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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
Ramin Mojtabai
Ramin Mojtabai's study finds prescriptions for the stimulant unchanged, but finds more nonmedical use and emergency room visits among adults. Learn More
When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex-offender registry can be a life sentence. Elizabeth Letourneau, discusses in an article in The New Yorker. Learn More
Tamar Mendelson
Post by Tamar Mendelson, PhD on OSI Baltimore website about Baltimore-based non-profit Holistic Life Foundation. Learn More
Can mentoring young people help you stay sharp as you enter your 70s and 80s? A new study by Michelle Carlson might make you want to take up volunteering today. Listen to WYPR broadcast. 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

  • Counterpoint: After Jacob, work harder to prevent child sexual abuse [Op-Ed]
    Instead of just reacting to perpetrators, create programs so they don't offend in the first place.
    Elizabeth Letourneau urges policymakers and the rest of us who want to end child sexual abuse to invest our efforts and resources. She writes in the wake of the news that 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was sexually assaulted before he was murdered 27 years ago by Danny Heinrich.

  • Return to school means return to bullying for some, expert says
    Anxiety about going to school is really a big sign (about being bullied).
    Kathryn Van Eck, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mental Health is interviewed by WBAL TV.

  • FDA Issues New Warning Involving Opioid-Based Prescriptions, Antidepressants
    Federal regulators say they are concerned about the increase in people taking opioid-based medications and antidepressants together.
    Colleen Barry’s research is mentioned in Healthline.

  • Malaria drug causes brain damage that mimics PTSD: case study
    The case of a service member diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder but found instead to have brain damage caused by a malaria drug raises questions about the origin of similar symptoms in other post-9/11 veterans.
    Remington Nevin is quoted in Military Times.

  • Opinion: Punishment That Doesn't Fit the Crime
    The writer urges reforms to listing juveniles on state sex offender registries. Many of the kids branded as sex offenders are guilty of nothing worse than public urination, exposing themselves or having consensual sex.
    Elizabeth Letourneau, director of The Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, is quoted in The New York Times.

  • Brain Training Cuts Dementia Risk a Decade Later
    How a brief intervention could have such long-lasting results remains unclear
    Article in Scientific American describes how for the first time ever, researchers have managed to reduce people’s risk for dementia — not through a medicine, special diet, or exercise, but by having healthy older adults play a computer-based brain-training game.
    George Rebok is quoted.

  • Marking kids for life on sex offender registries
    A new bi-partisan coalition called Just Kids is advocating for this much-needed changes to the way sex offender registries treat minors.
    Research by the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse is mentioned in an article in The Hill.

  • Rethinking the Service Delivery System of Psychological Interventions in Low and Middle Income Countries
    Laura Murray, PhD, Associate Scientist, recently published a paper in BMC Psychiatry, which presents a brief overview of the scientific progress in global mental health, and suggests consideration of an internal stepped care delivery approach.

  • For Effective Brain Fitness, Do More Than Play Simple Games
    Brain exercise classes offer useful skills to older people and are seen as helpful by many experts in improving the overall health and quality of life for participants – even though there is no known cure for dementia, or any evidence that exercising the brain in different ways can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
    George Rebok is quoted in The New York Times.

  • Medical Marijuana Reduces Prescription Drug Use, Study Finds
    Patients fill significantly fewer prescriptions for such conditions as nausea and pain in states where medical marijuana is available, researchers reported Wednesday in one of the first studies to examine how medical cannabis might be affecting approved treatments.
    Brendan Saloner (joint faculty) is quoted in

  • Should a Juvenile Sex Offender be Locked Up Indefinitely?
    The segment looks at how in some states sex crime offenders in are being held years beyond their release date. Laws giving jailers discretion in releasing convicts for being too dangerous are facing increased scrutiny.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is interviewed in segment on PBS News Hour.

  • State Action Limits Opioid Addiction Treatments
    Why is Maryland's Medicaid policy coming from the secretary of corrections?
    Op-ed by Deborah Agus in The Baltimore Sun.  Deborah is an adjunct faculty in the Department of Mental Health, and executive director of Behavioral Health Leadership Institute (BHLI).

  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health turns 100
    From water to drugs and disease, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has studied it all.
    Those who were educated or employed by the school over the past century have had a hand in the eradication of smallpox, the chlorination formula that makes municipal water supplies safe, and the screening process that protects the nation's blood supply. They also were responsible for discovering that vitamin D prevents rickets, that penicillin treats syphilis, that HPV causes cancer and that smoking reduces life expectancy.
    Dean Klag is quoted. Faculty, past and present, are mentioned in are article in The Baltimore Sun.

