I’ve been kind of out of the mental health news bit for a while but I’m going to blog about what I can and forget the rest. I don’t have the unlimited time to devote to it like I used to and there are so many other blogs that are way ahead of me. Makes me wonder why I blog about some of this stuff sometimes.
Anyway, instead of dwelling on my pointlessness in cyberspace, I bring you more mental health news…
Pennsylvania becomes the latest state in Wal-mart’s new push to offer a 30-day’s supply of generic drugs at the low, low price of $4! The average price of a generic drug, according to the Bucks County Times article is $28.92. D-Mac on Will Do names Paxil, as one of a host of anti-depressants that have generics to be offered for cheap. Wal-mart, as with everything they sell, buys so much of the generic drugs in bulk that they are able to sell them cheaply and still make a profit. Don’t expect pharmacies like CVS or Eckerd’s to follow suit though. The article adds that those companies thrive on “convenience and location.” Meh, if your insurance is accepted at Wal-mart, go for it. I just feel sorry for the poor mom and pop pharmacy store on the corner.
Interesting: depressed people and alcoholics have asymmetrical brain activity.
In an interesting turn, a student at Southern Connecticut State University has discovered a correlation between voting for George W. Bush and mental illness. I’ll refrain from political comment.
The Nassau Guardian, a Bahamian news site, has an article on myths about mental illness and how people should deal with it. The myths come in the form of bad grammar, i.e., “Chile ain’t a thing I can do for no crazy people,” but the responses to the myths are in proper grammar and are actually quite informative.
In Massachusetts, more than 100,000 children who need treatment for mental illness aren’t receiving it:
“Out of nearly 1.5 million children in Massachusetts, 146,419 need mental health services and 102,493 don’t receive the treatment they need, the report estimated.”
Finally, the Clinical Psychiatry and Psychology blog I read occasionally has noted that paroxetine (Paxil and Seroxat) increases the risk of suicide attempts versus placebos. The blogger claims this is the case with most SSRIs. Is this evidence that people are better off on placebos than actual medication?
I previously wrote about Malachi Ritscher, who lit himself on fire and died as an act of protest against the war in Iraq. The sad part is that no one has heard about it. Only time will tell whether the blogosphere takes his self-immolating act and runs with it on the heels of “martyrdom.” Richard Roeper, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist, calls his “last gesture on the planet” his “saddest and his most futile.” What’s disconcerting is that he wants to spread a message of peace and end the war in Iraq, however, he names his only regret as not killing Donald Rumsfeld at a supposed prime opportunity. In his mind, the trade-off was valuable: Murdering the former Secretary of Defense in exchange for somehow saving the lives of thousands of U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians. (As much as I didn’t care for Mr. Rumsfeld, I’m keen enough to realize that killing him is not a solution to end the war in Iraq.) Which has prompted discussion on Ritscher’s mental state and his depiction as a supposed martyr. Personally, I think he definitely exhibited psychotic features in his actions, his words and unfortunately, his death. No doubt this man had a mental illness of some kind. The lesson that should be learned from his death is not awareness about the deaths from the war in Iraq but a renewed attempt at understanding mental illness with psychotic features.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler of Sopranos fame admitted that she struggled with suicidal thoughts while battling anorexia.
She says, “I really just said, ‘Why can’t I be normal? Why can’t I be happy? I have everything. I just don’t understand. I don’t want to live anymore.’ It got to the point where it was so overwhelming that suicide seriously crossed my mind.”
Bebe Moore Campbell, an African-American novelist who was involved in mental health issues, has passed away. The NYTimes has a write-up about her and Liz Spikol has written a post in her memory.
Also, an interesting article: Malachi Ritscher, an activist who was vehemently against the war in Iraq, committed suicide by lighting himself on fire on a bridge to make a statement. Debate surrounding his death rages as people attempt to determine whether this was a man who was seriously mentally ill or extremely passionate about the war. Apparently, he’s popular enough now to get his own entry in Wikipedia.
"When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’ — Sydney J. Harris
"More than 80 percent of those who seeks treatment for clinical depression show improvement." – National Mental Health Association
Liz Spikol from The Trouble with Spikol wrote a beautiful “elegy for the living,” as she calls it. It’s sad and thought-provoking.
In a related story – actually she found it first – the AP reports that suicides are most commonly done by the elderly, especially older white men.
And finally, Andre Waters, a former Eagle defensive back, shot and killed himself. He was 44.
"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul." — Emily Dickinson
"Several studies have found that many older adults who die by suicide – up to 75 percent – have visited a primary care physician within a month of their suicide." – National Institute of Mental Health