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From the International Bipolar Foundation, click to visit our website





Greetings all!

May was filled with many celebratory days; Mental Health Awareness month in the U.S., Bipolar Awareness Day in S. Africa, Mother's Day, graduations, Memorial Day, ... wow, we really do have a lot to be thankful for and to celebrate.


As we move into the summer months, we wish all the FATHERS out there a Happy Father's Day and thank you for the support you give to your families.


Enjoy the summer! 


Muffy Walker


P.S. Feel free to also contact me at anytime Muffy



June 5, 2011  
If you are in a crisis,
please call:
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Join Our Mailing List
Bipolar Links  





 International Bipolar Foundation celebrates our 4 year anniversary!!

Look how far we've come! We need your support to keep these programs viable. If you are able to give $4, $40 or $400, please donate here on this secure server


Speakers' Series
A free monthly lecture series offered the 2nd Thursday of each month. Speakers include psychiatrists, authors, psychologists and other treatment providers. Additional "special guest speakers" including Dr. Kay Jamison, Glenn Close, Terri Cheney and Margaret Trudeau are added throughout the year. SAVE the DATE: October 6; Patrick Kennedy  Speakers from IBPF are also available to speak at your school, organization, or place of worship.

Caregiver Support Groups
IBPF groups meet in RSF and Poway monthly. Additional group referrals available.

My Support Newsletter
A free twice monthly e-newsletter for those affected with and by bipolar disorder.

Buddy Program and Outreach & Referral Program
Caregivers and consumers are matched with another who has more experience navigating the mental health system.
Referrals for doctors, therapists, schools, advocates, and lawyers are collected from our "supporters" and collated in a database for sharing. Resources for living with bipolar disorder, as well as outreach from a caring individual, are available.

IBPF directs funding to promising scientists studying bipolar disorder. We have given over $210,000 in grant support; both for research studies and to help house the mentally ill.

Educational Materials
Educational brochures and speaker videos are available on our web site. In August, our book Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder will be available.

Stigma Busters
In addition to our speakers' series, IBPF works closely with the Girl Scouts of America, Kids Korps USA, local schools, and both national and international mental health organizations. We are proud to be partners with Glenn Close's anti-stigma campaign, BringChange2Mind and with Patrick Kennedy's One Mind Campaign.

We produce, support and build awareness for fundraising events to raise money for bipolar research and services. Our annual event takes place the last Friday in February. 

International Bipolar Foundation  



5:00 - 7:00p.m. (5:00p.m. social, 5:30-7:00 p.m. lecture and Q&A)
Sanford|Burnham Medical Research Institute, Building 12 Auditorium
10905 Road to the Cure, San Diego, CA 92121  Directions


Thursday, June 9: Guest Speaker; Dr. DeSilva, Dr. Shanbhag & Jeannine Loucks MSN 


The lecture series will take a short summer vacation, but be back in September with this line up of great speakers:

September 8: John McManamy

October 13: Dr. Irwin Rosenfarb

November 10: Rev. Beth Cooper

December 8: Dr. David Miklowitz 



Please R.S.V.P. to Ashley Reitzin:

For more information on the Depression Bipolar Institute, go here: www.dbinstitute.org 

Search the web with Yahoo-powered GoodSearch.com and they'll donate about a penny to IBPF each time you search!

Shop at more than 1,300 GoodShop.com merchants including Amazon, Best Buy, Toys R Us, and others, and a percentage of each purchase will go to us!

What graduation track is your child on? If she wants to attend a community college or college, she will need a regular high school diploma!

Parents of children with disabilities need to understand the different types of diplomas offered by your school.

Will your child receive a regular or standard diploma? Has the IEP team considered the course standards for a regular diploma and determined your child cannot meet them? Why not?

Is an "alternate diploma" appropriate for your child?

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, you will learn about diploma options and requirements. Find out what diploma is appropriate for your child, what the IEP team should consider, and what parents can do to keep graduation expectations high.
How do you move across the country when you have a child with a disability?

Why not go shopping?

Be pro-active. Take matters into your own hands. Do your research and pick the school system to move into. Find a school district that is a good fit for your child.

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, you will read what IDEA says about transferring schools. You'll also learn strategies that will help you find a special education program that meets your child's needs - before you move.




