The 2016 National Institute of Mental Health Strategic Plan for Research: The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) updated its strategic plan in October 2016. The Plan is a commitment to accelerate the pace of scientific progress by generating research over the next 5 years that will have the greatest public health impact and continue to fuel the transformation of mental health care. According to recent estimates, an estimated 9.6 million American adults suffer from a serious mental illness (SMI) in which the ability to function in daily life is significantly impaired. Those with SMI die 10 years earlier than individuals in the general population. Furthermore, over 41,149 Americans die each year from suicide, more than twice the annual mortality from homicide or AIDS. In this new Strategic Plan for Research, NIMH outlines four, high-level Strategic Objectives (SOs) as follows:
Define the mechanisms of complex behaviors.
Chart mental illness trajectories to determine when, where, and how to intervene.
Strive for prevention and cures.
Strengthen the public health impact of NIMH-supported research.
University of Utah Researchers are Studying Treatment For Depression At High Altitudes: University of Utah researchers are working on a treatment for people who may suffer from depression caused in part by high altitude. Some say this helps explain why states like Utah have some of the highest suicide rates in the country. People who live at higher altitudes produce less of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin says Perry Renshaw, a psychiatry professor at the University of Utah. And he says high altitude can render antidepressant medications less effective. That’s why U of U researchers are finding a work-around that removes the sensitivity to oxygen deprivation so that people at high altitudes can produce more serotonin and keep it. Read about Dr. Renshaw’s extensive high altitude, depression, and teen brain research here.
New Antidepressant Target Discovered: Northwestern Medicine scientists have shown how manipulating a novel target in the brain using gene therapy could lead to new treatments for depression. The investigators showed decreasing a set of proteins called HCN channels reduced depression-like behavior in mice. If replicated in humans, the findings could inform fresh therapies for millions of patients who do not respond to existing treatments for depression. “Drugs currently available for treating depression help most patients, but they stop working for some patients and don’t work from the get-go for others,” said senior author Dr. Dane Chetkovich, a professor of neurology and of physiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine neurologist. “There is a real need for new therapies to help patients desperate for alternatives to the available therapeutic options.” The study was published July 12 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry…. Read More Here.
University of Utah Clinical Trials Database:University of Utah clinical trials help physicians and researchers prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases. You can search the University of Utah database by keyword, department, division or specialty to locate a trial of interest. At the end of each clinical trial description, you will find information on who to contact if you are interested in more information and potentially enrolling in the study. University of Utah also participates in ResearchMatch. A secure place for research volunteers and researchers to find one another. If you want to volunteer, ResearchMatch may be the right match for you. Visit the ResearchMatch Web Site for more information.
The North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study – Despite treatment advances, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders remain seriously disabling, life-long illnesses. In the field of schizophrenia, this focus has generated an interest in the examination of adolescents and young adults who are experiencing changes in their thoughts, behavior, or emotions that might be associated with serious mental health issues in the “prodromal phase” of illness: The phase just prior to florid psychosis. In 2003 the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS) was originated. NAPLS is now a consortium of nine independent NIMH-funded prodromal studies located at Emory University, Harvard University, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California San Diego (UCSD), University of California at San Francisco, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Toronto, Yale University, and Zucker Hillside Hospital (New York). The comprehensive consultations, assessments, and evaluations are offered free of charge to those willing to participate. Based on results, treatment recommendations are developed to address an individual’s unique needs. If you interested in participating in a NAPLS study near you, or would like to learn more about symptoms of psychosis, Please Click Here.
Mood Network – When you join MoodNetwork as a research participant, you’ll be part of a nationwide study to fight mood disorders, including major depression and bipolar disorder. You’ll work with doctors and researchers to help shape the direction of research. For perhaps the first time in the history of these illnesses, your experiences, your concerns, and your ideas will take center stage.
Mental Health Resource Network(“MHRN”) brings together mental health researchers and research departments embedded in 13 large and diverse healthcare systems in a population-based approach to transforming mental health care; with expertise in mental health research as well as epidemiology, health services, economics, disparities, outcomes & quality assessment, and conducting pragmatic clinical trials in our health systems. MHRN conducts “real world” research in health systems serving over 12 million patients.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Offered in thousands of communities across the United States through NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates, NAMI’s education programs ensure hundreds of thousands of families, individuals and educators get the support and information they need. NAMI shapes nationalpublic policy for people with mental illness and their families with the tools, resources and skills necessary to save mental health in all states. NAMI’s toll-freeNAMI HelpLine responds personally to hundreds of thousands of requests each year, providing free referral, information and support.