  • Ron Manderscheid Receives the Howery Memorial Award from theNational Association for Rural Mental Health
    The historic and prestigious Victor I. Howery Memorial Award is given each year by the NARMH Board of Directors to an individual who has made significant and sustained contributions to the rural mental health field. We are delighted to announce that this year’s recipient is Dr. Ron Manderscheid, Executive Director of NARMH and NACBHDD.

  • Study: News Stories Often Link Violence With Mental Health Illness, Even Though People With Mental Health Illness Are Rarely Violent
    Research finds little has changed in media portrayal of mental illness over 20-year period
    Nearly four in 10 news stories about mental illness analyzed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers connect mental illness with violent behavior toward others, even though less than five percent of violence in the United States is directly related to mental illness.To learn more, see the School’s news release and the Health Affairs article.
    “Trends in News Media Coverage of Mental Illness in the United States: 1995—2014” was written by Emma E. “Beth” McGinty, Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Seema Choksy and Colleen Barry (holds joint in MH).

  • Nicholas Ialongo, PhD receives the SPR Presidential Award
    The Recognition and Honors Committee with nominations from the membership of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) has selected Nick Ialongo to receive the 2016 Presidential Award.  Dr. Ialongo has been selected for his outstanding contributions to advancing the field of prevention science.
    The SPR Presidential Award is given to an individual or a team of individuals who have made a major specific contribution to prevention science research.  This award is a “lifetime achievement” award for a significant body of research or theory in any area related to prevention that has had a major impact on the field.

  • It's Autism Awareness Month
    We're lighting it up blue. But which aspects of autism most need more attention?
    Experts comment on they wished received more attention or was better understood about autism. 
    Heather Volk is featured in Psychology Today.

  • Correcting the Record: Leo Kanner and the Broad Autism Phenotype
    James C. Harris, MD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Joseph Piven, MD, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote the above-linked Viewpoint article in the latest edition of Spectrum, an online publication by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.   Dr. Harris was Leo Kanner’s student during his residency training and was a successor to Kanner as director of the child and adolescent psychiatry division at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Dr. Harris is joint faculty in DMH.

  • Suicide in America
    The suicide rate in the U.S. is at its highest level in nearly 30 years. In the 1980s and 1990s the suicide rate declined. But a new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows suicides rose by 24 percent between 1999 and 2014.
    Holly Wilcox and other suicide expert panelists explain what’s behind the rise and to talk about prevention on the Diane Rehm Show.

  • Treating Depression, Anxiety Saves Everyone Money
    Treating mental illness is not only a good medical decision, but it also makes good economic sense.
    Judy Bass
    is quoted in Healthline.

  • The fed's new 'war on drugs': Obama proposes $1.1 billion to expand care for opioid addicts
    Amid a prescription opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic largely fueled by overprescribing among doctors, President Obama has suggested allocating $1.1 billion to expand affected individuals’ access to care— a proposal that has garnered bipartisan support. Although some experts question whether throwing money at the issue will be enough, many believe that, if used properly, the funding has the potential to save lives.
    Brendan Saloner is quoted in Fox News.

  • Association of DNA Methylation Differences With Schizophrenia in an Epigenome-Wide Association Study
    DNA methylation may play an important role in schizophrenia (SZ), either directly as a mechanism of pathogenesis or as a biomarker of risk.
    Dani Fallin and Andy Feinberg are contributors in JAMA Psychiatry Online First.

  • Laysha Ostrow on Live & Learn Inc.: On the future of mental health
    A Q&A with Laysha Ostrow, founder of Live & Learn, a consulting firm that works with community and government organizations on mental health issues on Psychology Today blog: Rethinking Mental Health.
    Laysha Ostrow, PhD, is an alumna of the department.

  • Social and Emotional Readiness for Kindergarten Key to Future Academic Success
    Children who enter kindergarten behind in social-behavioral development are more likely to be held back, require more individualized supports and services, and be suspended or expelled in later grades.
    Amie Bettencourt is quoted in The Examiner. (Amie is an alum of MH and is currently Associate Faculty.)

  • The List
    When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex-offender registry can be a life sentence. That misconduct can include elementary school students engaged in pranks and play.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in The New Yorker.

