Alaska Misusing Institutionalized Mental Health Care For Kids: DOJ

The Anchorage Daily News covers a “major” Department of Justice investigation into care for children with mental health issues in Alaska, which found kids are “forced” into unnecessary care. Online pharmacy Truepill, ADHD in women, cyberbullying of teens, and more are also in the news.

In news about online mental health care —

The Wall Street Journal:
The Failed Promise Of Online Mental-Health Treatment 

Remote treatment of mental-health problems surged in the pandemic, as in-person treatment became difficult while pandemic-driven isolation increased anxiety and depression. Digital mental-health companies plunged in, promising to provide millions with access to high-quality care by video, phone, and messaging. Many of the businesses, however, put a premium on growth. Investor-backed, they deployed classic Silicon Valley tactics such as spending heavily on advertising and expansion while often using contractors instead of employees to control costs. A strategy designed for mundane businesses such as food delivery, the formula can be badly suited to the sensitive activity of treating mental-health problems. (Winkler, 12/18)

In other mental health news —

The Washington Post:
Cyberbullying Affects Almost Half Of American Teens. Parents May Be Unaware.

A new survey about teens and social media shows that nearly half of teens say they have been cyberbullied. In a separate survey administered to a parent of each teen, the adults ranked cyberbullying as sixth out of eight concerns about social media. Their top concern was their child being exposed to explicit content. The survey results, released by Pew this week, aren’t surprising, says to Devorah Heitner, author of “Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World.” “There’s just so much online aggression — aggression because of online disinhibition and the ways that we forget there’s another human being on the other end of the screen.” (Chang, 12/16)

The Wall Street Journal:
Problem Gambling Is On The Rise Among Young Men 

Jonathan Jones traces his gambling struggles back to a videogame he played in the fifth grade. Using lunch money or stealing small amounts from his parents, he would buy gaming gift cards and redeem them to spin a virtual wheel of fortune to collect prizes, such as weapons or armor, that could help him win the game, Zu Online, which is now discontinued. He would keep paying to spin again and again, a behavior that he says became compulsive and continued into other games. (Ansberry, 12/18)

The Wall Street Journal:
Drug Companies Join Medical Psychedelic Movement—But Without The High

Drug developers are designing new psychedelic compounds to treat depression and other mental-health conditions but skip the trip. Mind-bending psychedelics including MDMA (aka “ecstasy”), “magic mushrooms” and LSD are being studied as potential treatments for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. Dozens of companies and academic laboratories are also making changes to the structure of those drugs, or designing similar compounds, to take advantage of their therapeutic properties without the high. (Hernandez and Abbott, 12/18)

Chicago Tribune:
NFL Awards $200K To Chicago’s Crisis Assistance Response And Engagement Team

The NFL’s social justice arm will help Chicago extend its mental health resources in 2023 thanks to the Inspire Change social justice initiative. The endeavor announced that Chicago’s Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement team will receive $200,000 in grant money from the organization. The CDC estimates there have been at least 13 million illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations and 7,300 deaths, including 21 pediatric deaths, from the seasonal flu. (Rockett, 12/18)

Also —

The Washington Post:
How To Ask – And Talk – About Suicidal Thoughts 

Roughly half of people who die by suicide don’t reveal or hint at their intentions beforehand. Research on people who have experienced suicidal thoughts reveals they might fear the person they confide in will call the police and have them hospitalized. Or they may cherish their privacy, fear burdening people with worry, dread others’ reactions or judgment, or just not want to be stopped from carrying out their suicide plan. (Freedenthal, 12/18)


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