August 21, 2012


Yoga shown to reduce depression in pregnant women, boost maternal bonding

Mental health disorders during pregnancy, including depression and anxiety, have become a serious health concern for expectant moms and their babies, but many women are reluctant to take psychiatric medications during pregnancy out of concern for their infants' safety. Now, the first promising evidence that yoga may serve as an effective alternative for helping pregnant women reduce symptoms of depression has been shown in a new study by a team led by Depression Center member Maria Muzik, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of psychiatry and assistant research scientist at the Center for Human Growth and Development.  The study, published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, was featured on Yahoo News, CNBC, and several blogs and international news sites. Read more...

Looking out for the elderly and their caregivers

More support is needed for the mental health concerns of older adults and those who care for them, including a greater awareness of the risk of depression and suicide among both, according to Susan Maixner, M.D., who directs the U-M Geropsychiatry Clinic and is a member of the Depression Center. This follows a recent report from the Institute of Medicine which found that increasing numbers of aging baby boomers are expected to face a shortage of services to meet their mental health needs in the coming years. Maixner was quoted in an article on about the circumstances surrounding an elderly Jackson man who killed his wife, who had lived with Alzheimer’s, and then himself. The article also includes tips for family and friends to help caregivers cope with the stresses they experience in their role.

The vision for targeted depression treatments

The New York Times published a letter from the principal investigators of the EMBARC study, who were responding to an article about the genetic and environmental factors that may contribute to depression. The Depression Center is one site in the EMBARC study, which is looking at how individual characteristics may predict depression treatment response.  The letter’s authors note that regardless of heritability, nurturing can make a difference in depression outcomes, and that successful treatment of a mother’s own depression can also have immediate, beneficial effects on her children’s well-being.   



Educational materials available for download

Factsheets, brochures, newsletters, tools, and more! Easy-to-read, useful information on a variety of topics pertaining to depression, bipolar disorder, and related illnesses can be found on our website. Check out our Depression Toolkit for even more helpful resources, news, video, and tips. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Let us know!



The Ravitz Foundation recently agreed to provide $500,000 in continuing support for the Michigan Child Collaborative Care Program (MC3).  Led by Sheila Marcus, M.D., director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, this program provides education and treatment consultations to pediatricians and family practice physicians to help them manage children with mental health problems in their practices.  Children with severe behavioral health issues will be able to be seen by U-M child psychiatrists through telepsychiatry.  The project will help address the severe shortage of child psychiatrists in Michigan available to treat children with behavioral health diagnoses. It also meets the critically important goal of early diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses when symptoms first appear and treatments can be most effective.  Launched earlier this year in Kalamazoo and the surrounding counties, the program will be expanded there and also extended to 8 rural counties in Northern Michigan.  We are extremely grateful to the Ravitz Foundation for their generous award.



Weisenbach receives NARSAD Young Investigator Grant

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD) has announced that Sara Weisenbach, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and a Depression Center member, has been selected to receive a 2012 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant. Dr. Weisenbach’s research aims to first identify and then combine biomarkers, in individuals with first-onset, unmedicated, late-life depression (LLD), with neuropsychological and behavioral measures. This will allow for the mechanistic definition of simplified, relatively inexpensive, non-imaging measures, anchored on a background of neurobiological correlates that may predict the course of cognition and functioning in individuals suffering from LLD. This could lead to more accurate  assessments and better targeting of preventive and treatment strategies.



Military Family Support Forum fall schedule announced
This free, professionally-facilitated monthly program for family members and loved ones of OEF/OIF/OND service members and veterans now offers groups in Ann Arbor and the Clinton-Macomb area. Each Forum session includes a presentation on a topic of interest followed by the opportunity to connect with other families through a facilitated discussion. The Forum includes a separate program for children, and lunch is provided. Visit the Military Support Programs and Networks (M-SPAN) website for more information. The schedule for both groups is listed below.

August 22: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

September 5: Family Education Workshop

September 7-9 and 14-16: Hillsdale Community Theatre presents Proof
This Pulitzer Prize-winning play tells the story of a young mathematician who has cared for her father (a well-known mathematician) while he suffered from a serious mental health condition.  The play draws on important themes around managing mental health, patterns of mental illness within families, and the challenges facing caregivers. This event is co-sponsored by the Depression Center and LifeWays Community Mental Health, and there will be panel discussion following the play that involves actors, the director, and mental health professionals from the community and the Depression Center.  Please contact the theater for more information or to make reservations.

September 8: Military Family Support Forum (ANN ARBOR)

September 12: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

September 15: Military Family Support Forum (CLINTON-MACOMB)

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)
Find other AFSP walks throughout the country this fall here.

September 26: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

October 13: Military Family Support Forum (CLINTON-MACOMB)

October 17: 10th Annual Todd Ouida Lecture in Childhood Anxiety and Depression
Nonpharmacologic Adjunctive Interventions for Childhood Mood Disorders
Mary A. Fristad, Ph.D., ABPP, The Ohio State University

October 20: Military Family Support Forum (ANN ARBOR)

November 3: Military Family Support Forum (CLINTON-MACOMB)

November 12: 6th Annual Prechter Lecture
Stem Cells and Ethics
John Kelsoe, M.D., University of California-San Diego
Rackham Ampitheater, 1-5 pm

November 17: Military Family Support Forum (ANN ARBOR)

December 8: Military Family Support Forum (CLINTON-MACOMB

December 15: Military Family Support Forum (ANN ARBOR)

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




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