Teens teach Stop the Stigma of mental illness
Depression and social anxiety began stalking Asante Haughton at 14 when he moved with his single mother and older brothers to Regent Park. more here 



MPs to rule on sacking of mentally ill magistrate

THE NSW parliament will today consider whether a Sydney magistrate being treated for bipolar disorder should be sacked, following a series of complaints about his inappropriate behaviour. more here  

Why this hero is throwing a lifeline to the mentally ill
AS A professional lifeguard patrolling Bondi Beach, Matt Dee has lost count of the number of people he has rescued over the years. But he was unable to save two of the people who mattered most to him: his brother and sister. He lost both siblings within a year following their agonising descent into severe mental illness. more here 



Depression no longer in dark ages
Johannesburg - There has been a 'massive' increase in calls to the SA Depression and Anxiety Group due to an increase in awareness about mental illness, the group said on Thursday, Bipolar Awareness Day. more here  



Boxing great Frank Bruno to detail mental health battle in Wandsworth interview more here

Mentally ill have reduced life expectancy, study finds
People suffering from serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can have a life expectancy 10 to 15 years lower than the UK average. more here 



The bipolar express
A glimpse into a few lives lived between the extremes of elation and depression reveal the simple yet often dismissed truth about bipolar disease: that it is still possible to live on, and live well more here 


 California's mental health overhaul long overdue

San Francisco Chronicle, May 21, 2011 

California's outmoded and dangerous mental health hospitals might get badly needed attention from Sacramento through an administrative overhaul and extra security money. It's a welcome though overdue response to a scandalously unsafe situation.


The plans, outlined in Gov. Jerry Brown's latest budget, follow a string of assaults and deaths in the state's five mental hospitals, overwhelmed by increasingly violent patients. Once homes for the frail and sick, the state facilities have become a safety valve for the prison system and courts.


Some 90 percent of the 6,000 patients come from criminal courts - a trend that has led to a surge in attacks while the system struggles to adjust. Example A is Napa State Hospital, which was built in 1872 as a caretaker institution, but is now populated with patients judged unfit to stand trial.


The proposed changes, pushed by Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley, go at the problem in two ways. She is proposing a new state agency to focus exclusively on the troubled hospital system. The second step - a minor miracle in a year when Dooley's overseen billions in social service cuts - calls for $9.5 million for security upgrades and 78 more hospital police and front-line psychiatric technicians.


An overhaul is clearly needed. A galvanizing event was the strangling last fall of a Napa state health worker, slain by a patient with a long criminal record. The killer allegedly stalked his victim, taking advantage of the campus-like hospital's landscaped grounds, spotty alarm system and blind-alley layout.


State legislators with mental hospitals in their districts reacted angrily, as did health worker groups. Laws are now pending to boost security, punish inmate misconduct and give staffers a freer hand to sedate violent inmates. Lawsuits that could lead to court-ordered improvements or costly payouts are a definite worry.


Ideally, the administrative shift will fine-tune oversight, a first step in the thoroughgoing changes that are needed. Presently, the hospitals are run alongside community mental health programs, though the nature of each is different. Also expected is the hiring of a new director with the hard skills needed to run a psychiatric lockup.


The obstacles to success remain time and money. But Sacramento has at last woken up to a festering issue that it dangerously ignored for years. Mental health hospitals need a serious and sweeping overhaul that reflects a changed population.


We now serve those with Bipolar Disorder and would like to invite your community to join us.  Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) is located in Encinitas, CA.  We teach theatre and dance to children, teens, and adults with disabilities in inclusive programs with their typical peers.

Our next 8-week cycle of programs begins on July 9th.  You can learn more about us at www.pacthouse.org.

Kathryn Campion
Executive Director
Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT)

Family Mental Illness Stressful for Caregivers            

By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
Taking care of a loved one with a mental illness can lead to mental problems in the primary caregiver.

A new Canadian study has found family caregivers can experience high levels of stress, self-blame, substance abuse and depressive symptoms. Researchers suggest that caregivers refocus their priorities and lighten their load.

"Being the principal caregiver to a mentally ill family member is a stressor that often creates high levels of burden and contributes to depressive symptoms," said lead author Dr. Carsten Wrosch, a psychology professor at Concordia University.

"Caring for a relative with a mental illness can be strenuous - such caregivers can even be more burdened than caregivers of dementia patients," Wrosch said.

"That said, even in this situation, caregivers can experience high levels of well-being if they adjust their goals and use effective coping strategies."

In the study, researchers followed family caregivers over a 17-month period and found those who reset priorities fared better. The research team expected that caregivers who are capable of adjusting important life goals (e.g., career, vacation, etc.) would cope better with caregiving stress and that this resilient process would protect their emotional well-being.

"We found participants who had an easier time abandoning goals blamed themselves less frequently for problems associated with caregiving and used alcohol or drugs less frequently to regulate their emotions," said co-author Ella Amir.

