Sunday, January 25, 2009

MOVED

Posts have moved to ncmentalhope.org. Click on the "national news" tab there or go directly to nationalnews.ncmentalhope.org for a compilation of both national and North Carolina news.

For those interested in just North Carolina news, it will also run separately on the site's home page.


Questions, comments or difficulty, please email david@ncmentalhope.org.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

American Health and Human Services denied bankruptcy -
Elizabeth City (NC) Daily Advance

Citing "gross mismanagement," a federal bankruptcy judge has denied Chapter 11 bankruptcy to American Health and Human Services.

The Elizabeth City-based mental health provider applied for bankruptcy protection last spring, listing 25 creditors from which it was seeking relief.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge J. Rich Leonard's ruling pointed out Andrea Simpson, chief executive officer of AHHS, had described himself in his testimony as a "terrible financial manager."

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American Health and Human Services denied bankruptcy -
Elizabeth City (NC) Daily Advance

Citing "gross mismanagement," a federal bankruptcy judge has denied Chapter 11 bankruptcy to American Health and Human Services.

The Elizabeth City-based mental health provider applied for bankruptcy protection last spring, listing 25 creditors from which it was seeking relief.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge J. Rich Leonard's ruling pointed out Andrea Simpson, chief executive officer of AHHS, had described himself in his testimony as a "terrible financial manager."
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Teen moved to treatment facility -
Durham (NC) Herald-Sun

HILLSBOROUGH -- William Barrett Foster, the former East Chapel Hill High School student who held a teacher and student at gunpoint at the school in 2006, has been ordered to a secure treatment facility in Georgia after he attempted to commit suicide earlier this month.


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Lilly Home gives women second chance -
Fayetteville (NC) Observer

Sandi Frye has heard the excuses before.

Truth is, she’s lived many of them as well.

So as a licensed substance abuse counselor at Cumberland County’s only licensed halfway home for women, the Ashton Lilly Home, she can listen to clients with empathy.

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A Sundance 'HUG' - Boston Globe

New Hampshire filmmaker Khary Jones, 31, teaches narrative filmmaking at Clark University in Worcester and is also finishing up his MFA in film directing at Columbia University. With just two films under his belt, he scored big time with the second: His 16-minute short feature "HUG" made it to this month's Sundance Film Festival. It's about a bipolar musician named Drew who forgot to take his meds, and a stressful encounter with his friend and manager Asa. We caught up with Jones by telephone while he was at Sundance.

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YWCA Lays Off Mental Health Counselors -
KETV Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. -- After the Omaha YWCA laid off four mental health counselors as part of a shift to better serve walk-in crisis clients, some clients wonder if they'll be able to get the specialized counseling they need.

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A reprieve for North River Mental Health Center? -
Chicago Chi-Town Daily News

Funding cuts may force the city to close four mental health clinics, but Dr. Terry Mason, health commissioner, announced yesterday that North River Mental Health Center may be spared.

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Mentally Ill Will Be Shifted to Private Clinics -
Washington Post

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration will close the D.C. agency that serves the mentally disabled in March 2010, sending 4,000 clients for treatment at private clinics and nearly 300 public mental-health employees in search of jobs, according to a plan released yesterday.

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Program combines mental, medical health
for homeless people - Boston Globe

Health problems of homeless people are often compounded by medical illness. A new program will bring together psychiatrists and medical providers in an initiative to better coordinate caring for homeless people's mental and physical needs.

Massachusetts General Hospital is giving $2.5 million over five years to the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which will work with the state Department of Mental Health.

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Mental-Health Worker Faces Sex Complaints -
Fort Smith (OK) Times Record

A caretaker at a Fort Smith mental-health facility was arrested Tuesday in connection with fondling a teenage patient and taking sexually explicit photos of her with his camera phone.

Dominque Marquice Jordan, 32, of Alma was arrested Tuesday at his place of employment on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault and possession of a sexual medium involving a minor.

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Mental Health Report readied - Franklin (NC) Press

The Healthy Carolinians of Macon County mental health task force will give county commissioners their recommendations on improving consumer access to mental health services on Jan. 26.

Task force members worked towards finalizing their draft implementation plan, including suggestions and funding requests for county commissioners at their Jan. 16 meeting in Franklin.

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Cuts taking toll on High Plains Mental Health in Hays - Hays (KS) Daily News

Support from the state of Kansas for mental health centers likely will be decreasing due to budget cuts in social and rehabilitation services.

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Daley blames 'S-A-T-E' for mental health closures -
Chicago Tribune

Mayor Richard Daley blamed the state Thursday for his decision to close four of the city's 12 outpatient mental health centers. The Tribune first reported that Daley's health commissioner cited the loss of $1.2 million in state funding in ordering the Feb. 1 closures. Public health advocates have blasted the move as unnecessary, but Daley said it wasn’t his fault.

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Man Behind Fake Death Claiming Mental Problems -
Granite Broadcasting Fort Wayne (IN)

Video report only.

PENSACOLA, Fla. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The Indiana businessman, accused of trying to fake his death with a plane crash, is claiming mental problems. A public defender says 38-year-old Marcus Schrenker is not mentally competent to go on trial, and is requesting a mental evaluation.


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6,700 Georgians with Developmental Disabilities
Wait for Help - WSAV-TV Savannah

Video Report Included.

State lawmakers continue looking for ways to cut two billion dollars in spending, as Georgia faces a historic budget shortfall.

The Governor’s proposed budget includes cutting $428 million to lower property taxes, $350 million dollars in cuts to education, plus cuts to transportation, prisons, and healthcare.

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Arrest made in connection with murder
of homeless man - Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - A man was arrested Thursday for investigation of murdering a homeless man who was doused with a flammable liquid and set ablaze on a street corner last year. Benjamin Martin, 30, was linked to the crime through witness identifications and DNA evidence collected at the scene, police said. His motivation apparently was a "straight-up personal dislike and a little bit of crazy," Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Charlie Beck said.

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Increases in drug copayments blamed on $6.9 million cut
in subsidies - Springfield (MA) Republican

BOSTON - About 8,000 elderly people in Western Massachusetts are seeing big increases in their prescription drug copayments because of a $6.9 million cut to a state program that subsidizes drug purchases.

The cuts to the Prescription Advantage program began on Jan. 1, affecting close to 46,000 people 65 and older across the state. Of the people dealing with the cuts, 17 percent are from Western Massachusetts including 3,905 recipients in Hampden County and 1,298 from Hampshire County.

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Philanthropist gives $300,000 for mental health
policy reform - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Philanthropist Paula John said Thursday she's giving $300,000 over the next two years to Community Advocates Inc. to help bring about reforms in mental health treatment.

John, accompanied by her brother Greg, said the grant will fund the Mental Health Policy Project that will be part of the Public Policy Institute established a year ago by Community Advocates to address poverty issues. The institute is directed by government and policy expert David Riemer.

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Repeat sex offender will soon find out if he's locked away for good - Buffalo (NY) News

LOCKPORT - State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. said today he will decide next week whether to commit repeat sex offender Daniel Gierszewski to a state mental institution for the rest of his life.

Gierszewski, 63, of Buffalo, is the first Western New Yorker to be prosecuted under the state's recent civil confinement law, allowing lifelong commitment of sex offenders who are found to have "a mental abnormality" that predisposes them to commit more sex crimes.

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Mom: Accused Boca Raton carjacker arrested
190 times is bipolar - Palm Beach Post

Police weren't surprised when a man at a Boca Raton told them Henry Farrell tried to carjack him. The clean-shaven criminal this month marked both his 46th birthday and his 190th arrest in Florida.

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Orange Co. Deputy Stabbed While Serving Mental Commitment Order - NBC17 Raleigh (NC)

ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. - An Orange County Deputy remains in stable condition at a local hospital after being stabbed while serving an involuntary mental commitment order.


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Forum Held To Discuss Transport Of Mentally Ill -
WJHL-TV Johnson City (TN)

Video Report Included.

Washington County, Tennessee, Deputy Lt. Larry Denny has a story for every mental health transport he made last year. Thursday, he shared those stories with state leaders as part of a mental health forum hosted by Sheriff Ed Graybeal and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In 2008, Washington County deputies drove 500 mentally ill patients to hospitals across the state. One of those patients was Lt. Denny’s niece.

