President Barack Obama’s last bill signed into law; Carrie Fisher’s legacy gives voice to the suffering associated with mental illness; psychological outcomes of women who had abortions against those denied abortion; and other psychiatry news. Scroll through the slides for descriptions and links to stories.
21st Century Cures Act APA President Maria Oquendo, MD writes about attending the December 13 signing of the Century Cures Act, President Barack Obama’s last bill to be signed into law. Among other issues, the bill addresses (or at least acknowledges) the opioid crisis and mental health care. She writes, “The 21st Century Cures Act is a huge step for mental health: the country is poised to make some major gains. Yes, it is emotional; yes, it is historic; but most importantly, our patients will see tangible improvements in their care. What a lovely way to round out 2016!” Also see: “Hot Topics of 2016: In and Around Psychiatry.” Psychiatric News, December 30, 2016
Women’s Mental Health After Having or Being Denied an Abortion Researchers compared psychological outcomes of women who had abortions against those denied abortion and found the latter group was at greater risk. In both groups, “psychological well-being improved over time so that both groups of women eventually converged.” The researchers stressed that the findings did “do not support restricting abortion on the basis that abortion harms women’s mental health.” Also see “Abortion Trauma Syndrome.” JAMA Psychiatry, December 16, 2017
American Psychiatrists Speak Out on Euthanasia In some European countries, the rate of euthanasia is accepted for physical and mental illness, provided that “unbearable suffering” persists with no end in sight. In the US, the discussion is officially closed before it even took off. In a December position statement, “the American Psychiatric Association, in concert with the American Medical Association’s position on Medical Euthanasia, holds that a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.” Also see: “Physician-Assisted Suicide and the Rise of the Consumer Movement.” Washington Post, December 15, 2016
How the Doctors and Sex Abuse Project Came About The story behind an award-winning investigation on doctors who abuse patients: “Veteran investigative reporter Danny Robbins was researching another story when he came across public documents he couldn’t ignore. Doctors in Georgia, he found, were getting caught sexually abusing their patients, and they weren’t being shut out of medicine. In fact, state licensing officials let most of them keep practicing.” Also see: “The Worst Psychiatrist in History.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 17, 2016