Category Archives: mental health

Study Suggests Lithium Added To Water Supply Will Lower Suicide

A Japanese study suggests that putting the drug lithium into water supplies could reduce suicide. The researchers have called on other countries to study the effects.

The study looked at the lithium levels in drinking water in Oita. The city have a population of more than one million people. In areas where the lithium was highest there was a positive marked difference in suicide deaths. High doses of lithium is used in the treatment of mood disorders.

The team of researchers from universities in Oita and Hiroshima found that even low levels of water with lithium had lower rates of suicide.

Researchers believe that the lower rates may have a cumulative protective effect on the brain after drinking the water for years.

There have been past research on the same subject in the 1980’s. Those results showed the same lower levels of suicide.

Researchers in Japan have asked other countries to research the issue. They have stopped short of suggesting that lithium be added to drinking water elsewhere.

BBC quotes Professor Allan Young of Vancouver’s Institute for Mental Health:

“Large-scale trials involving the addition of lithium to drinking water supplies may then be feasible, although this would undoubtedly be subject to considerable debate. Following up on these findings will not be straightforward or inexpensive, but the eventual benefits for community mental health may be considerable.”

Sophie Corlett, external relations director at mental health charity Mind, agrees that the study deserves more investigation but cautions that adding even trace amounts of the drug needs to be researched throughly because of side effects.

Florida woman thought she was the anti-Christ, murders son

A woman in Florida shot her son and then herself on Sunday at Shoot Straight shooting range in Casselberry. She left behind recorded messages saying that she was the anti-Christ and that she needed to save her son.
Security cameras caught the moment the woman took aim behind her son, Mitchell at point blank range. She then shot herself in the mouth.

Marie Moore, 44, left a suicide message:“I had to send my son to Heaven and myself to Hell.”

Moore died at hospital.

The Sun reports that Moore left a recorded message.

She said: “God’s turned me into the Anti-Christ. I’m a good person, but the Devil and God turned me into the worst person in the world.”

Moore left the recordings for her boyfriend and the authorities.

are saying despite the recordings that they do not have a motive for the murders.

“We have no clue. I don’t even want to begin to speculate,” said Deputy Chief Bill McNeil of the Casselberry Police Department.

The security video clearly shows Moore behind her son as he aims at a target unaware. The next still shows the young man falling to the ground as another patron is alerting others.

The gun used to kill the man was rented at the shooting range.

Charles Moore, father of Mitchell, told the police that in 2002 Marie Moore was in a mental hospital under the Baker Act. In the recordings left for the police by Moore, she referred to that time but stated she was not sick. Two of the notes were signed “Failed Queen.” Late Monday family found three suicide notes and audio tapes. They gave them to the police.

Moore said on one of the tapes that she wanted to ‘save’ her son and do it in a public way so that the world could be saved. “Hopefully when I die, there will 1,000 years of peace.”

She also stated that she could not tell her boyfriend because he would have had her committed to the hospital and would have been unable to ‘save’ Mitch.

Charles Moore said that Moore had a history of mental illness. She had been barred from the same shooting range when she attempted to commit suicide there seven years ago according to Mr. Moore.

That differs from what the manager at Shoot Straight is saying. He said that the Moore’s were not regular clients of the range. All clients fill out a form of questions, including whether they have ever been convicted of a felony or been declared mentally unstable. That information though is not verified though.

Just News

Anderson defended the range’s policies, saying: “If someone acts right, we have to assume they are right.”

Based on the writings and audio recordings that he’s seen in the media, Anderson said, it’s clear that Marie Moore was “bent on doing it.”

“Sometimes, like what happens Sunday, you have no control,” Anderson said. “There’s nothing you can do to prevent it.”

That information is online for $24 though. Ranges are not required to run the background checks on their clients. Mental health histories are not online because of patient privacy laws.

TBI and Domestic Violence

The healing process of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is difficult in the best of times. One of the aspects of the injury can be aggressive behaviors that the patient brings on to their family.
Trauma to the brain can lead to repeated incidents of violent behavior in individuals without a previous history of aggression prior to the injury

Patients will TBI tend to be more dependent on their spouses. That tendency also appears to be related to higher levels of aggression towards spouses post-injury. Because of several factors patients often lash out at the one who is caring for them, in many cases this is the spouse.

