is the thirteenth of twenty-one films in the series on psychiatry in film. The plot summary is provided by Judd Blaise Rovi. New Zealand poet Janet Frame is the subject of Jane Campion’s biographical drama, which presents a poetically evocative look at the author’s turbulent life. The film begins with Frame’s childhood, showing her […]By: Evander Lomke
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.
“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
Movie number nine in the American Mental Health Foundation series of twenty-one relating to its mission stars (Anthony Perkins who would famously make a career of playing disturbed individuals: for example in Psycho) and the superbly versatile Karl Malden as his unreasonably domineering father (reminiscent of Bette Davis’s mother from Now, Voyager). The film is […]By: Evander Lomke
It seems we are reminded every day about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It reveals itself in soldier suicides, which are occurring in a way that is more than we can bear. Shootings continue. In one city (Chicago), one mother has been so badly traumatized: She has lost four children over the years to street violence. […]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.
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.
Of the twenty-one films for discussion on this Web site, here is number six, which stars Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher in signature roles. Thus is the plot, in slightly condensed form, from Wikipedia: In 1963, Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy (Jack Nicholson)—a recidivist anti-authoritarian criminal serving a sentence on an Oregon-prison farm for statutory rape […]By: Evander Lomke
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.
American Mental Health Foundation Annual Report November 1, 2011, to October 31, 2012 This is the second Annual Report on The American Mental Health Foundation (AMHF), a research organization founded in 1924, incorporated in New York State December 31, 1954. (Click here for the first annual report, November 2011.) Vision Statement: on the homepage of […]By: Evander Lomke
For at least several weeks we have been hearing about and seeing the bullying incident that occurred in upstate New York near Rochester. This occurred on a school bus where at least several students mercilessly taunted a 68-year-wiman who was riding the bus as a bus monitor. The video of this occurring captivated worldwide attention—especially […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Part 1 of this essay examined the general nature of violence in the workplace. It noted the major types of crimes in the workplace, the various types of patient assailants, the theories that seek to explain such violent behavior, and the various physical and psychological impacts such violence has on staff victims. Part 2 examines […]By: Dr. Raymond B. Flannery Jr.
Suicide rates are unacceptably high. A U.S. soldier, present or recent past, is said to kill himself or herself every eighty minutes. In countries suffering economic crises, the situation is in some ways even more tragic. Reuters reports that “behind every suicide in crisis-stricken countries such as Greece there are up to 20 more people […]By: Evander Lomke
The alarm clock goes off. You are up and about and, in time, you make your way to work. As you enter your worksite, you think: another routine day at work. But what if it were not a routine day? What if today you became a victim of violence in the workplace? It could happen […]By: Dr. Raymond B. Flannery Jr.
A fan of comic books of old, both DC and MARVEL—I recently saw the movie The Avengers. I was hoping for a respite from all the daily stresses, an immersion in a world of fantasy where good might overcome evil. This was not what occurred. The story line here is how the earth is being […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
“Are you sure?” He hadn’t slept well last night. “Of course, I’m sure. You know the secret and they want you dead. Don’t you see? It’s a plot to kill you. You must get them first.” “My knowing the hidden secret of Peterbus has been such a burden. No one believes me.” “Wrong. They all […]By: Dr. Raymond B. Flannery Jr.
There’s something about the Deep South that inspires the writing of great literature (think William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote) more than, for example, North Dakota. Likewise, we think of “the grand diagnoses” in psychiatry more than we do, say, about Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Prince of Tides is a 1991 movie capturing the lowland beauty […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Sometimes when we feel strongly about something we throw all our energies into one passionate viewpoint. The often perceived overuse of anti-psychotic medication in an “off-label” use in nursing homes is one such example. “Off-label” use means that a drug is being used for purposes other than what is was originally intended. Anti-psychotic drugs are […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
This is the fifth of twenty-one films in the AMHF series of blogs. Charly is a controversial film, about mental retardation and psychiatry. The central controversy revolves around the question, “What is a human being?” Are individuals challenged by developmental delays “to be cured?” Are they not soulful, “whole individuals”? What would be the role […]By: Evander Lomke
American Psychological Association Announces Guidelines for Psychologist Involvement in Pharmacological Issues
In the recent yearly “Reports of the Association” issue of the American Psychologist (December 2011), the American Psychological Association announced “Practice Guidelines Regarding Psychologists’ Involvement in Pharmacological Issues.” This report notes several factors that will make psychologists more involved in medication-management issues. One survey noted that the number of Americans using antidepressants increased from 6.7 […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Your hospital beeper summons you to the emergency room to assess the condition of an assaultive patient. Are you safe as you enter the room? In your private practice office, you are assessing a patient with a known history of organic impairment and impulsiveness. Have you thought to ensure your own safety? You are about […]By: Dr. Raymond B. Flannery Jr.