Friday Roundup – Mental Health Community Comes Together for Navy Yard Shooting, Big BRAIN, and Thousands of Bath Salts Related Hospital Visits…Literally

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Mental Health Community Comes Together for Navy Yard Shooting, Big BRAIN, and Thousands of Bath Salts Related Hospital Visits…Literally

The Latest  in Mental Health Research (and other stuff)

Quick Mental Health Response to Navy Yard Shooting

We witnessed another national tragedy earlier this week when 12 workers at the Washington Navy Yard were shot on Monday, September 16th. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) responded rapidly to the horrific event by sending informational toolkits about how to effectively cope after trauma to the Washington Psychiatric Society (WPS). The toolkit included guidance on how to best communicate with the media, public, and children about the traumatic event.

APTOPIX Navy Yard Shooting.JPEG-03fe4

In a letter adjoining the toolkit, APA President, Jeffery Lieberman, M.D., stated, “We know our colleagues may be called upon to deal with the mental health consequences that may arise from this traumatic event, and we are confident they will meet this challenge.”

After the incident, the Navy immediately set up an emergency family assistance center at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. School-based mental health professionals and children’s emergency response teams from the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health (DCDMH) also responded to requests from schools in the surrounding areas. DCDMH Director, Steve Baron, L.C.S.W. commented, “We are working with the D.C. Office of Victims Services and other District government agencies, the FBI, and the American Red Cross on longer-term services for families.”

There are several ways to help the families of the victims and their community.

The Navy League of the United States: To learn more, click here.

The Navy Yard Tragedy Family Support Fund: To learn more, click here.

The Navy Yard Relief Fund: To learn more, click here.

The Safer Communities Fund: To learn more, click here.

BRAIN Initiative Focuses on Behavior and Circuitry

Based on an interim report recently presented at the National Institutes of Health, the BRAIN Initiative, announced by President Obama in April of this year, is focusing on the development of innovative research tools and increasing consultations with non-neuroscientists in an effort to highlight complex activity and circuitry in the brain.


Members of the BRAIN Initiative’s advisory group referenced the need for a more thorough understanding of the brain’s dynamics. In particular, they are interested in discovering the source of signals and how they work in conjunction with internal states.

Animal models will provide researchers with the initial phase of research. Human data can potentially come from individuals who are undergoing various technological interventions such as diagnostic brain imaging or monitoring and deep brain stimulation.

The development of innovative neurotechnologies that can manipulate brain circuitry and record brain activity will bring about valuable and large quantities of data that will be interpreted by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals including neuroscientists, statisticians, computer analysts, physicists, and engineers.

The final report will be presented in June 2014 by the advisory committee.

Mark your calendars accordingly.

Over 20,000 Emergency Room Visits Linked to Bath Salts

According to a recent federal report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “bath salts,” a common street name for a class of drugs that contain amphetamine-like chemicals, were linked to almost 23,000 visits to the emergency department in 2011.

The national report is the first to track and study the bath salts drug group in connection with emergency room visits since the popular drug appeared a few years ago.


The report states that 67% of those who visited the emergency department for the use of bath salts also were using another drug. 33% involved just the use of bath salts while 15% involved the use of marijuana or a synthetic type of marijuana.

SAMHSA’s Chief Medical Examiner, Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D., made a statement about the severe danger of bath salts, “Bath salts drugs can cause heart problems, high blood pressure, seizures, addiction, suicidal thoughts, psychosis and, in some cases, death—especially when combined with the use of other drugs.”

Speaking of dangerous drug use…

Telling Our Stories: Highlighting Breaking Bad to Breaking Addiction

Working in conjunction with Healthshire, Sage Neuroscience Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is launching an awareness campaign called Breaking Addiction. They will be giving away two scholarships to an Intensive Outpatient Program for substance abuse treatment for individuals who cannot otherwise afford treatment. All you have to do to apply is write your story about addiction. Deadline for applications is this Sunday, September 22nd. Click here for details.

Healthshire is dedicated to bringing much-needed attention to the state of mental health and its treatment in New Mexico, the United States, and across the globe. We will be posting multiple blogs about addiction and its treatment every week during the contest and beyond in an effort to bridge together a supportive mental health community. You can read submitted stories here.

This week’s roundup is dedicated to all the loved ones who were lost so senselessly around the world.


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