A mental health break

Posted on Saturday, September 26th, 02009 by Kirk Citron
link Categories: Long News   chat 0 Comments

The Long News: stories that might still matter fifty, or a hundred, or ten thousand years from now.

Roy McDonald writes: “For the long news I’d suggest almost anything on mental health. My thesis is that we are in the stone age in understanding mental illness, minor and major and that it’s something we’re capable of making great progress on in the next century. If we improve mental health globally seems like we could reduce a lot of violence, social tension and international conflict as well as improve economic productivity.”

Here are some recent stories on the topic:

1. First, the bad news: Common mental disorders may be more common than we think

2. The scale of the problem:
More Americans taking drugs for mental illness
U.S. spends $9 billion on child mental illness
100 million in China suffer from mental illness

3. You can’t get away from your problems, no matter how far you go: Feeling low up high: the lonely astronaut

4. An interesting blog post: Are artificial intelligence and robots the future of mental health?

5. Some hope: UCLA researchers develop biomarker for rapid relief of major depression

6. And a prescription: Groups are key to good health

We invite you to submit Long News story suggestions here.

  • bryan campen

    Great suggestion, and right as we move to the beginning of Mental Illness Awareness Week Oct 4-10 in the US.

    Adding to Roy’s thesis that we are indeed in the Stone Age on this, it’s worth pointing out that the presence of a number of meaningful, real world relationships dramatically increases one’s overall lifespan, I think up to around thirty years total is the estimate I heard. Wish I had the link.

    Another really interesting piece of somewhat-related news that came about this week is the death of Italian “cave dweller” and sociologist Maurizio Montalbini, who spent 235 days in the Appenine “Grotta Freda” (Cold Cave) from 2006-2007. The Times piece [below] says the sociologist, who previously worked with drug addicts, “spent months dwelling in caves to study how the mind and body cope with complete isolation.” I wonder if such an experiment will have any impact on our understanding of mental health overall.

    He died this week at 56.

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/09/20/world/AP-EU-Italy-Obit-Montalbini.html

  • Thanks for this! I think this is very appropriate Long News. In particular, I like the reference to groups and how that impacts our health. It seems that we are at the very beginning of learning how social structures impact our mental well being. Isn’t that something that we’ve always known, though? That it’s a good thing to be supported by loving friends and family. That healthy communities produce healthy people.

  • Social networking will change this. As people become more and more connected, they will feel less and less like they’re alone in the world. The fact is, people isolate themselves too much right now by living in suburbs and getting used to rather boring lifestyles. We’re raised to believe it’s a problem that kids are spending so much time on the computer social networking and playing MMORPG’s, but in reality, they’re keeping themselves sane and busy. Most important of all, they have friends all over the world, so they’ll never be alone.

  • The currently held positions in mental health reminds me of the old nature vs. nurture debate, accurately split between the rightwing and the leftist subcultures. In mental illness, both is true, social and biological causes. Concentrating on one is motivated by political forces on each side and should be abandoned for a integrated perspective.

  • Alain

    There already is an answer to mental health!
    Unfortunately the world seems to be blind to it…
    Choice Theory

  • France

    I’m a Chinese.I knew this by TED.It’s cool.


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