"Avoiding self-blame and substance use, in turn, was associated with less caregiver burden and depressive symptoms," said Amir.

"Being able to disengage from goals is protective against depressive symptoms, partly because it reduces the likelihood of coping through self-blame and substance use."

The study is published in the May issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Evolving demographics will increase the number of caregivers who are challenged to aid a loved one while often holding a job and perhaps raising a family. As such, caregivers can become overstretched.

While pursuing new goals was found to provide purpose to family caregivers, taking on novel pastimes could add to their strain.

"Caregivers can become stretched too thin if they pursue too many goals and that may distract them from addressing stress levels that elevate their burden," Wrosch said.

"Pursuing new goals is a double-edged sword. It provides purpose, but also increases caregiving burden, since there are times when a family member's illness suddenly takes a turn for the worse. And stressors can crop up unexpectedly in other close relationships or in the workplace."

Of the 121 people who completed the study, most were about 60 years old and had cared for a relative for an average of 16 years. What's more:

· 78 percent of caregivers were women and 22 percent were men;
· 57 percent had received an undergraduate degree or higher;
· 73 percent were married or cohabitating with a partner;
· 41 percent had relatives diagnosed with schizophrenia;
· 37 percent had relatives diagnosed with a mood disorder;
· 22 percent had relatives diagnosed with other mental health conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Source: Concordia University


New Genetics Work Challenges Basic Ideas about Mental Illness

What if schizophrenia or autism are just symptoms of a deeper disorder? A scientist explains the early, exciting findings from copy number variation (CNV) studies more here
Genetic Link to Depression: more here