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Rising homeless population in Gaston, Cleveland
and Lincoln Counties - SFAE-FM Charlotte

New data shows an explosion of homeless people in Gaston, Lincoln and Cleveland Counties.

Between 2005 and 2007, the homeless population in those counties increased 65-percent to more than 600 people. It's a stunning jump, compared to the statewide increase of 10-percent. In Mecklenburg County – where local service groups have spent several years collaborating on a plan to end homelessness – the population declined 10 percent

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Former Weezer bassist salvages life through art -
Burlington (VT) Free Press

Mikey Welsh climbed a stepladder Jan. 19 at the Maven shop in downtown Burlington and almost in the same motion began painting a mural on the skateboard-and-snowboard boutique’s back wall.

He drew a series of red squares with an oil stick. Within minutes, a primitive alligator took shape around the squares that became the beast’s teeth. Welsh drew a long outline of the gator’s body, including a pointy, upturned tail and four stubby legs, then painted the body a rich, vibrant acrylic green.

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Exhibit shows personal experiences of people living with schizophrenia - Telegraph-Journal (Canada)

SAINT JOHN - A travelling exhibition at the Open Door Club, 157 Duke St., shines a light on what it is like to live with schizophrenia.

Called Hearing (Our) Voices, Dilemmas of Care and Control, it was created by a group of people with schizophrenia who became co-researchers with Barbara Schneider, a professor at the University of Calgary.

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Close Children's Facility, A Top GOP Lawmaker Urges - Hartford (CT) Courant

CROMWELL — - With its budget deficit ballooning, the state should shut down the Riverview psychiatric hospital for children because — at $862,000 per child per year — it is too expensive to operate, the Senate Republican leader said Wednesday.

Sen. John McKinney of Fairfield said the state should send Riverview's patients to private hospitals in order to save money in tough economic times. The children could be treated at much lower cost at places like Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Institute of Living in Hartford and Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield, he said.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Duplin department heads ask for direction with budget -
Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County employees are lowering thermostats, using scrap paper for notes and are generally trying do more with less as county leaders search for ways to trim costs without raising taxes or laying off employees. But county department heads also are asking county commissioners for a firm commitment about future plans.

County department heads met with the Duplin County Board of Commissioners last week at the county administration building in Kenansville, where county Manager Mike Aldridge handed the commissioners a list of options to help cut rising operating costs.

On his list were options such as selling the Chinquapin School site, the mental health building and an abandoned well on McGowan Road near Faison.

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No-risk inmates' release debated -
Raleigh (NC) News & Observer

eNine days before Christmas, state prison officials released Jeffery Cooke from McCain Correctional Hospital and sent him home to Currituck County to die.

Cooke, a 41-year-old repeat drunken driver suffering from liver disease, was the first inmate released under a new state program that grants early parole to terminally ill, disabled and geriatric prisoners who qualify.

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Castillo hearing is postponed -
Raleigh News & Observer

HILLSBOROUGH -- Alvaro Castillo, accused of fatally shooting his father and then opening fire on his former high school in Orange County, was scheduled to be in court this afternoon but the hearing was postponed after the judge called in sick.

The hearing might have revealed whether Castillo plans to plead guilty or not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges against him. Prosecutors are not seeking seek the death penalty.

Castillo was 18 at the time of the shooting, not 19 as some court records incorrectly state, according to his lawyer James Williams. He also suffers from "debilitating mental illness," Williams has said.

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Inquest indicates daughter stole from slain mother - Alton (IL) Telegraph

EDWARDSVILLE - Accused killer Marsha S. Zahn may have stolen more than $40,000 from her 86-year-old mother before or shortly after beating her to death, testimony at a coroner's inquest Wednesday indicated.

Zahn now is in the Alton Mental Health Center, temporarily deemed unfit to stand trial in the death of her mother, Harriett E. Cobb, 86, of the 4900 block of Chateau Drive, Godfrey.


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Trooper testifies 'voices' told woman to kill mother - Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Angela Modispaw, a Fayette County woman accused of stabbing her mother to death, said voices told her to kill the woman, according to a state trooper.

"She related the voices were getting louder and telling her to kill her mother," testified Trooper James Garlick during a preliminary hearing Wednesday. "The voices continued to get louder, and the voice turned into the voice of her mother, and she wanted it to stop.

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Parade crash driver to pursue mental incompetence defense - Gannett Wisconsin

SHEBOYGAN — Mario A. White was convicted Wednesday of careening into a crowd at the Brat Days parade and injuring four people, but sentencing is on hold until a judge decides whether he was mentally competent at the time.

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Editorial: 'Dual diagnosis' calls for dual treatment -
Schenectedy (NY) Daily Gazette

Many New Yorkers being treated for drug or alcohol problems also have mental health problems, and vice versa. But while the twain often meet in the individual, they are usually handled separately in the state’s more than 1,200 licensed mental health and substance abuse clinics. Fortunately, this is about to change under a new joint effort of the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services and the Office of Mental Health. The current arrangement is wasteful and ineffective.

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Mental treatment ordered for Checkerboard woman guilty of fraud - Associated Press

BILLINGS - A former U.S. Postal Service employee awaiting sentencing for lying about disabilities to collect workers’ compensation benefits was ordered Wednesday to a federal hospital for mental treatment.

District Judge Richard Cebull ruled that 56-year-old Bonnie M. Schreiber of Checkerboard should be committed to a federal medical center for a provisional term of up to 20 years. The judge based his decision on the results of a mental evaluation of Schreiber that was ordered in November 2008.

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Gunman who refused mental commitment arrested after standoff - Allentown (PA) Morning Call

A man who was about to be committed to a hospital for mental problems barricaded himself in his Palmer Township home with a shotgun and held off police for 81/2 hours, surrendering Wednesday night after state troopers fired tear gas, Palmer police said.

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Mayor's Mental Health Plan Blasted - NBC Chicago

Mayor Richard M. Daley's plan to close four mental health centers for budget reasons is being blasted by public health advocates.

"A lot of people are going to be left in the cold," Badonna Reingold, a retired city social worker and activist with the Community Mental Health Board of Chicago told the Tribune. "If the city can support the [2016 Olympic bid], they can come up with some money for the most vulnerable people."

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Mental Health Patients Have to Wait -
Lakeland (FL) Ledger

LAKELAND - Polk County's two community mental health centers, hurt by deepening cuts in government funding, are putting most new patients who lack insurance on a waiting list for treatment.

"We don't have enough money to fund all of these people," said Ann Berner, administrator of Department of Children and Families Circuit 10.

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Audit cites flaws in Georgia’s mental system for youths -
Atlanta Journal Constitution

The state of Georgia lacks sufficient documentation about the mental health care it provides to thousands of children and adolescents, according to a new report.

The report, released by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts this week, finds several deficiencies in the state’s tracking of mental health services for uninsured children and those eligible for Medicaid coverage.

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Eldora gunman struggled with mental health, was institutionalized - Longmont (CO) Times-Call

LONGMONT — The gunman who shot and killed the general manager of Eldora Mountain Resort on Dec. 30 was grappling with mental-health problems and had been institutionalized briefly before the shooting, according to investigative reports released Wednesday.

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Driver who killed two people avoids jail time -KHNL-TV Honolulu

Woman had bipolar disorder. Video report.

KANEOHE (KHNL) - Emotions ran high Wednesday at the sentencing of a driver who took the lives of two young people.

The woman who caused the August 2006 crash in Hauula avoided jail time. The victims' family members are outraged.

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Family says bow and arrow suspect was mentally ill - KHOU-TV Houston

Video report included.

HOUSTON -- Police said Julie Parker showed up to an office complex with a bow and arrow and shot a man. But her family is now saying it's a scenario they've feared for a long time, and they’ve been trying to prevent it.

"Julie’s very bright. She was a photographer and an artist. She wanted to be a neurosurgeon or an architect," said Jennifer Oliver, Parker’s mother.

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Carteret citizens invited to comment
on health issues - Jacksonville (NC) Daily News

CARTERET COUNTY - The first in a series of community health forums has been scheduled in Carteret County to get input from residents on personal and community health issues.

Forums are being arranged at sites throughout the county, with the initial meeting planned for 1 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Pine Knoll Shores Town Hall.

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People With Schizophrenia Say Bias Is
Part of Their Lives - HealdhDay News

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- People with schizophrenia often expect to be discriminated against, and are, in various aspects of their life, new research finds.

