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Mental Health

Mental Health

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Laura Murray, study leader, shows that children from very distressed backgrounds can be helped by a prescribed set of sessions with trained lay workers. Learn More
George Rebok
Cognitive Training Program Shows 10-Year Benefit in Areas of Speed and Reasoning in Older Individuals. Professor George Rebok, PhD, led a large NIH-funded intervention trial. Learn More
Elizabeth Letourneau, PhD, was featured on June 3 on NPR's On Point to discuss child sexual abuse prevention in the news. Learn More
Tamar Mendelson
Post by Tamar Mendelson, PhD on OSI Baltimore website about Baltimore-based non-profit Holistic Life Foundation. Learn More
Michelle Carlson, PhD, study leader of Experience Corps, discusses results of a study that suggests exercise and civic engagement can slow memory loss in aging. Learn More
Public Mental Health
This volume provides a comprehensive introduction and reference for a public health approach to mental and behavioral disorders and the promotion of mental health. Authors and co-authors are drawn from the faculty, students and fellows of the Department of Mental Health. Learn More
Department News

  • The Cast of 'The Wire' Reunited on Stage To Help The City of Baltimore
    The cast of HBO’s The Wire attempted to highlight Baltimore and give back to the community that was brought to life on the screen by David Simon. The event was hosted by Sonja Sohn’s nonprofit, Rewired for Change, which is based here in Baltimore.
    Phillip Leaf is quoted. (The comment appeared in the Baltimore Sun.)

  • Mindfulness Practices Help City Youth De-stress and Find Voice
    "Without adequate emotional supports, trauma exposure can impair the stress response system, keeping the alarm switched ON...Children are particularly vulnerable, since their brains and bodies are still developing."
    Tamar Mendelson, Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, continues the And Justice for All series on "Open Society Institute Baltimore" with a commentary about school-based mindfulness and yoga, particularly with trauma-exposed youth.

  • The Healing Power of Music
    For Alzheimer's patients, music can be good medicine.
    Article in AARP Magazine mentions a GMU thesis study by Linda Maguire, MHS '14, that used vocal music programming and found cognitive improvement in dementia patients.

  • Effectiveness of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Among Trauma-Affected Children in Lusaka, Zambia
    Study Finds dramatic improvement of trauma symptoms as compared to usual treatment
    A specific type of talk therapy dispensed in the developing world to orphans and other vulnerable children who experienced trauma such as sexual and domestic abuse showed dramatic results, despite being administered by workers with little education, new research shows.
    Laura Murray, PhD, Associate Scientist in the Department of Mental Health, is the study leader.

  • The Hunt for Child Sex Abusers Is Happening in the Wrong Places
    A look at the legal system’s handling of child sexual abuse offenders, with a focus on Florida’s system of “civil commitment,” which allows the state to lock up offenders, so they can receive treatment, after they’ve served their sentence if they are deemed unsafe to society. Civil commitment is legal in 20 states and federal law. It’s also deeply controversial.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Newsweek: The Predator Next Store [Cover Story] .

  • Making Sex Offender Pay - and Pay and Pay and Pay: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast
    In the episode, a number of experts walk us through the itemized costs that a sex offender pays  — and whether some of these items (polygraph tests or a personal “tracker,” for instance) are worthwhile. Society keeps exacting costs — out-of-pocket and otherwise — long after the prison sentence has been served.
    Elizabeth Letourneau joins a panel of guests.

  • In Baltimore's Bloody May, Safe Streets Keeps Peace
    Columnist Dan Rodricks asks why Baltimore’s Safe Streets violence protection program isn’t on every high-crime corner in the city. There are three other Safe Streets teams operating under the auspices of the Baltimore City Health Department — one in Cherry Hill, one in McElderry Park on the east side, one in the Mondawmin area.
    The Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence [Phil Leaf, Director) funds a fourth Safe Streets program and is mentioned in this piece in The Baltimore Sun.

  • Exercise & Civic Engagement Can Slow Memory Loss in Aging
    A first-person column about proactive ways people can possibly slow or prevent memory loss as they get older.
    Michelle Carlson is quoted in Valley Morning Star (Harlington, TX).

  • More U.S. Kids Getting Mental Health Treatment
    But most of that increase has been among patients who have less serious illness
    The number of U.S. children and teens being treated for mental health issues has risen by about 50 percent in the past 20 years -- with most of those kids having relatively mild symptoms, a new study finds. The research, published in the May 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, comes at a time of growing concern over young people's mental health treatment.
    Brendan Saloner is quoted in HealthDay News.

