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Hogg Foundation for Mental Health News and Grants
Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

April, 2011



Ogden Revives Key Piece of Federal Health Reform

The Texas Tribune

April 19, 2011


Implementing a key piece of federal health care reform in Texas - something Gov. Rick Perry has expressed his firm opposition to - may be back on the table. A bill authored by the influential chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, would create a state health insurance exchange, a marketplace for the public to seek out insurance options. 



Texas prison system budget cuts stir up concerns

The Dallas Morning News

April 18, 2011


Prison experts are warning that only so much fat can be cut before a relatively peaceful prison system boils up into a dangerous stew of discontent. State officials are carving as many dollars as possible from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice budget as they fight to close a $23 billion two-year state shortfall without raising taxes. Although the full extent of the cuts at TDJC won't be known for some time, the department has already slashed $40 million from its current budget. 



State cuts turn jails into de facto hospitals

Amarillo Globe News

April 19, 2011


As the mental health coordinator for the Potter County Detention Center, Neal counsels an increasing number of mentally ill people in the facility. Matters might worsen. State lawmakers are considering $152 million in cuts in community-based health care spending in 2012 and 2013, a reduction of about a fifth from the previous budget. That will further swell the ranks of mentally ill behind bars and build on an already distressing trend, mental health experts said. 





Privatizing County Jail on commissioners' agenda

Houston Chronicle

April 18, 2011


Harris County Commissioners Court will consider a proposal to study privatizing the Harris County Jail, the state's largest lockup, with nearly 10,000 inmates. The suggestion comes from Commissioner Steve Radack, who said the item is a way for the county to examine all ways of cutting costs as budget cuts take hold and scores of county workers are laid off. 



University Behavioral Health of El Paso Expands Facility

PR Newswire

April 18, 2011


EL PASO, Texas -- University Behavioral Health (UBH) of El Paso has opened a third floor with 40 new beds.  The 18,000 square foot addition allows UBH to offer mental health and chemical dependency services to more patients in El Paso and surrounding areas. 



Woman claims Harrison County Jail is withholding husband's medications


April 18, 2011


MARSHALL -- Imagine taking six pills a day to manage your pain and having them taken away in a moment's notice. That's what one East Texas woman says the Harrison County jail did to her husband.  CBS 19's Michele Reese explains why the jail won't give him his medication. "He's bipolar, manic depressed, he has schizophrenia, he has RSD." 



Teen Killer Was Too Disturbed for State Treatment

FOX 4 News

April 18, 2011


DALLAS - Last month in Tyler a judge ruled that a mentally ill teenager who stabbed a teacher to death was unfit to stand trial, sending the young man to state hospital for the criminally insane.  ...The troubled teen grew up in a family plagued by violence and mental illness.  ...But apparently he was deemed too disturbed for TYC and that there was no suitable treatment program for him. Because of that, the way TYC then interpreted state law they had to discharge him. 



NE Texas deputy fatally shot during inmate shift

San Antonio Express News

April 18, 2011


NEW BOSTON, Texas (AP) - A part-time sheriff's deputy was shot and killed Monday by an inmate she was escorting from a court hearing to a van at a northeast Texas courthouse near the Arkansas border, officials said.  ...His public defender, Bart Craytor, asked for a psychological evaluation and retired District Judge John Miller granted the request. A report concerning Strickland's mental state concluded he was incompetent to stand trial, he said. 





Changes Sought After Death At Calif. Mental Hospital

National Public Radio

April 19, 2011


Earlier this month, NPR reported on the dramatic increase in violence at California's state psychiatric hospitals. At Napa State Hospital, an employee was killed last year, allegedly by a patient. Now, less than six months later, there has been another death at the hospital in Napa. This time, though, it was a patient who died. William Roebling had attacked a fellow patient. As staff members tried to subdue him, Roebling stopped breathing. The coroner's preliminary report says that he died of natural causes, including coronary disease - not because of the staff intervention. 



Court Reinstates Va. Mental Health Lawsuit

The New York Times

April 19, 2011


WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says Virginia's advocate for the mentally ill can sue to force state officials to provide records relating to deaths and injuries at state mental health facilities. The justices, in a 6-2 ruling Tuesday, reinstated the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy lawsuit against Virginia's mental health commissioner and two other officials. 



Organizers hope to open veterans court in Idaho

San Antonio Express News

April 18, 2011


BOISE, Idaho (AP) - By the end of the year, court officials and veteran advocates in Ada County hope to open the doors to a mental health court geared specifically to veterans and the challenges they face with addiction and mental illness. 





Supreme Court Stays Quiet On Fast-Tracking Review Of Health Law

Kaiser Health News

April 19, 2011


The court released a list of cases it has decided to take up or decline and Virginia's lawsuit regarding the health law was not included. Because the Court releases "a regular list of orders" every Monday it is in session, there was speculation that the justices would act on this issue yesterday. 



Report: Impact Of Ryan's 'Roadmap' On Health Law Unclear

Kaiser Health News

April 19, 2011


A report by the Congressional Research Service found that neither the House-passed budget resolution nor the "Roadmap to Prosperity" document provide enough detail to make a determination. 