The study, which included 732 people with schizophrenia in the United States and 26 other countries, found that 47 percent reported discrimination in making or keeping friends, 43 percent from family members, and 27 percent in intimate or sexual relationships. Also, 29 percent of the participants said they experienced discrimination while trying to find or keep a job.

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Boy Interrupted - Variety

Mournful, pained and beautifully put together, "Boy Interrupted" is about a mentally ill 15-year-old who committed suicide, and the pic could only have been made by his parents. Docu is, in fact, such an immersion in pain that had anyone other than Dana and Hart Perry cut this elegiac little gem, those filmmakers would be accused of grief exploitation. HBO has the film, and that's probably best: Perhaps families will watch together and share a good cry.

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Mental Health Case Managers Laid Off -
WCVB-TV Boston

Video Report.

BOSTON -- It could be a rough road ahead for more than 3,400 people in Massachusetts. The state Department of Mental Health has laid off almost 100 case managers.

Mental Health Case Managers Laid Off

As NewsCenter 5's Heather Unruh reported Wednesday, the agency is scrambling to find out what will happen to their clients.

"I was depressed. I really wasn't doing anything," said Helen Cheltenhan.

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Feeling the pinch - Boston Globe

Video report included.

Standing in a hallway of the Elliot House in Needham, Daniel Marston describes the worst of times, when the hallucinations came.

Behind the black rectangles of his glasses, Marston's eyes dart left and right, to the ceiling, to the wall, and then they stop, as if fixing upon a moment in the memory. He gestures with a coffee cup, which is always in motion.

"I was seeing morbid visions," Marston said, recalling the months following the death of his grandmother. "I went through this for like two years. The staff here had to help me, and work with me, to get me back."

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U.S. Supreme Court won't hear Texas
exorcism case - Fort-Worth Star=Telegram

The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear the case of a former Colleyville woman who says that a forced traumatic exorcism left her so physically bruised and emotionally scarred that she later tried to commit suicide

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Company tops list for mental health - Triad Business Journal (NC)

Randleman-based Therapeutic Alternatives, which serves Davidson County, has topped the Triad Business Journal's annual list of the Largest Mental Health and Substance Abuse Providers in the Triad for the third straight year.

The list is compiled annually by the Triad Business Journal and ranks Mental Health and Substance Abuse providers by number of employees.

Therapeutic Alternatives employs nearly 700 people across the Triad and the state and provides services to approximately 1,000 individuals.

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Pursue mental health care reform -
Cape Cod Times

Genevieve creates intriguing characters set in carefully crafted fictional worlds enjoyed by readers around the globe. But she faces a daily struggle to be a full participant in the world around her.

Genevieve (not her real name) is an intelligent, beautiful, talented writer. But she has bipolar disorder.

In October, the American people, through their elected representatives, belatedly recognized an urgent truth people like Genevieve and her loved ones have known for years: Mental illness is a medical condition requiring treatment on par with other medical patients.

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Abbott's profit jumps on sales growth - Reuters

Reuters) — Abbott Laboratories said Wednesday that fourth-quarter earnings jumped 28 percent on demand for its prescription drugs, nutritional products and medical devices, including its new Xience stent used to prop open coronary arteries.

The strong performance, based on double-digit sales growth for its major business units, stood in marked contrast to Johnson & Johnson, its diversified health care rival, which on Tuesday attributed anemic quarterly results partly to the economic downturn.

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Former Marine found guilty of killing
his father - Gaithersburg (MD) Gazette

David Winters was criminally responsible, though he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, judge says

North Potomac resident and former U.S. Marine David Winters, 19, was found guilty on Thursday of first-degree murder and criminally responsible for killing his father Andrew Winters on Dec. 25, 2007.

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Harvard Medical School To Review Conflict
of Interest Policies - The Harvard Crimson

Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey S. Flier announced Thursday that the school will embark on a review of its conflict of interest policy in conjunction with Harvard’s ongoing efforts to develop University-wide recommendations and guidelines.

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Lifeline thrown to mentally ill - BBC

A campaign to help stamp out the stigma associated with mental health problems is being launched on Teesside.

One in four people in the North East have mental health problems and around 90% do not apply for jobs because of the stigma, the charity Mind said.

Now people in Middlesbrough are being urged to do a course to help them identify anyone with problems early.

The Mental Health First Aid campaign is being led by Mind and the national Time to Change campaign.

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High school students share life lessons
in essay contest - Longview (TX) News-Journal

Local high school students have learned life lessons from unlikely sources, including people who are elderly, physically disabled and mentally ill.

That was the message Tuesday evening at the annual banquet for the Laws of Life essay contest held at the S.E. Belcher Jr. Chapel and Performance Center on the LeTourneau University campus.

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Altered brain activity in schizophrenia may cause exaggerated focus on self - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Schizophrenia may blur the boundary between internal and external realities by overactivating a brain system that is involved in self-reflection, and thus causing an exaggerated focus on self, a new MIT and Harvard brain imaging study has found.

The traditional view of schizophrenia is that the disturbed thoughts, perceptions and emotions that characterize the disease are caused by disconnections among the brain regions that control these different functions.

But this study, appearing Jan. 19 in the advance online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that schizophrenia also involves an excess of connectivity between the so-called default brain regions, which are involved in self-reflection and become active when we are thinking about nothing in particular, or thinking about ourselves.

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Criminologists: Jails Are Psychiatric Institutions -
Lakeland (FL) Ledger

AKELAND - Florida Southern College's Risdon Slate couldn't have timed tonight's lecture and book signing any better.

The lecture at 7 tonight will be in the William M. Hollis Seminar Room of the Thad Buckner Building off Johnson Avenue at Florida Southern College.

State Sen. Paula Dockery, who chairs the Senate's Criminal Justice Committee, will be recognized for her work.

The criminology professor and his co-author, W. Wesley Johnson, president of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, will discuss how and why jails have become the largest inpatient psychiatric institutions in the United States.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Arrest made in juvenile assault -
Raleigh (NC) News & Observer

RALEIGH -- An employee at a state home for the developmentally disabled was arrested on abuse charges last week following the restraint of a child in June that resulted in injuries.

Jo'Von Dixon, 31, an employee at the Murdoch Center in Butner, is charged with felony assault on a handicapped person. According to the arrest warrant, Dixon used an excessive amount of force June 19 to restrain a juvenile resident, resulting in "contusions and abrasions to the left and right sides of his face and behind his ear."

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Daley to shutter at least four mental health centers -
Chicago Tribune

Mayor Richard Daley’s administration will announce plans Wednesday to close as many as five of the city’s 12 mental health centers on Feb. 1, citing a decline in state funding.

The 12 centers serve about 6,500 patients, and all will be given the option of going to the centers that will remain open, said Dr. Terry Mason, the mayor’s health commissioner.

Staffing at the centers already had dropped to 114 employees from 260 due to layoffs and retirements, Mason said.

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Mental Health Advocates Speak Out Against Cuts -
Lakeland (FL) Ledger

BARTOW - Mental health advocates packed the room Tuesday to argue against cuts in programs that help people suffering from mental illness and substance abuse.

The plea to state legislators came from Polk County Judge Robert Williams, Bennie Allred of Peace River Center and Bob Rihn of Tri-County Human Services, accompanied by a large crowd of supporters.

"We need alternatives to people who don't belong in jail," Williams said.

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Homeless man in Portland needing help with mental health issues finally finds it - in Boise - Portland Oregonian

Michael Brown's cell phone is breaking up. He's not in the best spot to talk, and it's a cheap one anyway, really just for emergencies.

He's had a few of those recently.

Brown, 49, describes himself as off-and-on homeless. He says his troubles stem from a combination of his alcohol problems, bad health and mental illness. Up until a few years ago, he was gainfully employed. But weird circulation problems began forcing him to call in sick and cost him two fingertips before doctors figured out he had a blocked artery in his neck. Now he lives on disability payments and Medicare, unemployed and unemployable

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Suicide victim in standoff was vet, soldier at Carson

The man who shot himself to death during a standoff with El Paso County sheriff's deputies early Saturday was identified Tuesday as Army Spc. Larry Applegate, 27, a decorated Iraq war veteran stationed at Fort Carson.

Deputies responded to a domestic violence call at Applegate's home, 6830 Harding Drive, late Friday and found Applegate's wife outside saying her husband was in the house firing rifles.