Because patients can forget day to day incidents they can feel that they are being lied to. The frustration and anger from this process can be taken out on their family members when they are reminded of an event as this reporter has experienced.

In 1981 McKinley found that there was a a 70% incidence of post traumatic irritability of which 20% was defined as violent behavior that could persist for at least 5 years after injury. Furthermore that following head trauma aggression is often poorly directed, unrelated to any specific trigger, and can occur with minimal or no provocation. Because there has been damage to the orbital and ventro-medial structures behavioral self-control is damaged. This can also cause problems in rehabilitation and community reintegration.

Rodger L. Wood, Ph.D. and Christina Liossi, D.Psych. authored a study (Neuropsychological and Neurobehavioral Correlates of Aggression Following Traumatic Brain Injury ) that took place over a seven year period from March 1997 until June 2004 studying 287 severely head-injured patients referred for neuropsychological examination and rehabilitation advice were selected from 361 consecutive referrals.

The patients in the study had exclusion criteria of a) a previous history of head injury, neurological or psychiatric disorder; b) alcohol or drug abuse; c) neurological or neuropsychological disability, such as speech, motor or perceptual deficit, likely to interfere with neuropsychological assessment; and d) a pre-accident history of aggressive behavior.

These of the exclusion criteria 29 cases were dropped from the study. Patients were seen between one and three years post-injury. All patients in the study were living in the community but were having persisting employment and relationship difficulties as a result of the cognitive and behavioral legacies of their head injuries.

The authors assessed the study subjects through semi-structured clinical interview about the incidence and nature of aggressive behavior. Reports from family members and patients were corroborated by case records.

The authors found 134 cases of post-accident histories of verbally abusive and threatening behavior, or actual physical violence. Most of the violence had not involved the police. The majority of partners found that their relationship with their spouse with TBI had become extremely fragile as a result of impulsive aggression or unpredictable and volatile changes in mood and temperament after the brain injury occurred.

The researchers found that there was a relationship between low IQ, socioeconomic status, male sex, and aggression.

Domestic violence is in some ways different when dealing with a person with TBI. Because of the damage to the frontal lobe during a TBI a patient will often lose their social judgment capabilities. This can cause the person to not be able to reason the appropriateness of either their own behavior or the behavior they expect from others.

In the case of the family, the patient does not often understand the amount of patience the family has to have in dealing with him or her. The person with TBI also often may have little insight into their impact on the family.

While it is very difficult to do Brian Injury Org. reminds family members not to take the abuse personally. Each incident needs to be treated as an isolated one, even though it can be difficult.

Do not allow yourself to live in a reign of terror. If problems persist, you may need to consider professional support with a programme geared at behavioural management. Your local Brain Injury Association should be able to refer you to specialists in this area.

If at anytime the abusive behavior becomes physical do not stay. Your life can depend upon this.

Man Survives Suicide Attempt At Horseshoe Falls

Wednesday night a man climbed over the guard wall at Horseshoe Falls and jumped into the Niagara River. Somehow the man survived falling over the waterfalls.
Niagara Parks Police Chief Doug Kane said the American man believed to be in his late 30’s refused medical assistance at the bottom of the falls. He is only the third person known to live through a plunge over the 180 foot falls in recent years. It is thought that the man was attempting to end his life.

Rescue crews tried to help the man as he swam away from them. A helicopter was brought in and using the wind from the blades forced him to get close enough for rescuers to grab him.

CBC News

“He wasn’t co-operative,” pilot Ruedi Hafen, owner of Niagara Falls Helicopter, told the Associated Press. “He didn’t try to be helpful. We had a sling on him, and he got out of it.”

The man was taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia and a head injury. He has since lapsed into unconsciousness and is in critical condition.

Years ago people would foolishly attempt to survive Horseshoe Falls inside a barrel. They often made it home in a coffin. Today such a stunt would get a person a fine, jail time or a spot six feet under.

