Dinah, ClinkShrink, & Roy produce Shrink Rap: a blog by Psychiatrists for Psychiatrists. A place to talk; no one has to listen. All patient vignettes are confabulated; the psychiatrists, however, are mostly real. --Topics include psychotherapy, humor, depression, bipolar, anxiety, schizophrenia, medications, ethics, psychopharmacology, forensic and correctional psychiatry, psychology, mental health, chocolate, and emotional support ducks. Don't ask. (It's not Shrink Wrap.)
In honor of 100 years of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore cinematographer Richard Chisolm, along with Kindall Rende, created this movie of members of the department talking about psychiatry at Hopkins. Many of the people shown in the film have been guest bloggers on Shrink Rap, and they include our mentors, colleagues, and friends. Both ClinkShrink and I are proud to be members of the department and we are both grateful for the education we've received, so we hope you'll spend a few minutes watching Richard's tribute.
I loved Andrew Solomon's book Far From the Tree. His TED talk gives a better flavor for his book than any review I could write, so let me share that with you here.
Over on our Psychology Today website, I talked about the CDC's announcement that suicide rates are on the rise, a trend that's been going on for over a decade. For today's blog post, please see:
Stolen from the Hopkins Mental Disorders YouTube site, Dr. Peter Rabins, co-author of The 36 hour Day, talks about how to figure out if you have dementia. Note to ClinkShrink who always teases me: losing your keys (and presumably your cell phone) is not a symptom of depression. Clinically, what I hear most is that people have trouble retrieving words, and this is usually associated with normal aging or with medications, not as a typical early symptom of Alzheimer's Disease.
In the upcoming Mother Jones article "Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin," Mac McClelland talks about his third cousin who suffers from schizophrenia and ultimately kills his own father.
McClelland talks about the difficulty in getting an ill person help, changes in how resources have been allocated which make this difficult, and fears about calling the police to bring a mentally ill patient to the hospital. McClelland writes:
"You can call the police," the deputy director of Sonoma County's National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), David France, said when I asked him what options are available to a parent whose adult child appears to be having a mental breakdown. "The police can activate resources," like an emergency psych bed in a regular hospital, or transport and admission to a psychiatric hospital in a county that, unlike Sonoma, has one. But only if the police decide your child is a danger to himself or others can they arrest him with the right to hold him for three days—what in California is called a 5150, after the relevant section of state law. Otherwise you can be turned away for lack of space even if your loved one is willing to be admitted, or be left no good options if they're not. Ninety-two percent of the patients in California's state psych hospitals got there via the criminal-justice system.
But Mark didn't want to call the police. For one, he didn't think Houston was dangerous, just upset, despairing.
Ah, California. No. 1 in the amount of mental-health funding cut from 2009 to 2011, No. 7 in cuts as a percentage. Home to one of the largest jail/psych facilities in the nation, the LA County Jail. Where visitors can't believe how many bat-shit-crazy homeless we've got. Where deinstitutionalization was pioneered under Gov. Ronald Reagan with the 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, which made it vastly more difficult to commit people, and where the rate of mentally ill in the criminal-justice system doubled just one year after it took effect. Where, often, the severely mentally ill live in jail for three to six months because they're waiting for a bed to open up in a psychiatric facility. California: where, says Torrey, the psychiatrist who warns about "predictable" violence like my cousin's, "they led the way in [deinstitutionalization], and they've led the way downhill. They're certainly leading the way in consequences