  • In the last months or days, these treatments can make things worse
    A look at what has research found about commonly used end-of-life interventions  -- which ones can be useful and which are not, and when should they be administered.
    Joseph Gallo is quoted.
    The story ran in other outlets, including the Bangor Daily News

  • Students Should Heed the Dangers of Speed
    If Adderall use at USC looks anything like it does at other universities, chances are, it’s everywhere.
    Ramin Mojtabai’s research is cited in the Daily Trojan (USC Student Newspaper).

  • An Ice Bucket, an Autistic Child, and a Cruel Joke
    Victimization worsens when autistic children cannot verbally express themselves.  A social media campaign aimed at raising awareness for one health problem becomes the cruel vehicle by which awareness is raised for another.
    Research led by Wendy Klag Memorial Scholar Benjamin Zablotsky, PhD ’13 (Mental Health) is mentioned in Psychology Today.

  • Adderall Misuse Rising Among Young Adults
    Prescriptions for the stimulant unchanged, but study finds more nonmedical use and emergency room visits among adults
    Study authors Ramin Mojtaibai and Lian-Yu Chen are quoted in the JHSPH News Release. The study, which appears in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry is getting broad media coverage.

  • 'Mindfulness' May Help Ease Sleep Problems for Seniors
    Mindfulness meditation may help older adults get a better night's sleep, a small study suggests. The study appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine.
    Adam Spira, who wrote an editorial published with the study, is quoted in

  • Senate HELP Committee Brings Reason, Civility and Comprehensiveness to Mental Health Reform
    Something remarkable happened at the recent US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Hearing on Improving the Federal Response to Challenges in Mental Health Care in America. Civility, respect and a desire to be comprehensive were ever present at this hearing.
    William Eaton, who testified at the hearing, is mentioned in Huffington Post.

  • Our heroin, opioid epidemic is a national emergency, Washington needs to treat it like one
    New England is in the grip of an uncontrolled epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse, which has spread to our small towns and rural areas. As one addiction specialist put it: “It’s easier to get heroin in some of these places than it is to get a UPS delivery.” But this is also a nationwide crisis, and it requires an urgent federal response. In Congress we are advancing an emergency funding bill that would provide an additional $600 million to mobilize major new resources for prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.
    Brendan Saloner (joint appointment in MH) is quoted in Fox News.

  • Obesity, Diabetes in Mom Increases Risk of Autism in Child
    New study offers new evidence that autism spectrum disorder risks may begin in utero
    Dani Fallin is quoted in this JHSPH News Release

  • Hopkins Study Says Areas Around Drug Treatment Centers May Be Safer Than You Think
    Plans for methadone clinics and other treatment centers are often looked at with suspicion or worse by neighbors, believing they bring with them a criminal element. A new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds the reverse may actually be true, that there may be less violent crime near those clinics.
    Debra Furr-Holden and Adam Milan (co-author) are quoted by

  • Realizing You're a Pedophile Can Make You Want to Kill Yourself
    Pedophilia can be especially hard to live with for those who haven't committed a crime, and are forced to come to terms with an identity that most people regard as monstrous.
    Ryan Shields is quoted in Vice.

  • Peaceful Rally in West Baltimore after Porter Mistrial
    Call for peace continues in Penn-North community
    Several groups peacefully gathered there Wednesday after a mistrial was declared in the trial of Officer William Porter. He was the first of six officers to go on trial for charges related to the death of Freddie Gray.
    Philip Leaf is interviewed (at 00:52) by WBAL TV.

  • Autism's Lost Generation
    Some autistic adults have spent much of their lives with the wrong diagnosis, consigned to psychiatric institutions or drugged for disorders they never had.
    David Mandell, PhD, DMH alum, is quoted in The Atlantic.

  • The Commons Defence Select Committee recently announced an inquiry into the MoD’s use of the drug
    In response to growing concern over the dangers of Lariam, prompted by a series of reports in The Independent, the Commons Defence Select Committee recently announced an inquiry into the MoD’s use of the drug. The anti-malarial drug has dozens of psychiatric side effects including psychotic behaviour, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts.
    Remington Nevin testified before a panel. Listen to the hearing on…

  • States Scale Back Juvenile Sex Offender Registries
    Driving the changes are concerns that putting juveniles’ names and photos on a registry stigmatizes them in their schools and neighborhoods and makes them targets of police. Thirty-eight states now add juveniles to sex offender registries. The remaining 12 states only add the names of youths convicted in adult courts.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in The Herald.

  • Smoking during Pregnancy Leaves a Generic Mark Imprinted in Your Baby's Blood 'that's still detectable 5 years later - and could be linked to autism'
    Smoking during pregnancy could leave damaging markers in your child's blood for at least five years after birth, experts have warned.
    Dani Fallin is quoted in Daily Mail (UK).

