Thursday, January 31, 2008

Private thing in a Public Setting

I am still very concerned about Miss Spears. This is obvious a very private circumstance being lived out on a very public stage. I only wish her the best.

How Britney's Second Psychiatric Hold Went Down

Britney SpearsTMZ has broken story after story in the middle of the night, detailing the second commitment of Britney Spears that occurred in the last few hours. For all of you who have just logged on, here's a summary:

Last night, Britney's new psychiatrist went to her home and felt she was a danger to herself and others -- partly because of her reckless driving and partly because of her "downhill behavior." As a result, the shrink launched a plan (days in the making) to have Britney committed to UCLA Medical Center by calling the cops.

Sources tell us the cops knew it was coming. In fact, the plan was for cops and paramedics to take Britney away the night before, but it was scrubbed. Last night, it all went down according to plan. Cops even used code to minimize craziness in transporting Britney to the hospital. Over the police radio, she was referred to as "The Package."

Before the cops arrived, the shrink told her she was going back to the hospital and she offered no resistance. She said, "Is something wrong?" She made hot chocolate and waited. Her mom, Lynne, got extremely agitated, accusing Sam of engineering the impending commitment. We're told Brit told her to "shut the hell up." She demanded silence, sat on the floor and wrote notes to people who were there as they waited. When emergency personnel arrived, Brit went on the gurney without resistance.
Click to play!
When everyone arrived at UCLA, things got heated. Jamie Spears began screaming at Sam Lutfi, accusing him of trying to control Britney. We're told as far as the doctors are concerned -- at least for now -- Lynne and Jamie Spears are not calling the shots. The point guy for the docs is Brit's friend, Sam Lutfi.

Sources say after Britney's commitment earlier this month, she was extremely upset at her dad for getting angry at Sam and the hospital staff. Britney had lawyers draft several documents, however, we're told she did not sign a durable power of attorney giving Lutfi the power to make medical decisions on her behalf. Nevertheless, something was signed and doctors are going to Lutfi for guidance. Jamie went off on Lutfi in the hallway, accusing him of trying to control his daughter.

Britney has been calm in the hospital, even getting a "cigarette break."

Trashy Brit -- click to launchWe're told during the initial 72-hour stay she cannot be forced to take medication against her will. If, however, she refuses to take the meds, the plan is for the psychiatrist to go to court and have Britney held for an additional 14 days, during which time he could administer proper medications.

As TMZ first reported, Britney has already been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and has sporadically taken her medication. But one source says the meds just aren't doing the trick.

Oh, and get this. Lynne Spears drove to the hospital tonight with Brit's pap friend Adnan!

Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

No meds approach to treating mental illness??

Recovery from mental illness can happen with help and hard work

"If I gave you my entire psychiatric history," Ken says, "you'd probably wonder how I could put two sentences together and function on any meaningful level. During tough times, I look back and see only the darkness, but there has been a lot of light, otherwise I wouldn't have survived."

Meet my friend Ken, a person who has struggled with his mental illness, but is now doing very well in recovery. Ken began fighting depression early. He had life experiences that were very challenging. He tried everything to treat his depression.


Years of talk therapy, medication of every size, shape and color, moving across the country, climbing mountains, being constantly busy, trying to build a relationship with his father. All the things he accomplished were worth a lot, but they meant nothing to him at the time because he couldn't get rid of the depression. Today the outside world hasn't changed, but his internal perspective has. He tells me he has learned to look at things differently.

Ken credits much of his turnaround to the doctor he began working with four years ago. After briefly discussing medication, to Ken's surprise, this doctor, trained to prescribe medications, began explaining the process of finding peace of mind.

Overcoming depression, for Ken, involved a spiritual approach. By trying to control his own emotions, he found that he only allowed them to control him. When he gave up control and used that energy to follow his own creative path, he was better able to cope with the emotions and get through each day.