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Defense: Ohio mom heard voices urging her to kill - Associated Press

CLEVELAND — A woman charged with drowning her two young daughters in a bathtub was depressed and heard voices urging her to kill, her attorney said Tuesday as her murder trial began.

Amber Hill, 23, had been increasingly troubled leading up to the deaths of her daughters on Oct. 1, 2007, her lawyer, Fernando Mack, said.
‘‘The voices would say, ‘Do it, do it!’’’ he told the judges hearing the case.

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Mentally ill drifter indicted on two murder charges -
Miami Herald

Miami-Dade jail. State prison. Mental hospital. Assisted-living facilities. The streets.

And now -- back to jail, charged with two murders.

Miami drifter Sedrek Singleton's progression shows the challenges facing the criminal justice system when a violent repeat offender is mentally ill -- but recovers just enough to allow his release.


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AMHC to get new director this week -
Elizabeth City (NC) Daily Advance

The former director of the state's largest mental health management agency is expected to take over the reins of the struggling Albemarle Mental Health Center this week.

A spokesman for the Division of Mental Health of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that heavy snowfall in the Raleigh area had postponed the appointment of a "caretaker director" for AMHC.

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History holds key to getting PTSD -
Sunbury (PA) Daily Item

DANVILLE — Individuals undergoing mental health treatment prior to exposure to a traumatic event are twice as likely to experience post traumatic stress disorder within 12 months.

In a study funded by National Institutes of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Geisinger Center for Health Research senior investigator Joseph Boscarino, PhD, MPH examined risk factors for poor health outcomes immediately following the traumatic event and two years later in more than 2,000 adult victims of the World Trade Center disaster. This study was published in the December 2008 issue of the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health.

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Families 'fail' on schizophrenia - BBC News

People with schizophrenia are more likely to experience discrimination by those closest to them than by employers or officials, a global survey suggests.

Nearly half of the 730 respondents to the King's College, London, study reported negative treatment by relatives and friends after diagnosis.

About a third said they had encountered problems when seeking or keeping a job.

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I'm thankful one of the worst years of my life is finally over - Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times

Last year was the one of the worst in my life. Not that it matters to anyone but close family and a few friends.

I fought hard and conquered the dregs of depression, a force that often comes without invitation or provocation.

Doctors ordered one medication, withdrew it, and then guinea-pigged another until the merry-go-round of pharmaceuticals finally found the right pony to ride.

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Sick CA inmates must be transferred - Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, CA -- Up to 7,000 sick California inmates must be transferred to prisons with access to better medical care, a court-appointed receiver said in a court filing Tuesday.

Receiver Clark Kelso is in charge of improving inmate medical care but has become frustrated with the pace of reform. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers have so far refused to provide the $8 billion he seeks to build new medical facilities.


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Poignant aid appeals to Va. lawmakers -
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Monday's appeals to the Virginia Legislature for more state funding were harder than any Del. Clarence H. "Bud" Phillips has endured in his 20 sessions because so many of the families pleading for aid have lost jobs, savings and even their homes, he says.

"This is the third recession since I've been in the General Assembly, and it's the toughest, most brutal budgeting cycle I've ever seen, knowing that thousands of these people could lose their jobs," Phillips, D-Dickenson County, said after two hours of sometimes tearful, sometimes angry public testimony.

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Whistle-blower's perspective on Lilly case -
Philadelphia Inquirer

Robert Rudolph knew he was about to end his lucrative career at Eli Lilly & Co., but he had to say something.

Why, he asked management, was the Indianapolis pharmaceutical company marketing its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa to elderly people when the drug was not approved for that group?

Why had the company violated privacy rules by culling patient lists at doctors' offices?

Why was the company counting drug samples as sales, which would boost the stock price?

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Study may cast light on mental illnesses -
Boston Globe

You're sitting at a dull meeting and your attention drifts. You're waiting in a check-out line, thinking of nothing in particular. You're lying in bed, having just turned off the television. At such times, your conscious mind is on "idle," but your brain is not.

In such situations, the brain's "default system" takes over, a pattern of spontaneous activity that is fast becoming one of the hottest areas in neuroscience research, one that may cast light on mental illness.

Yesterday, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and elsewhere reported that the brain's default functions look strikingly hyperactive in people with schizophrenia and their relatives. And the more overactive the default system is, they found, the worse the symptoms tend to be.

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Game Of Two Halves Leads
To Brain Asymmetry - Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Jan. 20, 2009) — A tug-of-war between the two sides of the brain causes it to become asymmetrical, according to research published in the journal Neuron January 14. Asymmetry in the brain is thought to be important to enable the two hemispheres to specialise and operate more efficiently.

Left-right asymmetry is present in the brains of most animals and is first evident at the time of early brain development. However, until now, scientists did not know the mechanisms that bring it about. Now, in a study funded primarily by the Wellcome Trust, researchers have shown that a competition between the two sides causes this asymmetry

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In recovery from a mental illness -
Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times

ASHEVILLE – Wes Bell was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago, when he was 16.

He and others around him expected his life to be an endless round of hospitalizations, disability and side-effects from powerful medications. Until last year, that expectation held true.

“I was really sick,” Bell said. “I didn't want to get out of bed.”

Bell tried just about every medication on the market, he said. He even had electro-convulsive therapy.

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Humane reprieve - Savannah Morning News

POLICE OFFICIALS and service providers for the homeless made the right call in delaying the ouster of squatters at homeless camps on Savannah's outskirts.

While the homeless camps are a severe social service headache - they are havens of drug abuse and the mentally ill, are hard to reach by emergency medical services and can be magnets for some crimes - rousting the camps during the current frigid temperatures would be a social service nightmare
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Can You Be Both Insane and Guilty? - Seattle Weekly

King County Prosecutor Mary Barbosa infuriated Michael Robb's family when she accepted a "not guilty by reason of insanity" plea from his killer, Samson Berhe.

State Senator Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, is frustrated that current law allows for only two options when someone either admits to a crime or a jury decides they committed one—find them guilty and throw them in prison or find them insane and let them off the hook via a trip to Western State Hospital. Carrell claims there are people at the Tacoma-based mental health facility who "may think the Devil or God told them this is what they should do, but they are fully able to plan and know the effects of what they're doing."

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Future Uncertain for City Jail - KSHB-TV Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It calls for cuts in several areas-- including saving more than a million dollars by closing the municipal jail and transfering the inmates to Jackson County.

But right now, there are many unanswered questions. What will happen to employees if the jail closes? When will the inmates be transferred? What kind of facility will Jackson County use to house them? Another concern is whether the city's jail, MCI, will be able to transfer social services along with the 150-inmates. Most have drug addictions or mental health problems.

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France gets life for murdering NP man -
North Platte (NE) Bulletin

A 59-year-old Cozad man was sentenced to life in prison for the 2007 murder of a North Platte man.

Stephen E. France was sentenced by Dawson County District Judge Jim Doyle on Jan. 16.

France was found guilty in December 2008 by a Dawson County jury of fatally stabbing Dwayne Morrison of North Platte. France and Morrison worked together at Gothenburg Feed Products Mill at 1413 Second Ave. in Gothenburg.

France told the jury that he had fights with Morrison but that Morrison was guilty of starting them. A defense expert testified that France suffered from paranoid schizophrenia with a personality disorder.

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Law officers troubled by mental health-care trend -
Columbia (MO) Tribune

A lack of local bed space for mental health patients is worrying law enforcement officials.

In moves tied to the economy, Boone Hospital Center last summer closed its psychiatric ward, and Mid-Missouri Mental Health Chttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifenter consolidated bed space in December. The moves resulted in 26 fewer local mental health beds.

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An evolving view of depression -
Boston Globe

In the world of therapy, Dr. Aaron T. Beck is a rock star.

Considered the father of cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of psychological treatment that has swept the country in recent decades, he has been so famous for so long that some are surprised to find out that he is still, at 87, hard at work.

Beck has recently come out with a new, overarching theory of depression, the mood darkness that in any given year afflicts an estimated 5 percent of Americans (and probably a higher percentage this year).

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Va. Proposal Puts Mental Health Safety Net for Children on Chopping Block - Washington Post

For years, when some of Virginia's most troubled children have been struck by serious psychiatric problems, their most likely destination has been the low-rise brick building on a sprawling campus in the Shenandoah Valley that is home to the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents.

"We're the place where kids can come when they can't go anyplace else," said Jeffrey Aaron, forensic coordinator and clinical director of an adolescent unit at the Staunton center.