  • Sleep Could be the Missing Link in Dementia
    A growing body of research is exploring links among sleep deprivation, sleep disturbance and Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. Poor sleep is a common symptom of Alzheimer's patients, particularly those suffering moderate to severe forms of the cognitive disorder. Researchers still haven't established whether the poor sleep causes Alzheimer's or is only a symptom of the incurable disease.
    Adam Spira is quoted in The Chicago Tribune.

  • Tide Turns Against U.S. Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders
    Increasingly tough laws adopted in the United States over the past 20 years have had the unintended consequence of forcing many of the nation's 800,000 registered sex offenders into homelessness.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Reuters.

  • Sympathy for the Deviant (Cover Story)
    The intense stigma surrounding child sexual abuse clouds an already misunderstood subject—and may ultimately prevent potential abusers from getting help before they commit harm. One convicted offender shares his story.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Psychology Today.

  • Lack of Exercise Linked to Alcohol Misuse
    African-Americans who did not engage in physical activity were nearly twice as likely to abuse alcohol.
    April Joy Damian, PhD students, is quoted in EurekAlert! Science News.

  • Police Keep a Close Eye on Sex Offenders at Halloween
    Elizabeth Letourneau’s 2009 study on the myths associated with sexual abuse and offending on Halloween was mentioned in a the Virginian-Pilot newspaper

  • How to Help a Loved One With a Drug Abuse Problem
    You don't have to wait for them to hit 'rock bottom.'
    Brendon Saloner is quoted in an article in Live Science via Huffington Post. (Dr. Saloner holds a joint appointment in Mental Health.)

  • Experts convene at Johns Hopkins to discuss mental health, addiction policy
    At a policy forum at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Kathryn Farinholt made things personal, breaking for a long pause as she described the sister she knew 45 years ago. Before schizophrenia.
    Elizabeth Stuart and Colleen Barry are included in an article in JHU HUB.

  • Study: Most American Say Painkiller Abuse is a Serious Problem
    Johns Hopkins research suggests majority support for policies aimed at controlling epidemic of abuse in a article in the HUB
    Colleen Barry, lead author, is quoted. (Dr. Barry holds a joint appointment in Mental Health.)

  • How They Spent Their Global Summer Vacation
    NPR spoke to three graduate students in international studies programs to tell us how they spent their global summer vacations. Claire Greene, a Ph.D. student at the School, is interviewed about her work this summer in a Nyarugusu refugee camp in western Tanzania.

  • Public Health and Mental Health: On a Path Together
    Department of Mental Health 2015 Centennial Special Lecture: Keynote Speaker Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO, Mental Health America

  • Elizabeth Stuart Receives ICHPS Mid-Career Award
    The Health Policy Statistics Section (HPSS) of the American Statistical Association presented the 2015 Mid-Career Award to Elizabeth Stuart, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Mental Health.

  • Fewer Teens are Smoking Marijuana Now Than 15 Years Ago
    A recent report revealed that marijuana use among American high school students is drastically lower today than it was 15 years ago. Renee Johnson, student lead, is quoted in Forbes.

  • Boy faces assault charges for kiss made on dare at Pikesville Middle School
    Ryan Shields is interviewed by Fox 45 Baltimore about a story involving a 13-year old middle-school student who faces criminal changes over kissing a classmate on a dare.

  • Mental Health Treatment & Prevalance of Mental Disorders
    Has increased provisions of mental health treatments reduced the prevalance of common mental disorders.
    Ramin Mojtabai presents research findings at the Dean's Lecture Series.

  • Inefficiencies Contribute to SSA's Problems
    A look at Social Security’s inefficiencies, including overpayments that can saddle recipients of disability benefits with substantial debt, even when they follow procedures.
    The writer, David Fakunle, is a doctoral student in the Department of Mental Health.

  • Is Marijuana Legalization Increasing Teen Use?
    There’s been a lot of change when it comes to marijuana policy recently and some are worried it could make the drug more accessible to teens.
    Renee Johnson, lead author of a recent study on teen marijuana use, is interviewed.

  • 'Normalization' of Marijuana Doesn't Necessarily Mean Wider Use
    Dan Rodricks questions a proposal from Anne Arundel County executive Steve Schuh to ban medical marijuana in the county, even thought it’s legal in Maryland. Dan Rodricks mentions the recent JHSPH study on teen marijuana use, which appeared in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study found that marijuana use among U.S. teens is lower than it was 15 years ago.
    Renee Johnson, study lead, is quoted in The Baltimore Sun.