"My depression hasn't changed," he explains, "but my reaction to it has." He uses the analogy of encountering a bear in the forest. Your gut reaction is to run, but you have the best chance if you lie down and act as if you're totally relaxed. Similarly, it's difficult to outrun one's own emotions. Another apt comparison is quicksand. Ken says, "the more I wiggle, the faster I sink, so I'm learning to stop wiggling."

Since he began working with this doctor and joined a support group, who believed in him and encouraged him, Ken has written and recorded several songs and is continuing his musical pursuits. Today he lives in the present: "I've grown a lot through my illness and have a lot to show for it, if I stay in the present. Don't regret the past," he says, "because everything you've experienced, good and bad, got you where you are now, which is on the verge of creating the kind of life you've always wanted."

Ken concludes with this message, "Have gratitude, have patience, get in touch with who you are and go for what you want now. Give yourself credit for the person you have become. The real power for all of us lies within ourselves. Tapping into that power is exhilarating and a bit scary. But by all means, enjoy the ride."

Recovery from depression and other mental health conditions is possible and Mental Health America wants to help you. Ken, who now has a rewarding career and full life, worked hard to get where he is today and you can as well. MHA offers free support groups for people experiencing depression and other disorders. Call me at (740) 522-1341 for information and referrals.

Paddy Kutz is the executive director of Mental Health America of Licking County. MHA is partner agency of United Way, NAMI and the Community Mental Health & Recovery Board.

Information on new Legislation from NAMI

Support SAMHSA Reauthorization!

This article came from the NAMI website. This is very important legislation as we desperately need to help our mentally ill homeless people. Most of them, in my opinion, just need to be taking the correct medicine, then they would probably be positive, contributing members of society.

January 18, 2008

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to consider legislation to reauthorize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on January 30th. The draft bill includes a package of important initiatives that NAMI has been working on for years, including:

  • Expansion of suicide prevention programs,
  • Prevention of custody relinquishment,
  • Services for homeless individuals with mental illness and
  • Efforts to further reduce the use of restraint and seclusion of young people.


One of your state’s U.S. Senators serves on the HELP Committee and it is now critical to contact their office to press them to support this draft SAMHSA reauthorization bill. Call or email your Senator today, and urge them to vote in support of the reauthorization on January 30.

Call Instructions:

Find your Senator from the list below, and call the number:

State Senator Telephone


Lisa Murkowski



Wayne Allard



Christopher Dodd



Johnny Isakson



Tom Harkin



Barack Obama



Pat Roberts



Edward Kennedy



Barbara A. Mikulski



Richard Burr



Judd Gregg



Jeff Bingaman



Hillary Rodham Clinton



Tom Coburn, MD



Sherrod Brown



Jack Reed



Lamar Alexander



Orrin G. Hatch



Bernard Sanders



Patty Murray



Micheal B. Enzi


Talking Points

Remind your Senator that the SAMHSA Reauthorization bill includes the following critical provisions for children and adults living with mental illness and their families:

  • Renewal of expansion of the Garrett Lee Smith Act that support state and local efforts to replicate successful strategies for youth suicide prevention and college-based mental health programs,
  • The Keeping Families Together Act (S 382) that authorizes planning grants for states to implement strategies designed to address the tragic and unnecessary policy of families relinquishing custody of a child in order to access mental health services,
  • The Services for Ending Long-Term Homelessness Act (SELHA, S 593) that authorizes services in permanent supportive housing for individuals with mental illness and co-occurring disorders that have experienced chronic homelessness,
  • Efforts by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and others to expand federal efforts to curb the inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion, particularly for adolescents placed in juvenile facilities and correctional schools, and
  • Expanded requirements for states to collect data regarding expenditure of federal mental health block grant funds and their relationship to specific outcomes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bush signs bill

