“She’s OCD!” He’s Schizo!” How Misused Health Lingo Can Harm

By Meghan Holohan This year, Americans expanded their medical jargon with a smattering of once-exotic words, including the illnesses MERS and enterovirus — plus “contact tracing,” the footwork done to curb Ebola outbreaks. But our daily health speak remains far more liberally laced with a slew of misapplied psychiatric terms, such as “OCD,” “bipolar,” “sociopath” and “schizo.” The problem is, experts say, erroneously spewing such behavioral buzzwords creates real damage. “We misuse (psychiatric terms) all the time and it could be harmful,” said Emanuel Maidenberg, clinical professor of psychiatry and director of the cognitive behavioral therapy clinic at Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles. Improperly dropping those sorts of words into conversations only perpetuates an existing stigma surrounding mental illnesses and vilifies certain forms of conduct that many people dislike or just find disconcerting, he added. “These labels give a false simplicity to human behavior. Something very complex boils down to (a generic, psychiatric label),” says Frank Farley, a professor of psychology at Temple University. “But human behavior is not well captured by these labels.” The vast majority of folks who live in remarkably well-kept, spotless homes may simply be zealous about order and organization — perfectly normal and not necessarily a sign that they have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Farley said. Indeed, people diagnosed with OCD experience repetitive thoughts and behaviors, producing extreme anxiety, which can impact their ability to function. “When people use (psychiatric labels) in daily language, I think it is intended to deliver some sort of emotional context,” Maidenberg said. “It says that there is something wrong with...

10 Warning Signs: NAMI Offers Teen Mental Health Tools to Faith Communities and Civic Groups

10 Warning Signs: NAMI Offers Teen Mental Health Tools to Faith Communities and Civic Groups Arlington, Va.— The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has launched “Say It Out Loud,” a program for faith communities and civic organizations to use in reaching out to youth, ages 14 to 18, to start conversations about mental health. “One in five teens live with mental health conditions. Less than half get help and more than 4,000 teens die from suicide every year,” said NAMI executive director Mary Giliberti. “Faith communities and other organizations that sponsor youth groups are in unique positions to encourage teen conversations.” “It’s time to end the silence. It’s time to talk constructively about mental health with young people. It’s time to say it out loud.” The “Say It Out Loud” tool-kit is free to download: www.nami.org/sayitoutloud. It includes: • A narrated presentation for adult facilitators about youth mental health. •  A 5-minute video of three teens sharing personal experiences and addressing the 10 most common warning signs of mental health problems. • A discussion guide for adult facilitators with step-by-step instructions for running a successful teen discussion. • Fact sheets Teens who see warning signs in themselves or friends need to take them seriously and know how to get help. The 10 Warning Signs 1. Feeling very sad, withdrawn or unmotivated for more than two weeks. 2. Making plans or trying to harm or kill oneself. 3. Out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors. 4. Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing. 5. Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant...

Recreational marijuana use associated with increased impulsivity and hostility in daily life

NIH – National Institute on Drug Abuse: Despite high levels of marijuana use in the United States, little is known about the effects of recreational marijuana use on daily life. Most studies exploring this issue have either been conducted in a laboratory setting or have relied on retrospective reports of mood and use, which can be unreliable. One method to better capture information about experiences in real-life settings is Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), where participants answer specific questions as they go about their typical, daily routines. In a recent 14-day study using a smartphone-based EMA, recreational marijuana users (average use of 4.5 days over the past 30 days) who also drank alcohol at least once per week answered questions each day regarding their alcohol consumption, marijuana use, and number of cigarettes or cigars smoked. Participants also answered questions to assess hostility following any interaction with another person that lasted longer than five minutes. In addition, end-of-day surveys were completed to measure impulsivity. For each subject, days of marijuana use and non-use were compared to look for changes in impulsivity and hostility. Results showed that marijuana use was correlated with increased impulsivity on the day of use and the following day. Participants also reported higher hostility ratings – for both themselves and their perception of others – on the day they used marijuana. This effect did not last into the next day and appeared to lessen as the study progressed. Results were not impacted by other variables measured, such as alcohol or nicotine use. While this research couldn’t determine whether marijuana caused these effects – or if increased impulsivity and/or...