Workers suspended for ‘Fight Club’ at Texas school for disabled

Staff at Corpus Christi State School in Corpus Christi are being accused of setting up a ‘Fight Club’ with the residents. Police say workers were encouraging residents to battle one another.
Police received a cell phone containing videos of the alleged abuse suspected to have taken place in the dorms last week. They are expecting to file arrest warrants in the case later this week for workers at Corpus Christi State School in Corpus Christi.

There are seven current staff members and four former employees being investigated on the alleged abuse.

CNN reports:

“This has been going on for some time,” Corpus Christi police Capt. Tim Wilson said. “That is what makes this an exceptional case. It is not the workers abusing the clients, so to speak. The workers are not hitting them, but they are allowing these clients to fight with each other, thereby endangering their well-being.”

“These people are charged with the care and custody of these clients, and they are exploiting (them),” he said.

Those involved will most likely be charged with injury of a disabled person, a third-class felony. The actual charges are being left up to the Nueces County District Attorney.

Straits Times reports:

‘It’s some of the worst child abuse I’ve seen in over 30 years,’ Corpus Christi Police Captain Tim Wilson said. ‘Sometimes we see isolated incidents. What’s appalling about this is that it appears to be organized.’

The videos that have been reviewed by the police show the alleged abuses taking place as far back as 2007. Most of the workers on the tapes have been identified.

Seven of the staff at the school are on paid emergency leave. They were placed on leave by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. Authorities have said that former staff may also be interviewed for the case.

The employees on leave are not allowed on the campus grounds. They are required, however, to show up at the gate each day they are on leave to sign in.

The New York Daily News reports:

“Any abuse or neglect of residents placed in our care will not be tolerated,” said Laura Albrecht, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Texas is dealing with several abuse allegations against state school employees. A federal report from 2008 cited 53 deaths linked to preventable conditions within these schools. The report called the hundreds of reports that have been filed on cases of abuse and injuries to patients “disturbingly high.” Almost half of state facilities are in danger of losing government funding because of alleged abuses.

The state at this time does not require staff to have fingerprinting, background checks and random drug testing when hiring employees. That is measure up for the state Legislature. Lawmakers are also wanting to create an ombudsman to investigate injuries and deaths. Texas is considering having the proposed future ombudsman oversee a hot line for abuse-and-neglect calls.

Criminally insane inmate wants OHIP to pay for sex change

An inmate is demanding that Canada pays for a sex change. The criminally insane man is in the penal system for sexual assault.

This week an inmate, Shauna Taylor, appeared in court requesting that an orchidectomy to surgically remove the testes be conducted.

Formerly known as Vance Egglestone before a legal name-change started hormone therapy in 2000 to transition into a female. Taylor has already undergone hormone therapy, nose surgery and permanent hair removal.

During the court proceedings three guards from Oakridge division of the Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre were on hand to guard Taylor.

As a man the inmate was found not guilty of rape by reason of a mental disorder. Taylor went to an institution for treatment.

In 1985 Taylor plead guilty for another sexual assault shortly after release from the mental hospital.

Taylor blames criminal behaviour of the past on gender identity disorder.

Given the dates that the hormone therapy started Taylor was in the prison system. It’s a given that OHIP has already been paying for those treatments. The next stage of treatment will cost $15,000. There is debate in the court about who should pay for an assessment to see if Taylor even would qualify for the operation being as she is considered criminally insane.

An assessment is required for surgical removal of sex organs under OHIP. That assessment is a rigorous testing to determine whether or not surgical intervention is necessary for Taylor’s health and welfare.

Taylor believes that the surgery would further her treatment.

The Toronto Sun reports:

“I was a female trapped inside a male’s body,” she said. “I started acting out in ways that I thought a male was supposed to act … my head was in a spin back then.”

