Spotlight on the mistreatment of mentally ill inmates in Georgia

125 Georgia inmates have died by suicide in the past five years, and these deaths, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes, are symbolic of a prison system where mentally ill inmates “were neglected, isolated and, in some cases, treated with utter cruelty”. “Other mental health issues are also in the news.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Suicides of 125 Georgia inmates point to another crisis for state prisons

One April evening two years ago, an ex-Marine who served in Afghanistan tied a bed sheet to the latticework of his cell window at Rutledge State Prison and wrapped it around his neck. By the time the guards realized what Andrew Campbell had done, he was dead. Campbell, 28, had returned from his deployment with the demons that tormented many veterans – post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, addiction to painkillers and other drugs – all of which should have been known to the Georgia Department of Corrections. So what, if anything, has been done to help? Wasn’t someone supposed to watch him? And why was he alone in a cell in the first place? (Robbins and Peebles, 5/13)

The past few years have seen a growing mental health crisis, prompting increasing numbers of Americans to seek help through confidential helplines. But no two support lines are the same. Crisis lines are for people who are going through an urgent mental health crisis and who are in imminent danger, such as someone contemplating suicide. Helplines are designed for non-emergency needs, such as those seeking support and resources for depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions. (Smalls-Mantey, 5/13)

Axios: Mayors tackle mental health

New programs in cities like New York, Chicago and London aim to tackle the growing loneliness, anxiety and unhappiness caused by COVID-19. The emotional issues of the pandemic have been linked to everything from higher crime rates to rising teenage suicide rates. While it’s unclear how far a municipal mental health program can move the needle, a growing number of mayors — with pandemic relief funds available — are willing to give it a try. (Kingson, 5/13)

Singer Naomi Judd’s death was suicide, daughter says –

The New York Times: Naomi Judd died of self-inflicted gunshot wound, daughter says

When Naomi Judd, the Grammy-winning country music singer, died last month, her daughter Ashley Judd said she had lost her mother to the “disease of mental illness”. Ms Judd was more outspoken on Thursday, saying in a TV interview that her mother died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at her home in Tennessee, and encouraging those in distress to seek help. Ms. Judd, an actress, told Diane Sawyer on ‘Good Morning America’ that she was speaking out about her mother’s death because her family wanted to share the information before it became ‘public without our scrutiny’ . (Holpuch, 5/12)

The Mercury News: Ashley Judd reveals the ‘lie’ Naomi Judd believed before killing herself

In confirming that Naomi Judd took her own life on Thursday, her daughter Ashley Judd explained that her mother’s profound mental illness had locked her into a ‘lie’ commonly held by people in deep despair – that everything is hopeless, that the pain will not end or that they are worthless, unloved and should not go on living. The Judd family matriarch died on April 30 at the age of 76, the day before her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame with her eldest daughter Wynonna, who formed the beloved country music duo The Judds. (Ross, 5/12)

In other public health news –

The Wall Street Journal: AI hiring tools may violate disability protections, government warns

Employers who use artificial intelligence to assess workers and job applicants must be careful to comply with laws protecting people with disabilities, two U.S. federal agencies have said, expressing skepticism about a technology that many companies have exploited in a context of general labor shortages. Companies whose artificial intelligence or machine learning technology leads to discrimination could face legal repercussions, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Thursday. (Vanderford, 5/12)

CIDRAP: Public health financing linked to better detection of foodborne diseases

A study published today in Emerging Infectious Diseases shows that states that invest more in public health tracked more foodborne illness outbreaks between 2009 and 2018, suggesting those that invest less may miss outbreaks. reviews. A related study in the same journal, meanwhile, illustrates how a rapid response to foodborne disease outbreaks not only saves lives, but also saves a lot of money. (Soucheray, 5/12)

Houston Chronicle: Gun violence is killing children at an alarming rate. These Houston pediatricians hope to change that

As a Texas gun violence researcher, Dr. Sandra McKay is careful how she approaches her subjects, which are often gun retailers. She’s not out to infringe on the rights of gun owners, she says, adding that she owns a gun and regularly shoots with family members at a Houston-area shooting range . “I say that very clearly,” she said. “It’s not about the Second Amendment. It’s about safety. (Gill, 5/12)

NPR: Good Samaritans rescue driver with medical condition at busy intersection

A driver suffered a medical episode while crossing a busy intersection in Boynton Beach, Florida. To his relief, a group of good Samaritans sprung into action, helping the driver and saving everyone on the road from a potentially fatal accident. Video of the May 5 incident went viral on Twitter after the Boynton Beach Police Department released traffic footage in a bid to thank those involved. “It was the kindness of complete strangers,” Boynton Beach Police Department public information officer Stephanie Slater told NPR. “It was restoring your faith in humanity. It was…it’s beautiful. (Kilpatrick, 5/12)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.

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