  • Epigenetics at the Crossroads of Genes and the Environment
    Scientific discovery and the future of medicine article by Dani Fallin and Andrew Feinberg in Viewpoint/JAMA.

  • Teen Marijuana Use Down Despite Greater Availability
    Concerns abound over whether laws legalizing pot for medical, recreational use will get drug into hands of more young people.
    Renee Johnson, study lead, is quoted.
    This story was also picked up by the ASPPH Friday Newsletter.

  • Study of Balto. Co.: Fewer Sex Offenses Reported in Neighborhoods with More Registered Sex Offenders
    A study by researchers from Princeton University and the University of Michigan of crime data from Baltimore County have released a new finding: Neighborhoods with more registered sex offenders experienced fewer reported sex offenses.
    Ryan Shields, who was not involved in the study, comments in The Baltimore Sun.

  • A Protrective Treatment Program for Pedophiles in Germany is Raising Some Eyebrows
    A look at Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (the "dark field" project), a German organization that provides confidential, free therapy to people who struggle with pedophilia to try to ensure they never act on their impulses, and whether it might work in the U.S.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Upworthy.

  • The Jared Fogle Case: Why We Understand So Little About Child Sex Abuse
    The science of sexual disorders, termed paraphilias, is far less developed than other areas of psychiatry, and there are few resources for treating potential abusers. There’s almost no way to identify child abusers before they commit a crime, at which point it’s already too late.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted. Fred Berlin (joint in SOM) is also quoted in a story in the Washington Post.

  • Safe Streets Expanding in Baltimore, Likely to Sandtown
    Baltimore officials are expected Wednesday to authorize the expansion of the anti-violence Safe Streets program to a fifth city location — likely the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, the site of Freddie Gray's arrest.
    The Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence (Phil Leaf, Director) is mentioned in an article by The Baltimore Sun. The Center funds one of Baltimore four Safe Streets programs.
    The story also ran in the Capital Gazette.

  • Identifying Teenage Cyberbullying Behavior
    Teens have a secret life. Much as it may be hard to digest for parents, a trot down memory lane into one's own teenage will prove that there are some circles in the teenager's life that exclude parents. As long as the secret life involves crushes, an occasional beer at a friend's party, or even safe physical relationships (parents may remove their head from underground), it could be harmless in the long run (the watchwords being "occasional" and "safe"), although there may be some fire fighting involved in the immediate future.
    Michele Ybarra’s research is cited in the Huffington Post. (Dr. Ybarra is an Adjunct Asst Prof in DMH.)

  • Midday with Dan Rodricks - Hopkins Research
    JHSPH faculty discuss their recently published research and commentary: Michelle Carlson (senior social/civic engagement and cognitive function) Elizabeth Selvin (diabetes control) Chris Beyrer (the need for Congress to left the federal ban on needle exchanges) on WYPR.

  • Three Days, Five Killings and a Year of Pain in Baltimore
    In the wake of Freddie Gray's death while in custody on April 19, allegations of police brutality in Baltimore have received extensive and deserved attention, but the city's entrenched problems extend far beyond policing issues. Young people die unnecessarily every week in Baltimore - from complications of chronic illness, from accidents, from drugs and, overwhelmingly, from gunshots. In 2014, all but a handful of the 116 under 30 who died violently were black and male. Few families are spared.
    Philip Leaf is quoted in a an article in Reuters (Thomson Reuters Foundation).
    This story ran in multiple outlets including Yahoo! News, Jakarta Globe, and The Borneo Bulletin.

  • Baltimore Health Department Helps Affected Citizens After Riots
    The commissioner of Baltimore describe the importance of providing treatment and support for mental illness and substance use disorders at the moment of greatest need.
    Phil Leaf is quoted in Psychiatric News.

  • After Riots, Baltimore Liquor Stores Struggle to Reopen
    Liquor stores damaged by the riots this spring try to reopen amid a debate about whether there are too many liquor stores in poor neighborhoods in the first place. The segment focuses on so-called “nonconforming” liquor stores that predate a 1971 ban on liquor stores in some residential neighborhoods. Baltimore is in the midst of its first zoning overhaul in more than 40 years, which could force nonconforming liquor stores to stop selling alcohol.
    Debra Furr-Holden is interviewed for an article in Marketplace Business.

  • 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.

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 a doctoral level program, 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

Mental Health in the Workplace Summit

Mental Health in the Workplace: A Public Health Summit
October 20, 2016


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Current Students

Current Students