Friday Roundup – Racial Disparity in Mental Health, No Money – Yes Cry, and Teaching Children with Autism Skills for a Lifetime

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!

Racial Disparity in Mental Health, No Money – Yes Cry, and Teaching Children with Autism Skills for a Lifetime

The Latest  in Mental Health Research (and other stuff)

Continued Racial Imbalance in Mental Health Services

There has always been a significant discrepancy in mental health outpatient services between white and nonwhite individuals. This disparity has not improved by much over the last 15 years.


These findings come as a result from a study recently published in Psychiatric Services in Advance. Researchers from Brown University and Columbia University evaluated data compiled by the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 1993-2008.

Frequency of annual visits for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanics were assessed. Prevalence rates for annual mental-health-related visits were 90 visits per 1,000 for non-Hispanic others, 114 for Hispanics, 118 for non-Hispanic blacks, and 197 for non-Hispanic whites. Blacks were treated more for psychotic disorders while Hispanics were treated more commonly for substance use disorders.

These statistics are more evidence for the restructuring of our mental health system, starting with helping to remove stigma from mental illness and its treatment.

Social Support Weak for Depressive Mothers in Financial Distress

One of the most helpful ways to alleviate symptoms of depression is the development of a solid social support network. Recent findings, however, suggest that despite forming solid personal and social support systems, poverty remains a significant link to depression.

A study, recently published in the American Journal of Community Psychology, assessed almost 2,000 mothers of young children. Researchers, out of Dickinson College, found that symptoms of depression were significantly linked to high degrees of financial stress (meeting basic financial needs: paying rent, having money to eat, or afford healthcare) and a lower socioeconomic status.


Single mothers had more depressive symptoms than those who were married, but marriage did not alter the association between depression and financial strain.

The results indicate that although social support is important in ameliorating depressive symptoms, experiencing economic adversity is a much more significant aspect to be addressed to help people in adversity with their mental health.

Children with Autism and Challenges in Adulthood

Autism Spectrum Disorders are generally conceptualized as childhood disorders. Interventions are usually tailored at the child and adolescent leave. The fact that children with autism eventually grow older and become adults is usually not the focus of attention. Fred Volkmar, M.D., director of the Yale Child Center and professor of psychiatry, recently spoke about this topic at the APA Institute on Psychiatric Services.


Volkmar stressed explicitly teaching children with autism adaptive skills that will be useful in adulthood. He highlighted transitions in education. Students with autism in college are not protected by the same laws as younger individuals. College students can, however, receive particular accommodations and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Many people are not made aware of these opportunities and end up being dismissed from school because of behaviors that aren’t well understood by administration and faculty.

Adults with autism seem to develop psychiatric and physical issues as they get older. Studies indicate adults with autism have a higher mortality rate linked to accidents. Depression and anxiety are increasingly prevalent.

Volkmar highlighted the need to better understand the needs of this population and implement appropriate interventions to prepare children with autism for the demands of adulthood.

Telling our Stories

In an effort to bring mental illness out of the shadows and reduce stigma, 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!

Recently, Healthshire partnered with a local mental health clinic to provide intensive outpatient services to two individuals with addiction issues. Many individuals bravely came forward to share their experiences about the complex issues that arise with substance use. You can read  their submitted stories here.


This week’s roundup is dedicated to Neil Gaiman for his support of the love of reading. And because I said so.


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