What Your Patients are Hearing

Survivors offer ‘mass shooting grief 101’


The field of psychiatry needs to do a better job of helping some patients come off of psychiatric drugs, said Allen Frances, MD, chairperson of DSM-IV task force, in an interview with the New Yorker. This process of removing drugs, called “deprescribing,” “requires a great deal more skill, time, commitment, and knowledge of the patient than prescribing does.” Another psychiatrist quoted in the article, Giovanni A. Fava, MD, said he has struggled to publish research looking at what happens to patients when they stop taking antidepressants. Yet another psychiatrist quoted in the article, Swapnil Gupta, MD, MBBS, said that, for many patients, coming off their medications “is a loss of identity, a different way of living. Suddenly, everything that you are doing is yours – and not necessarily your medication.” The article chronicles the experiences of Laura Delano, a woman diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed valproic acid (Depakote) while in high school. Over the next several years, Ms. Delano found herself taking numerous medications and with a different diagnosis. Eventually, she removed herself from her many medications, started a blog, and launched a website called The Withdrawal Project. The New Yorker.

The National Council for Behavioral Health and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation have teamed up to develop a Teen Mental Health First Aid pilot program designed to “enhance the mental health of young people,” according to a report on Washington’s WTOP radio. Eight U.S. high schools have been chosen to participate in the program, which will teach students about mental illnesses and addictions. It also will help teenagers respond to friends who might be struggling with a problem with mental health or addiction. The Teen Mental Health First Aid program, a five-step action plan, was adapted from an evidence-based training program from Australia. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, will evaluate the pilot program to assess its effectiveness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has reported than 20% of American adults and the same percentage of U.S. teens are living with mental health challenges. After the pilot study results are analyzed, the training will be made available to the public. WTOP.

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