Florida 7-Year-Old Baker Acted For School Room Tanrtum

When a little seven-year-old became uncontrollable on Wednesday in his Largo, Florida classroom the police stepped in and used the Baker Act. The child was forced to spend the night at Morton Plant Hospital against his parents wishes.
The child had thrown a temper tantrum in his class at Mildred Helms Elementary School. He alledgedly caused a mess in the room during his outburst. He also stepped on a teacher’s foot and “battered” a school administrator. According to Largo deputy police Chief John Carroll the other students had to be removed from the room during the tantrum. The school called both the police and the boy’s parents. When the police arrived they decided that the kid needed to be seen for a mental health exam.

This was not the first time the police had been called to the school about this child. The police officer at the scene decided that the child needed help instead of going home with his mother.

The Lakeland Ledger reports:

“He just felt that this young man needed some mental health service he wasn’t getting,” Carroll explained. “The Baker Act is a kind of a Band-Aid that allows us to have somebody introduced to the service providers that can actually do something for him.”

Mother Barbara Smith says that the police would not allow her to defuse the situation by seeing her son. She agreed to ride with the boy in the police car on route to the hospital. Since the incident neither the boy nor his sister, 9, have returned to school out of fear.

Raine Johns handles Baker Act cases for the Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender’s Office. The Baker Act is used to get a mental health exam for people who are in danger of harming themselves or others. It can be used against their will.

That’s not the purpose of the Baker Act at all,” said Johns, who is not involved in the case. “Stepping on somebody’s foot doesn’t rise to the level of substantial bodily harm.”

In the Pinellas school system this year the police have evoked the Baker Act 83 times.

Carroll believes that the officers did the right thing for this child.

“The child got interviewed by mental health professionals,” he said. “He didn’t get arrested. There’s no criminal charges against him.”

The boy’s parents do not follow that belief. Richard Smith and his wife are not sure of their next step however they plan to speak to a lawyer.

Op-Ed: Did Dr. Phil Cross The Line?

When “Dr. Phil” McGraw spoke out last weekend about Britney Spears’ condition did he cross a line? Her family thinks so. Dr. Phil breached patient doctor confidentiality by talking to the press after a weekend visit with Ms. Spears.

“The family basically extended an invitation of trust for him to come in as a resource to support them, not to go out and make public statements,” Taylor said. “Any statement publicly that he made, because he was brought in under this cloak of trust, (is) just inappropriate.”

The family did not invite him to visit with Ms. Spears to add to the ongoing media circus that surrounds her every move.

On his own behalf Dr. Phil states:

Somebody needs to step up and get this young woman into some quality care – and I do not apologize one whit, not one second, for trying to make that happen”

As for the law it is not so much a law but the ethical stance of the Oath of Hippocrates.

“Whatever, in connection with my professional service, or not in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret.”

“Those things which are sacred, are to be imparted only to sacred persons; and it is not lawful to impart them to the profane until they have been initiated into the mysteries of the science.”

While what McGraw did by talking to the media is ethically wrong he wasn’t going against the law unless a bona-fide doctor-patient relationship exists or existed in that case he really blew it. There is an exception though to the law and McGraw could be in shaky legal water because of it.

California’s legal privilege expressly includes psychotherapists and psychiatrists (Section 1010 of Evidence Rules). Patients must expressly waive doctor-patient confidentiality when they become plaintiffs in civil lawsuits (Section 1016 of Evidence Rules). Doctors may withhold certain mental health records from patients if disclosure would have an adverse effect on patient. (H&S Section 1795.12 and.14).

Regardless of the law what “Dr. Phil” did by speaking out about Spears was not on the up and up. If I were a patient in his practice I would be looking for another doctor. One I could trust not to discuss what was going on with my case to anyone other than a person I had authorized.

When trust is broken, a doctor has failed to do their duty.

It may surprise some that as of 2008, McGraw is not licensed to practice psychology because of a ruling on January 27, 1989. In that ruling the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists placed disciplinary sanctions on McCraw for inappropriate “dual relationship” reported in 1988 by a therapy client/employee from 1984 who was 19 years of age at the time. McGraw was ordered to take an ethics class, pass a jurisprudence exam, complete a physical evaluation, undergo a psychological evaluation and have his practice supervised for one year in order to continue his private practice in Texas.

