New York City finds one in five adults has mental health problems

admin   •   November 14, 2015   •   2898

A man crosses 6th Avenue as the sun sets in New York September 3, 2014. Reuters/Lucas Jackson

A man crosses 6th Avenue as the sun sets in New York September 3, 2014.
Reuters/Lucas Jackson

At least one in five adult New Yorkers suffer from depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts or other psychological disorders every year, according to a report released on Thursday ahead of Mayor Bill de Blaiso’s new mental-health initiative.

New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene expects to release the plan, known as NYC Thrive, by the end of next month. It is aimed at preventing and treating psychological disorders among the city’s 8.4 million residents.

The “white paper” released Thursday outlines the size and scope of the problem facing the New York City.

“We have a set of public health issues that affect many people and affect them very deeply,” said Dr. Gary Belkin, a deputy commissioner of the health department. “We know what we’re going to be doing, and over the coming weeks you’re going to be hearing about it.”

Officials have said little about what NYC Thrive would involve or how much it would cost.

In August, de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, told Crain’s New York that the mayor’s office would devote $386 million to mental health over the next three years.

McCray, who worked for five years as a spokeswoman for Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn before de Blasio was elected, has been the leading advocate in his administration for mental health awareness.

McCray has been open about how mental health issues have touched her own family. She has discussed her parents’ struggles with depression and the past substance abuse of her daughter, Chiara.

Some 8 percent of adults in New York City experience symptoms of depression each year, according to the report. The same percentage of the city’s high school students say they have attempted suicide.

Poor and minority residents are disproportionately affected by mental illnesses and are more likely than white residents to be misdiagnosed or untreated, according to the report.

The number of residents experiencing psychological disorders such as depression has held steady in recent years, it finds. But mental health problems arising from drug and alcohol abuse have risen.

Opioid-related overdoses increased in New York City in recent years, Belkin said, paralleling a national trend. Synthetic marijuana, often called spice or K2, is also leading to more deaths and psychotic episodes in the city, he said.

One of the goals of NYC Thrive is to establish a more comprehensive system to track mental health in children and adults, city officials said.

(Editing by Frank McGurty and Leslie Adler)

Fake heiress who dazzled New York elite sentenced to up to 12 years in prison

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2019

Anna Sorokin, 28, posed as a wealthy heiress to scam banks for loans in millions | Courtesy: Reuters

A German woman who posed as a wealthy heiress to scam boutique, New York hotels and fashionable friends was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison.

Blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City, Anna Sorokin, 28, was sentenced to prison for defrauding hotels, restaurants, a private jet operator and banks out of more than $200,000.

Sorokin, a would-be art collector, planned to open a members-only arts club but became known as the “soho grifter” after her deception upon New York’s glitzy social scene came to light. She was found guilty last month of grand larceny and theft of services.

She was also fined $24,000 and ordered to pay restitution of about $199,000.

At the hearing, Judge Diane Kiesel rejected the Defence Lawyers’ claim that Sorokin was merely trying to make it in New York, in the words of the Frank Sinatra song about the city.

“Sadly I agree with the people, if Miss Sorokin spent half as much time, half this much time, working legitimately to raise money for a foundation that sounded like a good addition to New York as she spent concocting phony bank statements, fake wire transfers, and non-existent financial advisers, she might have done quite well for herself. She’s clearly smart and very creative,” Judge Kiesel said.

Under her assumed name Anna Delvey, Sorokin falsely claimed she had a multi-million-dollar trust fund at her disposal, as she hired a private jet, attended elite parties, and lived in a luxury New York hotel. She maintained the scam for almost four years.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said, Sorokin had “not a cent to her name”.

Her father is reportedly a former trucker, who runs a heating-and-cooling business.

U.S. immigration and customs enforcement said in a statement that Sorokin was a German citizen who had illegally overstayed in the United States.

The agency said it will seek to send her back to Germany once her criminal proceedings are over.

Meanwhile, during the trial, she was admonished for throwing tantrums when she couldn’t get her stylist-curated outfits and drew unflattering sketches of the lead prosecutor during testimony.

“The defendant repeatedly delayed these court proceedings because she was not happy with the clothing that was offered to her by the department of corrections.

“She seemed to be basking in the press attention and rather than thinking seriously about the crimes she committed and how it affected people,” saidNew York Prosecutor Catherine Mccaw.

But at sentencing she was humbled.

“I apologize for the mistakes I made,” Sorokin said.

Sorokin’s story became a media sensation, and a tv series about her life was also planned.

Depressed? Call 989-USAP

Marje Pelayo   •   May 3, 2019

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines – The National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) has tasked counselors to man a hotline for cases of depression and other mental health problems in the country.

The agency on Thursday (May 2) launched the NCMH Crisis Hotline numbers, 0917-899-USAP and 989-USAP for Filipinos needing mental health crisis intervention and counseling services.

NCMH chief, Allan Troy Baquir said, “The hotline aims to reach out to those who do not have the immediate means to seek advice and serves as an avenue to offer hope and care for those who have mental health issues.”

Hotline counsellors have been assigned to attend to calls on depression, psychiatric emergencies, suicidal thoughts, grief and loss, relationship issues, sexual abuse, and domestic violence among other issues.

Those who are assessed with high risk will be immediately provided with intervention, Baquir said.

The World Health Organization reports that around 800,000 people die annually due to suicide. – Marje Pelayo

Fatal, drug-resistant fungus targets hospital-bound New Yorkers

Robie de Guzman   •   April 10, 2019

Photo of a drug-resistant, fatal superbug fungus strain that Doctors at the Nassau University Medical Center said has infected hundreds of hospital-bound people in New York and New Jersey. | Photo grabbed from Reuters footage

Doctors at the Nassau University Medical Center warned New Yorkers to take caution against a drug-resistant, sometimes fatal superbug fungus that has infected hundreds of people in the tri-state area and nationwide.

The recent outbreak of the fungus candida auris, which was discovered in 2009, has disproportionately affected New York and New Jersey, with 309 of the nation’s 617 cases in New York state alone.

Typically spread within healthcare facilities, the fungus kills 20 to 50 percent of patients.

“Anybody who has concerns about fevers, chills, sweats, wound infections, anything like that, should seek care as soon as possible. They should certainly let their healthcare provider know about their symptoms. They should let their healthcare provider know about prior use of antibiotics. They should let their healthcare provider know about travel,” Dr. Janice Verley, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Nassau University Medical Center said.

People in hospitals and nursing homes, particularly those with already suppressed immune systems, are at the greatest risk of becoming infected.

Infection can spread to the blood, heart or brain in severe cases.

The fungus is difficult to identify, as doctors frequently mistake it for other candida strains, and even harder to treat because it is resistant to common antifungal medications.

“This particular species is resistant to the Azole class, which is the class that we would use first-line. So it is possible, if you don’t know what it is, you may be treating it with an ineffective drug,” Verley explained.

According to the Center for Disease Control, several U.S. cases of the superbug may be linked to hospital stays in India, Kenya, Kuwait, Pakistan, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

“The infections occur on two levels, one its introduction of the infections from other areas, and clearly the New York-New Jersey area has a high amount of immigrant populations coming from all over the world. And then, once it’s introduced then they’re spread within that community, within that organization,” Verley said.

“You know we know that we have seen it going from hospitals to long-term care facilities, so people who get admitted, transferred to a nursing home, transferred back to a hospital, these cases, if, you know, would be at an increased risk,” she added. (REUTERS)

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