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation:The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research. 100% of all donor contributions for research are invested in NARSAD Grantsleading to discoveries in understanding causes and improving treatments of disorders in children and adults, such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, autism, and bipolar, attention-deficit hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders. The Foundation’s website provides information and discoveries across all spectrums of mental illness. You can participate in the Foundation’s Meet The Scientist Webinar’s including, “A Beautiful Mind: John Nash, Schizophrenia, Game Theory and Recovery from Schizophrenia With and Without Medication”
Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute:The mission of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute is to reduce the burden of serious mental illness through research. It was founded by billionaire businessman Ted Stanley who gave $650 million to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to find and treat the genetic underpinnings of mental illnesses. Stanley’s son has bipolar disorder. Based on a conjunction of powerful new enabling technologies, a committed interdisciplinary faculty from the Harvard, MIT, and Harvard-affiliated hospital communities, the exceptional people, resources and collaborative ethos of the Broad Institute, and the remarkable philanthropy of Ted Stanley, the Stanley Center is galvanized to make progress against the ravages of severe mental illness.
The Jed Foundation: The Jed Foundation’s mission is to protect emotional health and prevent suicide among college and university students. To achieve this end, the organization collaborates with the public and leaders in higher education, mental health, and research to produce and advance initiatives that facilitate adoption of a comprehensive, community-based approach to promote emotional health and protect at-risk students on campus and during the college selection process. The Jed Foundation has also implemented a student advisory council to connect with current students, in order to broaden and improve its impact on campus, and bring the student voice and input into all its programming.
One Mind Institute (IMHRO):IMHRO believes that effective, accessible approaches to remedy the symptoms of, and restore function for, persons with mental illness—and possibly preventions and cures—can be commonplace within our lifetime. Our mission at IMHRO is to pursue such cures with everything we have. The mission will be challenging, and will require commitment from people at all levels—patients, their families and friends, scientists, businesspeople, and politicians. Together, our mission will proceed on 2 intertwined paths: enabling research and raising awareness.
Child Mind Institute: The Child Mind Institute is an independent nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children struggling with mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other mental health and learning disorders are real, common and treatable. Yet millions of children go undiagnosed and untreated — and families, schools and communities are left struggling. The Child Mind Institute advances the science of the developing brain and understanding of mental health disorders through cutting-edge research and open sharing. Its Center for the Developing Brain has pioneered new research approaches using what’s called “big data” and “open science” to accelerate discovery by freely sharing our data with researchers across disciplines and around the world. Its signature community-based research study, the Healthy Brain Network, is currently collecting brain and body scans from 10,000 children — which will be the largest sample ever collected — to seek out the biological markers of mental health and learning disorders.
National Council for Behavioral Health: National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with 2,800 member organizations, it serves more than 10 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addictions. The organization is committed to ensuring all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery and full participation in community life. National Council Magazine,National Council webinars and the premiere Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research offer in-depth perspectives on current trends and hot topics in mental health and addictions, like suicide prevention, trauma-informed care, the future of behavioral health, treating addictions as a disease, and care for children and youth.
Facing Addiction in America: Facing Addiction Inc. is a national non-profit organization dedicated to finding solutions to the addiction crisis by unifying the voice of the over 45 million Americans and their families directly impacted by addiction. Organizations that make up the Facing Addiction Action Network represent diverse areas of interest across the spectrum of substance use and addiction issues. From recovery community organizations to family advocacy groups, prevention and education networks, public health agencies, labor partners, faith leaders and many more. Their vision is to bring together the best resources in the field in order to reduce the human and social costs of addiction, every year, until this public health crisis is eliminated. The Concert to Face Addiction–on the National Mall at the foot of the Washington Monument–featured passionate and unforgettable performances from Joe Walsh, Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell, The Fray, Jonathan Butler, John Rzeznik and Tommy Sims, with special messages from President Obama, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Major funding support to bring this special to life was provided by the Morgan le Fay Dreams Foundation. The Facing Addiction Action Plan can be downloaded here and includes action items. You can also learn how to have tough yet compassionate conversations about drugs at the dinner table here.