Category: News

Budget Cuts, Nonprofits, and Developmental Disabilities

Several months ago the Cuomo administration announced that budgets for nonprofit agencies serving the developmentally disabled would be cut. This had led to an outcry from parents, community members, and those who work at these agencies. Recently it was announced that the cuts would be changed. Although this is helpful, it still leaves most organizations […]

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Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud” (1984)

Do you find the concept of a dreaming phrenologist at all funny? I didn’t think so. Once upon a time, psychoanalysis was viewed as nothing but a shabby cousin of phrenology. Freud and his followers changed all this, even though the tired gags of the usually brilliant Woody Allen might leave one to believe otherwise. […]

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Welcome Pope Francis

It is not inappropriate for an organization of American Mental Health Foundation—which serves persons of many nationalities and beliefs—to offer our best wishes for the Catholic Church’s new pontiff, Francis I. Sponsorship of mental health programs has been an important role of the Catholic Church in the USA. Many Catholic hospitals have included psychiatric units, […]

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Budget Cuts 2013 Endanger Nonprofits

The Mid-Hudson Valley in New York State may be atypical from many other localities: it has the highest proportion of developmentally disabled persons in the country. Over 10,000 developmentally disabled residents from Willowbrook, Letchworth Village, and Wassaic Developmental Center have been re-integrated into the community. A large number of jobs—private and nonprofit—are part of the […]

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Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Vertigo” (1958)

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 […]

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Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Rain Man” (1988)

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, […]

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Psychological Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Part 1, Its General Nature

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” […]

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Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Awakenings” (1990)

Where does the study of neurology leave off and that of psychiatry and psychology begin? (After all, Sigmund Freud was a neurologist.) Do we understand the intermingling of memory and time? What is “real” and what is “perceived”? What are some of the challenges of the aging consciousness? Here is film number fourteen, “analyzed” in […]

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Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “An Angel at My Table” (1990)

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 […]

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Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Bedlam” (1946)

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 […]

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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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Psychoanalysis: Adam Phillips

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 […]

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Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Kings Row” (1942)

“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 […]

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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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Know Your Neurons: Their Discovery and Naming

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 […]

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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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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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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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Suicide and the Hemingway Family

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 […]

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“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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Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1921, remade 1992)

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 […]

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Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Spellbound” (1945)

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 […]

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State of the State of Mental Health 2013

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. […]

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AMHF Research

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 […]

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Recommended Books for 2013

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 […]

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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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“I didn’t feel right walking away….”

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 […]

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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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