Hello, this is Astrid from the Netherlands, with This News in Mentalists for this week. Today, Dutch mental health professionals and some clients are protesting the government’s proposed massive budget cuts to mental health services. They assert that cuts are necessary, but not in the manner the government wants. Besides, the government’s proposal leads to inequality, because mentally ill people get a high copay on services, but physically ill people don’t. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any English-language news story on the protests, so I’m going with other news in mental health.
To start off, last week, psychotherapy leader Marsha Linehan, who invented the dialetctical behaviour therapy approach, came out about her own mental health struggles. Among other things, she was admitted to a mental hospital and in seclusion as a teenager. This inspired her to invent the DBT program for people with similar issues to hers, such as borderline personality disorder, severe suicidality and self-harm. Today, someone wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times discussing other clinicians who came out as mentally ill.
Also last week, BBC News released a worrying story on mental health care for young offenders.
Last Monday, the Casey Anthony trial continued in the USA. The Daily Mail reports that she is mentally fit to stand trial. For those not familiar with Casey Anthony, she is accused of first-degree murder of her daughter in 2008. During hte tiral, Anthony claimed all kinds of mental health issues, including sexual abuse by her father and a dissociative disorder. Last Saturday, the defence claimed she was not fit to continue the trial, so she was evaluated psychologically by three independent experts.
Last week, The Guardian reported that mental health services in the UK are in crisis over staff shortage, according to the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Yesterday, on the Guardian blog Comment is Free, there appeared a response claiming that mental health in the UK is a world leader and far from in crisis.
Lastly, sad news from Northern Ireland today: last year, the highest number of NI residents took their own lives. According to a report from the National Confdential Inquiry, alcohol and drug abuse are to blame.
For this week’s wildcard, I’m going to post something my boyfriend e-mailed to me last week: a video from The Onion of an autistic reporter’s take on a train crash. Thankfully, the train escaped unharmed from its collision with a man.