July 24, 2012


Sticking with it

When it comes to following a treatment plan for managing depression and bipolar disorder, a host of obstacles can threaten to impede your progress. The summer issue of UPDATE, the Depression Center’s quarterly print newsletter, discusses why following treatment plans – whether those involve medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, or combinations of these – is so important for reaching and maintaining wellness, and offers strategies for overcoming common barriers that may stand in your way. Download the issue here.

Making therapy work

Talk therapy (psychotherapy) helps people manage their symptoms and function at their best by addressing the issues that contribute to depression, bipolar disorder, or related illnesses. Maintaining a commitment to therapy at the level of participation required to bring about change can be incredibly hard work, but the benefits can be substantial. Read more...

Helping primary care patients prevent relapse

For 10 years, an innovative Depression Center program has provided support to thousands of adult patients who manage their depression under the care of a primary care doctor. By helping those patients hone their self-management skills and better understand their illness and their treatment plans, the Michigan Depression Outreach and Collaborative Care Program (M-DOCC) offers the extra education and motivation that many need to stay on track with their treatment, achieve remission, and prevent relapse. Read more...

Support through shared experience

For many individuals and families coping with depression or bipolar disorder, support groups and educational workshops offer a unique opportunity to learn from others who are working through similar challenges in dealing with illness and confronting stigma. The Depression Center offers facilitated group sessions to help participants develop new strategies to prevent the return of severe symptoms, discover community resources, and gain a more comprehensive understanding about managing an illness, including the importance of adhering to treatment plans. Read more...

Volunteer group helps grow and sustain partnerships and projects

Twice a year, the Depression Center Community Volunteer Committee distributes “Mini-Grant” awards to support the work of Depression Center members that benefits the community at large. Through a variety of fundraising events, the committee has helped raise more than $200,000 to sponsor special projects and unmet needs that align with the missions of the Depression Center and the committee. Read about examples of supported projects here.



Kilbourne receives presidential early career scientist award

President Obama has named Amy Kilbourne, Ph.D., M.P.H., as one of 96 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.  Kilbourne, a Depression Center member, is an associate professor of psychiatry and serves as associate director of the VA Ann Arbor National Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center, part of the Center for Clinical Management Research at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Read more...

Kim honored with psychosomatic research award

Scott Y. H. Kim, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, co-director of U-M’s Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, and a member of the Depression Center, has received the 2012 Research Award from the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (APM). The award “honors an individual currently studying psychopathology in the medically ill,” and is intended to recognize exceptional research and clinical work in the field. The APM represents psychiatrists dedicated to the advancement of medical science, education, and healthcare for persons with comorbid psychiatric and general medical conditions and provides national and international leadership in the furtherance of those goals.

UMHS psychiatric hospital care recognized as “high performing”

USNWR has again ranked the U-M Hospitals & Health Centers among the nation’s Best Hospitals, and UMHS ranks #1 in both Michigan and metro Detroit. As a specialty, U-M Psychiatry received a “high performing” ranking, as well as a “significant” reputational ranking among specialists. Read more about the rankings here.



Longitudinal study of bipolar disorder reaches 800 participants

The Prechter Bipolar Research Program’s flagship Longitudinal Study of Bipolar Disorder recently enrolled its 800th research participant (and counting!).

As of June 29, 2012, the study has 801 participants enrolled. In addition:

  • 520 have completed Year 1
  • 381 have completed Year 2
  • 240 have completed Year 3
  • 163 have completed Year 4
  • 58 have completed Year 5
  • 7 have completed Year 6 (These are the participants who have been committed to our research project since the very beginning in 2006!)

We are very grateful for the dedication of all our research participants! Thank you all for your continued commitment to the Longitudinal Study.



Meeting the mental health needs of vets and their families

A Wall Street Journal opinion piece (reprinted in this article from Delaware Online) argues for a new public-private partnership model to meet the mental health care needs of returning veterans. The piece highlights our own Military Support Programs and Networks, dedicated to the mental health needs of military families, and quotes Dr. John Greden, the Depression Center's executive director. Kate Rosenblum, Ph.D., who helps lead M-SPAN’s STRoNG Families program, also co-wrote guest commentary in the Detroit Free Press advocating for filling gaps in the services offered to veterans and their family members.

The young and the reclusive

Growing numbers of young people are living in a form of extreme social isolation, a condition known as hikikomori (social withdrawal). A recent Guardian article on the phenomenon cites a study published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry by Depression Center member Alan Teo, M.D., a clinical lecturer in psychiatry, which describes the first case of hikikomori observed in the U.S. Some experts say this form of reclusion, which mainly affects young men, has reached epidemic proportions, and may be linked to modern lifestyles and technology.

