Intervention Shows Promise for Treating Depression in Preschool-Aged Children

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have shown that a therapy-based treatment for disruptive behavioral disorders can be adapted and used as an effective treatment option for early childhood depression. Children as young as 3-years-old can be diagnosed with clinical depression, and although preschool-aged children are sometimes prescribed antidepressants, a psychotherapeutic intervention is greatly needed. The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of NIH, appears online June 20 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The researchers adapted Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), which has been shown to be an effective way to treat disruptive behavioral disorders in young children. In standard PCIT treatment, parents are taught techniques for successfully interacting with their children. They then practice these techniques in controlled situations while being coached by a clinician.

Full story at NIMH

How your coffee date can protect your mental health, plus 5 other tips you need to read now

Kate Spade was a designer whose name was synonymous with style and fun.

Anthony Bourdain was a celebrity chef and TV host who seemed to be at the top of his game, traveling the globe eating at exotic locales and connecting with people.

Yet they both ended their own lives.

Their deaths, combined with new data showing suicide rates are increasing in the United States, have shown that celebrity and success are no barrier to suicide.

Emotional troubles don’t pay attention to income, and people who seem to “have it all” can also have the mental health difficulties that cause people to kill themselves.

Full story at ABC News

Suicide: How You Can Make a Difference

The recent deaths of high-profile public figures and a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on rising suicide rates have brought the topic of suicide into everyday conversations. It’s important to know some facts and to know what to do if you think someone might be at risk for self-harm. A crisis can pass with time and the most important thing is to stay safe through the crisis and get help.

5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain

  • Ask: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
  • Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.

Full story at NIMH

There may be one big reason why suicide rates keep climbing in the US, according to mental-health experts

Anthony Bourdain, acclaimed chef who explored the globe in search of the world’s best cuisine, died by apparent suicide Friday morning in France, CNN said. The report followed news of fashion mogul Kate Spade’s suicide earlier this week.

Their deaths come amid a larger, alarming trend happening across the US: Since 1999,the national suicide rate has risen 28%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nearly every state has seen a rise over that period.

While suicide is a complex response to trauma that often involves many factors, mental illness is one of the leading contributors, according to the CDC. But for those who have a mental illness and can’t afford mental healthcare, their conditions are more likely to worsen.

Full story at Business Insider

Dramatic rise in suicides is “more than a mental health issue,” CDC says

Just days after the tragic death of fashion icon Kate Spade, which the medical examiner confirmed Thursday was a suicide, new government research sheds light on a disturbing increase in suicides in the United States. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that suicide rates have risen dramatically across most of the country in the past three decades.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and is one of just three leading causes that are on the rise.

“Unfortunately, our data show that the problem is getting worse,” CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D., said in a press briefing on Thursday.

According to the study, the rate of suicide in the U.S. rose nearly 30 percent between 1999 and 2016.

Full story at CBS News

Mental health services: How to get treatment if you can’t afford it

As the number of people diagnosed with mental health issues such as depression rises to new highs, the need for medical services to treat them is growing too. Approximately 56 percent of American adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment. There’s also evidence of a dire lack of treatment among teens, with the CDC reporting that the suicide rate for teens is skyrocketing.

Why aren’t people getting the help they need? The answer is complicated. On one hand there’s the lingering stigma around mental illness that may hinder people from seeking care (a problem that campaigns like Mental Health Awareness Month aim to solve), but there’s also the fact that our health care system has yet to treat mental health as comprehensively as it does physical health. There’s no such thing as an insurance-covered annual mental health examfor instance, and therapists who do accept insurance are often working twice as hard just to get reimbursed by providers.

Full story at NBC News

Having an abortion does not lead to depression

Having an abortion does not increase a woman’s risk for depression, according to a new study of nearly 400,000 women published today in JAMA Psychiatry. While previous research has found abortion does not harm women’s mental health, studies claiming that it does continue to be published and state policies that restrict access to abortion in the United States have been justified by claims that abortion causes women psychological harm.

To better understand the relationship between having an abortion and women’s mental health, Dr. Julia R. Steinberg, from the University of Maryland School of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed data on Danish women born between 1980-1994. The information included abortions, childbirths and antidepressant prescriptions as recorded by the Danish National Registries. It is the first study to explore the risk of antidepressant use around an abortion as a proxy for depression.

Full story at Science Daily

Cognitive training reduces depression, rebuilds injured brain structure and connectivity after traumatic brain injury

New research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas shows that certain cognitive training exercises can help reduce depression and improve brain health in individuals years after they have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The recent study, published in Human Brain Mapping, revealed significant reductions in the severity of depressive symptoms, increased ability to regulate emotions, increases in cortical thickness and recovery from abnormal neural network connectivity after cognitive training.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to report brain change associated with reduced depression symptoms after cognitive training,” said Dr. Kihwan Han, a research scientist at the Center for BrainHealth who works in the lab of Dr. Daniel Krawczyk. Han is the lead author of the study.

Full story at Science Daily

New models for predicting suicide risk

Combining data from electronic health records with results from standardized depression questionnaires better predicts suicide risk in the 90 days following either mental health specialty or primary care outpatient visits, reports a team from the Mental Health Research Network, led by Kaiser Permanente research scientists.

The study, “Predicting Suicide Attempts and Suicide Death Following Outpatient Visits Using Electronic Health Records,” conducted in five Kaiser Permanente regions (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, California and Washington), the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and the HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis, was published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Combining a variety of information from the past five years of people’s electronic health records and answers to questionnaires, the new models predicted suicide risk more accurately than before, according to the authors. The strongest predictors include prior suicide attempts, mental health and substance use diagnoses, medical diagnoses, psychiatric medications dispensed, inpatient or emergency room care, and scores on a standardized depression questionnaire.

Full story at Science Daily

Brain abnormality indicates general risk for mental illness

A new study by researchers at Duke University reports an abnormality in visual regions of the brain that is associated with a person’s general risk for mental illness. The findings, published in Biological Psychiatry, indicate a signature abnormality shared between common forms of mental illness, which could help clinicians assess a patient’s general risk for developing a mental illness. The signature abnormality was present in participants involved in the study who already had a higher risk of mental illness. This was characterized by a reduced efficiency between visual areas and brain networks important for integrating sensory information and suppressing distracting information.

Researchers have long thought that some aspects of the biology of the risk for psychiatric disorders were specific to particular disorders, and by studying specific groups of patients, may have mistaken general risk factors as specific risk factors. Newer research suggests that a person’s risk for developing mental illness is not specific to one form of disorder, but is instead shared across many different disorders. “In other words, there may be a single risk factor that predicts whether an individual develops any form of psychiatric disorder, be it depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, or even schizophrenia,” said first author Maxwell Elliott, a doctoral student in the laboratory of Ahmad Hariri, PhD.

Full story at Science Daily