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Get up and leave - Elizabeth City (NC) Daily Advance

We’re not really surprised that Albemarle Mental Health board Chairman Richard Johnson would tell one of the board’s critics to “sit down and shut up,” as he told Perquimans County Commissioner Mack Nixon last week in response to Nixon’s call for the entire AMHC board to resign. After all, that’s exactly what Johnson and his fellow board members did for years — a lot of sitting and a lot of shutting up — while former AMHC Program Director Charlie Franklin was burning through nearly $10 million in AMHC funding, spending the mental health agency into insolvency and putting its patients’ care at risk.

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More Mainstream Physicians Suggesting Meditation, Massage And Acupuncture - Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO - For years, Dr. Ali Keshavarzian ignored "alternative" therapies because his Western-trained brain wanted more evidence that they actually worked.

But Keshavarzian also knew conventional medicine often needed some assistance. And when he learned his patients were seeking out natural products, acupuncture, meditation and massage, he took a deep breath and dived in.

Ten years later, Keshavarzian straddles both worlds, using Western treatments along with a variety of alternative approaches, a combination known as complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM. "CAM is looking at a patient as a human being, rather than a disease," said Keshavarzian, a gastroenterologist at Rush University Medical Center. "Instead of treating 'ulcerative colitis,' I treat 'Mr. Jones.'"

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Doctors in disagreement over accused killer’s competency -
San Mateo (CA) Daily Journal

A pair of court-appointed doctors disagree on whether a 25-year-old man accused of fatally shooting a Millbrae man and leaving his body inside a car on a residential Burlingame street near his mother’s home is able to aid in his own defense against murder charges.

With each doctor returning a different verdict, a third was appointed to break the tie over Teyseer “Terry” Zaid Najdawi’s mental state at the time of the alleged murder. The third report is expected back Feb. 20, according to prosecutor Al Giannini.

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Putnam support services threatened by budget cuts -
Putnam (NY) Journal News

For years, the Putnam Lake mother had struggled alone to get help for her son, William, who is developmentally disabled and has bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness.

"We were about to lose our home," Felice said. "And we faced putting our son (now 14) in residential care because we didn't know what else to do."

Then Felice discovered a free program run by Putnam Family and Community Services, a Carmel-based nonprofit, that helped her find doctors to treat William's dual challenges and social services to help her and her family learn to cope.

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HHS chief vows openness on hospital deaths -
Raleigh (NC) News & Observer

Will reports on deaths in the mental health system be more available under a new administration?

The state -- which had pledged transparency on mental-health related issues -- retreated from that promise over time, releasing censored reports on deaths and assaults in state mental hospitals that make it impossible to tell what happened.

Former state Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dempsey Benton, through his spokesman, defended the practice of blacking out nearly every word of death and police reports.


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The curious case of the man who drew cats -
The Age (Australia)

The eccentric Louis Wain has evolved from children's illustrator to respected artist, writes Greg Burchall.

EVERYONE knows dogs can play poker and shoot a mean game of pool. The evidence is there on the walls of wood-panelled domestic dens and public bars everywhere.

But what can cats get up to? Lots, if they are Louis Wain felines.

Wain was the eccentric, finally mentally ill, British artist whose cats played musical instruments, sang from sheet music, attended school, played on the beach and promenaded with high hats and canes.

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Vigil held for man who died in jail in Maine - Boston Globe

AUGUSTA, Maine—Friends and family of a man found dead in the Kennebec County Jail say he didn't get the help he needed for mental health problems.

About 30 people held a candlelight vigil outside the jail Saturday night to pay tribute to the late Arthur "Brian" Traweek, who apparently took his own life on Monday. The victim's brother said Traweek told people at the jail that he needed help and that his medications weren't working.

Before his latest incarceration, Traweek was considered an example of the success of a court program aimed at helping mentally ill criminals turn their lives around.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thanks to you, 100 homeless got warm last night - Greensboro (NC) News-Record

You did it, Greensboro.

It was 10 degrees Friday night, and everyone who wanted in, came in.

That included Willie Chandler Muhammad, 38. And though he may be a former welterweight boxer from Chicago, the cold is too much for him, as is the stress and noise of the overflowing Weaver House shelter.

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Thanks to you, 100 homeless got warm last night - Greensboro (NC) News-Record

You did it, Greensboro.

It was 10 degrees Friday night, and everyone who wanted in, came in.

That included Willie Chandler Muhammad, 38. And though he may be a former welterweight boxer from Chicago, the cold is too much for him, as is the stress and noise of the overflowing Weaver House shelter.

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Leader: Don't blame EMS in patient death -
Raleigh (NC) News & Observer

The director of EMS and safety for Wayne County is disputing the timeline included in a state report on the 2005 death of a Cherry Hospital patient.

A brief account of the circumstances surrounding the death of Johnny Lee Ingalls, 42, was reprinted in The News & Observer on Dec. 28. Ingalls is one of nine patients whose deaths, detailed by the newspaper, have raised questions about the quality of care at the state mental hospital in Goldsboro.

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DHR to monitor itself in mental hospital settlement - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Federal authorities will rely on a self-interested source to oversee Georgia’s progress in fixing its state psychiatric hospitals.

The Department of Human Resources — the agency that operates the seven state hospitals — will monitor its own compliance with a settlement agreement reached last week with the U.S. Justice Department. The agreement calls for the state to correct deficiencies that caused hundreds of injuries and illnesses and dozens of deaths among psychiatric patients, spending as much money as is necessary.

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State, feds agree on plan to fix mental care -
Atlanta Journal Constitution

Georgia promised the federal government Thursday it will make dramatic improvements in its state psychiatric hospitals — and that it will spend what’s necessary to protect patients from harm.

The pledge, signed late in the day by Gov. Sonny Perdue, commits the state to a five-year plan of correcting deficiencies that caused hundreds of patient injuries and illnesses and dozens of deaths.


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Good judgment - Houston Chronicle

This month, Harris County’s criminal district judges voted to create a felony mental health court, the first one in the county’s history to focus exclusively on felony defendants diagnosed with such serious conditions as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression.

This is a smart move on several levels. Introduced about a decade ago, mental health courts, which now number more than 150 nationwide, seek to provide more humane treatment of the mentally ill through treatment plans and social support services, thereby breaking the cycle of repeat offenses and jail terms, and reducing jail and court costs.

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Perdue Has Work Cut Out for Her -
Southern Pines (NC) Pilot

Beverly Perdue must feel, as Barack Obama soon will, like someone moving into a house whose previous owner made a mess of it.

North Carolina's new governor has her work cut out for her, having inherited a great many nettlesome problems. But, also like America's soon-to-be new president, she doesn't have the luxury of taking her time working them all out. With various crises staring both the state and the nation in the face, both our new chief executives have to hit the ground running and risk early stumbles.

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Updates to continue Sunday p.m.

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Foy Happy With Mental Health Progress -
WCHL Radio Chapel Hill (NC)

Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy says that the mental health task force he created in November is making progress in discussing the state of care in Orange County.

He said this is a problem that affects all residents and should be addressed more broadly.

Foy says the task force’s main objectives are to identify flaws in the town’s mental health care system and to examine potential ways of alleviating them.


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Pentagon: PTSD does not warrant Purple Heart - Army Times

The Pentagon has decided it will not award the Purple Heart to troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The decision, reached Nov. 3 but not made public until now, followed months of review by military and outside officials that was spurred when Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked at a May news conference whether he would support awarding the Purple Heart to PTSD victims.

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Crises drive doctor visits - Las Vegas Review-Journal

The man came into University Medical Center last week with symptoms associated with an inoperable brain tumor.

Dr. Dale Carrison, head of emergency services, discussed options with the patient, hoping to at least provide him some relief.

"He didn't want me to do anything because he knew he was dying,'' Carrison said.

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Turning a life plan into a daily planner -
Bend (OR) Bulletin

When Whitney Benavente was 13, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For much of her teen years, her life was a chaotic rush of moves, new schools, two pregnancies, sick kids and, throughout, all manner of appointments with doctors and counselors from whom she received treatment.

Today, the 22-year-old Bend mother of two is married and getting her life in order. She’s working to get her GED and is not only keeping her own appointments, but hoping to help others do the same.

