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.
Category: Mental Health Training
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.
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.
Paul Gionfriddo, formerly a state legislator in Connecticut, writes about his son, who showed signs of schizophrenia when very young and whose life has been ravaged by the disease. (Article, My Son Is Schizophrenic—the Reforms I Worked for Have Worsened His Life in the October 15, 2012, edition of theBy: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
One of the goals of AMHF is to keep in everyone’s awareness those therapeutic approaches that are important either for their historical value or for practical techniques still helpful. Of course, we seek to encourage the latest empirical studies and cognitive therapies, such as the study on prevention of psychosis we are funding at Astor […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Clint Eastwood in the first-named movie, released over the weekend, is an old-time baseball scout who scours the South in his well-traveled Mustang, attending high-school and minor-league games to find the next baseball phenom—as Mickey Mantle was improbably discovered by Tom Greenwade several generations ago. The Eastwood character knows baseball so well that he can […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
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 […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Dr. Stefan de Schill, for sixty years a key figure of the American Mental Health Foundation, saw group therapy as an important part of his practice. He supported all efforts to strengthen the training of group therapists because he thought that these efforts at the time were “dreadful.” Since then, the use of group therapy […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
A miserable marriage is certainly a mental health issue. Hollywood has profiled many of these “stuck” relationships—from those who have made lifetime vows to those with other but important commitments. Witness the continuum from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? to “The Brady Bunch.” Now, we have Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep—at a time when […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The AMHF grant to Astor Services for Children—to identify and evaluate interventions that help adolescents at risk for suicide and psychosis, and to create scientifically supported guidelines—supports the exact kind of empirical investigation recommended by American Psychological Association President Suzanne Bennett Johnson. In the President’s Column of the July August 2012 APA Monitor (American Psychological […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Susannah Wood, Arie Greenleaf, and Lisa Thompson-Gillespie, in the August 2012 issue of Counseling Today (a publication of the American Counseling Association), cite Military Officer magazine: there are two-million children in United States military families today. Studies conducted by the National Military Family Association offers this information: students from military households encounter many challenges but […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
A few months ago I wrote about Marsha Linehan and Dialectical Behavior Therapy here on this blog. It is a creative and empirically-supported treatment that combines cognitive and behavior therapy as well as wisdom from philosophical and religious traditions. Last week, at the 120th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association in Orlando, Florida, Linehan […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
AMHF Board Chair Jack Fowler posted the following in National Review Online, The Corner.By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
From International Bipolar Foundation: “We at International Bipolar Foundation mourn the loss of those killed in the tragic shootings Friday. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families and all those affected. “We recognize that this senseless shooting will stimulate many conversations about gun laws, public safety, violence and their association to mental […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
There is much more to be said on this centennial anniversary of Northrop Frye’s birth. After reading Evander’s recent blog, I ordered a copy of Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism. This edition included a new foreword by Harold Bloom. How is Frye’s work related to mental health? Evander’s posting makes us wonder if Frye’s work and […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Edward Hallowell and John Ratey have published a follow-up to their successful book Driven to Distraction. On a hopeful note, it is titled Delivered from Distraction. The first book was written in the 1990s. It contains much good advice on ADHD: diagnosis, medications, telling it apart from other conditions as well as finding it in […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
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 […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
On June 22 it was announced that Judith Wallerstein, 90, had died. Wallerstein is known for a 25-year longitudinal study about the effects of divorce on children. Her study examined the psychological impact of divorce on children, and her scientific findings cautioned against the too-ready “advice” of many mental-health professionals that divorce could be a […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Marsha Linehan on “Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Synthesizing Radical Acceptance with Skillful Means”
Marsha Linehan, always a leader in the psychological profession for her work with people with borderline personality disorder, became well known to the public when the New York Times featured a front-page article on her. In this, Linehan revealed her own personal struggle with borderline personality disorder as a teen. She was hospitalized around the […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
One of my favorite television persons–Jane Pauley–experiences bipolar disorder and has written about it in the book Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue . Here is her description of one of her episodes: “My husband, Garry, was becoming concerned. When I started talking about my own line of clothing, his concern upgraded to alarm. […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Too many times we view medication and psychological therapies as either/or treatments. Many times people will try to avoid any medication for even a severe mental health problem. Their reasons are always worth noting: perhaps there is a realistic fear of side effects, or a desire to work things out in a trusting relationship. Perhaps […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
While confronting our fears, discerning our angers and resentments, or unloading on friends or a therapist may be helpful, there is another school of mental health thought emphasizing distraction and humor. Carol Tavris says one of the best antidotes to the kind of anger that sticks in one’s craw is to see a funny movie–explained […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
There are many books on fishing, yet only a few on the relationship between fishing and mental health. Paul Quinnett, friend of AMHF and expert on suicide prevention: Pavolv’s Trout and Darwin’s Bass. Centuries ago, another fisherman, Izaac Walton, penned his Compleat Angler—a celebration of the gratitude and joy that fishing brings to one’s life. […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Friends at the International Bipolar Foundation are sponsoring an important lecture on June 14, 2002. If you live near San Diego you might consider attending. For others, the lecture will be archived on the Web site…. Join us Thursday, June 14, for our free monthly mental health lecture with guest speaker Dr. Lisa Eyler. Dr. […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Decades ago I was a pre-doctoral intern in clinical psychology and was assigned a therapy case of a young man who would probably now be considered to be experiencing an autism spectrum disorder. He was extremely guarded, withdrawn, and tactile defensive (not liking to touch objects in his environment). Three times each week we met […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
In Men In Black III, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, have returned to help police the Earth from what they call invading life forms that represent “the scum of the universe.” No spoiler here–but it’s a must-see film if you want to learn more about the dynamics of the Agent J-Agent K relationship. Once […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
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 […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Some occupations appear to put persons employed in them at risk for eating disorders. Flight attendants, dancers, actors—persons in these lines of work must maintain unforgiving standards of weight and general appearance in order to ply their trade. As such, they may employ tactics of severe calories-restriction or eating, and then throwing up. (Binging-and-purging as […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.