Mental health conditions effectively managed through collaborative care

By coordinating activities between the providers involved in the care of patients managing chronic conditions, disease management strategies such as collaborative chronic care models (CCMs) have been shown to help ensure the appropriate delivery of healthcare services, enhance the quality of care provided, and, most importantly, improve wellness for people living with diseases such as depression, diabetes, and heart disease. The Michigan Depression Outreach and Collaborative Care (M-DOCC) program is one example of such a model.

A meta-analysis co-authored by Depression Center member Amy Kilbourne, Ph.D., M.P.H., to be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, has found that these models are significantly effective in improving symptoms and quality of life for people with a variety of mental health conditions across a range of treatment settings, including primary, specialty, and behavioral health care. Total health care costs did not differ between CCMs and other models used for comparison. AJP has selected the article as “Editor's Choice” for the Institute on Psychiatric Services’ 2012 meeting in New York.

Spouses of severe-sepsis patients at high risk of depression

Severe sepsis, the body’s dangerous defensive response against an infection, is the most common non-cardiac cause of critical illness and a leading cause of death among older Americans. A U-M study involving Depression Center member Theodore J. Iwashyna, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine, finds that severe sepsis not only drastically diminishes the quality of life for patients, but also puts their spouses at a greater risk of depression. As severe sepsis becomes a silent epidemic among the elderly, causing a rapidly growing number of hospitalizations and disabilities, the study suggests that greater mental health screenings may be necessary for the partners of these patients, who potentially face increased caregiving and decision-making responsibilities or even the loss of their loved ones.

What brain scans may (and may not) tell us

Image: NIMH

A commentary on Scientific American’s blog explores the pitfalls of looking to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explain the neural bases of a wide range of human behaviors and emotions, even including attempts to use the technology as a form of lie detector. As one example of the difficulty in using fMRI patterns to pinpoint a particular cognitive function to a particular region of the brain, the article cites research by Depression Center member Ethan Kross, Ph.D., and colleagues on the topic of “rejection sensitivity,” which demonstrated that when measured through fMRI, emotional and physical pain can activate the same areas of the brain.

Caring for the mental health needs of an aging population

As they age, millions of baby boomers will face difficulties getting diagnoses and treatment for mental health conditions and substance abuse problems without a major effort to significantly boost the number of health professionals and other service providers who can supply this care, a new report from the Institute of Medicine forecasts. Among the report’s findings:

  • 14 to 20 percent of the nation's overall elderly population have one or more mental health conditions, or problems stemming from substance misuse or abuse. 
  • Depressive disorders and dementia-related behavioral and psychiatric symptoms are the most prevalent.
  • Inattention to older adults' mental health conditions and substance misuse is associated with higher costs and poorer health outcomes; for example, older individuals with untreated depression are less likely to properly take medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and they are more likely to require repeated costly hospital stays.

The panel of experts in later-life mental health issues who authored the report included Frederic C. Blow Ph.D., director of the National VA Serious Mental Illness Treatment Research and Evaluation Center and the Department of Psychiatry’s Mental Health Services Outcomes and Translation Section, and as well as a Depression Center member.

Smoking among vets with mental health diagnoses

A recent study led by Depression Center member Sonia Duffy, Ph.D., R.N., professor of nursing (and co-authored by members Gregory Dalack, M.D., chair and associate professor of psychiatry, and Amy Kilbourne, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of psychiatry), found that veterans with mental health disorders have higher rates of smoking compared to other veterans, and that vets with schizophrenia are less likely to receive resources to help them quit. The study, published in the April 2012 issue of Psychiatric Services and featured on dailyRX.com, concludes that although most patients with mental disorders served by the VA reported receiving cessation services, their smoking rates remained high, and quitting resources were offered unevenly among selected groups.

Mental health advocate tackles new challenges

Kristina Saffran (2nd from right) at the 2011 Depression on College Campuses Conference

Project HEAL, a non-profit focused on raising funds to sponsor treatment for eating disorders and reducing societal obsession with body image, has grown into a successful organization with chapters at colleges across the country. Project HEAL and its co-founder Kristina Saffran, a Student Mental Health Advocate Award winner at the 2011 Depression on College Campuses Conference, are featured in the June 28 issue of People magazine.

The implications of health insurance expansion

Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, several media outlets quoted Marianne Udow-Phillips, a member of the Depression Center’s National Advisory Board and director of the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT). Udow-Phillips commented on the implications of the decision for healthcare in Michigan and beyond in the Detroit Free Press, Crain’s Detroit Business, American Medical News, and the Kalamazoo Gazette.   



July 25: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

July 28: Military Family Support Forum (CLINTON-MACOMB)

August 1: Family Education Workshop

August 8: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

August 22: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

September 5: Family Education Workshop

September 12: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

September 21: Depression Center Colloquium
Achieving Wellness: Improving Medical Outcomes for Bipolar and other Mental Disorders through Recovery-Oriented Self-Management

September 23: AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk (Ann Arbor)

September 26: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

We welcome suggestions about the content and format of this publication – please email lhutchen@umich.edu with your feedback.




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