Help for the Psychiatric Ward

In almost every state in the country, the supply of inpatient psychiatric care is insufficient to meet the demand. In a 2006 survey, 34 state mental health authorities reported a shortage of beds for  acute psychiatric care.[1] The shortages mean that patients who enter an emergency room with an acute psychiatric crisis may wait days or weeks for a bed, inmates who qualify for psychiatric care may wait in jail for several months before a bed becomes available, and patients who are admitted to a psychiatric hospital are often released too soon, in order to make room for other patients. In a 2014 survey, 19 state mental health directors said the judicial system had found them in contempt, or threatened to, for failure to admit jailed inmates to psychiatric hospitals in a timely manner

Today, there are fewer than 40,000 beds in state psychiatric hospitals in the U.S., down from a peak of more than 550,000 in 1955. Despite the shortages, the number of beds continues to decline—down 13 percent since 2010.[2] As a result, thousands of persons with serious mental illness are living on the streets, or in jail, or with families who are ill-equipped to cope with the acute symptoms of mental illness. Why have the states not acted to address the issue? Why are we not providing adequate facilities for these desperately ill people?  more

Military veterans and suicide: How to help before it’s too late

The family of a veteran who took his own life is sharing his story in hopes of saving others.

Ricky Holmes, a United States Marine, was 22-years-old when he committed suicide.

“He grew up in North Providence and West Warwick,” said Ricky’s father, Russ Holmes.

Ricky’s stepmother, Sherry Holmes, described him as a gentle giant.

“He was always so kind to everyone,” Sherry said.

Russ shared similar sentiments.

“He was a happy-go-lucky kid with the whole world in front of him,” said Russ.  more

Veteran Traumas and how best to Help

After applying for DD214 online and receiving the document, it could be easy to think that the veteran has left everything to do with their service behind.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Many veterans suffer with mental illness after returning from duty and this affects everyone, including the service members and their families.

It is entirely possible that some people may not experience some of these symptoms until a few years after leaving the armed forces. They may also delay seeking help for several reasons, such as thinking that they can cope, fear of criticism or feeling that therapists will not understand.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is perhaps the most infamous mental health problem veterans face after returning from duty.  more

‘Maniac’ Nails What It’s Like Living with Mental Illness

The Netflix series stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill as New Yorkers seeking a psychological cure-all.

The best part of Netflix’s new series, Maniac, isn’t Emma Stone and Jonah Hill in 1980s Long Island cosplay, or the show’s superb retro-futuristic imagining of New York. It’s not even those adorable pooper scooper robots that act like Roombas for dog shit—though honestly, the city should look into them. Aside from falling onto subway tracks or being crushed by a construction crane, stepping in poop is one of the biggest hazards of NYC habitation.

No, the best part of the 10-episode limited series created and written by Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers) and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) comes midway through the season, when Annie (Stone), Owen (Hill), and the other subjects of a mysterious pharmaceutical trial talk through their drug-fueled hallucinations, or “reflections” as they’re called in the show, with the scientist in charge of their study, Dr. James K. Mantleray (Justin Theroux).  more

Dual Diagnosis: Why Substance Abuse Worsens Your Mental Health

Drinking and drugs worsen anxiety, depression, other problems

Mental illness can overwhelm those who are affected and their loved ones. Substance abuse is similarly distressing for addicts, alcoholics and families.

When the two problems merge, a bigger challenge arises: dual diagnosis, or co-occurrence. “We see a large overlap between substance use disorders and mental health issues,” says psychiatrist Mohsen Vazirian, MD.

“For example, substance use disorders are twice as common in those diagnosed with anxiety or depression than they are in the general population.”  more

To help the homeless, offer shelter that allows deep sleep

I barely slept for the full two years I was homeless. One night, I searched for places to sleep in all the wrong places, including the top of a plastic slide in a playground. At about 3 a.m., I curled up on a portion of soft, thick grass. But an hour later, automatic sprinklers came on, drenching my feet. I sloshed to the edges of a wilderness park, where I finally found a generous-size wooden bench. I changed my socks and fell in and out of sleep for the next two hours, waking up to my own violent shivering.

Sleep deprivation haunts unhoused people, worsening the trauma that sometimes caused their unsheltered situations in the first place, as well as any mental and physical illnesses they have. Bobby Watts, chief executive officer of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, says that “sleeplessness in homelessness is a public health crisis.”  more