Category Archives: Mental health

A hallucinogen combined with psychotherapy may curb alcohol use disorder

Photo by cottonbro via pexels.

Journalists covering alcoholism may already know that it is the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind tobacco smoking, which ranks No. 1, and the combination of poor diet and too little exercise, which rank No. 2. But a new study has revealed that psilocybin, a hallucinogen, in combination with psychotherapy, may someday be a viable treatment for alcohol use disorder. (Check out these dos and don’ts when reporting on alcohol.)

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Journalist explains the right and wrong way to cover suicide

Aneri Pattani

When covering suicide, words, and framing matter, a lesson Raleigh, N.C.-based Kaiser Health News reporter Aneri Pattani learned firsthand when suicide researchers blasted her about how she had written a suicide story. 

 

“I got called out on the wording: ‘committed suicide’ versus ‘died by suicide,’” said Pattani, a Northeastern University journalism graduate whose Hopkins’ Master of Public Health Studies focuses on children and adolescents.

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New U.S. “988” mental health crises hotline debuts Saturday

AHCJ compilation of SAMHSA images for new 988 hotline.

Tomorrow (July 16) is the official launch date for “988,” which converts the existing 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to an easy-to-remember three-digit number.

This switch is intended to connect people suffering mental health crises more quickly with trained professionals and reduce instances where they end up in confrontations with law enforcement officers.

But there are questions about how well states are prepared to carry out the vision of “988,” especially given the current shortage of mental health professionals. There are estimates that by 2027, the emergency helpline will receive 24 million calls, texts, and online chat requests annually, although some experts say the number could reach 41 million, wrote Julie Wertheimer and Kristen Mizzi Angelone in a July 14 report for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Below are resources for covering 988, including articles by fellow journalists who have taken a deep look at the challenges with the start-up process.

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As racism rises, mental health of youth of color worsens

Photo by cottonbro via pexels.

Racism is a stressor for its victims, no matter their age, researchers began concluding several decades ago. Adding to that body of analysis are some new studies on specific impacts of racial discrimination and race-based hatred on Black and Asian young people. This research and related data can help journalists expand their coverage of how schools, clinicians and communities are tackling the fallout from racism.

Black youth living in areas deemed to have more anti-Black racism were less likely to benefit from cognitive-behavioral and other psychotherapies than their counterparts residing in communities where anti-Black racism is comparatively lower, according to a study analyzing five decades of psychotherapy research.

The study, published in June in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, involved people across 34 states and used “publicly available data on anti-Black racist attitudes to create a measure of state-level structural racism and analyzed randomized controlled trial data from youth psychotherapy studies of 2,182 mostly Black youth.” 

 “The extent to which racism or other prejudicial attitudes are endorsed in a given community — such as a neighborhood or a state — varies across the country,” lead researcher Maggi Price, a Boston University social work professor and director of its Affirm Lab, said in a press release. “Our study found that the level of racism in one’s community affects how well one does in mental health treatment.”  

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Some communities may be unprepared for July launch of 988 hotline

Photo courtesy of SAMHSA.

A new report from RAND Corp. suggests many communities may not be prepared to fully implement the vision of the 988 hotline. RAND recently released the results of its survey of 180 behavioral health professionals. The survey, conducted from Feb. 8 to March 17, was intended to assess how well communities have prepared for the 988 implementation. 

Only 16% of survey participants reported that their agency had established a budget for the transition and long-term support of the 988 hotline. More than half —51% — of survey participants said they had not been involved in the development of a strategic plan related to the launch.

“Our findings have confirmed what many advocates and experts feared: communities throughout the U.S. have not had the time or resources to adequately prepare for the debut of the 988 hotline number,” said Ryan McBain, co-lead of the research project and a policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization, in a statement.

Journalists can find interesting stories by investigating how well their states and local agencies have prepared for the official July 16 launch date for the new three-digit mental health emergency hotline (988).

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