Research News Archive | NAMI
Mental Illness And Substance Use During Pregnancy Rising

Mental Illness And Substance Use During Pregnancy Rising

Feb 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

Feb 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

Feb 08 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

Jan 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

Jan 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

Jan 05 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.

SAMHSA Releases 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report

SAMHSA Releases 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report

Nov 13 2023

In November, SAMHSA released results from the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual, nationally representative survey on mental health, treatment rates, substance use, and more. Among U.S. adults, 23.1% experienced any mental illness (AMI) in the past year while 6% experienced serious mental illness (SMI). Half (50.6%) of adults with AMI and two thirds (66.7%) of adults with SMI received mental health treatment in the past year. New to the NSDUH, the 2022 report also includes use of non-treatment services: 12.3% of adults received services from a support group and 6.4% engaged with a peer support specialist or recovery coach. To learn more, see the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report.  

Survey of Patient and Family Perspectives to Inform Clinical Research in Serious Mental Illness

Survey of Patient and Family Perspectives to Inform Clinical Research in Serious Mental Illness

Oct 29 2023

Engagement and retention of participants in clinical mental illness research studies can be low. To better understand the perspectives of direct stakeholders, researchers surveyed individuals diagnosed with a schizophrenia spectrum condition (SSC) and caregivers of a family member with a SSC regarding their knowledge, comfort, concerns and preferences related to mental illness clinical research. 67 individuals with a diagnosis and 131 caregivers were include in the final analysis. Overall, individuals with a diagnosis and caregivers were interested in engaging with clinical research. While respondents expressed discomfort with certain research procedures, the authors demonstrate that educational materials tailored to the concerns voiced by these populations may increase meaningful engagement. To learn more, see the study in Psychiatry Research.

Ecological Restoration as a Means of Justice Diversion and Mental Health Treatment

Ecological Restoration as a Means of Justice Diversion and Mental Health Treatment

Oct 04 2023

In an innovative justice diversion project, individuals with serious mental illness were tasked with restoring the landscape of community housing as part of their community-based competency restoration. Participants attended educational workshops, received hands-on training, visited a national forest, and were encouraged to take on leadership roles. After one year, participants had created and taken responsibility for maintaining a successful urban garden. Participants report that gardening has given them a purpose and the ability to create something beautiful, which positively impacts their mental health. Project collaborators also note that the low cost, broad benefits, and easy replicability of the intervention make it a promising new psychiatric treatment modality. To learn more, read the article at Psychiatric Services.

Collaborating with Mental Health Influencers for Public Mental Health

Collaborating with Mental Health Influencers for Public Mental Health

Oct 03 2023

In a unique new study, Boston and Harvard University public health researchers recruited 105 TikTok mental health content creators with diverse professional backgrounds and lived experience to receive evidence-based mental health communication training. Creators received either digital toolkits or toolkits plus live virtual training sessions. While review of digital toolkits alone more significantly increased creators’ use of evidence-based themes in their content, both types of training combined led to greater visibility of evidence-based mental health content across TikTok overall. The project highlights the potential of public-academic collaborations to mitigate mental health misinformation with scalable impacts. To learn more, view the preprint here.

Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Next

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).