Mental Health News Roundup

Washington Post-At Walter Reed, a palpable strain on mental-health system
More than two years after the nation’s political and military leaders pledged to improve mental-health care, their promises have fallen short at military hospitals around the country, according to mental-health professionals, Army officials, and wounded soldiers and their families. Those hospitals include Walter Reed, where the man accused of the Fort Hood shootings, Nidal M. Hasan, spent four years as a psychiatric intern, resident and fellow.

ABC News-Treating Depression in Teens Has Lasting Benefits

Dr. John March, of Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues found that the treatment benefits in terms of lower levels of depression and suicidal thoughts observed at the end of active treatment persisted during follow-up. In addition, the findings demonstrate that longer-term treatment results in clinically meaningful improvement even when active treatment is stopped, they report in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

USA Today-Eastern ‘collectivist’ culture may buffer against depression
People who live in Western culture may get depressed more than those from East Asian culture because Westerners don’t have the cultural support that can protect them from a genetic vulnerability to depression, suggests a new study from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill..

US News-Depression May Blur Memory of Aches and Pains: Expert suggests having people write down symptoms as they occur
Depressed people tend to report more physical symptoms than they actually experience, a new study finds.

CNN Money-Depression Treatments Reviewed by NeuroInvestment

HealthScout-Therapy better than light treatment for SAD: study
Cognitive behavioral therapy specially designed to treat people with SAD is more effective at preventing recurrences of depression than either light therapy or a combination of the two, the study found.

Medical News Today-American Psychiatric Association Encourages Passage Of House Healthcare Reform Proposals
While H.R. 3962 is – like any legislation – not perfect, Schatzberg notes in the letter to the Speaker, the APA clearly recognizes that it offers many benefits for psychiatrists and other physicians and, most importantly, for patients and their families. These include:
— Expanding health insurance coverage to millions of Americans who now lack it.
— Ending pre-existing condition exclusions. This alone will be of direct benefit to our patients, even more so when coupled with the elimination of lifetime limits, barring insurers from varying premiums due to health status, and adding coverage of young adults up to age 27 on their parents’ insurance.
— Establishing a public insurance option within the Health Insurance Exchange while preserving voluntary physician participation in public plans.
— Ensuring that coverage of treatment for mental illness, including substance use disorders, is required as part of the required basic benefits package for all insurance marketed within the Exchange, while avoiding loopholes that might inadvertently have undermined mental health “parity” coverage.
— Extending until 2011 the current mental health add-on as enacted in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.
— In conjunction with H.R. 3961, eliminating the pending 21% reduction in the Medicare payment update for physicians, while permanently reforming the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula that is the source of these draconian annual cuts.

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