House passes bill to help children who are born hooked on opioids

Lisa Collinsworth holds her infant son Luke during a visit with him at Lily's Place, a treatment center for opioid-dependent newborns in Huntington, West Virginia, October 19, 2015. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation to improve safety planning for babies born dependent on opioid drugs.

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Barack Obama ends solitary confinement for juveniles in federal custody

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Obama wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post (bio: "Barack Obama is president of the United States") explaining his suite of penal reform policies, which begin with ending the barbaric practice of putting children into solitary confinement, deemed a form of torture, "an affront to our common humanity." Read the rest

Powerful video campaign in Scotland against mental health stigma

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“Are you okay?”

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Antidepressant use by moms during pregnancy linked to increased autism risk

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Researchers examining a possible link between antidepressants and autism found that women who took the psychiatric medications while pregnant were far more likely to have autistic kids.

Women in the study who took antidepressants during the last six months of pregnancy were 87% more likely to have a child later diagnosed with autism. Researchers say the link was most prevalent with women on the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft are some of the more common SSRI drug brand names.

Does the new study prove antidepressants cause autism? No. Correlation is not causation, and science is complicated. But increasingly, autism research is focusing on factors that may contribute to the disorder before birth.

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John Oliver: why do we only talk about mental health after mass-shootings?

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John Oliver's segment on mass-shootings and mental health makes all the right points: making the issue about mental health instead of guns stigmatizes mentally ill people (who are more likely to be shot than shoot someone), but since we're on the subject, the American mental health system is a disgrace. Read the rest

Mentally ill man jailed over $5 worth of snacks dies in cell after waiting months for mental health care

Jamycheal Mitchell [Facebook]

Man, the first few paragraphs of this Washington Post story about a mentally ill man who died in a jail while waiting for medical care are so devastating. Read the rest

Antihoarding: When "decluttering" becomes a compulsion

If you felt a deep, nauseous tug in your guts when you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up*, perhaps you're teetering on the brink of a tidying compulsion. Read the rest

Psychological disorder causes you to hallucinate your doppelgänger

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In the book The Man Who Wasn't There, Anil Ananthaswamy explores mysteries of self, including the weirdness of autoscopic phenomena, a kind of hallucination in which you are convinced that you are having an out-of-body experience or face to face with your non-existent twin. Read the rest

Mobile phone use may worsen depression

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PUMP, or Problematic Use of Mobile Phone, happens when users turn to their phones instead of in-person contact to alleviate depression, according to a new study in Computers in Human Behavior. Read the rest

Wil Wheaton on depression

In a heartfelt and frank interview (conducted by our own Caroline Siede!), Wil Wheaton discusses the moment he realized he needed help with his clinical depression, and the moment he realized that the help was helping. Read the rest

Popehat on depression

Just because you're a Type A, "fully invested in the classic American self-image of independence and grit," don't think you couldn't use some help. Read the rest

Miles O'Brien on life after losing an arm

While on assignment in the Philippines, reporter Miles O’Brien had an accident and lost his left arm. In the weeks that followed, he learned that every movement, no matter how small, requires rethinking.

Should a past mental health episode mean this mom loses her child?

Steve Herbert for ProPublica

At ProPublica, the story of a young woman who had a mental health crisis -- a psychotic episode -- and as a result, lost custody of her infant daughter. In the crisis incident, the mom became delusional and believed her child had been raped. The child had not been assaulted, nor was she ever harmed by her mom. Four years later, the mom is receiving effective treatment for her postpartum depression and psychosis, and capably raising a son. Yet, the courts in Kansas still won't give back her daughter, arguing she is unfit based an principle sometimes called "predictive neglect." Is this right? Read the rest

Prints that peer into 8-bit game characters' lurking anxieties

Christopher Hemsworth's Dear Inner Demons -- Retro Video Game Edition is a series of prints (8"x8", $16) in which we learn about the deep insecurities of our favorite olde fashioned video-game characters. Read the rest

Investigative report on collapse of US mental health care system

Karen Kelley is one of about 10 million people who suffer from mental illness. The cost is staggering, and could never account for the emotional toll, since that could never be fully calculated. [USA Today]

"More than half a million Americans with serious mental illness are falling through the cracks of a system in tatters," reports Liz Szabo and colleagues in an important USA TODAY special report. Absolute must-read. Read the rest

Hyperbole and a Half book delivers

Back in October, I predicted that I would love the long-awaited Hyperbole and a Half book, adapted from Allie Brosh's absolute treasure of a webcomic. One of the highlights of my winter holiday so far has been gobbling up this book as quick as I could cram it into my eyeballs, a task complicated by being frequently convulsed with laughter -- at least when my heart wasn't being torn out.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened Read the rest

The history of lobotomy in the VA

A couple years ago, I read Jack El-Hai's brilliant book about lobotomy popularizer Walter Freeman — the man who lobotomized Rosemary Kennedy and traveled the country lobotomizing thousands of Americans with an ice pick. Now, at the Wall Street Journal, Michael Phillips has a big feature about Freeman and the influence he had on mental healthcare in the Veterans Administration. It's a chilling and important long read. Read the rest

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