People With Mental Illness Risk Problem Drinking

A new U.S. government report finds that adults who suffer with mental illness are four times more prone to alcohol dependence compared to those without such conditions.

The report, released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), was based on a 2009 nationwide survey. It found that nearly 10 percent of adults diagnosed with a mental illness were also alcohol-dependent, compared to just 2.2 percent of those without such issues.

The rate of alcohol dependence also rose alongside the severity of mental illness, the report said.

“Mental and substance use disorders often go hand in hand. This SAMHSA study adds to the evidence of that connection,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in an agency news release.

“Co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders are to be expected, not considered the exception,” she added. “Unfortunately, signs and symptoms of these behavioral health conditions are often missed by individuals, their friends and family members and unnoticed by health professionals. The results can be devastating and costly to our society.”

U.S. News & World Report Health

Brain, Gene Discoveries Drive New Concept of Mental Illness

A surprising finding from genomic research is that mental illnesses appear to be related to extremely rare but potent genetic mutations that are not associated with any specific disorder but with a variety of phenotypes categorized as mental illness.

By Mark Moran
Psychiatric News

A Schizophrenic, a Slain Worker, Troubling Questions

BOSTON — Last November, Yvette Chappell found herself increasingly anxious that her 27-year-old son, Deshawn James Chappell, was spiraling downward into deep psychosis. He was exhibiting intense paranoia and calling late at night to complain about deafening voices in his head.
For over a year, Mr. Chappell, a schizophrenic with a violent criminal record, had seemed relatively stable in a state-financed group home in Charlestown. But after a fight with another resident, Mr. Chappell was shuttled from home to home, and his mother believed that he had fallen off his medication along the way.

Ms. Chappell said she had tried to communicate this concern to his caretakers, but it was not until mid-January that she found somebody who listened.

The woman introduced herself as Stephanie and said she would be Mr. Chappell’s counselor at his new group home in Revere. She confirmed that Mr. Chappell had stopped getting his antipsychotic injections but made his mother a promise: “She said: ‘Don’t worry. I’m going to get Deshawn back on track.’

“I thought everything was going to be O.K. because he had somebody who cared,” Ms. Chappell said, her voice breaking.

Two days after that conversation, Stephanie Moulton, a petite, street-smart 25-year-old, was dead, and Mr. Chappell was accused of murdering her. They had been alone at the Revere home, where, her family said, Ms. Moulton generally worked a solo shift. Mr. Chappell beat her, stabbed her repeatedly and then dumped her partially nude body in a church parking lot, prosecutors said.

The killing on Jan. 20 stunned the mental health care community in Massachusetts. The “shattering event,” as one former state mental health official called it, occurred days before Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, released his proposed budget, which would slash mental health spending for the third year in a row. And it raised the timely but uncomfortable question of whether such continuous belt-tightening had played a role in Ms. Moulton’s death.

The New York Times

NIMH Outreach Partnership Program 2011 Annual Meeting: Presentation by Thomas Insel, M.D., Director, National Institute of Mental Health

Thomas Insel, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), concluded the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program’s 2011 Annual Meeting with an update on high priority research projects at NIMH, and with highlights of scientific advancements that are breaking new ground in mental health research. Dr. Insel emphasized that NIMH recognizes the urgent need for services and interventions to help the millions of Americans who are currently living with a mental illness, while stressing the value of the Institute’s basic science portfolio.

2011 OPP AM Insel session Final

NIMH Outreach Partnership Program Update for June 15, 2011

The Outreach Partnership Program is a nationwide outreach initiative of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that enlists state and national organizations in a partnership to help close the gap between mental health research and clinical practice, inform the public about mental illnesses, and reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. For more information about the program please visit: To subscribe to receive the Update every two weeks, go to:


CLOSING SESSION – Call to Action (Video from One MInd for Research Symposium)

Congressman Patrick Kennedy served 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Rhode Island’s First District. Patrick Kennedy was the author and lead sponsor of the Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act of 2008, legislation which provides tens of millions of Americans who were previously denied care with access to mental health treatment. Congressman Kennedy has authored and co-sponsored dozens of bills to increase understanding and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including the National Neurotechnology Initiative Act, the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act, the COMBAT PTSD Act, and the Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act. Founder of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus and the 21st Century Healthcare Caucus, Congressman Kennedy is winner of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Distinguished Service Award, the Society for Neuroscience Public Service Award, the Autism Society of America Congressional Leadership Award, the Depression and Bipolar Support Paul Wellstone Mental Health Award, and the Epilepsy Foundation Public Service Award. Congressman Kennedy is Co-Chair of One Mind for Research, dedicated to dramatic enhancements in funding and collaboration in research across all brain disorders in the next decade.

Interview with Thomas Insel, MD Director, National Institute of Mental Health (Video from One MInd for Research Symposium)

Thomas Insel is Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health charged with generating the knowledge needed to understand, treat, and prevent mental disorders. His tenure at NIMH has been distinguished by groundbreaking findings in the areas of practical clinical trials, autism research, and the role of genetics in mental illnesses. Prior to his appointment as NIMH Director in the Fall 2002, Dr. Insel was Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University. There, he was founding director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, one of the largest science and technology centers funded by the National Science Foundation and, concurrently, director of an NIH-funded Center for Autism Research. From 1994 to 1999, he was Director of the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta. While at Emory, Dr. Insel continued the line of research he had initiated at NIMH studying the neurobiology of complex social behaviors. He has published over 250 scientific articles and four books, including the Neurobiology of Parental Care (with Michael Numan) in 2003. Dr. Insel has served on numerous academic, scientific, and professional committees and boards. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and is a recipient of several awards including the Outstanding Service Award from the U.S. Public Health Service.

Exceptional Opportunities in Translational Neuroscience (Video from One MInd for Research Symposium)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a strong tradition of supporting new approaches for diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. Despite significant progress, we still lack treatments for many conditions, including conditions affecting the brain and nervous system. One challenge is that the therapeutics development pipeline contains bottlenecks that reduce efficiency and increase costs. To advance the discipline of translational science, NIH has announced plans to create a new center to study the process of therapeutics development, identify bottlenecks that might be re-engineered, and experiment with innovative methods to streamline the process. This presentation will set forth the rationale for establishing the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and discuss how NIH-supported research will benefit people suffering from neurological conditions.

Francis S. Collins is an American physician-geneticist, noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project (HGP) and described by the Endocrine Society as “one of the most accomplished scientists of our time”. He currently serves as Director of the National Institutes of Health. Collins has written a book about his Christian faith. He founded and was president of the BioLogos Foundation before accepting the nomination to lead the NIH. On October 14, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Francis Collins to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Serious Neuropsychiatric Diseases Can Be Tackled Through An Innovative, Accelerated, Collaborative Effort (Video from One MInd for Research Symposium)

Serious neuropsychiatric diseases are among the most devastating illnesses affecting mankind. Nevertheless, while staggering advances are being made in the field of neuroscience as a whole, scientific expertise is scattered and the approach to research is fragmented. Our knowledge base and data are largely siloed, and incentives for research and collaboration are lacking. In addition, federal and industry support for funding brain research is declining, leading to fewer new experimental treatments. This presentation describes a plan to expand the boundaries of science. By sharing data and knowledge platforms, individual researchers and organizations can make groundbreaking advances. This would entail developing a major private-public partnership that will include universities, government, advocacy groups, industry, and private citizens. Much is at stake in terms of human capital, for as a society, we have a moral imperative to break through current barriers to smash stigma, develop better treatments, and ultimately cure brain disorders.

Husseini Manji is the Global Therapeutic Area Head of Neuroscience at Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals.