Friday Roundup – Psychiatric Cage Match, Hugz Part Deux, and Rainbows Need Love Too

Attention lovely readers! We at Healthshire will be providing you with a weekly Friday roundup of the latest in mental health news. Let us do all the work and be your one-stop-shop for all things current!

Psychiatric Cage Match, Hugz Part Deux, and Rainbows Need Love Too 

The Latest  in Mental Health Research (and other stuff)

NIMH vs. DSM-5

There is serious beef going down in the psychiatric world. In a few weeks, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) will release the highly anticipated (and controversial) fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Commonly referred to as the “Bible” of psychiatry, the newest version of the DSM is being met with open criticism, particularly by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director, Thomas Insel.


Insel, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist who has been director since 2002, recently released a statement declaring that NIMH will be dissociating (no pun intended) itself from research based on DSM nosology. In his statement, Insel refers to the DSM as an outdated “dictionary,” at best, that lacks scientific strength in its classification of mental disorders. Insel writes: “The weakness is its lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure. Patients with mental disorders deserve better.”

Oh snap.

Instead, Insel continued to say, the NIMH will redirect its funding and its efforts in the direction of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project. The intention of RDoC is to understand mental disorders not only by measures of observable behavior, but especially (and this seems to be the most important point) by neurobiological factors. Insel says: We need to begin collecting the genetic, imaging, physiologic, and cognitive data to see how all the data – not just the symptoms – cluster and how these clusters relate to treatment response.” Insel noted that the RDoC is still in its research phase, and while it will be at least a decade-long project, it serves as the first step toward “precision medicine” in the psychiatric world.

APA’s chair of the DSM-5 task force, David Kupfer, M.D., released his own statement responding to the criticism by Insel. Translation: Kupfer don’t mess around. You know, in his own very diplomatic fashion. In his statement, Kupfer stressed that the RDoC is an ambitious and much-needed effort in the mental health field. Seeing as though the RDoC is in its infant stages, however, Kupfer noted we need the most efficient possible system in the “here-and-now” while we wait for the promise of scientific discoveries. Kupfer writes:


“In the meantime, should we merely hand patients another promissory note that something may happen sometime? Every day, we are dealing with impairment or tangible suffering, and we must respond. Our patients deserve no less. DSM, at its core, is a guidebook to help clinicians describe and diagnose the behaviors and symptoms of their patients. It provides clinicians with a common language to deliver the best patient care possible.”

Someone just got served.

The debate about precise psychiatric diagnoses will surely continue as time and research progress. In the meantime, mental health professionals are left to formulate their own framework of best practices regarding the treatment and care of their patients.

Inconsolable Babies May Increase Risk for Postpartum Depression

It is not so much those infants who frequently fuss and cry that might increase the chances of new mothers becoming depressed. A study recently published in Pediatrics highlights that, instead, babies who are inconsolable while crying (for at least 20 minutes), increase chances fourfold for women to develop postpartum depression. Inconsolable crying tends to increase a mother’s stress levels and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. This may negatively impact the relationship between mother and child. The study recommends preventative psychoeducation for parents so that they may anticipate how to properly cope when efforts to soothe a baby fail.

Increase in Suicide Rates of Middle-Aged Americans

Suicide rates among U.S. adults aged 35 to 64 have increased by 28 percent since 1999, according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A significant increase was noted among non-Hispanic whites and American Indians/Alaska Natives. Suicides among people aged 10-34 and 65 and older did not change significantly in the same time period. The most pronounced increase was in seen in men in their 50s, a jump of almost 50%, while the suicide rate in women aged 60 to 64 increased by nearly 60%.


A recent article by the New York Times attempts to address the reasons for this increase. “Higher suicide rates might be due to a series of life and financial circumstances that are unique to the baby boomer generation. Men and women in that age group are often coping with the stress of caring for aging parents while still providing financial and emotional support to adult children. Changes in marriage, social isolation and family roles mean many of the pressures faced by baby boomers will continue in the next generation.”

Historically, suicide research and prevention programs focused primarily on the elderly and youth. Based on these recent findings, the CDC recommends directing a more concentrated effort on meeting the mental-health needs of middle-aged individuals.

So, continuing the hug-it-out theme from last week’s Roundup, next time you encounter someone in the 35-64 age bracket whose frown needs a little upside down, maybe you offer a hug. Or a high five. Perhaps one of those fancy scratch-‘n-sniff stickers or enough money to pay off an upside-down mortgage. Use healthy judgment.

Improved Mental Health Care Services Needed for LGBT Community

According to survey results recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, transgender individuals believe they need better “access to mental health and social services that affirm transgender identity and promote resilience.”

Over a 1,000 male-to-female and female-to-male individuals responded to a survey about their mental health needs.  A significant percentage of the respondents reported dealing with depression(44%), anxiety (33%), and somatization (28%). Social stigma about the transgender community was linked to experiencing psychological distress.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), people in the LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) community may be especially vulnerable to developing depression, anxiety, and substance-use disorders. Certain studies suggest that LGB groups are 2½ times more likely to have had a mental disorder than heterosexual men and women.

Explanations for these discrepancies can be linked to the stigma, discrimination, and prejudice that these individuals frequently experience from their families, friends, co-workers, classmates, and society as a whole. Such factors highlight the significance of improved access to understanding, supportive, and culturally-aware mental-health services.

Telling Our Stories

And don’t forget, as part of Mental Health Awareness Month (and also forever after that), we are especially interested in hearing about you and your stories related to mental health. Be sure to visit Healthshire’s “telling our story” section. Spend some time reading the stories or submit your own!


This week, we salute Big Mac Daddy (see what I did there?), Charles Ramsey, for being a hero!

Charles Ramsey video grab 660 music

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