Madison Avenue TMS News

Mental Health in the News: February 9, 2023

What do you think of this article?
0 / 5 Average: 5 Votes 1

Your vote:

Mental Health in the News

A New Policy in North East India Addresses Mental Health Needs of People Living With HIV

Receiving a diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is life-changing and devastating for people like V. Suchiang and her young daughter. 

“I developed anxiety and lost my appetite,” said Suchiang, who now works as a peer counselor for HIV patients. “There was sleeplessness too.” 

After a diagnosis or during treatment, it is common for people living with HIV (PLHIV) to have mental health problems. They face many challenges such as social stigmatization and ostracization, fear of losing a job, anxiety about telling family, friends, or sexual partners, and coming to terms with lifelong medication. As a result, many suffer from depression. Some may even become suicidal. For this reason, it is important that PLHIV have access to professional mental health care. However, in more remote places like North East India, there are not enough professionally trained counselors or psychotherapists to provide them with adequate treatment. 

In order to address this gap in services and care, one North Eastern state, Meghalaya, has developed a new mental health policy that adopts a more holistic approach to meet the needs of more of its struggling citizens, and PLHIV in particular. HIV prevalence in Meghalaya is 0.42%  — higher than the national average — with a total of 8,692 PLHIV in that state alone. Each year, there are 1,191 new infections. Despite these high numbers, less than one-third of partners of PLHIV have tried to find counselors or testing services. 

The new policy seeks to increase the number of trained mental health professionals available in the region. 

“It will help not just PLHIV but also other patients suffering from mental health problems,” said Dr. Sonalie Shinde Tesia, a psychiatrist and member of the policy’s advisory team. “This is because the number of qualified mental health professionals and allied professionals is less in the state.” 

The policy also has plans to expand the mental health helpline and create support groups. 

To read the original news article, click here.

Are you a candidate for TMS?

World AIDS Day: Combating Stigma and Improving Mental Health

In a personal blog for the Centre of Mental Health in the UK, David Woodhead reflects on the stigma of being HIV positive and the importance of taking care of his mental health. 

The Impact of HIV Stigma on Mental Health

Woodhead recalls a cold night in the late 80’s or early 90’s when a group of people held a candlelight vigil in memory of loved ones they had lost to the AIDS virus. Several years before, Woodhead had come out as a gay man. While coming out meant that he could live authentically and connect with an accepting community, the fear and stigma of AIDS was ever-present.

“For gay men of my generation, HIV stigma fed the persistent and florid homophobic narratives that we weren’t worth very much at all,” he writes. “In fact, we were a big social and moral problem, an horrific threat.”

The fear of stigmatization plunged Woodhead into many years of anxiety and depression. He avoided getting tested, even though he suspected he was positive. Instead of focusing on the many benefits of knowing his HIV status, such as having access to lifesaving medication and the ability to have safe sex, Woodhead was consumed by thoughts of what an HIV-positive diagnosis would mean for his relationships with family, friends and finances. 

U=U Campaign

Today, Woodhead is on medication and promotes the Undetectable=Untransmissible (U=U) campaign. He says that knowing that he is healthy and cannot transmit HIV is good for his physical and mental health. For Woodhead, the U=U campaign offers hope to the LGBTQ+ community, disrupting the hateful narratives that lead to so much of their anxiety and depression. 

To read the original news article, click here.

Are you ready to try TMS?

NYC Mayor Announces Plan to Help Homeless With Untreated Mental Health Issues

New York City Mayor Eric Adams outlined his plan for more comprehensive mental health treatment for those living on the streets, including an 11-point legislative agenda aimed at filling gaps in care, during a Nov. 29, 2022 announcement.  

Addressing Gray Area in Current Laws 

Current state laws allow for involuntary intervention when someone is unable to meet their own basic needs and thus poses harm to themselves. However, many New Yorkers, including police and firefighters, previously believed they could only legally intervene when the person was clearly suicidal or violent to others. “This myth must be put to rest,” said Mayor Adams. “Going forward, we will make every effort to assist those who are suffering from mental illness and whose illness is endangering them by preventing them from meeting their basic human needs.”

Moving Toward a Safer and Healthier City for All

Mayor Adams announced five specific ways he plan to meet his objective: 

  1. New and explicit guidance for involuntary removal: A new directive to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene mobile crisis teams, FDNY-EMS, and NYPD gives a step-by-step process for involuntarily transporting a person suffering from a mental health disorder to the hospital.
  2. More training for crisis teams and police officers: Crisis teams and police officers will receive extensive training on involuntary intervention, focusing on defining what “inability to meet basic needs” means and what other options are available prior to involuntary removal. 
  3. Guidance hotline: Police officers can call a new hotline to receive guidance from clinicians on whether involuntary removal to the hospital is necessary. 
  4. Specialized intervention teams: A special staff of clinicians will partner with NYPD officers to ensure the safe transportation of individuals in need of a mental health evaluation.
  5. Make current laws more explicit: Even though current state law allows for the involuntary removal of people who pose a threat to themselves due to an inability to meet their basic needs, having the “basic needs” standard explicitly written in the law would clear up any doubts or misunderstandings that prevent getting those in crisis into care. 

To read the original news article, click here.

Dr. Woo has been seeing patients in private practice since 2002, always with the goals of combining evidence-based medicine with psychodynamic psychotherapy and collaborating with other mental health professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for his patients. He has been certified to administer TMS at his practice since 2017. His greatest clinical interests include helping patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Ready to try TMS?

If you're in the New York City area, contact us online to check your insurance coverage and schedule your first appointment.

Contact Us Online!

Recent Posts

Nationwide Adderall Shortage Causes Disruptions to ADHD Treatments Reports of an adderall shortage first surfaced in the summer of 2022, and were confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that October. Being unable to count on their next prescription is causing significant treatment d...

Read More

Depression is a mood disorder that can affect anyone, regardless of age, economic status, or ethnicity. Almost 5% of U.S. adults report regular feelings of depression. (1) Higher rates of depression have been linked to old age (2) and difficult socio-economic conditions (3), but there is no single c...

Read More

What’s Behind The Surge In Adult ADHD Diagnoses? The conversation around attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – and the market for ADHD medications – appears to be shifting. The condition is traditionally associated with “problem kids”, but the number of adult ADHD diagnoses has...

Read More