Epigenetic dysregulation of HTR2A in the brain of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
Schizophrenia Research, 05/18/2011
Abdolmaleky HM et al. - HTR2A gene has been the subject of numerous studies in psychiatric genetics because LSD, which resembles serotonin causes psychosis and atypical antipsychotic drugs target the HTR2A receptor. Epigenetic dysregulation of HTR2A may contribute to schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) and earlier age of disease onset. more here
Bipolar Disorder: Mind-Body Connection Suggests New Directions For Treatment,
A new study by motor control and psychology researchers at Indiana University
suggests that postural control problems may be a core feature of bipolar
disorder, not just a random symptom, and can provide insights both into areas of
the brain affected by the psychiatric disorder and new potential targets for
treatment. more here
New Study Aims To Improve Long-Term Treatment For Patients With Bipolar Disorder
Patients with bipolar disorder may be eligible for a new clinical research study
comparing two medications -- quetiapine (Seroquel), a widely prescribed
second-generation antipsychotic mood-stabilizing medication, and lithium, the
gold-standard mood stabilizer. more here
Guidelines for Treatment-Resistant Mania in Children with Bipolar Disorder
Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 05/24/2011
Scheffer RE et al. - The application of this proposed treatment algorithm allows for more accurate identification of true treatment resistance and can significantly reduce manic symptoms in patients previously described as having treatment-refractory bipolar disorder. more here
Metabolic effects and cost-effectiveness in aripiprazole versus olanzapine in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 06/01/2011
Kasteng F et al. - The significantly lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome observed with aripiprazole compared with olanzapine is associated with less risk of diabetes and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality that translates into lower overall treatment cost and improved quality of life over time. more here
Diagnostic stability of first-episode psychosis and predictors of diagnostic shift from non-affective psychosis to bipolar disorder: A retrospective evaluation after recurrence
Psychiatry Research, 05/25/2011
Kim JS et al. - Female gender, short duration of untreated psychosis, high level of premorbid functioning, and several symptoms including lability, mood elation, hyperactivity, and delusions with religious or grandiose nature were identified as predictive factors for a diagnostic shift from non-affective psychosis to bipolar disorder. Clinical features of psychoses seem to evolve during the disease course resulting in diagnostic changes upon recurrence in a significant portion of first-episode psychosis (FEP). Special consideration on a diagnostic shift to bipolar disorder is required in patients exhibiting the predictive factors identified in the current study. more here
An admixture analysis of the age at index episodes in bipolar disorder
Psychiatry Research, 05/25/2011
Ortiz A et al. - These results suggest the presence of a bimodal distribution of age at onset in bipolar disorder (BD) according to the polarity of the index episode, and denote that an early onset BD, irrespective of polarity, may be a more serious subtype of the disorder.
The Neural Basis of Familial Risk and Temperamental Variation in Individuals at High Risk of Bipolar Disorder
Biological Psychiatry, 06/02/2011
Whalley HC et al. - Differences in activation in the left amygdala in those at familial risk may represent a heritable endophenotype of bipolar disorder. Activation in striatal and ventral prefrontal regions may, in contrast, represent a distinct biological basis of subclinical features of the illness regardless of the presence of familial risk. more here
Aripiprazole for the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder: a review of available evidence
Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 06/03/2011  Clinical Article
McIntyre R et al. - Aripiprazole is associated with extrapyramidal side effects, notably akathisia, which in most cases is not severe or treatment limiting. Future research vistas are to explore aripiprazole's efficacy in bipolar subgroups; recurrence prevention of bipolar depression; and in combination with other mood stabilizing agents. more here
Mental Distress Linked with Driving Risk in Young Adults
By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
A new Australian study finds that young adults who take risks driving are more likely to experience mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Conversely, mental distress also leads to risky driving patterns among youth. more here
Bipolar Disorder, A Serious Psychiatric Disorder, Often Misdiagnosed By Professionals And Unrecognized By Loved Ones
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder or manic depression, is a psychiatric disorder that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out everyday tasks. It is a serious mental illness requiring specialized treatment, but the problem, according to Kimberly Dennis, M.D., medical director at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, is that bipolar disorder often gets misdiagnosed by professionals and is unrecognized by loved ones. more here
