This Week In Mental Health

The latest on research and advocacy for the week of August 23rd.

Written by Esther Fernandez

This Week In Mental Health

01 Research looks at the affects of service dogs for veterans with PTSD, Filipino-American mental health, obstacles to accessing mental health services, and more.

02 The US Open offers mental health services, and Naomi Osaka continues conversation about athlete mental health.

TW// Mentions of suicide

Conversations about mental health have grown exponentially over the last decade, with more and more people committing to personal and collective wellness. While we have a ways to go before mental health awareness, education and treatment are accessible to all, each day brings new and positive strides within the field. 

Our This Week In Mental Health series covers the latest happenings in research, treatment, human interest stories, and more. Stay updated on new developments so you’re better equipped to navigate the world, and most importantly, your own recovery.

Here’s what’s happening the week of August 23rd.


A New 'Leash' On Life: Government Program Will Train Dogs For Veterans With PTSD

Congress recently passed the PAWS Act, short for Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers, to help veterans get connected with service dogs. Set to start in 2022, the PAWS Act will run for five years, and the Department of Veterans Affairs will work with several service dog organizations with hopes of lowering suicide rates among veterans. A 2020 study from the Department of Veterans Affairs showed that within the first year and a half, veterans who were connected with trained service dogs had reduced suicidal ideation. 

Learn more here.


Filipino-American College Students' Mental Health Suffered During Covid 

An overview of studies shows how Filipino Americans have been among the most affected by mental health issues throughout the pandemic. One study found that in 2020, Anti-Asian hate crimes increased around 150 percent for 16 of America’s largest cities. Another study from UC Davis had researchers survey Filipino Americans, and they found that 81 percent reported anxiety, and 73 percent reported depression.

Learn more here.

Many Americans Are Reaching Out For Mental Health Support — But Can't Get It 

A new study from the National Alliance on Mental Illness highlights the obstacles people with mood disorders face when seeking treatment. It was found that over half of participants reported that cost prevented them from accessing treatment, and about one in four could only afford treatment temporarily. For those who could get treatment, 70 percent reported that it was helpful.

Learn more here.

Poverty Predicts Stress Levels in Teens, Research Suggests 

Teens who experience poverty have higher levels of stress. Researchers from the University of California Davis tested cortisol levels of over 200 youth who have lived in poverty, with atypical levels of cortisol showing that the body is overstressed. Even though some families managed to improve their financial status, participants continued to have low levels of cortisol years after poverty. Researchers suggest that supporting youth through public policy can help with mental health.

Learn more here.

Youth Mental Health During The Pandemic Better With More Sleep, Structure And Time In Nature 

A new study from Harvard University and the University of Washington found that during the beginning of the pandemic, youth experienced better mental health when they had a daily routine, got enough sleep, and limited screen time. Researchers surveyed around 200 youth in the Seattle area before, during, and six months into the pandemic. Factors like increased pandemic news, screen time, and irregular sleeping patterns contributed to poor mental health, but it was proved that simple changes could minimize negative effects. 

Learn more here.

Thoughts Of Suicide, Attempts Drop Among Veterans During Pandemic 

During the pandemic, less veterans contemplated or attempted suicide than in previous years. Researchers looked at over 3,000 US veterans for rates of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts throughout the pandemic, and found that under 8 percent reported thoughts of suicide and .3 percent attempted suicide. However, those with less social support and relationships had a higher risk for suicidal ideation. 

Learn more here.

Think Leisure Is A Waste? That May Not Bode Well For Your Mental Health 

People who believe leisure activities are a waste of time are more likely to be unhappy, stressed, and depressed. One study from a series done at Ohio State University had researchers survey 199 college students. When asked about leisure activities and mood, it was found that the more participants thought leisure activities were unproductive, the more they struggled with poor mental health.

Learn more here.


Illinois Signs Legislation On Mental Health Care Access & Emergency Services

Governor Pritzker of Illinois has signed two nation-leading pieces of mental health legislation into law. The first, House Bill 2595, requires insurance to cover mental, emotional, nervous, and substance use disorders. The second, House Bill 2784, will establish a mental health emergency responder system. This system will work with 911 and 988 when the national 988 mental health crisis line is established in 2022. It will be the first statewide approach of its kind in the nation – aimed towards reducing arrests for those with mental illnesses who are deserving of a specialist's intervention. 

Learn more here.

The US Open Will Offer Mental Health Services To Athletes This Year 

This year, the US Open will be offering mental health services to athletes, such as licensed mental health providers and quiet rooms. Mental health care workers will be alongside sports medicine experts, with the goal of having physical and mental health prioritized equally. Officials believe that making these services readily available will help with de-stigmatizing mental health.

Learn more here.

Us Open To Introduce Mental Health Resources

Naomi Osaka on Response to Her Mental Health Admission

After sparking public conversation about mental health, Naomi Osaka explained about how surprised she was by people’s reaction to her withdrawing from the French Open. While she didn’t see the action to speak out about her mental health as something difficult, she now sees how many people she’s been able to help and connect with. She also mentioned the support she’s received from family, brand partners, athletes, and fans.

Learn more here.

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