Jun 2007 @ 21:56
Serious Probems Continue in MH -

"Simply understanding 'reasons' for our fears in an attempt to control them only strikes at the symptoms, not the cause. The real source of fear lies in our minds--adding more thoughts and concepts only supports the pattern of fear. We need a ...Jun 2007 @ 21:56
Serious Probems Continue in MH -

"Simply understanding 'reasons' for our fears in an attempt to control them only strikes at the symptoms, not the cause. The real source of fear lies in our minds--adding more thoughts and concepts only supports the pattern of fear. We need a different approach. (Tarthang Tulku, Openness Mind, (p. 22)

I don't know how many of you notice that almost daily we have some serious reports in the news media about mental health treatment: over-diagnosing; drug research is flawed; psychiatrists and researchers taking money from the pharmaceutical industry; "stressed out moms receiving poor MH treatment;" failing to provide early MH care;" persons diagnosed with bipolar disease improperly treated and misdiagnosed;" colleges struggle with mental health crisis; and, the list goes on.

If you wish to visit these articles and read them, they are available on my forum. I will post some headlines here so that you can quickly review the abstracts:

Psychotropic Drug Prescriptions For Teens Surge 250% Over 7 Year Period

Science Daily — "Psychotropic drug prescriptions for teenagers skyrocketed 250 percent between 1994 and 2001, rising particularly sharply after 1999, when the federal government allowed direct-to-consumer advertising and looser promotion of off-label use of prescription drugs, according to a new Brandeis University study in the journal Psychiatric Services."

A Battle With Depression and Suicidal Tendencies

"A decade ago the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice accused Dr. Faruk Abuzzahab of a reckless, if not willful, disregard for the welfare of 46 patients, 5 of whom died in his care or shortly afterward. The board suspended his license for seven months and restricted it for two years after that."

UC struggles with mental health crisis
29 students killed themselves in 2000-05, panel says; officials strive to find money to hire more counselors. By Richard C. Paddock
LOS ANGELES TIMES Article Launched: 05/31/2007 03:04:41 AM PDT"

The mental health crisis that isn't
Statistics don't support fears of a psychological emergency on our college campuses.
By Mike Males, MIKE MALES, former sociology instructor at UC Santa Cruz, is senior researcher for the online information site YouthFacts.org.

US: Bipolar Spectrum Disorder May Be Underrecognized and Improperly Treated

Older Patients with Major Depression Live Longer with Appropriate Treatment
Older patients with major depression whose primary care physicians team with depression care managers are 45% less likely to die within a 5-year time period than older adults with major depression who receive their care in primary care practices where there are no depression care managers. This study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, appears in a recent issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

US: New Details in Schizophrenia Treatment Trial Emerge
Posted by Gary Holden at April 3, 2007 11:43 AM

My personal experiences with mental health programs have shaped my feelings and interest in change-

I have many fond memories of working with my colleagues in designing, developing and administering a comprehensive MH/MR Program in Pittsburgh, Pa during the early 70's. I also have some pretty strong feelings about the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) that serves as the classification system for Psychiatry and Psychology, primarily because these labels stick with most patients for a life time; there is no serious effort to change or expunge them when conditions change; and, our core values as a profession (and for medicine) is to support our clients with dignity and respect by offering "best practices & scientific research," including followup.

Some questions we might ask our colleagues to review and for psychiatry and psychology to repond to: Why do you accept money and samples from pharmaceutical companies? Why do you continue to define, categorize, and label your patients with a system that can not stand the test of reliability or validity? Why do you prescribe drugs that are not thoroughly tested by outside resources and without vested interests? Why won't you protest the practice of pharmaceutical companies doing their own research on their drugs? Why won't you explore and incorporate integrative health practices from many traditions that have demonstrated success over many centuries?

Furthermore, why have our health professionals accepted the concept of "Mental Health" as their focus, when, in fact, what affects the body affects the mind, emotions and spirit? Mind-body-spirit are integral and every thought or physical action represents a movement and change in relationships with our whole being. Thus, "mental health," is a misnomer--our whole being, its relationships and interactions are engaged in the process of change, health and well-being.

Unfortunately, many social workers have also jumped on the 'band wagon' and have wrapped themselves around this labeling system without fully understanding or appreciating the dangers and lack of validity and reliability of the entire system. It is particularly evident to me that MSW Licensing Exams & Licensing Boards for social workers have embraced labeling and the disease model with their tests and have accepted this system as their best source of understanding of our clients' problems. Medicine and social work have always maintained that their motto is--"Cause no Harm!" We consider ourselves scientists while offering little scientific evidence of the efficacy for diagnosis and treatment for mental health concerns. Yet, there is growing evidence that much of what they offer their patients is a scam. These reports that I am posting clearly show that "humpty dumpty-mental health is about to have a big fall."

Surely, after reading my earlier log on the DSM and with the inclusion of these recent articles showing the dangers of the MH System it appears to me that this system should be bulldozed and everyone working in the mental health industry should roll up their shirt sleeves and get to work cleaning up their ACT. I have many friends and colleagues in this industry and I know that many of them would like to see some radical changes; however, they also may not recognize the dangers, are fearful about speaking out, and are not encouraged or supported to present their views. Our universities throughout the country are also very timid about raising the Red Flag in regard to the MH system as many journals, accredited courses, grants, scholarships, and many sources of funding could be endangered should they speak the truth.

This log is really just an addendum to my earlier log showing how dysfunctional the MH System of America really is. It is very hard for me to have to put such a negative slant or picture on a whole network of mental health programs and activities. But, as long as social workers and allied mental health professionals adopt the psychiatric/psychological model of sick care, we will continue to enable a failed system and be a major part of the problem.

I encourage those of us who have the strength, courage and willingness to improve health services for individuals, couples, families, groups and communities, to begin adopting ecological, holistic or integrative health practices; applying, teaching and empowering our clients to maintain balance with daily health practices or routines that include our whole being--physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; and, focus our efforts on primary prevention, improvement of schools, living conditions and on parenting skills. When basic human needs are ignored in our society, for the most part, the deprivation, abuse and neglect are the leading cause of mental illness.

Finally, I hope, the mental health movement and professionals will move out of their private offices and into the wider community, promote whole health, and get over their fear of physical interaction (touch) Perhaps the MH movement is failing, in part, because they have failed to recognize that every human being - therapists included, "...needs to touch and to be touched." See, Montagu, A. (1986). Touching - The human significance of the skin. NY: Harper & Row.

Also, do read this important contribution to medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social work, nursing and to others who fear touch. The following is an unsolicited website by Dr. Ofer Zur offering free articles that make more sense than much of our current mental health practices, theories and dogma.

Author's Bio: 

Emeritus Professor Vest is team leader for the "Las Cruces Health Promotion Team With Elders;" Author and Producer, 15-Minute StressOut Program & Instructional DVD. Mr. Vest currently teaches courses in "Social Work Practice with Elders" and gives his healthy touch program with the support of NMSU social work and NMSU nursing students, City of Las Cruces staff, and with senior volunteers. These teams introduce safe, skillful and nourishing touch with elders in nursing homes, diabetic clinics, day care and with care givers throughout southern NM and west Texas. Professor Vest is widely published and his research team was awarded "Best Practice Research" for the past decade by the American Diabetes Association. Vest has given workshops and presentations in all major social work and allied health conferences state-wide, throughout the US, and internationally. To learn more about Professor Vest and this exciting health program, visit his web site: http://jerryvestinjuredwarrior.com .