California — In September, California became the first state in the country to ban
controversial therapy practices that attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors.
The law bars mental health practitioners from performing so-called reparative therapy, labeled by professional psychological organizations as potentially harmful and by gay rights groups as dangerous and abusive.
Connecticut — Research at Yale University continues to support the promise of ketamine as a treatment for depression. A study released in the Oct. 5 issue of Science said that administering small amounts of the drug regenerates synaptic connections, bringing patients almost immediate relief from depression’s most debilitating symptoms. Psychotherapy still is recommended for long-term recovery. In larger doses ketamine is used illegally as a “party drug” known in street lingo as “Special K.”
Maryland — On Oct. 1 Maryland became the 13th state to require private sector insurance companies to pay for telehealth services considered medically necessary that
would be covered when provided face-to-face. The law defines telehealth as “interactive audio, video or other telecommunications or electronic technology… to deliver a health care service.”
Oregon — The Portland Police Bureau is creating a mental health unit of officers
specifically trained to handle mental health related calls. The department is also reinstating crisis intervention training for all officers. The actions are in response to a
scathing U.S. Justice Department report in September that showed “a pattern and prac-tice” of excessive force in handling those in mental health crises.