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Mental-health care: A dangerous mess -
Phoenix (AZ) Republic

The man was seething with anger when he came upon two unsuspecting guys, just going about their business. Within seconds, the pair lay dying as the man looked around for others to kill and finding none, he left.

The community was stunned, and police were stumped over the vicious attack. "There's no motive all," a police officer said. "It's a random act."

That was in 2005.

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Va. House delegate was advocate for mentally
disabled - Roanoke (VA) Times

RICHMOND -- Charles W. "Bunny" Gunn was remembered Friday in the House of Delegates as a lifelong advocate for Virginia's mentally disabled citizens.

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Mental health facilities may see cuts -
Roanoke (VA) Times

RICHMOND -- Budget writers in the House of Delegates voiced concerns Friday about Gov. Tim Kaine's plans to close a mental health facility for children and adolescents in Staunton and a training center for the mentally disabled in Chesapeake, citing unanswered questions about the availability of private and community-based services.

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Court denies request for new judge in murder case - Fairbanks (AK) News Miner

FAIRBANKS — The State Court of Appeals rejected a request by prosecutors Friday for a new judge in the case against Brian Galbraith, a man with a history of paranoid schizophrenia who is accused of killing a mental health worker.

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Spend it to save it - Toronto Globe and Mail

Murray Campbell is correct in suggesting that big increases in health spending could crowd out provincial spending in other areas (Look At The Big Picture - Jan. 16). Hospitals have large numbers of patients waiting for care in the community; often, it's the lack of community services that contribute to high numbers of visits to emergency departments.

Increasing spending on community care would reduce pressure on hospitals. For example, of the 4,325 people with mental illness served by assertive community treatment (ACT) teams in Ontario, 66 per cent spent no time in hospital in the past year, when, prior to ACT enrolment, they averaged more than 60 days per year. The annual savings in terms of reduced hospitalization is more than $100-million annually.
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Woman's new anguish - Charleston (SC) Post & Courier

MOUNT PLEASANT — The home that once provided hope for Rebecca Sloan caught fire Friday morning, and while her 7-year-old grandson alerted her to the flames so they could escape, it seems they will need to start over with a new home yet again.

The modest one-story brick ranch, tucked back behind two other homes on Venning Road, was a gift in the wake of the wrenching saga of Sloan's daughter Perstephanie Simmons, who killed two of her children in a psychotic fury in Cainhoy more than eight years ago.

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Bipolar woman shouldn’t be in jail -
Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram

ELYRIA — A Lorain mother serving a 90-day sentence for poisoning her three children wants out of the county jail.

In a motion filed Friday, 10 days after Theresa Fennell began serving her sentence, her attorney asked that she be released early, saying she wasn’t receiving the proper medication to treat her bipolar disorder

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Unlicensed home for mentally ill shut down in West Philly - Philadelphia Daily News

For much of the past three years, at least seven people with mental-health problems called a dirty, three-story West Philadelphia rowhouse "home."

The house, Parks Personal Care Home on 59th Street near Master, was supposed to provide comfort, medicine and round-the-clock care.

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Family sues in death of mentally ill man -
San Francisco Chronicle

The family of a 26-year-old mentally ill man who died after a struggle with Richmond police last year has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city.

Uriah Samson Dach died April 22 after an altercation at a home for the mentally ill on the 3200 block of Florida Avenue. Police have said Dach had reportedly threatened a female resident and was "out of control" and "highly agitated" when officers arrived

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Heal the minds of children -
Savannah Morning News

Dr. Larry Ackerman treats the youngest mentally ill patients.

The ones who seem entirely too tiny to be loaded down with such big, boldface problems as uncontrollable aggression, paranoid schizophrenia and major depressive disorders.

The psychiatrist has treated children in community-based programs and in juvenile hall; in private practice and in state-run psychiatric hospitals. He's helped children of all ages from cocaine-addicted infants to bipolar teens.

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Service remembers homeless who died -
Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times

ASHEVILLE – Tommy McMahan had been sick before, but it was worse this time. He got treatment at Mission Hospital the night of March 8, but he wasn't admitted.
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He told them he was too sick to leave and argued with the staff and security. Finally, someone called police and McMahan was arrested.

He died of pneumonia a few hours later, alone in his jail cell.

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Frio sheriff fires deputy in wake of fatal shooting - San Antonio Express-News

The Frio County Sheriff's Office has terminated a deputy who fatally shot a mentally ill man who officials said attacked the officer inside a police vehicle last summer.

“Due to the incident ... where you were forced to use excessive force on an alleged attacker ... a lot of controversy and legal issues have arisen from the incident, which are going to affect the Department for a long time to come,” Sheriff Lionel Trevino wrote in a letter dated Dec. 11 to former Deputy Roger Salinas.

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E-mail suggests Calif. has money
for prison reform - Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — The receiver appointed to oversee California's prison medical system on Friday produced an e-mail suggesting the state can fund his reforms without approval from lawmakers.

That would contradict claims Schwarzenegger administration lawyers have made in court. The administration has said it needs legislative approval to release any money sought by the receiver, Clark Kelso.

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New Court For Mentally Ill Offenders -
KAKE-TV Wichita (KS)

Video Report Included.

The criminal justice system and the mental health system are teaming up in a new mental health court. This court will be for mentally ill offenders who commit misdemeanor crimes.

On average, more than 60 percent of inmates in the Sedgwick County jail suffer from a mental illness. This is a percentage this new court hopes to reduce.

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Lawmaker Wants To Change Law
For Mentally Ill - KDKA-TV Pittsburgh

Video report included.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA)- Mental health experts say the mentally ill are no more prone to violence than the rest of us.

Yet lately we have seen more local cases where mentally ill people have been charged with murder.

And that has some lawmakers proposing changes in the law regarding involuntary treatment.

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Plan to close mental retardation centers
hits snag - Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Timothy Kaine's plan to cut costs by closing outdated facilities for the mentally retarded is raising questions from a House panel, and his team has no answers.

Democrats and Republicans grilled state Mental Health Commissioner James Reinhard on Friday for details about where residents will be moved before the facilities close next June.


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Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder share gene factors - Reuters

NEW YORK - A Swedish registry study involving more than 2 million families confirms that first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disease are at increased risk for both disorders.

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Jury rejects family's request
for $8 million verdict - Houston Chronicle

A federal jury rejected an $8 million civil lawsuit Friday that accused four La Porte police officers of wrongfully gunning down a mentally ill man who they said threatened them with a screwdriver.

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Deputy-involved shootings, mental health and safety discussed at town hall meeting - Sonoma Valley (CA) Sun

Sonoma residents seeking answers turned out in force for Thursday night’s town hall meeting hosted by Sheriff Bill Cogbill and Supervisor Valerie Brown. Approximately 100 local residents went to the Sonoma Valley Grange to discuss a variety of topics, among them sexual assault, gang activity and deputy-involved shootings.

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Flap over Purple Heart Is 'Tip of Iceberg' Vets Say - Frazier Park (CA) Mountain Enterprise

The Kern County Veterans Service Department began regular monthly visits here this week to assist mountain veterans to obtain and update their benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but a new flap in Washington, D.C. reminded local vets of the hurdles they face.

The Pentagon made a decision in November not to grant the Purple Heart to those suffering from combatrelated post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but did not make the decision public.

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Killer’s father seeks understanding for son -
Associated

MADISON — The father of a college dropout convicted of killing a Madison man last year is pleading for understanding of his son’s mental illness.

Twenty-year-old Adam Peterson hanged himself from his bunk bed in the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun on Saturday. He pleaded guilty last month to first-degree intentional homicide in the Jan. 28 death of 31-year-old Joel Marino.

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Pfizer cutting up to 2,400 sales jobs? -
Associated PRess

NEW YORK - Drug giant Pfizer Inc. reportedly plans to lay off nearly a third of its 8,000 salespeople.

Company spokespeople declined to comment Friday on a Wall Street Journal report that New York-based Pfizer will cut as many as 2,400 sales representatives

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Shooting a ‘suicide by cop'? - Fort Wayne (IN) News-Sentinel

LAOTTO - When she heard Anthony W. Taylor had been fatally shot by Fort Wayne Police on Wednesday, his older sister wasn't surprised.

“It's called suicide by cop. He's tried to commit suicide 10 times in the last 10 years and never succeeded, and there's no reason on God's green earth why (he was) still alive,” Elizabeth Freeman said. “He knew he would have to go back to prison, and he said he would never go back again.”