  • Parent's DNA Tags Tied to Autism Symptoms in Toddlers
    Women who have unusual patterns of chemical tags on their DNA during pregnancy may give birth to children who develop autism symptoms. The preliminary results were presented at the 2015 International Meeting for Autism Research in Salt Lake City, Utah.
    Dani Fallin is quoted in (Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative).

  • For an Aging Brain, Looking for Ways to Keep Memory Sharp
    Before investing in remedies and devices that claim they can enhance memory and/or cognitive function, consumers should look for well-designed, placebo-controlled studies that attest to their ability to promote a youthful memory and other cognitive functions.
    The School’s research is mentioned. [George Rebok]
    in this New York Times article. This article was also picked up by

  • Preventing Autism in Pregnancy: Is it Possible?
    Experts weigh in on the latest research behind 8 ways to potentially reduce your baby's autism risk while you're pregnant.
    Dani Fallin is quoted in Fit

  • Four strategies for keeping legal marijuana away from kids and teens
    As a growing number of US states loosen restrictions on recreational marijuana sales, three public health researchers have presented their suggestions for keeping the drug of the hands of children and adolescents. To develop these recommendations, the experts looked to the successes and shortcomings of the tobacco and alcohol industries.
    Brendan Saloner is quoted in AFP RelaxNews via Yahoo! News.

  • Feds Pay for Drug Fraud: 92 Percent of Foster Care, Poor Kids Prescribed Antipsychotics Get Them for Unaccepted Uses
    The release in late March of an alarming new report by federal investigators has confirmed in shocking new detail what has been known for years: Poor and foster care kids covered by Medicaid are being prescribed too many dangerous antipsychotic drugs at young ages for far too long -- mostly without any medical justification at all.
    Stefan Kruszewski, MD (Associate in MH) is quoted in Huffington

  • Bullying may be worse than child abuse for kids’ mental health: study

    Children who are bullied by their peers may be more likely to suffer mental health problems later in life than kids who are abused by adults, a study published in Lancet Psychiatry suggests.
    Catherine Bradshaw is quoted in Reuters via the New York Daily News.

  • They Distributed Papers to Warn You That I Was a Pedophile
    In Portugal, the Assembly of the Republic (AR) is debating a law similar to the U.S. for convicted of child abuse, including maintaining a registry of names available to the public via the Internet. (Original in Portuguese.)
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Observador (original in Portuguese).

  • The Lariam Legacy
    An investigation into why the British Ministry of Defence continues to use a drug that has been shown to cause psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia and confusion.
    Remington Nevin, MD, MPH, DrPH Student is featured in a broadcast by BBC Radio 4 (around the 11:25 mark and again at 27:00).

  • Father's Sperm Linked to Autism
    DNA methylation in paternal sperm may contribute to the risk of children's developing autism, a finding that sheds new light on the etiology of this complex disorder.
    Dani Fallin is quoted

  • Feel Good Report: Study Says Connectedness May Stave Off Cognitive Aging
    Introverts, take note: Social connectedness and civic engagement may stave off some of the cognitive effects of aging—and may even protect against dementia. A new study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the memory center in the brain maintained its size—or even grew—after seniors spent two years engaged in meaningful and social activities.
    Michelle Carson is quoted.

  • Study Rules Out Link Between Autism, MMR Vaccine Even in At-Risk Kids
    A study of nearly 100,000 children found that toddlers known to have an elevated risk of autism were no more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder if they were vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella than if they weren't.
    Research led by Dani Fallin is mentioned, as is the Wendy Klag Center in an article in The Los Angeles Times via

    This story was also pick up the The Baltimore Sun.

  • Paternal Sperm Holds Clues to Autism
    Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University have found that DNA from the sperm of men whose children had early signs of autism shows distinct patterns of tags that could contribute to the condition.
    Daniele Fallin and Andrew Feinberg are quoted in the Times of India.

    This story was also picked up by the Western Daily Press (U.K.) and Smart Parenting.

  • Social Engagement and Active Lifestyles Can Slow Down Cognitive Decline
    Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found that seniors who engage in meaningful social activities circumvent brain atrophy. The study followed participants in the Baltimore Experience Corps, a program that places retired persons into public schools to work with elementary school students.
    Michelle Carlson is quoted in GOOD Magazine.