New Study Aims To Improve Long-Term Treatment For Patients With Bipolar Disorder
Patients with bipolar disorder may be eligible for a new clinical research study comparing two medications -- quetiapine (Seroquel), a widely prescribed second-generation antipsychotic mood-stabilizing medication, and lithium, the gold-standard mood stabilizer.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center is one of 10 sites nationally -- and the only site in the greater New York metropolitan area -- participating in the CHOICE (Clinical Health Outcomes Initiative in Comparative Effectiveness) study. The research is funded by a $10 million grant from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ)  more here
Mental Illness in Kids: The Surprising Warning Signs
Just like adults, many kids - infants and toddlers included - are plagued with mental health problems. In fact, nearly one in five children has a mental illness, and for some of these youths, the disease interferes significantly with their daily lives.
But according to recent research from the American Psychological Association, young children are less likely to get mental health treatment than their grownup counterparts. Why? Too often, kids are expected to "grow out" of their emotional problems. more here
Due to success of lawsuit, mental health services for California's special education students to continue
An estimated 20,000 special education students can again feel confident that if they undergo a mental health crisis, they will be provided with the critical services required to help them stay in school. On March 22, a coalition of law firms and legal advocacy organizations announced that because new agreements are in place to provide these services, they have voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit (formerly A.C. et al v. Schwarzenegger, then A.C. et al v. Brown) against the Governor.  more here
Postural Problems a Sign of Bipolar Illness?
By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
Although motor deficits often accompany a mood or psychiatric disorder, most researchers have not targeted motor areas as a method to improve mental health. In a new study, researchers at Indiana University suggests that postural control problems may be a core feature of bipolar disorder, not just a random symptom. more here
Carrie Fisher Talks Losing Weight, Electroshock Therapy
  It's no secret that Carrie Fisher has had her struggles in life.  She has always publicly discussed her problems with drugs, bipolar disorder, an addiction to prescription medication, and recently, her weight struggles. Her recent talk with ET is no different, where she openly talks about everything from what the catalyst was that finally drove her to seek help for getting her weight under control, to the controversial electroconvulsive therapy she still receives to this day. more here
Drugging the Vulnerable: Atypical Antipsychotics in Children and the Elderly
Pharmaceutical companies have recently paid out the largest legal settlements in U.S. history - including the largest criminal fines ever imposed on corporations - for illegally marketing antipsychotic drugs. more here
Fish oil may have positive effects on mood, alcohol craving, new study shows
INDIANAPOLIS - Omega 3 fatty acids may be beneficial for more than just the heart. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine disclosed at a molecular level a potential therapeutic benefit between these dietary supplements, alcohol abuse and psychiatric disorders. more here
Cognitive behavioral group therapy may help prevent new episodes of bipolar disorder
In the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics a randomized controlled trial indicates that group therapy may affect the course of bipolar disorder more here
Grant extends funding for the Broad's Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research
including pioneering discoveries of the first genes underlying schizophrenia - the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) today announced that it will make a $50 million gift to support the Broad Institute's Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. more here




Healthy Minds Luncheon


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

US Grant Hotel

11:15am - 1:00 pm


For more information call Margaret Hernandez



Click here for flyer & more information  



You're invited! Caring Helpers Youth Leadership Summit 2011


youth summit



"Mental Health, and Learning Disabilities in Children"

  Monday, July 11, 2011 San Diego

It's So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success, with Rick Lavoie, M.A., M.Ed.
Rick Lavoie is an internationally known expert on Learning Disabilities in children, with numerous national television appearances including The TODAY Show, CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America and ABC Evening News. Rick serves as a consultant on Learning Disabilities to several agencies and organizations including Public Broadcasting Service, New York Times, National Center for Learning Disabilities, Girl Scouts of America, Child Magazine and WETA.

