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Mental Health Discrimination In Parliament 'Untenable' Says Government, UK

Outdated legislation that requires MPs who have been detained under the Mental Health Act to stand down has been branded 'untenable' by the Government, representing the strongest move yet towards outlawing mental health discrimination in Parliament. Section 141 of the Mental Health Act means that MPs have to resign if they are sectioned for more than six months, and the Government has come under considerable pressure this month to repeal the law 'as soon as practicable' (1). There is widespread agreement amongst mental health organisations and parliamentarians alike that requiring an MP to resign after a period in mental health hospital care is unfair and unfit for modern times, with a survey of MPs showing that over two-thirds believed that Section 141 was 'wrong'.

Gordon Brown Receives Prescription Promise 'Wake-Up Call', UK

People across England will be joining forces to demonstrate their outrage at Gordon Brown's failure to act on his promise to abolish prescription charges for people with long-term conditions, by taking part in a simultaneous 'wake-up phone call' to No 10. The wake-up call will take place at 11am on Monday 1 February 2010, representing the eleventh hour of the campaign, with large numbers of people with long-term conditions, their carers, families and health care professionals expected to call the Downing Street phone lines. Due to the urgency of the situation, the coalition is encouraging people to take this unusual campaigning approach. If legislation is not implemented during the next few weeks, free prescriptions will not become a reality before the General Election.

States Struggle With Budget Cuts, Increased Medicaid Pressure

News outlets look at developments in Medicaid issues. The Associated Press/ABC News reports on Louisiana: "Sen. Mary Landrieu defended the Senate's version of health care overhaul legislation - and language in it that provides up to $365 million in Medicaid money for Louisiana - as she discussed what her fellow Democrats should do after losing a crucial Senate seat to a Massachusetts Republican." Landrieu said she supports continuing efforts to reach a consensus on reform. Landrieu's support for the Senate health overhaul, which came after the provision for Medicaid money for Louisiana was added, led to criticism from opponents that Democratic leaders bought her vote (McGill, 1/20).

Mental Illnesses Are Second Leading Cause Of Time Off Work In Spain

An interdisciplinary team coordinated by researchers from the University of Castilla La Mancha (UCLM) and the Canary Islands Health Service has evaluated the economic impact of mental illness in Spain, and estimated their social cost. According to the study, despite health resources being invested to alleviate the effects of such illnesses, informal care and lost work time places a heavy burden on society. Mental illnesses affect a large number of people, impact on their quality of life and have high socioeconomic costs. "The three disease groups that the National Health System spends most on in Spain are cancer, circulatory system diseases and mental illnesses", Juan Oliva, lead author of the study and a researcher at the UCLM, tells SINC.

Obama Administration Issues Rules Requiring Parity In Treatment Of Mental, Substance Use Disorders

The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury today jointly issued new rules providing parity for consumers enrolled in group health plans who need treatment for mental health or substance use disorders. "The rules we are issuing today will, for the first time, help assure that those diagnosed with these debilitating and sometimes life-threatening disorders will not suffer needless or arbitrary limits on their care, " said Secretary Sebelius. "I applaud the long-standing and bipartisan effort that made these important new protections possible." "Today's rules will bring needed relief to families faced with meeting the cost of obtaining mental health and substance abuse services, " said U.

Caring For The Carers Of Those With Mental Illness, Australia

The University of Queensland has joined a consortium trialling a new support program for families caring for relatives with mental illness. The Manager of UQ's Research Centre for Youth Substance Abuse, Dr Angela White, said families in this situation often experienced significant levels of emotional and practical stress, trauma, anxiety, disruption and strain. She said more family members were needed to take part in trialling the new program entitled "Family Connections" and funded by Rotary Health Australia. "Studies have shown that up to 60 percent of these families have significant physical, emotional and psychiatric health problems including depression, " Dr White said.

Study Investigates Who Is Most Likely To Take Precautions During A Pandemic

A study that looked at how people behave during pandemics has identified key demographic and psychological factors that may predict protective behaviours. The study is published online, in the British Journal of Health Psychology. Dr Alison Bish and Professor Susan Michie at the Health Psychology Unit, University College London, investigated the results of a number of studies into how people behave during pandemics, such as the recent swine flu outbreak, to better understand protective behaviour and to improve interventions and communication in the future. The review included the results of 26 published studies on associations between demographic factors, attitudes and behavioural measures during outbreaks including SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) between November 2002 and July 2003, Bird Flu (Avian influenza) in 1997, and Swine Flu (in 2009).

APA Reacts To The Mental Health Parity Regulations

Interim rules for implementing parity include victories for fairness in insurance coverage for individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders, but some important issues must still be resolved, the American Psychiatric Association said today after the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury released implementation rules. The APA is reviewing and analyzing the newly announced regulations implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). The law applies to employers with 50 or more workers whose group health plan chooses to offer mental health or substance use disorder benefits.

Suicide Risk In Men With Prostate-specific Antigen-Detected Early Prostate Cancer: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study From PCBaSe Sweden - PSA screening remains controversial. In addition to questions over decreased mortality, concerns exist over the psychological trauma from an elevated PSA level and the results of a prostate biopsy. The ultimate tragic endpoint would be a patient committing suicide over a new diagnosis of prostate cancer (CaP). In the online version of European Urology, Anna Bill-Axelson and Swedish colleagues report that there is no increased risk of suicide among men with CaP diagnosed by PSA testing, but increased risk does exist for men with advanced CaP. The study cohort is a combined Swedish database of men diagnosed with CaP between 1997 and 2006. Cross-linkage permitted identification of socio-economic variables and cause of death with these CaP patients.

Needs Of Boys In K-12, Higher Education Highlighted By New Studies

Boys face high rates of a variety of mental health issues, in addition to lagging behind girls in academic performance and college attendance, according to two new papers by University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Judith Kleinfeld. The studies, recently published in the journal Gender Issues, note that boys have higher rates of suicide, conduct disorders, emotional disturbance, premature death and juvenile delinquency than their female peers, as well as lower grades, test scores and college attendance rates. The first paper, "The State of American Boyhood, " offers a status report on the academic, mental and social health of boys in the United States.

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