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A new chapter: N.H.'s first Crisis Intervention Team graduates - Dover (NH) Foster's Daily Democrat

ROCHESTER — After 40 hours of training on how to deal with the mentally ill in police situations, members of New Hampshire's first Crisis Intervention Team were recognized at a graduation ceremony

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Time to have mercy on the broken of mind and spirit - Sydney (Australia) Herald

Ever wondered how to exorcise a demon? There's a handy publication that guides the uninitiated, with subheadings such as "doing the actual deliverance", "identifying additional demons" and "what to do with obstinate demons".

"They sometimes talk: they may threaten the person or you. They have been known to say, 'I am going to kill you,' and other unsavoury phrases. Command them to be quiet in the Name of Jesus," Restoring The Foundations advises.

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Killings a painful reminder of our shared humanity - Madison (W) Capital Times

The heart-rending letter sent by the father of convicted killer Adam Peterson to the Cap Times brings home the difficult truth of the murder of Joel Marino. And of Peterson's suicide. It's tragic. Tragic all around.

As Melvin Peterson admits, his son's serious mental illness can not possibly excuse his crime. But maybe Adam Peterson's circumstances -- just 20, from a middle-class family, a UW student not long ago -- make the killer more human than some of us wanted to believe killers could be.

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Psychiatric patients allowed to watch ultra-violent films on hospital ward - The Mail (England)

Patients with severe mental health problems were able to watch violent films while being treated at a psychiatric hospital, a report has found.

Two wards at Queen Mary's Hospital in Roehampton, which treats people for conditions including schizophrenia and psychosis, gave access to 'films of an extremely aggressive and violent nature', the Healthcare Commission discovered.

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Schools program a godsend for kids with behavioural problems - Edmonton (Canada) Sun

You'd never guess that 10-year-old Austin Levesque is among the 1,100 kids in Edmonton's public school system deemed too violent or disruptive to be in a regular classroom.

Austin is polite, attentive and studious. But he readily admits he hasn't always been that way.

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Jail guards were abusive, inmates say -
Nashua (NH) Telegraph

CONCORD – Three prison inmates claim they were beaten and two claim they were sexually assaulted by guards while incarcerated at the Hillsborough County jail.


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Jail guards were abusive, inmates say -
Nashua (NH) Telegraph

CONCORD – Three prison inmates claim they were beaten and two claim they were sexually assaulted by guards while incarcerated at the Hillsborough County jail.


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Heartland Home closing - Ashland (OH) Times-Gazette

Ashland County commissioners announced Thursday they intend to close Heartland Home effective March 31.

They cited tight fiscal constraints as the primary reason for the closure. The decision was not easy because of the impact it will have on residents and employees, according to Commissioner Barb Queer. She said the move comes down to dollars and cents with the county struggling to make ends meet.

"This is probably one of the most difficult issues we as a board are going to have to deal with for a long time," Queer said.

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Ohio gets cut of drug-suit settlement -
Associated Press

Ohio will receive $32.1 million of Eli Lilly & Co.'s $1.42 billion settlement over allegations that itmarketed its anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa for unapproved uses.

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The truth behind prison suicides - The Guardian (England)

A fall last year in the number of prisoners taking their own lives is good news, but while we continue to jail mentally ill people the problem will continue, says Erwin James

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Little miracles help homeless secure ID -
Miami Herald

Most people have no problem proving they are who they say they are.

All it takes is a driver's license or state ID card, passport, birth certificate, Social Security card, green card or any other government-issued identification. You might even use a letter from your employer or a utility bill displaying name and address.

So what happens if you don't have any of these?

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State psychiatric hospital fined for not protecting patient from rape - Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A state psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas has been fined for not protecting a female patient who reported she was raped by a male patient in November.

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Johnson County Compeer Program needs volunteers - Iowa City Press Citizen

The Compeer Program of Johnson County is a small nonprofit that recruits volunteers from the community and matches them with clients referred by mental health professionals. The same-sex pair spends at least four hours a month doing things both people enjoy.

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Officer Shoots Man in Eastwood -
WSYR Radio Syracuse (NY)

The latest shots fired in Syracuse are from the gun of a police officer. Chief Gary Miguel said a team of officers responded to the 200 block of Mildred Avenue Friday afternoon. They found 27-year-old Stephen Haag - mentally ill, off his medication, and intoxicated - holding a double-barrelled shotgun. Police repeatedly shouted 'drop the weapon."

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Mental health group: diverse staff essential -
Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal

Few organizations have grown as fast as Mental Health America Dutchess County, one of the winners of the Poughkeepsie Journal's Richard K. Wager Workplace Inclusiveness award.

When New York state in the 1970s and 1990s conducted a massive deinstitutionalization that moved patients out of huge state facilities, two of which were in Dutchess, the patients mostly went to community-based programs.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Nixon: AMHC board should resign -
Elizabeth City (NC) Daily Advance

EDENTON — A top Perquimans County official Wednesday called on the entire Albemarle Mental Health Center Board of Directors to resign, saying its decision to seek a state takeover of the mental health agency was too little, too late.

Mack Nixon, chairman of the Perquimans County Board of Commissioners, said he would be embarrassed to serve on the AMHC board. He recommended the state appoint a “caretaker board” and let the current board resign.

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Few facilities available for extreme mental patients - Wilson (NC) Daily Times

When Wilson Medical Center closes the doors to its inpatient psychiatric ward today, there will no longer be a place in Wilson County where someone who suffers from a mental illness can voluntarily check themselves in to get help.

That has some local mental health advocates worried about where people who need this help will go.

"The mental health capacity in Wilson doesn't meet the need for our general population, said Jennifer Hancock, executive director of the Wilson Mental Health Association. "The problem is where will the people with mental disabilities go. The thing is that it doesn't matter if you have great insurance or you're rich or poor, you're still not going to get treatment in Wilson County -- not in-patient treatment," said Hancock.

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Editorial: Crisis training will pay off -
Salisbury (NC) Post

Law enforcement officers from Salisbury, Kannapolis, Lexington and several other cities have been involved in training this week at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College that could be beneficial to their citizens' mental health — crisis intervention training.

They're not the first ones to go through this training; quarterly sessions were held last year. But it's worth noting the progress being made on this front. Officers often deal with people in the midst of a mental health crisis, but they don't always have appropriate training to deal with those situations.

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Perdue orders deeper budget cuts -
Raliegh (NC) News & Observer

RALEIGH -- Gov. Beverly Perdue tried to get ahead of a deepening budget crisis Thursday by ordering larger cuts in state agencies, freezing vacant jobs and halting millions of dollars in construction, purchases and travel.

She said agencies are close to laying off employees.

It was the second time Perdue, governor for less than a week, has dispatched an emergency order to help stabilize the state's finances.
Staff Photo by Jason Arthurs - Five days after taking office, Gov. Beverly Perdue talks about new state spending cuts. Except for schools, prisons, courts and mental health, most programs are cut 7 percent.

She issued an executive order Thursday afternoon telling agencies to increase cuts in the current year's spending -- 7 percent for most of them. Smaller cuts were ordered for schools, mental health services, prisons and courts.

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Harvard study: Under-treatment of mental illness
contributes to crime - Boston Globe

Two thirds of prisoners nationwide with a mental illness were off treatment at the time of their arrest, according to a new study by Harvard researchers that suggests under-treatment of mental illness contributes to crime and incarceration.

The study, published today online in the American Journal of Public Health, found that about a quarter of inmates nationwide had a history of chronic mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar illness and depression. Researchers analyzed data collected in 2002 and 2004 from local, state and federal correctional facilities.

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Wainwright: AMHC has access to $7.2M -
Elizabeth City (NC) Daily Advance

EDENTON — The state’s top mental health official offered private mental health-care providers as well as employees and patients of Albemarle Mental Health Center a ray of hope Wednesday night, announcing that the agency, believed to be fiscally insolvent, still has access to $7.2 million in state funding.

Leza Wainwright, co-director of the N.C. Division of Mental Health, said she couldn’t promise that everything wrong at AMHC would be better overnight. But she did pledge the state’s efforts to restore fiscal control to AMHC and ensure quality services for its patients.

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State picks mental health contractor -
Tacoma (WA) News Tribune

The state has chosen a Minnesota contractor to administer mental health services for 15,000 Pierce County residents.

