EAP NewsBrief
Mar. 3, 2015

When it comes to psychotropic drugs, are women overmedicated?
The New York Times
At least one in four women in America now takes a psychiatric medication, compared with one in seven men. Women are nearly twice as likely to receive a diagnosis of depression or anxiety disorder than men are. For many women, these drugs greatly improve their lives. But for others they aren’t necessary. The increase in prescriptions for psychiatric medications, often by doctors in other specialties, is creating a new normal, encouraging more women to seek chemical assistance.More

With government shutdown looming, Homeland Security promotes its EAP
Government Executive
As the congressional drama continues over the looming partial shutdown at the Homeland Security Department, employees received an email underscoring the help offered by its EAP. The missive in part stated, "This is a stressful time for all of us, and we want to remind you that DHS has a number of no-cost services available through the Employee Assistance Program, including confidential counseling, financial planning, and other services. Please take advantage of the benefits you so rightfully deserve."More

Diagnosis: Does misophonia really exist?
The New York Times
Coined by the married researchers Margaret and Pawel Jastreboff of Emory University in 2002, misophonia ("hatred of sound") is sometimes referred to as selective sound sensitivity syndrome. A 2013 study by Arjan Schröder and his colleagues at the University of Amsterdam identified the most common irritants as eating sounds, including lip smacking and swallowing; breathing sounds, such as nostril noises and sneezing; and hand sounds, such as typing and pen clicking.More

Veterinary medicine: One of the highest rates of suicide by profession
The requirement to kill unwanted animals drives vets to one of the highest rates of suicide by profession, according to Broome-based veterinary surgeon Dr. Scott Davis.More

Iran turns to US 12 step methodologies to fight drug addiction
CBS News
Every city in Iran has back alleys full of desperate addicts and their dealers who sell the cheap drugs that flood across the border from Afghanistan. But for those who decide to kick the habit, there is help imported from an unlikely place: America. Deep in an old bomb shelter left over from the Iran-Iraq war a Narcotics Anonymous meeting is about to start. The same tried and true 12-step program used in the U.S. is now working for 400,000 Iranian addicts. One in 10 of them are women. NA conventions in Iran fill entire sports stadiums. And in a country where the Islamic government controls so much — NA is uniquely independent.More

If a company doesn't have a drug-testing policy, can it drug test?
Human Resource Executive Online
Question: I suspect that one of my employees is taking drugs, but we don't have a drug-testing policy at our company. Can I have him drug tested?More

Facebook improves efforts to prevent suicide
If you've spent enough time on Facebook, you've almost certainly seen someone display signs of depression or reach out for help, and you may have seen someone threaten suicide. For several years, Facebook has been implementing various suicide prevention measures. In 2011, the social media giant partnered with Samaritans to enable U.K. users to submit reports on friends in danger of harming themselves. Now, in collaboration with the group Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention from the University of Washington's School of Social Work, Facebook has made it simpler to help people who may be suicidal.More

Diet may be as important to mental health as it is to physical health
The Huffington Post
We know that food affects the body — but could it just as powerfully impact the mind? While the role of diet and nutrition in our physical health is undeniable, the influence of dietary factors on mental health has been less considered. That may be starting to change. For the first time, a report by a task force advising on new dietary guidelines, commissioned by the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, included a point considering the possible role of diet in mental health outcomes.More

Social stigma makes it difficult for economically struggling countries to invest in mental health
Good Magazine
Mental health disorders are among the most common debilitating afflictions in the world. This reality is almost certainly exacerbated in poorer countries, given a lack of mental health resources and the demonstrated linkage between poverty and the risk of developing adverse psychological conditions. Yet pervasive social stigmas about mental health still make it difficult to convince governments, businessmen, and donors to invest in campaigns for greater resources, especially in economically struggling countries.More

UK: Mental health problems cost the economy $33.5 billion a year
HR Magazine
ACAS reports that mental health problems cost the U.K. economy $33.5 billion a year through lost productivity, recruitment and absence. Some of these costs can be mitigated through careful management of employees' mental health needs.More

Nurses and the culture of injury on the job
By Keith Carlson
A recent investigative series by NPR highlights the lack of on-the-job safety faced by nurses around the United States. According to the NPR reports, nurses suffer more work-related injuries than construction workers, and the situation is only getting worse. If healthcare workers want the necessary protections and equipment to increase their own safety — and the safety of their patients — more voices will apparently need to be raised in support of such measures.More