Washington Politics Adding To Mental Health Crisis Among Farmers

Suicide rates among farmers are higher than any other profession in the United States and now some experts and Senators worry Washington politics could be making farmland stresses even worse.

The House is set to vote by Friday on a controversial farm bill that includes major changes to work requirements for people on food stamps. The issue is dividing Republicans and Democrats and threatens to undermine support for the bill in Washington. Now farmers fear the bill, which includes safety net programs to keep farmers in business in bad economic times, is at risk because of the unrelated fight.

Bob Worth, a soybean farmer in Minnesota, said the frustration is growing in rural America.

Full story at npr.org

Mental health crises seeing more kids forced to ED for help; experts call for greater investment

A dramatic increase in the number of children going to the emergency department in mental health crises is evidence “the system is failing”, according to a group of leading adolescent and mental health experts.

In Victoria, there was a 46 per cent increase in the number of children presenting to the ED for self-harm, stress and anxiety, mood, behavioural and emotional disorders between 2008 and 2015, according to a recent study.

Similarly, in New South Wales, ED presentations among 10-19 year-olds for suicidal thoughts, self-harm and intentional poisoning increased by 27 per cent between 2010 and 2014, another paper has shown.

Full story at ABC.net

Hubs Help Native American Communities Address Youth Suicide

Three NIMH-funded collaborative research hubs are exploring the factors behind the high suicide rates among American Indian (AI) and Alaska Native (AN) youth and designing and testing approaches to preventing suicide. In each hub, research centers and tribal or urban AI/AN leaders and organizations are working together to provide information on which to base effective, community-based, and culturally sensitive preventive approaches that are suitable for use in low-resource settings.

AI/AN youth have suicide rates that are among the highest of any demographic group in the U.S.; based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rates of suicide in the AI/AN population have been increasing since 2003. Suicide rates vary among communities, however, and the reasons for the variation are not clear. One of the goals of the work is to explore elements that promote resilience, including the degree of adherence to cultural spirituality, community engagement, and participation in traditional practices.

Full story at NIMH

More than 1 in 20 US children and teens have anxiety or depression

About 2.6 million American children and adolescents had diagnosed anxiety and/or depression in 2011-12, reports an analysis of nationwide data in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

The number of children with diagnosed anxiety — but not depression — has increased in recent years, according to the new report. The lead author was Rebecca H. Bitsko, PhD, of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Study Shows High Rates and Impact of Anxiety and Depression in American Youth

The researchers analyzed data from the nationally representative National Survey of Children’s Health for the years 2003, 2007, and 2011-12. In the most recent year, more than 65,000 parents were asked about problems with anxiety and/or depression (diagnosed by a doctor or other healthcare professional) in their children aged six to 17 years.

Full story at Science Daily

Mental Health Expert Talks Hollywood’s Battle with Depression

Mental illness has long had a stigma associated it, and Hollywood is working to shine a light on the problem, both for those in and out of the entertainment industry.

Kita S. Curry has made a career of studying mental health as president and CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, the nation’s leading provider of community health and substance use programs. Curry spoke to Variety about the struggle many actors and musicians have with depression and substance abuse, due both to their hectic schedules and dealings with fame.

“I think that when you become well known, it’s hard to know if people like you or like your halo,” she said. “If you are depressed and already feel like you’re a failure, you never live up, it’s hard for people to understand the dark voices that can tell us what losers we are when people seem to successful.”

Full story at Variety

A waking nightmare: The enigma of sleep paralysis

You wake up in the middle of the night, convinced that an evil figure is lying in wait. You attempt to move, but your body just will not budge. You try to scream, but nothing comes out. The monster draws closer. It may sound like a horror movie scene, but this is the real deal — you’re experiencing sleep paralysis.
This terrifying and mysterious sleep disorder, or parasomnia, has been experienced by people possibly since the dawn of humankind.

And, it may have given rise to numerous ghost stories and mysterious accounts involving “things that go bump in the night.”

This most unsettling experience was first clearly documented in a medical treatise in the 17th century, by Dutch physician Isbrand Van Diembroeck, who wrote about the case of a woman “50 years of age, in good plight [health], strong,” yet who complained of mysterious experiences at night.

Full story at Medical News Today

Resilience counteracts effects of childhood abuse and neglect on health

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have determined that psychological resilience has a positive effect on health outcomes for people living with schizophrenia. This is the first study to quantitatively assess the effects of both childhood trauma and psychological resilience on health and metabolic function in people living with schizophrenia.

Globally 1 percent of people suffer from schizophrenia, a chronic and severe mental disorder that can affect all types of people and greatly impacts how a person thinks, feels and behaves. The psychiatric symptoms are typically treated with antipsychotic drugs; however, persons with schizophrenia are also more vulnerable to physical disorders, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease and premature death. Although the cause of schizophrenia is not entirely known, the disorder is linked to genetic and environmental risk factors, including childhood adversity.

Full story at Science Daily

Mother’s depression might do the same to her child’s IQ

Roughly one in 10 women in the United States will experience depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The consequences, however, may extend to their children, report researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, who found that a mother’s depression can negatively affect a child’s cognitive development up to the age of 16.

The findings are published in the April issue of Child Development.

Researchers surveyed approximately 900 healthy children and their mothers living in Santiago, Chile at five-year intervals from the child’s infancy through age 16. They observed how affectionate and responsive mothers were to their children at each age period, as well as how much mothers provided age-appropriate learning materials. Children were assessed on verbal cognitive abilities using standardized IQ tests during each assessment. Mothers were tested for symptoms of depression.

Full story at Science Daily

Raw fruit and vegetables provide better mental health outcomes

That is the simple message from University of Otago researchers who have discovered raw fruit and vegetables may be better for your mental health than cooked, canned and processed fruit and vegetables.

Dr Tamlin Conner, Psychology Senior Lecturer and lead author, says public health campaigns have historically focused on aspects of quantity for the consumption of fruit and vegetables (such as 5+ a day).

However, the study, just published in Frontiers in Psychology, found that for mental health in particular, it may also be important to consider the way in which produce was prepared and consumed.

Full story at Science Daily

The memory part of the brain may also hold clues for anxiety and depression

The hippocampus is an area of the brain commonly linked with memory and dementia.

But new U of T Scarborough research finds that it may also yield important clues about a range of mental health illnesses including addiction, anxiety and depression.

The research, authored by a team of neuroscientists, found that a specific part of the hippocampus could play an important role in emotional regulation, a finding that calls into question our understanding of how exactly this part of the brain works.

“What this shows is that we may need to rethink how the hippocampus processes information,” says Rutsuko Ito, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology.

Full story at Science Daily