NEW ONLINE HEALTH CARE TOOL NOW AVAILABLE TO CONSUMERS

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HHS unveiled an innovative new online tool which will help consumers take control of their health care by connecting them to new information and resources that will help them access quality, affordable health care coverage. Called for by the Affordable Care Act, HealthCare.gov is the first Web site to provide consumers with both public and private health coverage options tailored specifically for their needs in a single, easy-to-use tool. This site has a central database of health coverage options, combining information about public programs, from Medicare to the new Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan, with information from more than 1,000 private insurance plans. http://www.healthcare.gov

Submitted by Anna

Schizophrenia Might Not Just Be In The Brain

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Most people think of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as illnesses of the brain. But researchers at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Belmont say they have discovered possible evidence of these diseases in other parts of the body, too — and that could lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating mental illness.

In studies of patients with bipolar disorder, the researchers found abnormalities in their mitochondria, which are sometimes described as “cellular power plants” because they’re a main source of the body’s chemical energy.

The brain needs enormous amounts of energy to function properly, which suggests that these mitochondrial abnormalities could be a potential cause of psychiatric illness.

The researchers were able to see visual differences in the mitochondria of patients in three groups: those with bipolar disorder, those with schizophrenia, and a control group….

Reported By Jessica Alpert
wbur.org
http://www.wbur.org/2010/08/10/schizophrenia-study

Submitted by Anna

PROMOTING MENTAL HEALTH AND PREVENTING SUICIDE: A TOOLKIT FOR SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITIES

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Statistics show that adults age 65 and older have one of the highest suicide rates of any age group in the United States. This new SAMHSA toolkit teaches staff working in senior living communities how to recognize and take steps to help someone at risk of suicide. The ideas presented in this toolkit can help prevent suicides, promote mental health, and create an environment that will enhance the well-being of residents and staff alike. http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/publications/allpubs/SMA10-4515/

Submitted by Anna

MEETING SUMMARY–CLOSING THE GAPS: THE ROLE OF RESEARCH IN REDUCING MENTAL HEALTH DISPARITIES IN THE U.S.

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On May 5, 2010, the Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health in the Office of the Director of NIMH convened a meeting of representatives of key federal agencies and thought leaders from a range of fields—including genetics, cultural neuroscience, epidemiology, psychology, clinical psychiatry, and community-based services and intervention research—to discuss novel directions that, if investigated empirically, could foster the reduction of mental health disparities across race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geography. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research-funding/scientific-meetings/2010/closing-the-gaps-the-role-of-research-in-reducing-mental-health-disparities-in-the-us.shtml

Submitted by Anna

HHS ANNOUNCES NEW PRE-EXISTING CONDITION INSURANCE PLAN

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the establishment of a new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), which will offer coverage to uninsured Americans who have been unable to obtain health coverage because of a pre-existing health condition. PCIP, which will be administered either by a state or by HHS, will provide a new health coverage option for Americans who have been uninsured for at least 6 months, have been unable to get health coverage because of a health condition, and are a U.S. citizen or are residing in the United States legally. Created under the Affordable Care Act, PCIP is a transitional program until 2014, when insurers will be banned from discriminating against adults with pre-existing conditions, and individuals and small businesses will have access to more affordable private insurance choices through new competitive exchanges. In 2014, members of Congress will also purchase their insurance through exchanges.
Press Release: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/07/20100701a.html

Submitted by Anna

SCHIZOPHRENIA (ADULT) RESEARCH STUDY: THE NIMH GENETIC STUDY OF SCHIZOPHRENIA

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Individuals or family members ages 18 or older who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (depressed type) may be able to participate in a genetic study that looks for genes in families. In order for family members to participate, the person with schizophrenia must be willing and able to participate. Eligible family members participate in an interview and contribute a sample of blood for genetic analysis. Individuals who have schizophrenia, and if possible, their sibling(s), may qualify to participate in this study. There is no change in medication involved. The study involves simple cognitive tests and some MRI scans (no radiation). All testing is completed free of charge and there is compensation for each family member’s participation in the study. Travel and lodging assistance is also available. Scientists believe that the identification of susceptibility genes is key to understanding the molecular pathways of this disease so that better treatments and preventive methods can be developed in the future. For more information, please call 301-435-8970 (1-888-674-6464) or email us at schizophrenia@mail.nih.gov
For more information on research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD click here http://patientinfo.nimh.nih.gov

submitted by Anna

ALTERNATIVES 2010 ANNUAL CONFERENCE: PROMOTING WELLNESS THROUGH SOCIAL JUSTICE

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SEPTEMBER 29-OCTOBER 3, 2010, ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA
The national mental health conference organized by and for mental health consumers and survivors is sponsored by SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. Each Alternatives conference offers in-depth technical assistance on peer-delivered services and self-help/recovery methods. Beyond the exchange of knowledge and networking, Alternatives offers a rich social, artistic, and healing environment. http://www.power2u.org/alternatives2010/

Submitted by Anna

TRAUMA ASSOCIATED WITH MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS BUT NOT SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN HOMELESS MEN

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Mental health problems and substance abuse are common among the homeless. A new study finds that homeless men who experienced traumatic, life-threatening events may develop mental health problems, but these harrowing experiences do not necessarily prompt them to abuse alcohol or drugs. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/aug10/0810RA23.htm

Submitted by Anna

Nine NARSAD scientists shape the future of psychiatric diagnosis

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Nine NARSAD scientists shape the future of psychiatric diagnosis as members of a task force working on the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5). A draft version of the manual is available for public review at www.dsm5.org.

NARSAD
http://www.narsad.org/?q=node/11311/latest-research

Submitted by Anna

NARSAD Distinguished Investigator writes compelling new book on schizotypy and schizophrenia

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NARSAD Distinguished Investigator, Mark F. Lenzenweger, Ph.D., has published a new book, Schizotypy and Schizophrenia: The View from Experimental Psychopathology, that explores the complexities of schizotypy and schizophrenia. A number of the studies mentioned in the book were carried out with support from NARSAD.

NARSAD
http://www.narsad.org/?q=node/11312/latest-research

Submitted by Anna