Robert Kosilek/Michelle Kosilek: Should Taxpayers Pay For Sex Change Surgery

Robert Kosilek killed his wife. His trial was in 1990 and he was sentenced to prison. In 1993 he became Michelle Kosilek. Michelle is back in court but not for a crime. Michelle wants the American tax payer to foot her sex change operation.

Michelle has sued the Corrections Department twice citing the Eighth Amendment. Michelle says its cruel and unusual punishment to have to endure life in the body of a man and that the system should not only allow for her sex change operation but also foot the bill.

Trial over this case has been in the courthouse of Boston for more than a year. Its not a cut and dry thing after all to decide if this is a medically necessary operation or an elective one.

The cost of the medical experts alone is over $52,000. And the tax payer is paying for it. Both sides including the judge have had their own experts helping to navigate the controversial path.

Michelle is serving a life sentence for the murder of Robert’s wife. When his wife spilled hot tea on his genitals he strangled her and claimed self defense. The jury didn’t buy it then and sentenced him.

Michelle’s case is being watched by other transgender inmates. No other transgender has successfully sued their state to cover the cost of sex change surgery.

The surgery costs around $20,000. This trial that has been clogging up the courts has so far cost more than triple that.

“They are prisoners. They are there because they’ve broken the law,” said Republican state Sen. Scott Brown, who unsuccessfully introduced a bill to ban sex-change surgery for inmates. “Other folks, people who want to get these types of surgeries, they have to go through their insurance carrier or save up for it and do it independently. Yet if you are in prison, you can do it for nothing? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

The other side of the coin is that transgender cases are getting more medical consideration.

As for Michelle, who has attempted suicide twice already, her future lays in the courts hands. She does receive medical treatment for gender identity disorder that include laser hair removal, hormone treatments and psychotherapy. She says its not enough.

“I would not want to continue existing like this,” Kosilek testified.

Those suicide attempts may prove Michelle’s undoing when the judge decides to rule.

Her depression has lifted with the use of hormones. Another possible strike.

Experts are divided about whether or not she needs the surgery.

The officials from the prison cite security risks and the question of where to house Michelle if the surgery is allowed. She would be in danger and a risk in both the male and the female prisons.

“The department does not negotiate or respond to threats of harm or suicide in an effort to barter,” Former Commissioner Kathleen Dennehy said. “You couldn’t run a prison with that kind of leveraging going on.”

It will all come down to what the judge thinks. The other transgender inmates are watching and hoping that the judge understands that the surgery can be the difference between a life lived in the right body or being forced to deal with a body that betrays a person for life.

OP-ED: You’re Stupid, and Words That Kill

Want to know a sure way to get away with murder? Tell your children day in and day out they are stupid. Or ugly. Or worthless. Oh shot you can go ahead and try out this experiment on your wife or boyfriend. Pick and choose. Destroy at will.

That’s how it is with verbal abuse. Slowly but surely words are used to kill the spirit of those being attacked. Verbal abuse is more damaging to the spirit than physical abuse. One leaves bruises. There is no doubt that you shouldn’t be hit. Verbally? The bruise is still there but it’s deep into the soul and unlike that black eye this bruise doesn’t go away. It may fade but it’s always there just on the edge.

It’s a slow painful death.

Let me be clear here. I am not talking about the occasional lapse in judgement when the day is too long and you lose it. I am talking about a concentrated effort to repeatably verbal torture someone.

To scar without marks.

That old saying of sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me is a crock. Words have more power than any gun out there. We treasure them, cultivate them. Words can help a person soar when used in a positive manner. And they can be used to bury a walking corpse.

We tell our kids to ignore the bullies. We roll our eyes at those who are just horrid and think to ourselves in one ear and out the other. Does that really play out well?

I bet you don’t remember much of what was said to you in school by your friends but there was that one kid. You know the one, who you remember to this day and you remember the words they said.

Words hurt.

It’s time for people to take a stand. When you hear someone being cut to the quick speak up. When you see a child with eyes so sad that they rip you apart tell them they are loved.

Words have power.

They can heal. Or destroy. It’s up to you what your word power is.