Physical Health Should Be a Priority of the Mental Health System and Mental Health Should Be a Priority of the Health System

Over the past couple of years, it has become increasingly clear that physical health needs to be a priority of the mental health system and that mental health needs to be a priority of the health system. Why it took so long to realize this is not entirely clear to me, because the basic facts have...

“Behavioral” Health: What a Difference a Word Makes!

Mental Health News is now Behavioral Health News. It will now be reaching out to the fields of alcohol and substance abuse services and planning to expand its subject matter to include information about these fields in addition to the field of mental health. This is an exciting development that, I...

Murders and Mental Health Advocacy: Opportunity or Temptation to Resist?

From time-to-time, a person with a severe mental illness (or assumed to have a mental illness) commits a heinous act that makes headlines. The reactive call for better mental health services is entirely predictable, not only on the part of those who are trying to distract us from issues such as gun...

Let’s Not Forget Older Veterans

Wilbur Cohen’s account of his post-war suffering in Arthur Kleinman’s wonderful book, What Really Matters1 begins with the following: “The war. It’s what happened to me in the war. I could never get over it. But I learned to live with it. Then all of a sudden on my sixtieth birthday it...

Meeting the Medical Needs of People with Serious Mental Illness: Will New Initiatives Work?

On average, people with serious mental illness die at a much younger age than people without serious mental illness. Estimates range from about 10 to 25 years younger. They are also much more likely to have serious physical disorders including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease,...

Point of View – Elder Suicide: A Public Health Challenge of the Elder Boom

By the age of 88, Mr. W.* had lost most of his closest friends to death or dementia. His children had moved to other parts of the country. He saw them and his grandchildren rarely. He had retired from his long career as a teacher without finding new interests. But he and his wife were happy. They...

Stable Housing: Key to Closing the Mortality Gap

Stable housing is critical to closing the disparity in life expectancy between people with serious mental illness and the general population. Providing it should be a major part of the effort to confront the mortality gap. People with serious mental illness die considerably younger than the...

Mental Health in Health Care Reform: High Hopes but Big Battles Ahead

Federal health care reform promises health coverage for most of the 50 million American citizens and documented immigrants who are currently uncovered. This will include coverage of mental health and substance abuse treatment. It also promises improved quality of physical and behavioral health...

Point of View – Generational Competence: A Conceptual Framework for Aging in America

Two major demographic trends will unfold in America during the first half of the 21st century. Minorities will grow from 29% to 47% of the American population, and older adults (65+) will increase from 13% to 20%, becoming roughly as large as the population of children and adolescents under 18 for...

Point of View – Looking Back with Pride: Mental Health Policy in the 2nd Half of the 20th Century

I have had the good fortune over most of the past two decades to participate in the vast effort made by the Mental Health Association movement to make life better for people with mental illness, especially those who are disabled and rejected by society. There are two tremendously important...