President Signs Clay Hunt Act, and Other News

Marching feet of soldiers in fatigues and combat bootsIn 2011, Clay Hunt, a decorated Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, committed suicide after struggling with depression and posttraumatic stress. Last week, President Obama signed into law a bill named in Hunt’s honor. The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act will create a centralized website that serves as a repository for veterans’ mental health resources. The law also requires annual third-party evaluations of military mental health and suicide prevention programs. It also initiates a program that repays student loan debts of psychiatry students to help fill the psychiatrist shortage at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Among military service members and veterans, seeking help for mental health issues is often stigmatized, and for those who do seek help, navigating the often confusing bureaucracy and support channels of the VA can be daunting, especially with a mental health issue like a traumatic brain injury or posttraumatic stress. What’s more, the VA has notoriously experienced a shortage of mental health professionals, and their services are frequently associated with long wait times. The fact that the SAV Act is designed to help attract new mental health professionals to the VA with the offer to repay student loans should help to ensure that returning service members have ready access to care.

Teen Brain Scans Reveal a Key to Weight Loss

According to a study that examined brain scans of 34 teens, teens who successfully lose and keep off weight may have more activity in the prefrontal cortex. This brain region is thought to affect executive function—the ability of the mind to manage planning, cognition, and other higher-level processes.

Kids Who Consume Energy Drinks Show Hyperactive and Inattentive Symptoms

A survey of 1,649 middle school students with an average age of 12 has found that 15% of the students drink energy drinks every day. The study’s results suggest that kids who routinely drink these beverages aren’t doing so to cope with sleep deprivation or low energy. Instead, these kids show higher rates of hyperactivity and inattention.

Scientists Weigh In On What Can Mend a Broken Heart

The pain of a failed or broken relationship can be so devastating that symptoms look a lot like depression. Though a popular adage suggests that time heals all wounds, there’s more to moving past a broken heart than the simple passage of time. Research is increasingly suggesting that talking through the pain can be an effective way of coping.

Napping Beyond Age of Two Linked to Poorer Sleep Quality In Young Children

According to a review of 26 studies exploring napping behavior in children under 5 years of age, napping may not offer much benefit to children over 2. By this stage in development, kids get most of their sleep at night. But children who continue napping may have more difficulty falling and staying asleep than children who stop napping.

Kate Middleton Has Recorded a Touching Video About Kids’ Mental Health

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, recently released a video speaking out on behalf of children who face mental health challenges. The video is part of Middleton’s work with Place2Be, a child advocacy organization. In the video, the Duchess highlights the role that bullying can play in poor mental health, emphasizing the need for early intervention and increased sensitivity to children’s well-being.

Graphic Images On Cigarette Labels Affect Smokers’ Brains: Study

A few years ago, the FDA began requiring cigarette manufacturers to put graphic warning labels on their products. These labels show smokers smoking through tracheotomies and suffering with terrible smoking-related symptoms. In 2012, a court ruled that the FDA couldn’t use these labels since it hadn’t demonstrated their effectiveness, but a new study shows that smokers’ brains may react differently to more graphic labels. According to MRI scans of 19 smokers’ brains, the graphic images were more likely to activate parts of the brain associated with fear.

One-Star Restaurant Reviews Show Signs of Trauma, Linguists Say

People who have experienced trauma tend to use the past tense more frequently, and to use group pronouns such as “we” and “us,” supposedly to spread the pain around. According to a linguistic analysis of nearly a million online reviews of 6,500 restaurants, reviewers who leave one-star reviews are more likely to use language similar to the language trauma victims use.

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  • Mackenzie


    February 20th, 2015 at 10:40 AM

    makes you think twice about giving kids those energy drinks!

  • D.Lee


    February 21st, 2015 at 4:44 AM

    It’s awesome that veteran’s are getting extensive support with regards to pstd. However it would do a great honor for those of us whom are not Veteran’s but are plagued with the same unfortunate experience causing the same diagnosis get the same access to resources to treat the desease all the same. I am no veteran. But I am a struggling mother of three having the worst time getting supportive access to resources that may help me get my life back together. I fear lack of support might end me keeping my boys and I u der the same roof. I always run into the same setback. Finding resources Idesperately need but being ineligible because I am not a veteran. I Dont know what to do.

  • Ursula


    February 21st, 2015 at 5:32 AM

    Even though we all know what damage can be done by bullies, it often takes a larger than life voice like that of Kate Middleton to bring the severity of the situation to light. I think that we have a tendency to listen to more to what they have to say because they are who they are and it kind of makes you wonder if they have experienced this on a personal level.

  • Catherine


    February 21st, 2015 at 9:28 AM

    As non smoker I don’t really care of there are graphic images of smokers or not on the cigarette labels. But don’t you think that the cigarette companies will do whatever they can to block all of this? I just can’t see that they would risk losing so much money by letting this be what they have to use on their labels.
    I know that we no longer think of Joe Cool sucking on a Camel as being cool, but these images, even for me, could be a little over the top. Smokers know how dangerous this is, and yet it is still their choice to decide if they want to do it or not.

  • Benny


    February 21st, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    My grandkids are the opposite. Those twins are 4 and they always sleep better at night if they do have their little nap during the daytime.

  • walker


    February 23rd, 2015 at 4:23 PM

    Well of course the teen brain looks like it has all the answers to weight loss because it is still so easy for them to lose weight when compared to that of an older person. I am sure that as we get older, even if we do the same exact things that the teens do it would still be even more difficult for us to lose weight at 40 than it is for the =m at 17. Again just another thing that is wasted on the young.

  • Laken


    February 24th, 2015 at 10:30 AM

    So maybe the one star awarders were just traumatized by their meal?

  • Julia


    February 25th, 2015 at 2:20 PM

    With any broken heart that I have ever experienced, and there have been a few times that I have to say that I have gone through this as I am sure that most of us have, I have always done better when I opened up and poured my heart out to my friends.
    Those times when I tried to keep it all inside, it kind of just made you feel like you are bursting at the seams and no one understands what you are going through.

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