  • Looking at Child Abuse Through the Lens of Prevention
    Elizabeth Letourneau discusses ways to prevent child abuse on Maryland Morning WYPR broadcast.

  • Most Antidepressant Users Have Never Had Depression
    A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports some 69 percent of people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the primary type of antidepressants, have never suffered from major depressive disorder (MDD). Perhaps worse, 38 percent have never in their lifetime met the criteria for MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder, yet still take the pills that accompany them.
    Ramin Mojtabai, who led the study, is quoted on

  • Mental Health Coverage Unequal in Many Obamacare Plans
    Insurance coverage for mental and physical illness remains unequal despite promises that Obamacare would help level the playing field, mental health advocates and researchers say in a new study.
    Colleen Barry, study lead, is quoted in USA Today. Dr. Barry hold a joint appointment in the Department of Mental Health.

  • Safer Harbors
    Researchers at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse undertake a comprehensive evaluation of legislation that affects children who are commercially sexually exploited.
    Elizabeth Letourneau and Ryan Shields are interviewed in a JHSPH Magazine Spring 2015 article that emphasizes prevention over punishment.

  • Invisible Wounds
    Thousands of combat veterans suffered traumatic brain injuries that were never documented. Then two doctoral students unearthed the evidence.
    JHSPH Magazine 2015 Spring Edition features work that Remington Nevin, MD, DrPH student in Mental Health and Rachel Chase, PhD (International Health) did some time ago on undocumented military traumatic brain injuries.

  • PTSD in Our Nation's Classrooms
    The mental toll that violence is taking on inner city youth is at pandemic levels. In certain urban communities, PTSD rates among youth are higher than returning war veterans. Yet in too many schools, the connection between academics and emotional well-being continues to be dismissed.
    Philip Leaf is quoted in an article in

  • Mindfulness May Help Ease Sleep Problems for Seniors
    Mindfulness meditation may help older adults get a better night’s sleep, a small study suggests.Researchers found that among 49 older adults with sleep problems, those who learned mindfulness practices started sleeping better within six weeks. In fact, they did better than their counterparts who were given conventional lessons on good sleep habits, the study authors said. Experts said the findings, published online Feb. 16 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, are encouraging.
    Adam Spira comments in an article in Health.

  • Our Amazingly Plastic Brains
    Mental and physical exercise can keep the brain fit and help it recover capacities lost to disease and trauma
    George Rebok is mentioned in the Wall Street Journal.

  • Baby Brains Undergo Dramatic Changes in Utero
    The developing brain undergoes rapid and tightly coordinated changes in a molecular process know to help regulate gene activity, a new study shows.
    Andrew Jaffe, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mental Health, is quoted in Science News.

  • Organic Depersonalization as a Chronic Sequela of Mefloquine Intoxication
    Remington Nevin’s Letter to the Editor was published in the print edition of Psychosomatics.

  • Top 100 Scientific Stories in Discover Magazine's Year in Science Issue includes Two Articles Co-authored by DMH Faculty (#11 and #45)
    - At #11, "Biological insights from 108 schizophrenia-associated genetic loci." Published in July in the journal Nature. DMH authors included Brion Maher, Preben Mortensen, Ayman Fanous and Gerry Nestadt.
    - At #45, “Identification and replication of a combined epigenetic and genetic biomarker predicting suicide and suicidal behaviors”, published in July in the American Journal of Psychiatry. DMH authors included Bill Eaton, Zach Kaminsky, Brion Maher and Holly Wilcox.

  • Health Fears Over Banned Malaria Drug Linked to Hallucinations, Depression and Suicide
    NHS England figures reveal the doses of the drug, banned by the US Army, being dispensed has shot up. More than £1.35 million has been spent on Lariam in the past four years – with many of the pills handed to English tourists preparing to holiday in malaria hotspots.
    Remington Nevin, MD, DrPH student is quoted in the

  • The Hidden Global Costs of Mental Illness
    A 2011 report on the economic burden of disease contained one big surprise: it predicted that the largest source of those tremendous future costs would be mental disorders, which the report forecast would account for more than a third of the global economic burden of noncommunicable diseases by 2030. Taken together, the direct economic effects of mental illness (such as spending on care) and the indirect effects (such as lost productivity) already cost the global economy around $2.5 trillion a year.
    Judith Bass is mentioned in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Foreign Affairs.

  • Fighting Depression in Aging Adults
    Experts have long seen the Baby Boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) as a “silver tsunami” that will require extra resources, and the mental health needs of this age group are the often-neglected underside of that tsunami. By 2030, there will be as many as 14 million American seniors with mental health or substance abuse disorders, up from 5 million to 8 million today, according to the Institute of Medicine.
    Joseph Gallo comments in an article in the Journal Gazette.

  • Collateral Damage: Relatives of murder victims struggle with grief
    Families mourn their loved ones lost to violence in Baltimore, which has the fifth-highest homicide rate of major U.S. cities. Numerous studies show that the relatives of homicide victims suffer in a different and often more intense way than those who have lost a loved one through natural causes, or long illnesses — partly because they must deal with the criminal justice system.
    Phil Leaf comments. The piece originally ran in the Baltimore Sun. The piece also ran in the Buffalo News, the Times Record and other outlets.

  • Pennsylvania's Juvenile Sex Offender Registry Is Unconstitutional, State Supreme Court Rules
    Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry for juvenile offenders is unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled on Monday.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek.

  • A career on the way to full service integration
    The service integration problems we identified in the mid 1980s now are being addressed, and the solutions we foresaw actually are beginning to be implemented.
    Article by Ronald Manderscheid in the December 22 issue of Behavioral Healthcare.

  • Research finds poor sleep may contribute to Alzheimer's risk
    Several new studies suggest lack of sleep may increase your risk of Alzheimer's Disease. A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health sleep study of seventy patients without dementia found that those who slept less had greater incidence of amyloid plaques in their brain than those who slept longer.
    Adam Spira’s research is mentioned in article from WWSB (ABC Affiliate; Sarasota, FL).

  • Depression is often undertreated in seniors
    Seniors who are depressed are more likely than those who are not to die or have serious complications after a major medical event. While seniors are less likely to be depressed than younger people, the size of the baby boom population will demand new strategies to care for them.
    Joseph Gallo is quoted in The Washington Post.

    This has also been picked up the The Daily Herald and several other outlets.

  • Sleep-Disordered Breathing Linked to Functional Decline
    For older women, sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is associated with functional decline, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
    Adam Spira, lead author, comments in article in Physician's Briefing.

  • This woman is trying to stop juvenile sex offenders — by helping them
    Elizabeth Letourneau, in a Q&A on, discusses her work with juvenile sex offenders. Letourneau is the director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.

  • Counseling Shown to Reduce Repeat Attempts at Suicide
    A handful of counseling sessions for people who tried to kill themselves significantly reduced the chances they would make another attempt, the first time talk therapy has been proved effective for suicide prevention. Article in Bloomberg.
    Annette Erlangsen’s and Elizabeth Stuart’s study on suicide and talk therapy has recently received a tremendous amount of coverage, including BBC - Suicide risk reduced after talk therapy, study suggests, Herald Scotland - Talking therapy can prevent suicide deaths, Huffington Post U.K. - Talking Therapy Can Help Suicidal People By Reducing Deaths By More Than A Quarter, HealthDay News - Talk Therapy Linked To Lower Suicide Risk, Forbes - Suicide Risk Falls Significantly With Talk Therapy, Irish Examiner - Study finds talking therapy 'can stop suicide, Nursing Timesb [Log-in required.] - Talking therapy 'can stop suicide' in those at high risk, Yahoo! New Zealand - Talking therapy can prevent suicide, Tech Times -Talk Therapy Might Help Reduce Repeat Suicide Attempts: Study, Counsel & Heal - Talk Therapy Cuts Suicide Rates. The talk therapy-suicide study was also covered by Yahoo Australia, University Herald, Business Standard, (Australia).

  • Viewpoint: Depression Isn’t Always As Easy As ‘Talking to Someone'
    Talk therapy may help curb the rate of suicide, according to a new study published Nov. 17. …But the type of treatment most effective in preventing suicide remains unclear, according to Erlangsen.
    Annette Erlangsen is quoted in USA Today.

  • White House Hosts Briefing on Federal Suicide Prevention Efforts
    Article in Psychiatric News.
    Anita Everett (joint in MH) testifies as Trustee-at-Large for American Psychiatric Association

  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Researchers Awarded $1.5 Million Grant to Study Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Researchers Aim to Identify Early Life Determinants of ASD and Patterns of Diagnosis and Clinical Services Use Among Urban Low-Income Children With ASD
    Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration / Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Xiaobin Wang, MD, MPH, ScD, director of the Center on the Early Life Origins of Disease, and M. Daniele Fallin, PhD, director of the Wendy Klag Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities, will lead a multidisciplinary team to carry out the study. Both centers are part of the Bloomberg School.

  • Older Women With Breathing Problems During Sleep More Likely to Experience Decline in Ability to Perform Daily Tasks
    Risk More Than Doubles for Women With Moderate to Severe Breathing Disruptions During Sleep
    Older women with disordered breathing during sleep were found to be at greater risk of decline in the ability to perform daily activities, such as grocery shopping and meal preparation, according to a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco.
    Adam Spira, PhD, published paper in the November 2014 issue of Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

  • Combatting PTSD in Baltimore schools with meditation
    Corralling elementary school students at 7:30 in the morning can be like herding cats; getting them to sit still for the first bell may prove even tougher, if it were just a bell they were hearing. "Everybody, get on the edge of your seat, feet flat on the ground," a voice said as it echoed through the building on the school’s public address system. At Robert Coleman Elementary School on the city's west side, the school day does not begin without peace of mind. "Inhale deep," the voice continued to instruct. It is called a mindful moment.
    Philip Leaf is interviewed for ABC2 news.

  • A Transdiagnostic Community-Based Mental Health Treatment for Comorbid Disorders: Development and Outcomes of a Randomized Controlled Trial among Burmese Refugees in Thailand
    Paul Bolton, PhD, (joint) recently published a second in a series of results papers on 7 trials that he and colleagues have been conducting in various countries (Judy Bass’ NEJM paper on mental health interventions in eastern DRCongo last year was the first). This paper is published in PLOS|Medicine.
    Contributors from Mental Health include Judy Bass, Laura Murray, Emily Haroz and Ana Ugueto.

  • Working group expands knowledge, curricula in LGBT issues
    Health issues in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community extend from higher rates of tobacco addiction, to possibly increased risks for certain types of cancer, to higher rates of suicide—especially among the young.
    Anna Flynn, PhD student is quoted in the Fall 2014 issue of Johns Hopkins Public Health magazine.

  • The Golden Age of Gray
    Fall 2014 article in Johns Hopkins Public Health magazine.
    George Rebok and Adam Spira are quoted.

  • Adult support of bullied LGB youths tied to fewer suicide attempts
    Bullied lesbian, gay and bisexual high school students are less likely to fight and attempt suicide when they feel connected to an adult at school, suggests a new study. Helping these lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) kids develop meaningful connections with adults at school could minimize the negative impacts of cyber and school bullying, researchers say.
    Article in Reuters. The Reuters story ran on other outlets, including Fox News.
    Jeffrey Duong, PhD ’14, study co-author, is quoted.

  • Mefloquine - the Military's Deadly Malaria Treatment
    Remington Nevin is a man on a mission. He believes that the potential terrifying psychoactive side effects of the widely prescribed anti-malarial drug mefloquine, also known by the trade name Lariam, are so harmful it should never be prescribed in a military context. He's even prepared to suggest the US military-developed drug should never have been licensed in the first place. Nevin, MD, DrPH candidate in the Department of Mental Health, BSPH, was interviewed for an article by Berenice Baker in

  • We Need to Make It Easier for Pedophiles to Seek Help
    All too often, our attention, resources and shock are focused on what happens after a crime is committed—we need to be asking how we can prevent child sex abuse. As a public, we’re always shocked to learn that an apparently upstanding citizen has molested children. Column in Time by Elizabeth Letourneau.

  • Mirror, Mirror: Governor Chris Christie's Contradictory Views on Drug Addiction
    Last Tuesday, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey addressed a large crowd at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. The topic? Helping people struggling with drug addiction. Governor Christie holds some progressive views on addiction. He consistently speaks of it as a medical condition, not a moral failing. He strongly supports treatment over incarceration for first-time, nonviolent drug offenders... and yet he is strongly opposed to any sort of decriminalization for these offenders.
    Article in Huffington Post. Colleen Barry (joint appointment in MH) is quoted, and the School’s research cited.

  • States Fighting Sex Trafficking with Decriminalization of Prostitution for Minors
    Sex trafficking is often viewed as an international problem. But it's happening everyday in the United States and right here in Maryland. Ryan Shields, Assistant Scientist, is interviewed for ABC News for this piece by Trang Do.

  • Ebola Mission Includes Risk of Malaria for Troops
    U.S. troops are trickling in to Liberia to set the stage for a massive deployment to West Africa to help contain the Ebola epidemic. Remington Nevin is quoted in an article in the Army Times.

  • Dozens of Schizophrenia Risk Loci Identified
    The genetics of schizophrenia enters the modern era, as a landmark, genomewide analysis identifies 108 risk loci for this disorder—most of them new. A few years back, there was but a handful of genetic markers that could confidently be linked with schizophrenia risk. But on July 21, Nature published findings from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH)-supported Psychiatric Genomic Consortium (PGC). In an unprecedented effort of collaboration and data sharing, the PGC had pinpointed 108 genetic loci associated with schizophrenia, 83 of which had not been previously identified.
    William Eaton comments on this article in Psychiatric News.

  • Study: Medical Pot Might Reduce Drug Overdose Deaths
    Access to medical marijuana appears to have saved thousands of lives over the past few years by reducing accidental overdose deaths from drugs like Vidodin, Percocet and OxyContin, a new study says.
    Colleen Barry is quoted (joint appointment in Mental Health); JHSPH research is cited in an article in USA Today.*

    (*Note: In addition to the Newsweek article above, this story was carried in Int’l Business Times, CNN, Fox (Regional), NBC (Regional), CBS)

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders: Research and Resources
    We want to get a picture of what it’s like for one family who has a child with ASD, an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
    Li-Ching Lee is interviewed on WYPR. (Dr. Li-Ching Lee holds joint appointment in Mental Health.)

  • Funding Student Research: Wendy Klag Scholar Focuses on Gaps in Autism Research and Services
    As a mental health worker at a Baltimore psychiatric hospital for three years, PhD student Luther “Luke” Kalb encountered far too many families struggling to help their children while trapped in a cycle of crisis. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health news story.

  • Peer Respites for Mental Health Consumers Prevent Hospitalizations
    Laysha Ostrow, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, is quoted in the California Health Report’s article. As people with mental health crises overwhelm California’s hospitals, jails and homeless shelters, counties across the state are gradually embracing residential respite houses located in neighborhoods and staffed by peers — people who have been consumers of the mental health system.

  • Some scientists say that susceptibility to suicidal thoughts may already be inside a person’s body, and can be identified by examining a single gene
    Zachary Kaminsky, PhD (primary appointment in SOM; joint appointment in Mental Health) is part of a video that NBC national correspondent Peter Alexander reported on the Today Show.

  • A Blood Test for Suicide?
    Article in the JHU Hub discusses research by study leader, Zachary Kaminsky, PhD (joint appointment in Mental Health), Brion Maher, PhD ; Holly Wilcox, PhD (joint appointment in Mental Health); and William Eaton, PhD about how alterations to a single gene could predict risk of suicide attempt.

  • A Promise to His City
    Doctoral student and Baltimore Native David Fakunle Vows to Help Urban Youth. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health news story.

  • New Playground Intended to Help Autistic Children Build Social Skills
    Luke Kalb, doctoral student in Department of Mental Health, is quoted in an article in The Baltimore Sun. Inviting a friend to play on a tire swing can be difficult for autistic children, but with special kinds of playgrounds cropping up in Maryland and around the country, it may become easier.

  • Tackling Challenges of Education and Health Together
    Michelle Carlson, PhD, Associate Professor, has her research citied in the Huffington Post. Teacher turnover at public schools at unprecedented levels, with younger hires often leaving due to a perceived lack of support and student discipline problems. How to retain them? A program called Experience Corps places older adults volunteer in grades K-3 classrooms, providing valuable support for teachers and enhancing the success of the children - building upon strong evidence that children who succeed by 3rd grade are positioned to complete school, not to fail or drop out. Volunteers perform specific duties determined by the school principals to meet their greatest unmet needs, whether in literacy, math or computing, or many other roles. These duties are then created as high impact roles by the program. The writer, Linda Fried, is dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

  • New Findings on Postpartum Depression: Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment Options
    Zachary Kaminsky, Joint Assistant Professor, is included in a conversation about his team's research on The Diane Rehm Show.

  • Depressed by the rocket fire? A drink may help
    Study shows that regular Israeli drinkers were less depressed by past missile attacks, thanks to social benefits of alcohol. Jeremy Kane, doctoral student is quoted about his work featured in the Times of Israel.

  • Hundreds demonstrate against Baltimore violence
    Second 300 Men March held amid lower homicide rate. Philip Leaf, PhD is quoted in the Baltimore Sun article.

  • Elizabeth Stuart, PhD, is named Chair of PCORI's New Advisory Panel on Clinical Trials
    Washington, D.C. (June 18, 2014) – The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) today announced the first chairs and co-chairs of its two newest multi-stakeholder advisory panels, which focus on clinical trials and rare disease respectively. These individuals will lead their respective panels in providing PCORI expertise on the design and implementation of randomized controlled trials and research priorities in the area of rare disease.

  • Stuart Honored As New ASA Fellow
    Alexandria, VA, June 11, 2014 - Elizabeth Stuart, PhD, has been named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), the nation's preeminent professional statistical society, announced ASA President Nathaniel Schenker. Dr. Stuart is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. To be recognized as a 2014 ASA Fellow, each honoree must make outstanding professional contributions to and have exhibited leadership in the field of statistical science. Stuart will be awarded a certificate at a ceremony August 5 at the annual Joint Statistical Meetings in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Department of Mental Health conducts research to advance the understanding of mental and behavioral disorders; develops, implements, and evaluates methods to prevent and control these disorders; and promotes mental health in the population.

Our department -- the only department dedicated to mental health in a school of public health -- brings together leading researchers across multiple disciplines joined by their passion for understanding, preventing, and treating mental health and substance use disorders. Faculty, students and community health leaders in Mental Health are dedicated to educating the next generation of public health workers and scientists about the importance of mental health, the specific skills needed to address public mental health issues and the integration of mental and physical health.

Prospective Students
Degree Programs
The Department of Mental Health offers two doctoral level programs, a master’s program in health science and a combined bachelors/masters program. Learn More
Prospective Students & Fellows
Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Department of Mental Health. The Department and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have a great deal to offer prospective students. Learn More
Online & Continuing Education
The Department of Mental Health and Johns Hopkins offer a variety of targeted instruction in public health.
Certificate Programs
Summer Institute
Open CourseWare (OCW)
Online Courses
Learn More
Postdoctoral Training
The Department of Mental Health offers opportunities for advanced training for postdoctoral students. A doctoral degree is required. Learn More
Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program
Offered through NIDA, the HHH Fellowship Program provides opportunity to early to mid-career professionals for mentored academic study. Learn More
Funding Opportunities
We offer various opportunities for funding and financial aid for pre-doctoral and postdoctoral students.
Training Grants
Other Funding Sources
Wendy Klag Center
Learn More
Research Areas
Mental Health Services and Policy
Faculty in this area study mental health and behavioral health services and supports in communities, educational institutions and employment settings. They aim to reduce risk, and provide effective long-term treatment. Learn More
Prevention Research
The Prevention Research Area faculty develop, test, refine and bring to scale prevention programs directed at a range of mental health and behavioral problems in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. Learn More
Psychiatric Epidemiology
Faculty in this area study the occurrence and distribution of mental and behavioral disorders across people, space and time. They examine the causes and consequences of these disorders to develop support and treatment strategies. Learn More
Global Mental Health
Global Mental Health Faculty develop, implement and evaluate measures and interventions to assess and meet mental health needs of communities around the world, with a focus on developing nations. Learn More
Mental Health and Aging
Faculty in the Mental Health and Aging Research Area conduct observational and intervention research aimed at enhancing cognitive and mental well being in older adults. Learn More
The methods program area develops and applies innovative qualitative and quantitative methods for public mental health research, with a focus on statistical methods and economic models. Learn More
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Epidemiology
Faculty in this area study the etiology and natural history of substance use, and develop and evaluate interventions to prevent and control substance use disorders. Learn More
Autism and Developmental Disabilities
Faculty are working to understand the distribution, causes and consequences of autism and developmental disabilities as well as the impact of public health policy on children and families. Learn More
Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetic Epidemiology
Faculty in this area research genetic factors and how they interact with the physical and social environment to affect the risk for mental disorders. Learn More
Upcoming Events

upcoming events

Calendar of our weekly seminar series as well as other mental health related seminars and events

Learn More

Message from the Chair
Dani Fallin, Chair

Dr. Dani Fallin, professor and chair of the Department of Mental Health:
"We cannot emphasize enough the importance of mental health in the public's health. Please explore the broad array of expertise and research activities that are brought together in pursuit of public mental health in our unique department."