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Feb 11 2021
Early childhood developmental patterns may predict adverse mental health reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic and other major life events, according to new research. Researchers analyzed longitudinal data for 291 participants who were enrolled in a long-term study of social and behavioral development when they were 2 years old. Study participants — all of whom turned 18 years old in 2020 — who had experienced consistent patterns of behavioral inhibition (fearfulness of new people and objects), social wariness and excessive worry throughout childhood and adolescence showed elevated anxiety during the first months of the pandemic. Interventions to address these behaviors early on may help prevent symptoms from worsening when stressful life events occur. To learn more, see the study in Longitudinal Psychiatry.
Feb 04 2021
New research suggests that burnout contributed significantly to job dissatisfaction among nurses even before the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on national data collected in 2018, 31.5% of nurses who left their jobs in 2017 reported burnout as a reason for leaving. Of nurses who had considered leaving their jobs, even more — 43.4% — reported burnout as a key decision factor. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated levels of stress and exhaustion among health care workers, and measures must be taken to ensure the well-being and sustainability of the nursing workforce. To learn more, see the study in JAMA.
Feb 04 2021
Transgender adults in the U.S. are significantly more likely to have a diagnosed substance use disorder compared to cisgender adults. Using deidentified medical claims data, researchers compared substance use disorder diagnoses (SUDDs) of 15,500 transgender adults and 47,000 cisgender adults. Multi-substance SUDDs were 4 times more common among transgender adults than cisgender adults and any-drug SUDDs were over 3.6 times more common. As transgender individuals face specific social and structural issues that can impact mental health and access to care, health care efforts should consider the unique needs of this population as well as investigate and address barriers to high-quality treatment. To learn more, see the study in JAMA.
Jan 21 2021
More and more people are seeking psychiatric care in emergency departments, leading to strains on staff and resources — and this trend will likely continue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Association for Emergency Psychiatry (AAEP) supports the use of psychiatric emergency clinicians (PECs), which include non-prescribing mental health professionals such as licensed clinical social workers and clinical psychologists, to help meet this growing need. The AAEP recognizes the training and expertise of PECs in addressing psychiatric crisis situations, and offers recommendations for integrating them into emergency department care across the country. To learn more, see the article in Psychiatric Services.
Jan 18 2021
Peer support is an important part of mental health recovery, and its availability in school settings may be a lifeline for teens experiencing mental health issues for the first time. According to a recent national poll, more than three-quarters of parents (76%) believe peer leaders in schools would better understand students’ mental health challenges than teachers or counselors. Most (72%) also think access to peer support in schools would encourage students to speak up when they need help. Although parents raise concerns about training and the emotional toll on young peer leaders, overall support may inspire a new strategy to address student mental health. To learn more, see the report from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
Jan 05 2021
One dose of intravenous ketamine can provide significant and rapid relief for symptoms of major depressive disorder and PTSD when other treatments have failed. Researchers recently conducted a randomized controlled trial to determine the drug's efficacy and safety for the treatment of PTSD when administered repeatedly over the course of two weeks. Thirty participants with chronic PTSD received six infusions of either intravenous ketamine or placebo over the study period. After two weeks, the ketamine group showed a significant reduction in symptom severity compared to the control group, without serious adverse effects. To learn more, see the study in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Dec 15 2020
Understanding the relationship between mental and physical health is critical to improve quality of life for people living with mental illness. According to findings from an international team of researchers, depressive symptoms – even those that do not meet the threshold for diagnosis of a depressive condition – may play a role in future poor heart health. Researchers analyzed data from over 500,000 individuals and found that the presence of depressive symptoms showed a modest association with heart problems such as coronary heart disease and stroke, even after accounting for additional risk factors like smoking and diabetes. To learn more, see the study in JAMA.
Dec 07 2020
Awareness and visibility of mental health have increased across popular culture, and new research demonstrates that this trend includes rap music. Researchers conducted a content analysis of 125 rap songs popular in the U.S. between 1998 and 2018 and found that mental health references increased significantly over the 20-year period. Overall, 28% of the songs referenced anxiety, 22% referenced depression, 6% referenced suicide, and 21% used a mental health metaphor. As many of the artists whose music was analyzed were younger Black men, this increased visibility of mental health issues could represent an important shift in discourse in a particularly vulnerable population. To learn more, see the study in JAMA Pediatrics.
Dec 02 2020
Early identification can improve outcomes for individuals at high risk of developing psychosis, and multimodal machine-learning models may be able to help. In a study comparing participants with clinical high risk syndromes or recent-onset depression to healthy volunteers, researchers used a machine-learning model incorporating clinical and neurocognitive data, structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI), and polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia to predict development of psychosis. The model accurately predicted transition to psychosis in 85.9% of cases, compared to 73.2% of cases predicted by clinicians. The model showed greater predictive accuracy than any individual predictive factor alone. To learn more, see the study in JAMA Psychiatry.
Nov 18 2020
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a challenging and often misunderstood illness, and is associated with a high risk for attempted suicide. Reducing this risk requires more detailed understanding to improve screening and intervention. New research sought to explore the symptoms of BPD and determine which most contribute to increased risk of suicidal behavior. Using 10-year longitudinal data, researchers found that specific symptoms such as identity disturbance, frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, and feelings of emptiness were the most highly correlated with suicide attempt. The researchers note that these symptoms are often under-studied in the context of suicide, compared to symptoms such as impulsivity. To learn more, see the study in JAMA Psychiatry.
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