OptumHealth of Golden Valley, Minn., submitted the apparent winning bid to run the county’s mental health system for the state Department of Social and Health Services, the agency announced Wednesday.

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State retools mental care service pay -
Raleigh (NC) News & Observer

The state will no longer pay companies $51 an hour to have someone with a high school diploma work with the mentally ill.

This month, the state changes the way it pays for a mental health service called community support. Payments will be linked to workers' education and experience.

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Let’s not let health care slide during this recession - Asheville Citizen-Times

The word “recession” literally means “a ceding back or withdrawal,” a definition that acutely describes the behavior of citizens during an economic downturn. Since the announcement of the recession in early December, Americans have been significantly curtailing spending. A Nielsen poll revealed that 35 percent of us cut back on holiday spending. Movie theater attendance has dropped as well, and even bars are seeing fewer patrons.

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Perdue's budget shortfall plan
at a glance - Associated Press

A quick look at how Gov. Beverly Perdue plans to find $2.05 billion to cover a projected revenue shortfall for state government, with cuts as a percentage of agency budgets listed in parentheses:

- Public schools (2 percent reduction, no direct impact on classroom): $156 million.

- University of North Carolina system (6 percent, financial aid exempt): $150 million.
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- Community college system (5 percent, financial aid exempt): $45 million.

- Health and Human Services (6 percent, 4 percent for mental health. Medicaid excluded): $91 million.


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Perdue pledges to fix psychiatric hospitals -
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia promised the federal government Thursday it will make dramatic improvements in its state psychiatric hospitals — and that it will spend what’s necessary to protect patients from harm.

The pledge, signed late in the day by Gov. Sonny Perdue, commits the state to a five-year plan of correcting deficiencies that caused hundreds of patient injuries and illnesses and dozens of deaths.


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Former U.S. Marine, 19, found guilty of killing father - Gaithersburg (MD) Gazette

North Potomac resident and former U.S. Marine David Winters, 19, was found guilty on Thursday of first-degree murder and criminally responsible for killing his father Andrew Winters on Dec. 25, 2007.

David Winters has stood trial without a jury since Jan. 7 with a plea of not criminally responsible. He was found guilty and criminally responsible by Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge William Rowan, who issued his judgment after days of testimony as to whether or not paranoid schizophrenia prevented Winters from understanding the criminality of his actions — and acting in accordance with the law — the night of the murder.

"This is one of the saddest cases I've ever heard or been involved with," Rowan told a solemn courtroom, expressing sympathy for the plight of parents with a child suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. "…All of us who are parents can appreciate the virtual nightmare you're dealing with.

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Drug-free help for postnatal depression -
The Guardian (England

Two new studies have found that counselling and peer-group support for new mothers might help prevent depression
ry

Postnatal depression, which affects 13% of mothers and can lead to suicide, could be treated without drugs and even prevented, new research suggests today.

While depression following the birth of a baby can have a serious effect on the new mother, it can also prove detrimental to her partner, on the development of the infant and the wellbeing of any other children.

Two studies published in the British Medical Journal today show that the support of health visitors and of other women who have experienced postnatal depression could make a real difference.

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Many inmates sick, access to care poor: study - Reuters

HICAGO (Reuters) - Inmates in U.S. prisons and jails have rates of serious illness that far exceed those of the general population and many lack access to healthcare, researchers said on Thursday.

They found that 800,000 inmates -- about 40 percent of the U.S. prison population -- have a chronic medical problem such as diabetes, asthma or heart or kidney problems.


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New study: Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are genetically linked - Scientific American

A new study suggests that if schizophrenia runs in a family, there's a good chance that bipolar disorder does as well (and vice versa). The findings, published today in the journal The Lancet, suggest that the two disorders are caused by some of the same genes.

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Diagnosis for hope - Indianapolis Star

Three years ago at age 53, Carlotta Cyrus was a busy, neonatal nurse at St. Vincent Hospital who loved caring for "my babies," as she fondly called them.

She was a vociferous reader and relished decorating her house each Christmas. For a while, she spent many weekends in Kentucky, helping her stepmother after her father died. But she sensed something was amiss.
Advertisement

Looking back, the signs of Alzheimer's were growing. The disease is a mind-robbing, degenerative condition estimated to afflict more than 100,000 Hoosiers -- a number that is expected to grow by 20,000 by 2010. It's the most common form of dementia, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior.

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Death penalty off the table for man accused of killing sister - Kinston (NC) Free Press

Prosecutors will not pursue the death penalty against a Southwest area man accused of killing his sister in 2007.

Dennis James Connolley, 36, of 128 Bronco Lane, pleaded not guilty during a pretrial hearing Thursday to charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

If convicted, Connolley faces life in prison without parole, Senior Assistant District Attorney Ernie Lee told the court Thursday. He said in light of the mental issues raised by the defense and the absence of a heinous aspect in the homicide, the state chose not to seek capital punishment

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Homeless need to uproot their encampments before inauguration

WASHINGTON - Clifton Wayne Lee, a homeless veteran, usually sleeps on a heating grate outside the Federal Trade Commission building. It would be a prime spot on Inauguration Day — just steps from the inaugural parade route.

But he'll have to give it up. District of Columbia and federal authorities are telling homeless people that they'll soon have to vacate the large chunk of property that will be secured before President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration Tuesday. The zone includes the National Mall, Capitol Hill and more than 10 blocks that make up the parade route.

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Lilly settles Zyprexa suit
for $1.42 billion - Associated Press

Eli Lilly & Co. taught its sales force a catchy slogan to peddle the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for treating the elderly.

Company salespeople told care providers that 5 milligrams of Zyprexa at 5 p.m. — or "5 at 5" — would help dementia patients sleep.

Only problem: Regulators never approved selling the drug for dementia, and federal prosecutors say marketing like that led to a record $1.42 billion settlement with Lilly announced Thursday.

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City helps homeless find shelter
from fierce cold - Chicago Sun-Times

With arctic weather settling over Chicago, the city is sending out more outreach workers to encourage homeless people to go to shelters and asking citizens to check on the elderly and people living alone.

"We're asking all of Chicago to be our eyes and ears and help us take care of those who are most vulnerable," said Mary Ellen Caron, who heads Chicago's department of family support services. "A call to 311 could save a life."

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Deadly police shooting of ‘kind’ Ewingite stokes debate for Tasers - Trenton (NJ) Trentonian

Anger seethed on the Internet yesterday. Why did Jacob Olson have to die? Why didn’t police officers shoot him in the legs? Or use rubber bullets? Or Taser guns?

Many of the Trentonian readers who learned how the 23-year-old Ewing man was gunned down and killed by South Brunswick police on Monday night on Route 1 wondered why some form of police restraint hadn’t been used.


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Pleasantville woman pleads not guilty to murder in Conn. love-triangle case - White Plains (NY) Journal News

A 39-year-old Pleasantville woman already doing 25 years in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for trying to stab her husband to death pleaded not guilty yesterday in the stabbing death of her former co-worker, whom police described as her love rival.

Davalloo has been getting treatment in prison for bipolar disorder. S

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Lawyers for children win fee dispute - Boston Globe

The lawyers who won the Rosie D. case, which sought to compel the state to improve care for low-income, mentally ill children, have now won their fight over attorneys' fees.

Federal District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor ruled yesterday that the state must pay lawyers and staff for the dozen lead plaintiffs on the complex, long-running case a total of about $6.8 million.

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Estimate for prison hospital fix drops -
Torrance (CA) Daily Breeze

So you think the $8 billion estimate bandied around as the cost for fixing medical care in California's prisons might be just a tad high?

So does the court-appointed receiver who's right now trying to get the first part of that money to start planning construction on high-security hospitals and mental wards for an estimated 10,000 prisoners.

"We may not need $8 billion," concedes J.Clark Kelso, the Sacramento law professor who has taken charge of all state prison hospitals, doctors and nurses. "The numbers we're using could be wrong. Our projections of how prisoners' health problems will develop might be wrong. There could be a prisoner release of some kind or a change in sentencing policies."

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Army mental-health providers in Iraq often unlicensed in war's early going - Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In 2005, an Army captain in Iraq asked for a mental-health evaluation for one of his soldiers, a private first class from North Carolina who was known to put the muzzle of his weapon in his mouth.
The case was assigned to a psychologist who was unlicensed — a common practice in the early years of the war, when the Army rushed mental-health counselors to the combat zone even if some weren't certified or fully qualified.

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