Extensive studies have examined students with learning disabilities who have experienced chronic failure in mainstream classes and adults with learning problems who have been unsuccessful in the work place. Invariably, these studies have clearly demonstrated that this failure is due to the person's social skills, not his academic skills. The majority of people with learning disorders have marked difficulty perceiving, understanding and responding to social situations. Social isolation, rejection and humiliation are often the result. This seminar will explore the relationship between learning disabilities and social incompetence and will identify the specific causes for specific social skill deficits. Field tested strategies will be presented that can be used by parents, teachers, coaches and caregivers to assist students in gaining peer acceptance and developing age-appropriate social skills.

Youth with Mental Health Disorders: What EVERY Adult Should Know, with Lisa Boesky, Ph.D.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011, San Diego
Dr. Boesky is a world renowned psychologist, speaker and author. She has appeared on CNN Headline News, O'Reilly Factor, Anderson Cooper, The Early Show, 20/20, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News and in print in USA Today, Family Circle, US News & World Report and many more.

Today's youth are often over, under, or mis-diagnosed- and medication to control their moods and behavior is prescribed at the highest rates ever. It is essential for parents and youth-serving professionals to understand young people with mental health disorders to ensure the right youth receive the right services. Learn how Depression, Dysthymia, Bipolar Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, ADHD, Trauma, Psychosis and Self-Injury/Cutting specifically manifest in children and adolescents- as well as practical tips (dos & don'ts) for managing young people with the above diagnoses. Fast-moving, practical presentation with videos, case examples and audience participation.
Conference Location:
Handlery Hotel and Resort
950 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA  92108
Registration & Conference information here
bpmag logo

Disaster planning needed for those with bipolar

Newswise, May 23, 2011-Johns Hopkins University bioethicists say disaster-response planning has generally overlooked the special needs of people who suffer from pre-existing and serious mental conditions such as bipolar disorder.

In a commentary appearing in the June issue of Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, faculty from the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics say that more attention should be devoted to triaging and managing those already identified as having mental disorders. They argue that this group must be given just as much consideration during the planning stage as is given those who will have physical injuries and more obvious anxiety-related reactions. more

On guard against relapse

Brazilian researchers have identified another tool that may be helpful in preventing relapse in bipolar disorder. A small study from the University of São Paulo Medical School, published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, suggests that participating in cognitive behavioral group therapy (CBGT) in addition to "treatment as usual" extends the time between mood episodes.

The authors said larger studies are needed to clarify whether adding CBGT to treatment prevents relapse.  What's certain, as you'll read in "A Bumpy Road: Dealing With Relapse" (Spring 2011), is that it's vital to do everything you can to stave off recurrence of mood episodes.

Frequent relapses have an adverse effect not only on your day-to-day life, but also on your brain and body over time. It's important to arm yourself with every suitable therapeutic and lifestyle strategy you can deploy. "The best approach for preventing relapse is a combination of medication and the avoidance of activities that may trigger a new episode of illness," Jodi Helmer writes in "A Bumpy Road." To get the full story on dealing with relapse, more
club logo
club excite

Hello Friends of ClubXcite,

Summer camps for children and teens with ADHD, Bipolar, mood disorders,
and social or behavioral difficulties.

Our Summer Camps are filling up fast! We only take a max. of 12 kids per camp, so avoid disappointment and sign up early!
Families can plan around vacation time and choose the weeks they need

Tennis and Sports Camp (ages 6 - 15) - 9:00am to 12:00pm
Adventure Camp Rise Above (ages 7 - 15) - 12:30pm to 4pm

Jr Counselor Training Program (ages 15 to 21)


Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder: Ruling Out Other Physical Conditions
From Kimberly Read

Bipolar disorder is a difficult condition to diagnose. It is estimated that it takes an average of five years from onset of symptoms to reach the correct diagnosis (Evans, 2000). more here
Geodon is Found Less Effective for Obese, Hyperglycemic Bipolars
By  Marcia Purse

