2024 | NAMI
Mental Illness And Substance Use During Pregnancy Rising

Mental Illness And Substance Use During Pregnancy Rising

February 24, 2024

Mental illness and substance use during pregnancy may lead to adverse maternal and birth outcomes, and recent research highlights concerning trends for both risk factors. Based on analysis of 2012-2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data, the prevalence of any mental illness (AMI) and serious mental illness (SMI) among pregnant individuals has increased over the past decade, and the use of two or more substances (tobacco, alcohol or marijuana) has increased disproportionately among those with SMI. The researchers suggest compassionate, tailored strategies to best serve pregnant individuals with co-occurring mental illness and substance use. To learn more, see the study in Psychiatry Research.

Impact Of Climate Disasters On Adolescent Mental Health

Impact Of Climate Disasters On Adolescent Mental Health

February 10, 2024

Climate change is a known public health concern, and recent research emphasizes the potential impact on youth mental health. Reviewing data from over 38,000 high school students in 22 urban public school districts across 14 states, researchers found that adolescents experiencing the greatest number of climate-related “disaster days” were more likely to experience mental distress when exposed within the past 2 or 5 years compared to those who experienced fewer disaster days. Notably, no significant association was found between mental distress and exposure to disaster days in the past 10 years or to individual disaster events. To learn more, see the study in Preventive Medicine Reports.

New Research Into Blood-Based Prediction Of Psychosis Risk

New Research Into Blood-Based Prediction Of Psychosis Risk

February 8, 2024

Analyzing 10 years of blood samples from individuals receiving treatment for schizophrenia, schozoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder at a VA Medical Center, researchers recently identified biomarkers that predicted the experience of high levels of hallucinations and delusions, respectively. Notably, some of the identified biomarkers are targeted by existing medications, suggesting that biomarker-based treatment protocols may be able to offer more individualized pharmacological care than the typical trial-and-error approach. Further research is needed, but the study represents progress toward more objective diagnosis and treatment of psychosis conditions. To learn more, see the study in Molecular Biology and a summary in NIH Research Matters.

Early Qualitative Research Of AI-Driven Mental Health Therapy

Early Qualitative Research Of AI-Driven Mental Health Therapy

January 26, 2024

In a recent qualitative study, researchers explored the feasibility of artificial intelligence (AI) as a source of mental health support. Fourteen participants with mild-to-moderate anxiety or depression engaged in one immersive virtual reality therapy session with an AI therapy avatar. Participants overall considered the digital avatar empathetic, understanding, and supportive of a therapeutic relationship, but some indicated a preference for the deeper engagement possible with a human therapist. Personal comfort with AI varies and more research is needed to determine clinical effectiveness, but AI-driven therapy may one day represent another tool to support mental health. To learn more, see the study in npj Digital Medicine.

Ethnoracial Representation In Psychosis Research

Ethnoracial Representation In Psychosis Research

January 11, 2024

Inclusion of BIPOC individuals (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) in clinical research is critical for understanding how conditions develop in different populations. In a systematic review, researchers explored participant data from 12 North American multisite research studies of clinical high risk for psychosis and first episode psychosis (FEP). Most ethnoracial groups were appropriately represented in high risk studies based on their share of the U.S. population; Black participants were overrepresented in FEP studies. Inclusion of BIPOC individuals in both types of studies is encouraging, but opportunities exist to most effectively incorporate diverse backgrounds into psychosis research. To learn more, see the study in Psychiatric Services.

Large Study Finds Semaglutide Medications Associated With Lower Risk For Suicidal Ideation Than Other Obesity And Diabetes Drugs

Large Study Finds Semaglutide Medications Associated With Lower Risk For Suicidal Ideation Than Other Obesity And Diabetes Drugs

January 5, 2024

Amidst increasing popularity of semaglutide medications such as Wegovy and Ozempic, concerns have been raised that the glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP1R) agonist medications may increase suicidal thoughts. In a recent study, researchers analyzed electronic health records for 240,000 people being treated for excess weight or obesity with either semaglutide or a non-GLP1R medication. Treatment with semaglutide was associated with lower risk for suicidal ideation compared to non-GLP1R medications across demographic groups. Findings were replicated in 1.5 million people with type 2 diabetes being treated to lower blood pressure. To learn more, see the study in Nature.

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