Nationwide Recruitment: Bipolar Disorder Genetics: A Collaborative Study

Individuals who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder may be eligible to participate in a research study at the NIH clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. The purpose of this study is to identify genes that may contribute to the development of bipolar disorder (manic depression), and related conditions. Bipolar disorder is a common and potentially life-threatening mood disorder. The tendency to develop bipolar disorder can be inherited, but this is poorly understood and probably involves multiple genes. This study will use genetic markers to map and identify genes that contribute to the illness.

Families and individuals who have the disorder are asked to contribute their personal information and a blood sample to an anonymous national database. This information will aid scientists around the world who are working together to develop better treatments for this serious mood disorder.

For more information about this study, please call 1-866-644-4363 or email us at

For more information on research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD click here

Outreach Partnership Program 2011 Annual Meeting: Overview

In late March 2011, nearly 90 researchers, clinicians, and national, state, and territorial nonprofit mental health organizations met in Houston, Texas for the annual meeting of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Outreach Partnership Program. Outreach Partners representing nearly all 50 United States—some hailing from as far as Alaska and Hawaii—came together to learn more about the latest scientific research and best practices in the prevention, pre-emption, and treatment of mental disorders. The Outreach Partners had the opportunity to network with each other and to learn about potential collaborations.

The meeting offered 15 plenary sessions highlighting cutting-edge research on a variety of relevant topics, including the needs of returning veterans, how to understand and respond to suicide and suicide risk, depression during early childhood and adolescence, novel interventions for at-risk youth, and the role of culture and context in mental health. Networking opportunities included an afternoon poster session, two working lunches examining mental health disparities and opportunities for change, and three concurrent break-out sessions. These sessions allowed Outreach Partners to learn about best practices and lessons learned from others who have experience in areas such as military and veteran outreach, faith community outreach, and youth mental health issues.

Here is a sampling of what attending Outreach Partners had to say about these networking activities:

Dennis Pilgrim, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium: “This being my first time at the meeting. I am absolutely impressed with the amount of research going on. A lot of it was relevant and the type of thing I want to pass on to my colleagues during the tele-behavioral health seminars I organize.”

Jacque Gray, Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota: “I was grateful for all of the opportunities to find out what was going on in other areas—especially those that might apply to our area that we didn’t know about before. There’s so much good, cutting-edge information here and I got a lot of ideas of how to take it back to North Dakota and get it out to the providers that need it.”

Melissa Pearson, Association for Children’s Mental Health in Michigan: “The big take-away for me was the need to partner, collaborate, and connect all the dots. There are a lot of people doing great things—but they may be targeting one area, we’re targeting another, and we could each fill some gaps. But if we don’t know what the other is doing, we can’t support each other.”

On the final day of the meeting, NIMH Director Thomas Insel, M.D., addressed the Outreach Partners, offering his insights on promising ongoing research projects, as well new initiatives in which NIMH is participating. Dr. Insel emphasized that the meeting was a chance for NIMH and its Outreach Partners to engage in much-needed dialogue. He stated that the meeting is an opportunity for NIMH to inform the Outreach Partners about the Institute’s most recent scientific efforts, and to connect them with researchers who may be recruiting for clinical trials or are interested in working jointly on dissemination efforts. Dr. Insel also stressed that the meeting “…gives us at the NIMH the opportunity to hear from across the 50 States what our partners are looking for in terms of research, what they are facing in their communities in terms of immediate needs, and also listening to their questions about what kinds of things they are hoping this research will be able to provide. Truly, it’s invaluable.”

by NIMH Outreach Partnership Program

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:


Neuroscience and Psychiatry Module 1 Translating Neural Circuits into Novel Therapeutics (VIDEO)

Cognitive deficits are a core feature of schizophrenia. They are the single best predictor of functional outcomes in this disorder. Few treatments are currently available but translational neuroscience provides clues for the development of novel therapeutics.


This study is testing the effectiveness of riluzole versus placebo for decreasing anxiety in children with pediatric bipolar disorder. Children and youth with bipolar disorder display episodic elevated mood and associated symptoms of decreased need for sleep, increased goal-directed behavior, and increased self-esteem/grandiosity. Children ages 9 to 17 with bipolar disorder may be eligible to participate in this 12- to 15-week inpatient or outpatient study. This study has four phases. During Phase I, participants are gradually withdrawn from all current psychotropic medications. Phase II is a one-week medication-free period. During Phase III, which lasts two weeks, participants are randomly assigned to receive either riluzole or placebo (a sugar pill). Phase IV lasts for 6 weeks. During this phase, participants continue riluzole or placebo. At the end of the study, those who received placebo have the opportunity to receive riluzole. All procedures and medications associated with the research are provided at no cost to participants, and assistance with transportation and lodging expenses is available. Schooling will be provided while on the inpatient unit or in day treatment. To find out more information, call (301) 496-8381 or email

For more information on research conducted by the NIMH in Bethesda, MD, visit:


The NIMH will invite applicants to submit proposals for consideration as an NIMH Outreach Partner for the following states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and New York City, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Texas Border Area, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Non-profit organizations that conduct outreach on mental health are invited to submit proposals for participation in the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program, which is designed to facilitate and increase the use of science-based information on mental disorders nationwide. Organizations with experience in child and adolescent mental health and/or mental health disparities are encouraged to apply. The solicitation will be available on June 9, 2011 at the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program website (


NIMH Director, Thomas Insel, discusses recent papers which make use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, a new tool that may make it possible to study the molecular and cellular workings of neurodevelopment, even in an adult with a brain disorder. For neurodevelopmental disorders, iPS cells could be a transformative technology that allows researchers to study how and when brain development goes off track.