Geodon (ziprasidone), an atypical antipsychotic often prescribed for patients with bipolar disorder, is far less likely to be effective in patients with a BMI of 28.8 or higher and/or a blood glucose level of 140mg/dL or higher (see What Your Blood Glucose Test Results Mean). What makes this news especially notable is that it came from a study funded by Pfizer, Geodon's manufacturer. read more here




Task Force cites better ways to handle cases involving offenders with mental illness
Disability Rights California contributed to the new blueprint developed by the State Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues. Its report containing 137 recommendations was submitted on April 29 to the Judicial Council of California, and details can be read  here 


NCYL Releases New Review of Alameda County's Collaborative Mental Health Court
Youth spend less time in detention and are less likely to get in trouble with the law after participating in Alameda County's Collaborative Mental Health Court.
read more here
L.A. Works To Get Mental Help For Young Offenders
t used to be that troubled kids who ran afoul of the law ended up in one place: juvenile hall. And there, for the most part, they found little help for their psychological problems. But slowly that attitude has been changing as more and more states are trying to treat the mental health problems at the root of chronic lawlessness.

In California, for example, counties are working to diagnose and aid the ever-increasing needs of their mentally ill juvenile offenders. In Los Angeles, the nation's second largest city, the changes are fitful and imperfect, but promising. more here

Tx Afv  



California Prisons - Cruel But Not So Unusual
In a harshly worded opinion this week, the U.S. Supreme Court held that California's grossly overcrowded prisons and their resulting dearth of treatment for inmates with mental illness and other medical needs is so "incompatible with the concept of human dignity" that the state is in violation of  the Constitution's protection against cruel and unusual punishment. The facts in the case were no surprise to us more here
Patrick Kennedy: Brain Research Is the New 'Moon Shot'
Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy has called for a "new moon shot" in the form of a national commitment to neuroscience and the mapping of the human brain. Kennedy, who was once diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has struggled with depression and substance addiction, has said his interest in mental health and neurological issues was sparked by his own experiences. more here
"Streeting" - Turning People Identified as Dangerous onto the Streets
In a perilous new twist to deinstitutionalization, Virginia is turning people so mentally ill that they pose a danger to themselves or others onto the streets because no private psychiatric facility is willing to take them, and insufficient public beds exist to meet their needs. more here
When Patients Reject Treatment - Two Views
Two journalists have offered up thoughtful examinations of treatment rejection in the last week. Both, fittingly, cited the Treatment Advocacy Center, which alone among national nonprofits focuses exclusively on treatment issues affecting those with the most severe mental illnesses. "God Knows Where I Am" in the May 30 New Yorker is writer Rachel Aviv's account of a woman named Linda Bishop, who died in a house where she took shelter without treatment after being released from a state hospital. more here

8 Signs Someone Is at Risk of Suicide

Sarah Klein, Health                                                   sad woman
If you are in a crisis,
please call:
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Suicide and suicidal thinking are more widespread than you might think. According to the results of a government survey released in September 2009, roughly 8.3 million adults or about 3.7 percent of the population age 18 and older had "serious thoughts of suicide" in 2008.
It can be hard to identify suicidal thinking in a loved one; there is no foolproof checklist to follow. But here are some warnings signs that might mean they are at risk.
Talking about suicide
If someone you know is talking about harming himself or says that he doesn't want to live, take it seriously.
He may be at risk for a suicide attempt, particularly if he feels trapped or hopeless and is withdrawing from friends and family.
Don't leave that person alone, let him know you're going to get help, and call 1-800-273-TALK to be connected to a crisis center, says the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
A bipolar or depression diagnosis
The painful symptoms of conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder can drive people to consider suicide.
"Depression is the leading illness for suicide, so the deeper the depression gets or the longer it goes on, the more discouraged the person experiencing it feels," says Paula Clayton, MD, the medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
In bipolar disorder-a condition in which bouts of depression are interspersed with periods of mania-suicide risk may be higher when the person is depressed.
Feelings of guilt
Madelyn Gould, PhD, a professor of clinical epidemiology in psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City, says that excessive and inappropriate feelings of guilt-a common symptom of depression and anxiety are something to be on the lookout for as well.
"You start to feel guilty about things letting people down and someone else who's listening would say, 'But you're not,'" says Gould. "It's just this very unrealistic guilt."
Drinking or drug use
Drug use and excessive alcohol use-which some agitated and anxious people turn to for relief-are warning signs for suicide, says Dr. Clayton. "You might not be an alcoholic or a drug abuser, but if you take things to make yourself feel better or to numb you, that makes you more vulnerable because it impairs your judgment and makes your thinking not as clear," she says.
Substance use can also contribute to impulsivity, Dr. Clayton adds. Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of all suicide attempts are done on the spur of the moment, with very little planning.
Ken Robbins, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, notes that about half of depressed people have "melancholic depression," and are listless, fatigued, and have a loss of appetite.
The other half have "agitated depression." Anxiety is the main symptom, says Dr. Robbins, but these people may also experience restlessness, difficulty sleeping, and trouble focusing.
"People who are agitated are more at risk for suicide because anxiety is so uncomfortable," says Dr. Robbins.
Buying a firearm
One of the loudest and clearest warning signs is buying a gun. Access to a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of a suicide by up to 10 times, according to a 2008 article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Guns account for less than 10 percent of all suicide attempts, but those involving guns are far more likely to be fatal.
"Two to one, men complete suicide more often than women," says Dr. Robbins. "And it's largely because of the method they choose, not because of the intent that they have. Men tend to use firearms; women tend to take overdoses."
Health problems
Although most people think teens are at higher risk of suicide than others in the population, it's actually people 65 and older who are at greatest risk. The elderly accounted for 16 percent of suicides in 2004, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Depression isn't a normal part of aging, but a chronic health condition, a loss of independence, or problems with vision or hearing can increase the risk.
Internet searches
Signs that someone is considering suicide may also show up on a computer. For instance, a Web-browser history may show that a person has been researching suicide and ways to kill himself, Dr. Clayton says. "With a teen, especially, parents should be monitoring Facebook or MySpace," she adds.
Asking about suicidal impulses does not "put ideas" in a person's head, says Dr. Robbins. If you're concerned about suicide, you need to ask the person about it directly. If the person has access to guns, medications, or other items that could be used for self-harm, get rid of them. Most importantly, you should contact a health professional.