Suicide Safe: The Suicide Prevention App for Health Care Providers

Suicide Safe: The Suicide Prevention App for Health Care Providers Free from SAMHSA Learn to conduct suicide assessments and develop safety plans. For individuals at risk of suicide, behavioral health and primary care settings provide unique opportunities to connect with the health care system and access effective treatment. Almost half (45%) of individuals who die by suicide have visited a primary care provider in the month prior to their death, and 20% have had contact with mental health services.1 Suicide Safe, SAMHSA’s new suicide prevention app for mobile devices and optimized for tablets, helps providers integrate suicide prevention strategies into their practice and address suicide risk among their patients. Suicide Safe is a free app based on SAMHSA’s Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage (SAFE-T) card. SAMHSA’s Suicide Safe helps providers: •Learn how to use the SAFE-T approach when working with patients. •Explore interactive sample case studies and see the SAFE-T in action through case scenarios and tips. •Quickly access and share information, including crisis lines, fact sheets, educational opportunities, and treatment resources. •Browse conversation starters that provide sample language and tips for talking with patients who may be in need of suicide intervention. •Locate treatment options, filter by type and distance, and share locations and resources to provide timely referrals for patients. Suicide Safe, SAMHSA’s free suicide prevention app, is available for iOS® and Android™ mobile devices. ——————————————————————————– 1 Luoma JB, Martin CE, Pearson JL. Contact with mental health and primary care providers before suicide: a review of the evidence. Am J Psychiatry....

Helping student-athletes with mental health issues

 Helping student-athletes with mental health issues Guidelines issued for U.S. high schools. (HealthDay)—Guidelines for helping U.S. high school athletes with mental health problems are outlined in a new policy statement from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. The types, severity and percentages of mental illnesses are growing in young adults aged 18 to 25, and may well start before or during adolescence, the association says. “The purpose of this statement is to raise awareness and provide education for the high school athletic trainer, coach, administrator, guidance counselor and parent on the prevalence of mental health issues in secondary school athletes,” said Tim Neal, chair of the task force that developed the recommendations. “We have created a road map on how to better recognize potential mental health issues and develop a referral system to provide the athlete with assistance,” Neal said in an association news release. The task force was led by the athletic trainers’ association and supported by other groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and American Psychological Association. More than 7.7 million American high school students play organized school sports each year, according to the news release. Possible triggers of mental health problems in high school athletes include poor sports performance, career-ending injury, academic pressure, an eating disorder, and bullying or hazing, the statement says. Along with outlining ways to identify and get counseling or emergency assistance for student athletes with mental health issues, the statement also offers advice about confidentiality and legal issues. The statement, released Monday at the Youth Sports Safety Summit in Dallas, was published simultaneously in the Journal...

Here’s One Simple Way We Can Change The Conversation About Drug Abuse

Matt Ferner – Huffington Post The negative words we use to describe drug addiction — “clean” vs. “dirty,” “patient” vs. “addict” — can drive some individuals away from the very help they so desperately need. To reduce that stigma, we need to start changing the language for people struggling with a disease. That’s the findings of some recent research and the goal of U.S. drug czar Michael Botticelli. “Research shows that the language we use to describe this disease can either perpetuate or overcome the stereotypes, prejudice and lack of empathy that keep people from getting treatment they need,” Botticelli told The Huffington Post. “Scientific evidence demonstrates that this disease is caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors, not moral weakness on the part of the individual. Our language should reflect that.” He said that along with greater prevention and treatment efforts, “reducing the stereotypes and prejudices associated with substance use disorders” is a key element of the Obama administration’s approach. With that goal in mind, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has drafted a preliminary glossary of suggested language. The drug czar’s office recommends replacing the word “dirty” for example, with “actively using,” or “clean” with “abstinent.” Even basic terms like “addiction” and “alcoholic,” which people may not necessarily associate with prejudice, should become “substance use disorder” and “person with an alcohol use disorder.” While the glossary is still being developed with no final deadline, the Office of National Drug Control Policy shared a working copy with HuffPost: “This change goes beyond mere political correctness,” said Dr. John F. Kelly, associate professor of psychiatry...

Obama Task Force Urges Improved Police Interactions

By Michelle DiamentMarch 3, 2015  Recommendations from a presidential task force call for police departments nationwide to review their policies surrounding interactions with people who have disabilities and other vulnerable groups. (Thinkstock) A presidential task force is encouraging police departments across the nation to be more mindful of their dealings with people who have disabilities. In a report issued this week, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing issued wide-ranging recommendations aimed at improving relations between the nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. President Barack Obama created the task force in response to high profile cases last year in Missouri and New York involving the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police. “We have a great opportunity, coming out of some great conflict and tragedy, to really transform how we think about community law enforcement relations so that everybody feels safer and our law enforcement officers feel, rather than being embattled, feel fully supported,” Obama said of the report. “We need to seize that opportunity.” The task force indicated that officers should only use “physical control equipment and techniques” as a last resort when interacting with people who have disabilities and other vulnerable populations including children and the elderly. “Law enforcement agencies should carefully consider and review their policies towards these populations and adopt policies if none are in place,” the report said. What’s more, rules should be in place to prohibit profiling and discrimination based on disability status and other factors and police should adopt technologies that will help them better serve those with special needs, the task force indicated....

First Lady: Mental Health First Aid “Really Gives You the Skills to Identify – Ultimately Help – Someone in Need”.

A Statement by Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health As First Lady Michelle Obama said today, “The National Council for Behavioral Health will be training three million people in Mental Health First Aid. I went through some of this training a few weeks ago…and I saw just how useful it is. It really gives you the skills you need to identify — and ultimately help — someone in need. Because you never know when these kinds of skills might be useful.” We have to change the conversation around mental health. Addressing an audience of government, business and nonprofit leaders today, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke about how we must flip the script in how we support and care for people with mental health and substance use needs, and exemplified Mental Health First Aid as a strategy to do just that. Mental Health First Aid introduces people to risk factors and warning signs of mental health and substance use problems, and teaches them a five-step action plan to help people get the care they need in their community. This pioneering program gives people a tangible way to help others. It recognizes the resilience and strength of all of us fosters understanding, compassion and engagement in the community. The National Council is grateful to our partners in making Mental Health First Aid such a valuable national program — the Missouri Department of Mental Health and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The First Lady couldn’t be more correct: we have to break the silence for those who suffer and engage people to talk...

ANNOUNCEMENT OF AWARD WINNERS: 2015 Director’s Creativity Showcase

Debuting in 1979, the Director’s Creativity Showcase has become a favorite with consumers, their families, and staff. The annual art contest includes many illustrative arts and crafts, and displays the talents of individuals served by the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH). Entries are limited to one (1) per person, although an individual may help with a group project and still enter an individual project. All artwork, including paintings, sketchings, crafts, sculptures, needlework, clay designs, and other creative art projects, are judged in one of the following categories: Mental Illness, Developmental Disabilities, Addiction Disorders, or Professional. Cash awards are provided for 1st through 5th place in each of the categories, with the exception of the Professional Category, where a “Best of Show” is awarded. Opportunities are also provided for the artist to sell their artwork at various events. The Missouri Mental Health Foundation, in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Mental Health, are pleased to announce the award winners for the 2015 Director’s Creativity Showcase. CLICK HERE for the list of winners, and their associated mental health provider organization. CLICK HERE to view the winning artwork. For more information about the annual Director’s Creativity Showcase, please contact the Missouri Mental Health Foundation at (573) 635-9201 or...