The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health is pleased to be a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Outreach Partner. We disseminate science-based behavioral health information and are eager to grow partnerships that advance the health of individuals and families throughout our Commonwealth.

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Children & Families

  • In a recent National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study, researchers explored how often preteens seen in emergency room (ER) settings screened positive for suicide risk using two screening tools. They found that nearly one-third of youth ages 10-12 years old screened positive for suicide risk, including those being seen in the ER for only physical health concerns.

  • Approximately 1 in 9 women in the United States (U.S.) experiences symptoms of postpartum depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first drug specifically designed to treat the condition. Research findings from NIMH led a biopharmaceutical company to develop brexanolone (an analog of the endogenous human hormone allopregnanolone), which works by restoring levels of allopregnanolone that can drop following a pregnancy.

  • An updated version of NIMH’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) brochure is now available. This brochure informs parents and adults on the range of symptoms of ASD, including social impairment, communications issues, and repetitive behaviors. It also discusses the diagnosis and treatment of ASD.

  • The latest issue of NIH Research Matters highlights studies of interventions designed to promote supportive parenting practices to reduce childhood anxiety.

  • The safe and effective use of antipsychotic medications for children and adolescents in the U.S. is a critical issue in mental health and substance use treatment. This guidance provides systems-level strategies to inform public and private sector decision‐makers, prescribing clinicians, and other key stakeholders in designing and implementing antipsychotic monitoring programs to improve outcomes. 
Depression Research
  • On March 5, 2019, the FDA approved Spravato (esketamine) nasal spray, in conjunction with an oral antidepressant, for the treatment of depression in adults who have tried other antidepressant medicines but have not benefited from them. Because of the risk of serious adverse outcomes resulting from sedation and difficulty with attention, judgment, and thinking (dissociation) caused by Spravato administration and the potential for abuse and misuse of the drug, it can only be administered under the supervision of a health care provider in a certified doctor’s office or clinic
Spanish Language Materials
  • A Spanish version of NIMH's Children and Mental Health brochure is now available online. This brochure on children's mental health includes information on when to seek help, steps for parents, evaluation, treatment, choosing a mental health professional, working with a school, resources, and clinical trials. 

  • A Spanish version of NIMH’s Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) brochure is now available online. This brochure discusses BPD, including signs and symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, co-occurring illnesses, associated suicide and self-harming behaviors, and clinical research. 
Suicide Prevention
  • The recent deaths of school shooting survivors have brought the topic of suicide into everyday conversations. This NIMH science update provides 5 action steps for helping someone in emotional pain. The update stresses the importance of knowing some facts about suicide and what people can do when they think someone might be at risk for self-harm. Fact sheets describing the 5 action steps are available in English and in Spanish.
Older Adult Behavioral Health
  • This National Institute on Aging (NIA) webpage, which includes an infographic and social media messages, focuses on the importance of social connectedness to health and wellbeing as people age. The page contains a link to NIA's brochure, Expanding Your Circles: Prevent Isolation and Loneliness as you Age.
Adolescent Behavioral Health
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Dr. Nora Volkow describes an ambitious new longitudinal study – The HEALthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) study – which is supported by funds from the NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM) Initiative. The HBCD study aims to better understand the impact of early exposure to opioids, other substances, and social stressors on brain development in children.

  • This blog post informs teenagers about brain development and the negative impact that habits like not getting enough sleep most of the time or even using drugs sometimes can have on the brain.
Criminal Justice
  • SAMHSA has released a new publication titled, Principles of Community-Based Behavioral Health Services for Criminal Justice Involved Individuals: A Research-Based Guide, which provides a foundation for realizing a quality, community-based behavioral health treatment system that is responsive to all individuals with mental and substance use disorders, including those who have had criminal justice involvement. 
  • The NIH All of Us Research Program recently launched a speaker series in partnership with the National Library of Medicine, which it will stream through YouTube Live. The series will feature experts from a variety of health and wellness fields focusing on topics such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and mental health, and will address how All of Us may help find the answers to important health questions. 

  • In observance of African American History Month, this Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Office of Behavioral Health Equity blog post recognizes three leaders who have had a significant impact on the mental health of their communities and beyond and have been essential contributors to SAMHSA's efforts to advance behavioral health equity for African Americans.
Upcoming Events
  • April 12, 12:30-1:45: The NIMH Research Domain Criteria Unit, the Delaware Project, and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies will conduct the third webinar in a series examining the science-to-service pipeline in psychology and psychiatry. This webinar will focus on understanding and treating the complexity and heterogeneity of suicide.

  • May 9, 2:00-2:30: In recognition of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, Dr. Peter Schmidt, Principal Investigator and Chief of the NIMH Behavioral Endocrinology Branch, and Dr. Kathy Reding, Postdoctoral Fellow, will join NIMH’s Facebook Live event to discuss how puberty affects brain development.
Clinical Trial Participation
  • Depression: The primary purpose of this research study is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the oral drug AV-101 (an antagonist of the glycine receptor) versus placebo. The study aims to determine if this experimental drug has antidepressant effects and fewer side effects than other novel treatments for depression.
  • NIMH is enrolling moderately depressed individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 with hard-to-treat major depressive disorder. This inpatient study lasts up to 14 weeks, and procedures include a medication taper, taking the research drug, taking a placebo, and four brain imaging scans. Optional procedures include a lumbar puncture and a catheter placement in the spine two times. After completing the study, participants receive short-term follow-up care at the NIH while transitioning back to a provider.
  • The study is conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and enrolls eligible participants from across the country. NIMH will provide travel arrangements and cover costs (arrangements vary by distance). There is no cost to participate, and NIMH will provide compensation.
We look forward to continuing to work together for change!