Key factors make Texas budget problem tougher to solve

Austin American Statesman

April 18, 2011


The root causes of Texas' budget shortfall are pretty clear by now. The national recession caused Texans to spend billions less than anticipated on sales taxes over the past couple of years, for one. And five years ago, the Legislature made a giant cut in school property taxes and increased spending at the same time, leaving a hole in the budget that must be filled every year. 



Let's take the cuffs off Texas kids: Use common sense in student discipline

Houston Chronicle

April 18, 2011


One of the most effective tools would be positive behavioral support programs, which have been shown to reduce disciplinary problems. Additionally, police officers are trained in law enforcement and not necessarily focused on children's educational development.   ... Training school police officers about child behavior and de-escalation techniques, peer mediation and school-based alternatives should be considered for more serious offenses. 



Dr. David Shern Talk on Mental Health Policy

Mental Health America

April 19, 2011


Dr. David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America, recently spoke about mental health policy at a seminar sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County. Arguing that "the next century of mental health in the U.S. needs to be fundamentally different" from the last one, he makes the case for a new "vision for mental health now within our grasp." 



Three out of four couldn't tell placebo from antidepressant

San Angelo Standard Times

April 18, 2011


SAN ANGELO, Texas - Reading an article in the April 5 Standard-Times that said German doctors are being advised to give out more placebos prompted me to write about a study concerning antidepressants and the placebo effect that has been lying around on a corner of my desk for some time. 





Mental Health Effects Linger After Tsunami, Study Finds

HealthDay News

April 19, 2011


Swedish tourists who saw the most severe trauma in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami have taken longer than their peers to recover psychologically, a new study has found. "Exposure was associated with increased levels of post-traumatic stress reactions, even three years after the disaster," researchers report in a study led by Kerstin Bergh Johannesson of Uppsala University Hospital. Those who lost a loved one were especially affected. 



Light Switches Brain Pathway On-and-Off to Dissect How Anxiety Works

National Institute of Mental Health

April 18, 2011


Scientists, for the first time, have switched anxiety on-and-off in active animals by shining light at a brain pathway. Instinctively reclusive mice suddenly began exploring normally forbidding open spaces when a blue laser activated the pathway - and retreated into a protected area when it dimmed. By contrast, anxiety-like behaviors increased when an amber laser inhibited the same pathway. 



Social environment linked to gay teen suicide risk

Los Angeles Times

April 18, 2011


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Lesbian, gay and bisexual teens are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers - but those living in a supportive community might be a little better off, according to a new study. The findings, published online today in Pediatrics, showed that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) teens living in counties with a high proportion of gay and lesbian couples, and those who went to schools with gay-straight alliances and anti-discrimination policies, were less likely to attempt suicide than LGB teens living in less accepting environments.,0,1247459.story 



Mood Swings of Bipolar Patients Can Be Predicted, Study Shows

Science Daily News

April 19, 2011


The future mood swings of people with bipolar disorder can be predicted by their current thoughts and behaviour, a study published April 19, 2011 has found. Psychologists from the Universities of Manchester and Lancaster say their findings are important because they mean talking therapies, like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), could prove effective treatments for the condition. 



Primary Care Targeted for Suicide Prevention Efforts

Science Daily News

April 18, 2011


Forty-five percent of the 32,000 Americans who take their own lives each year visit their primary care provider within one month of their death. Ninety percent have a mental health or substance abuse disorder, or both. Yet only in the last decade has suicide been considered a preventable public health problem. 



Antidepressants Improve Brain Functions After Injury

Psych Central News

April 19, 2011


Antidepressants Improve Brain Function After Injury Emerging research suggest antidepressant medications may aid creation and survival of new brain cells after a brain injury. The research study emerged after neurosurgeons noticed that patients with brain injuries who had been prescribed antidepressants were doing better in unexpected ways than other patients with a similar diagnosis who were not prescribed the medication. 



Adults Who Have Lost A Loved One Due To Suicide Needed For Complicated Grief Study At Pitt

Medical News Today

April 18, 2011


Researchers from the Late-Life Depression Evaluation and Treatment Program at the University of Pittsburgh are seeking adults ages 18 to 95 who have experienced the loss of a loved one due to suicide and are having emotional difficulties coping with grief. 



Cultural factors influence hallucination types in schizophrenia

Med Wire News

April 19, 2011


The prevalence of auditory, visual, and cenesthetic hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia is significantly influenced by cultural as well as clinical factors, study results show. The findings suggest that culture "should be taken into account to a greater extent in considerations concerning the pathogenesis of psychotic symptoms," say the researchers. 





'I know what it's like to lay in bed and want to die'

Arizona Daily Star

April 17, 2011


For some Tucsonans touched by the tragedy of Jan. 8, sorrow was tinged with a sense of dread. Scores of locals being treated for mental illness cringed to think the public might paint them with the same brush as shooter Jared Lee Loughner, whose chilling grin and bizarre rants made headlines across the globe. 





Local nonprofits are hurting for new board members

Austin American Statesman

April 17, 2011


About 40,000 Central Texans serve on nonprofit boards and another 7,000 are needed to fill all the empty seats, according to a new report. A recently released survey by Greenlights for Nonprofit Success - which provides training and support to local charities - says that local boards of directors routinely struggle to find qualified, passionate people willing to serve, Greenlights Executive Director Matt Kouri said. And that, he said, can keep nonprofit groups from meeting their full potential. 


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