August 6, 2013


A leader in the fight to cure bipolar disorder

For more than a decade, Waltraud “Wally” Prechter has been a powerful champion and tireless advocate in the pursuit of a cure for bipolar disorder. In this moving video, Wally and her daughter, Stephanie, explain why their resolve to advance our understanding of this illness is so personal.

More than 10 years after launching the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund, which supports the world's most ambitious research into bipolar disorder, Wally's enormous contribution has brought us to a place where we are finally beginning to see important progress. In her blog, Ora Pescovitz, U-M’s Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Chief Executive Officer of the U-M Health System, describes the many promising avenues of research underway at U-M into the origins, development, and treatment of bipolar disorder that Wally’s vision and determination have helped make possible.

Declining depression rates among older Americans

Depression rates have fallen significantly among the majority of older adults in recent years, with the most pronounced drop among the elderly, who have historically been a higher risk group for depression. This is according to a new study led by Depression Center member Kara Zivin, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry in the U-M Medical School and research investigator at the VA Center for Clinical Management Research, which found fewer Americans over 50 are experiencing symptoms of depression. The results were not all good news, however, as increased depression rates were found among “late middle agers” (between 55-59 years of age) over the study period (1998 to 2008).

Depression in later life, a time when many face the death of loved ones, isolation, medical problems or changes in economic status, has long been a major area of concern among health providers, and these latest findings may point to better recognition and treatment. The nationally representative study appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine and was featured on Michigan Radio, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere. Read more...

Understanding depression in the workplace

Did you know that depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada? A recent Gallup study found that about 12% of workers have been diagnosed with depression at some point, and that depression costs U.S. workplaces $23 billion in absenteeism each year. In addition, depressive illnesses can significantly affect an individual’s ability to find, retain, and regain meaningful employment.

However, programs focused on raising awareness and promoting early identification and effective treatment of depressive illnesses can help employees thrive at work and improve their quality of life. These webpages are designed to help employers increase their understanding of depression and identify strategies for creating supportive and positive workplace environments. Read more...

U-M psychiatric hospital care recognized among nation’s best  

The University of Michigan Hospitals & Health Centers are among America’s best for psychiatric care, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual review of hospitals nationwide. U-M also ranked #1 for psychiatry in the state of Michigan.

For the second year in a row, U.S. News rated U-M "high performing" in psychiatry as an adult care specialty. As a whole, U.S. News ranked UMHHC #1 in Michigan for the second consecutive year, and #1 in metro Detroit for the third year running. Read more about the rankings.

Gail Campanella appointed Managing Director of IHPI

U-M Depression Center Chief of Staff Gail Campanella, MBA, has been selected to serve as the first Managing Director of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI). IHPI includes more than 400 faculty members and associated staff and students, from 14 U-M schools and colleges and 5 external partner organizations, working to study and impact health care delivery, quality and policy. Gail has served as chief of staff for the U-M Depression Center since 2005, and as Interim Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC) over the past several years. Please join us in congratulating Gail and wishing her well in her new role! Read more...

Two-minute tips for depression management

In these six short videos, Depression Center experts offer basic education on depression treatment approaches and practical suggestions for self-care. They include tips on improving nutrition, sleep, and exercise, and background on various psychotherapy techniques, managing medication, and neuromodulation therapies for treatment-resistant depression.

Helping kids de-stress for 'back to school'

In the August issue of Ann Arbor Family, Depression Center member Julie Kaplow, Ph.D., director of U-M’s Trauma and Grief Center for Youth, offers some strategies for easing children back into school. For many kids, the re-entry after summer break can be an overwhelming change of environment. “The more parents can help their kids know what to expect, the better,” Kaplow says. Read more...

Striving to improve therapies for anxiety disorders by studying neurotransmitters

For years, researchers have sought ways to enhance the “fear extinction” learning that lies at the heart of exposure-based therapies. Those approaches are considered the best-proven treatments for anxiety disorders, yet all too often they fall short. Several neurotransmitter systems are being explored in an effort to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders by enhancing either extinction learning or the retention of the extinguished memory. Read more about a particular neurotransmitter and its role in extinction memory that U-M’s Israel Liberzon, M.D., and Christine Rabinak, Ph.D., are currently studying.

Antidepressants May Help Avert Depression in Head and Neck Cancer Patients

Antidepressant use appears to prevent depression in patients with head and neck cancer, a large double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial has found. A Psychiatric News Alert describing the findings quoted Michelle Riba, M.D., M.S., an associate director of the Depression Center and director of the PsychOncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. Read more...

Psychiatric and additions nursing collaboration expands in Brazil

Dr. Strobbe with USP collaborators

Depression Center member Stephen Strobbe, Ph.D., R.N., a clinical associate professor in U-M’s School of Nursing, recently returned from a two-week visiting professorship at Brazil’s University of São Paulo (USP) College of Nursing at Ribeirão Preto. His visit, which focused on improving UMSN-USP partnerships in psychiatric and addictions nursing education and research, builds upon previous faculty visits to both campuses and ongoing research collaborations. Read more...



Survivors of suicide support group

The U-M Depression Center and Department of Psychiatry offer a support group for adults who have lost a loved one to suicide. These meetings are held twice-monthly for cycles of eight sessions. This support group provides the opportunity to:

  • Develop a caring support network
  • Learn healthy coping and healing skills
  • Provide a safe place for survivors to share thoughts and feelings
  • Learn about bereavement and grief and their impact on us

The group meets at U-M’s Turner Senior Resource Center the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 7-8:30 p.m. The support group is free, but pre-registration is required, and only adults 18 years or older may attend. Sessions are professionally facilitated by social workers from U-M’s Psychiatric Emergency Services. Contact Kim Ballard at 734-936-4855 to register or learn more.

Mental health screenings for seniors

Thanks to a generous grant from the U-M Depression Center Community Volunteer Committee, staff from the U-M Psychological Clinic will visit senior centers and independent living facilities in the Ann Arbor area every spring, offering free mental health screenings and encouraging the utilization of mental health resources. Read more...



Aug. 7: Family Education Workshop

Aug 14: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

Aug. 28: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

September 4: Family Education Workshop

September 11: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

September 22: Metro Detroit/Oakland/Livingston Walk, Kensington Metro Park (Maple Beach) - Milford, Michigan. Part of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Community Walks. Search AFSP’s database to find a walk near you!

September 25: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

October 2: Family Education Workshop

October 9: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

October 13: Metro Detroit Downriver Walk, Lake Erie Metro Park - Brownstown, Michigan. Part of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Community Walks. Search AFSP’s database to find a walk near you!

October 23: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

November 6: Family Education Workshop

November 13: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

November 27: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

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




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