IBPF Joins Kennedy's Campaign

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy talks about his battle with addiction, the pain of losing his father to brain cancer, and his ambitious new project to ramp up research on the brain and brain disease.

 Patrick Kennedy is sprawled in a too-small chair in a tiny courtyard in Atlanta, talking to a reporter and trying to catch the early spring sunlight.
The 43-year-old Kennedy left Congress in January, after spending more than half his life in public office. Now he's outside the Carter Center, taking a break after talking up his latest plan to a group of mental health advocates, including former first lady Rosalynn Carter.
One thing Kennedy enjoys is talking, and these days, he can say whatever he wants. He shouts when he gets excited. He laughs a lot. He curses when he brings up frustrations.
What he's talking about now is "Moonshot." If Kennedy has his way, 50 years from now the world will remember next week as the first step on one of the great triumphant journeys -- like the call by Patrick's uncle, President John F. Kennedy, that sent men to the moon.
Patrick Kennedy: Brain research is the new 'moon shot'
That call, as Kennedy likes to point out, came May 25, 1961 -- a half-century ago. Today, says Kennedy, the race is to inner space, the goal to create a detailed map of the brain in 10 years, with advances toward curing "every kind of brain disease."
The role Kennedy plays now would have been hard to imagine back in May of 2006, when he made his woozy emergence from a green Mustang convertible with an old Kerry-Gephardt bumper sticker on the back, which he'd just crashed into a concrete barrier near the U.S. Capitol shortly after 2:30 in the morning. A day later, head bowed, Kennedy blamed sleeping pills for the crash and announced he was checking into rehab at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
We didn't know the whole story then, that the congressman had already been to rehab a half-dozen times. As is often the case, there had been hints. Shoving a security guard at the Los Angeles International Airport. A fight on a yacht, that brought a visit from the Coast Guard. Another boat, and another fight, this time with the rental company.
Kennedy has acknowledged a trip to rehab for cocaine abuse way back in 1985, as a 17-year-old high school senior in Andover, Massachusetts. Along the way he also got a diagnosis of bipolar illness, although he now says recent testing suggests he is not bipolar but has a different, unspecified disorder.
At the time of the infamous Capitol Hill crash, Jim Ramstad was a Republican congressman from Minnesota. He was also a recovering alcoholic, who had his last drink in 1981, shortly before an unpleasant encounter with some Sioux Falls, South Dakota, police officers. "I called Patrick that morning, and told him I knew exactly what he was going through. And if he wanted me to come to him and talk, I would."
Kennedy talks of shameKennedy talks about strugglesKennedy's sympathy for shooter
Ramstad had worked with Kennedy on mental health legislation but was not a close confidant. That changed over the next few weeks, as he paid repeated visits to the Mayo Clinic. "We really formed a bond of friendship, and got to be close friends," says Ramstad.
The former congressman, who became Kennedy's sponsor at Alcoholics Anonymous, says he's proud his friend was so open about the public crackup. "Patrick got up there and told the truth. He let it all hang out, so to speak. And that's why he has been able to recover."
After getting home from the Mayo Clinic, most politicians -- heck, pretty much any politician you can think of -- would have run from the attention. Kennedy seemed to embrace it.
By 2008, he was leading the drive for "parity," the requirement that mental ailments -- addiction included -- must be covered by insurance companies, along with other kinds of illness. President Bush signed the bill into law that year. Says Ramstad, one of the bill's original sponsors a decade earlier: "Without Patrick and his father (Sen. Ted Kennedy) as catalysts, we never would have passed the legislation."
In a Boston hotel suite in early April, Kennedy explained his vision of parity. "If you have diabetes and have a chemical imbalance so you need more insulin, you don't get any questions about it. But if you need a neurotransmitter -- more serotonin, or dopamine -- then (people) look at that as something askew, as if the brain isn't part of the body," says Kennedy, his voice rising. "I mean, we're in modern times and people are still treating this illness, mental illness, as if it's back in the Dark Ages."
If 2008 was a year of professional triumph, it also brought devastating personal news: that Patrick's father was fighting a brain tumor. "He gave me an implicit message when he asked me to be around him at the end of his life," says Kennedy, who calls the final time with his father "the most important year of my life."
As Kennedy recalls it now, "The only thing that mattered to (my dad) when he was alone at the end of his life was not being alone and being surrounded by the people he loved the most, who he knew loved him the most."
The strain took a toll on Patrick. Two months before his father's death, he checked into rehab again. When Ted Kennedy died in August 2009, Patrick took it hard. Six months later, he announced he would not run for re-election.
He seems to have walked away on his own terms. "He would have won re-election easily," according to Darrell West, a political scientist who has followed Kennedy's career closely since the early 1990s. Incidentally, Kennedy's departure in January marked the first time in 58 years that there is no Kennedy in the national government -- no congressman, senator or president.
Kennedy says he was tired of struggling with the stress of public office. "I have put certain days together, and managed effectively to live and fight for another day legislatively," says Kennedy. But, "I'm looking to live more than just surviving. I'm looking to live a life that's fuller in sobriety. I could function (while still in office), but that's not all I want to do. I want to live."
He's seized the opportunity. Come July, Kennedy will be married, to Amy Petitgout, a sixth-grade history teacher he met after, yes, another talk. It was about special education, the cause championed by his aunts Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the special Olympics, and Jean Kennedy Smith, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for promoting the artistic talents of people with disabilities. Petitgout's father, a special education teacher, had a ticket to the event but couldn't go. As Kennedy says, "The rest is history."
Ramstad, his AA sponsor, says his old friend is happier than ever. "He was so close to his dad. They used to talk five or six times a day. Losing him left a huge void in his life. And now here comes Amy."
Kennedy glows when he talks about his fiancée, or about reading bedtime stories to her 3-year-old daughter. But he's all impatient enthusiasm when talk comes back around to Moonshot, or as next week's conference is officially called, "One Mind for Brain Research."
The surroundings will be modest, an academic-style conference in Boston. Then again, President Kennedy's original 1961 call for a space race was prosaic too, the last of several budget requests in a businesslike address to Congress four months after taking office.
What we remember better is the stirring speech he gave at Rice University the following year. "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and to do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard," the president famously declared.
His nephew, Patrick, grins at the challenge ahead. "This is a thousand moon shots in order of complexity, and that makes it all the more challenging. For our generation, this is our chance to make the difference."

IBPF will host Patrick Kennedy in San Diego on October 6, 2011



DBSA's Medication Survey Powerpoint: here

NAMI North Coastal Education Meeting: June 16, 7:00pm
Successful Family Treatments for Bipolar & Schizophrenia
St. Michael's Episcopal Church Parish Hall; Carlsbad, CA
The 2011 NAMI national convention will be held in Chicago on July 6-9.  The theme for this year's conference is Building Better Lives.  Information and registration forms are available at www.nami.org/convention.


A Day with Patrick Kennedy hosted by IBPF  

October 6, 2011


2011 U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress:

November 8-9, 2011

Las Vegas

Conference dates: November 7-10

The Venetian Hotel & Congress Center


The 2011 Prospectus and sponsorship information will be available next month. To view current information and documents, please visit https://www.cmellc.com/psychcongress/exhibitor_sponsorship.html 


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