Bush signs bill to prevent severely mentally ill people from purchasing firearms
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- President Bush signed legislation Tuesday aimed at preventing the severely mentally ill from buying guns, in a rare bipartisan agreement with the Democratic-led Congress after the bloody Virginia Tech shooting.
New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy introduced the bill in 2002 after a shooting that year in a church. But the legislation did not gain the momentum it needed until after the Virginia Tech shootings in April, and families of the victims lobbied to strengthen the law.
"Had it become law earlier, it may well have saved the lives of 32 students who were killed at Virginia Tech by another mentally ill gunman," Schumer said.
Virginia Tech gunman Seung Hui Cho passed a background check and bought two guns even though a Virginia court had deemed him mentally defective.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Bush strongly supports the goals of the bill.
"We saw with the terrible shootings at Virginia Tech last year that an incomplete system can have tragic consequences," Fratto said.
Also Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine proposed requiring background checks for everyone who tries to buy firearms at gun shows -- legislation that he called crucial to helping prevent incidents such as the shootings at Virginia Tech.
In Virginia and most other states, people can buy firearms from private, unlicensed sellers at gun shows without a background check. Such checks are required for sales by licensed dealers, whether they are at gun shows or elsewhere.
Attempts to expand background checks in Virginia have failed repeatedly.
Gun law
The bill authorizes up to $1.3 billion for states to improve tracking and reporting of individuals who shouldn't qualify to legally buy a gun, including people involuntarily confined by a mental institution.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Bipolar Britney?

ThStill Rooting for Britney
Categories: britney

I've been hearing from a reliable source for almost a year now that some of Britney Spears' family members believe she has bipolar disorder. They don’t think it’s drugs. They don’t feel she has a drinking problem.
In plain and simple language, they believe the former pop princess has a mental illness.
If, in fact, Ms. Spears has a bipolar illness, isn’t it time for the haters to back off? I'm talking about those who post comments on blogs that go so far as to wish her dead.
Making fun of Spears for a bad song, a poor performance or maybe even a not-so-in-shape body, I can handle. But the venom that's been spewed in the last 24 hours alone is unreal.
Why so much hate? My armchair theory is, it’s jealousy. No one is jealous of her downfall, but surely they may be envious of all she's achieved in her very young life. She wasn’t even an adult when she became one of the world’s biggest pop sensations. And she got very, very rich along the way.
Fast-forward to today. Spears is in a hospital, locked down for her own good. No one knows for sure what exactly went down last night at her house, but I don’t care how famous you are, being strapped into a gurney and thrown into an ambulance as paparazzi and news helicopters hover overheard to catch every minute detail cannot be fun in any way.
While her particular situation may be unique, Spears is not exactly alone. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million American adults. The median age of onset for the illness is 25. Spears just turned 26 Dec. 1.
"The symptoms of bipolar disorder are basically extreme highs and lows," says Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser. "It's a very undertreated disorder. Most people end up medicating themselves with drugs or alcohol."
I was talking to a friend earlier who said of Spears’ messy life, “She asked for it.” Would you say the same thing about someone with cancer?
No one in their right mind asks to have bipolar disorder. No one in their right mind asks for their children to be taken away from them. No one in their right mind asks to be called trash by overzealous bloggers.
I am not saying Spears' behavior should be condoned or supported. Of course not. Not only has she apparently put her own life at risk, she’s appeared to have endangered her children’s safety and well-being.
But with the right medical care and supervision, there’s no reason Spears can’t get back on her own two feet. Up to 80 percent of those treated generally show an improvement in their symptoms within four to six weeks of beginning medication, psychotherapy, and/or attending support groups, according to NIMH.
She could be a mom to those kids. She can be a wife again someday. And yes, I really do believe she can fill stadiums and concert halls like she once did not so long ago.
"There are a lot of people with bipolar disorder that function in the world like normal people," Kaiser says.
Still, as the hours have gone by today, I've noticed a shift. Comments posted on blogs seem to be more sympathetic. People, I hope, are slowly coming to realize she isn’t just a spoiled brat dancing on table tops. Spears is a sick woman who needs help.
My heart goes out to her. It really does.
Remember, she’s just like us.

This was in the news today. I felt like I could have written it myself. I totally agree with what she said. We need to be more cognizant of mental illness and be patient and compassionate with people who may be struggling with a diagnosis of their own. Remember it could be you or a close loved one.