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Mental Health

Mental Health

Department News

  • Australia's Prime Minister Warns of 'Gang Violence' by African Migrants
    Australia’s prime minister has warned of the threat posed by African migrants forming criminal gangs in one of the country’s most populous states, but had little statistical evidence to support his claim, leading to accusations of fear-mongering and counterclaims of political correctness.
    Stephane Shepherd, Visiting Professor in Mental Health at BSPH and Professor at Swinburne University, is quoted in Australia.

  • Van parked outside of Baltimore jail offers drug treatment
    It is the city’s latest and perhaps most in-your-face option for a population of people who circulate in and out of jail and prison, often for addiction-related crimes, but receive no treatment on the inside.
    Doctoral student Noa Krawczyk and Adjunct Professor Deborah Agus are quoted in The Baltimore Sun.  The publication to which this article refers is co-authored by Kenneth Feder and Brendan Saloner.

  • Depression in Teens Linked to Increased Dropout Rate
    A study of Canadian teenagers found that older teens with clinically significant depression were more likely than their peers to drop out of high school.
    Tamar Mendelson, who was not involved in the study, is quoted in ADDitude Magazine

  • You Can't Be Lonely and Be a Healthy Person: How Seniors Can Combat Isolation
    Michelle Carlson, a researcher and associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, said more attention is being paid to whether changes in behavior can positively affect cognitive health because, despite the expenditure of millions or even billions of dollars on pharmacological ways to delay and treat Alzheimer’s disease, “no meaningful drug to offer people” has been found. Article in Chicago Tribune.

  • Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions May Run in Families
    When one person in a household gets prescribed opioids, the other people who live with them are more likely to get their own prescriptions for these narcotic painkillers, a U.S. study suggests.
    Marissa Seamans, Postdoctoral Fellow, study lead, is quoted in Reuters. The study was also covered by

  • Addicted in Jail
    Deborah Agus (adjunct), Director, Baltimore Health Leadership Institute (BHLI), talks about BHLI’s mobile clinic parked outside of the Baltimore City Detention Center to offer just-released people immediate access to addiction and mental health services on WYPR On the Record.

  • New Faces of Research: Mental Health
    DMH Postdoctoral students Wendy Marie Ingram is featured in Healthline.

  • Court-mandated opioid rehab rarely meets medical standards
    Fewer than one in 20 people with opioid addiction problems who are ordered into rehab programs by the courts receive methadone or buprenorphine, two drugs doctors consider the best treatment option, a U.S. study suggests.
    Noa Krawczyk, doctoral student, is quoted.  This was also picked up by WMAR, Studies show not all opioid addicts receive the best form of treatment for their disorder.  JHSPH News Release:  JHU HUB:

  • Ireland Settles Mefloquine Case with Veteran as Canada Prepares to Fight Suit
    As Canada prepares to fight a suit launched by veterans who say the anti-malarial drug they took on deployment in Somalia caused permanent damage, the Irish government has settled a case with one of its former soldiers who says he, too, is suffering the effects of having consumed mefloquine.
    Remington Nevin, an alumnus, is quoted in The Globe and Mail.

  • Trauma May Trigger Suicide Risk for Those Predisposed to Bipolar Disorder
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers believe the study highlights the importance of severe environmental stressors in the development of suicide attempts in those at higher genetic risk for bipolar disorder.
    Holly Wilcox is quoted in PsychCentral.

  • Having trouble sleeping? It is not just because of aging
    Many older adults have sleep problems that can be caused by aging. But other issues also contribute to the prevalence of sleep complaints, and they should be discussed and investigated, experts say. A national poll conducted by the University of Michigan and released in October found that almost half of those 65 and older have trouble getting to sleep, and more than a third are taking prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids.
    Adam Spira is quoted in the Washington Post. It appeared in other outlets, including the Chicago Tribune and Gold News USA, and The Toronto Star.

  • Combating Suicide in Rural America
    Experts say it’s important to understand factors that may raise risk in less populated areas. Suicide rates have been climbing across the U.S., and the problem is most pronounced in rural America.
    Paul Nestadt, postdoctoral fellow, is quoted in U.S. News and World Report.

  • Rodricks: Time to turn some prisons into hospitals
    What I really want to say is what I’ve said before, and then some: Declare victory in the war on drugs, put the money we spend on law enforcement into drug treatment. And, while doing that, we should turn the prison system inside out: Keep violent criminals in maximum security, but give just about everyone else a room in a rehabilitation hospital.
    Deborah Agus is quoted in The Baltimore Sun.

  • The Most Lethal Means: Guns and Suicide
    Paul Nestadt, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, is interviewed by NPR on the Record.  His recent research paper compares urban and rural suicide rates in Maryland (Ramin Mojtabai, MD and Patrick Triplett are also authors on that paper.)  

  • Depression tied to shorter lifespan
    Stephen E. Gilman, ScD (Adjunct Professor) is quoted in Reutrs.  Dr. Gilman, in collaboration with colleagues at University of Ottawa and Harvard, completed a study of the long-term association of depression and mortality. The paper, “Depression and mortality in a longitudinal study: 1952-2011” was published late last week in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

  • New research shows potential of explaining, treating autism
    A team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are conducting a study that might help understand autism. By using data from blood and brain tissues, the researchers found mechanisms that might help explain, treat, and prevent the disorder.
    Dani Fallin and the School’s research are mentioned in an article at WMAR.

  • Finally, mixed methods—combining quantitative and qualitative research—is all the rage
    Joe Gallo is mentioned in an article in the JHSPH Fall 2017 magazine.

  • Environmental exposures can alter gene activity for anywhere from minutes to a lifetime—maybe even generations.
    Dani Fallin is mentioned in an article in the JHSPH Fall 2017 magazine.

  • Scientists narrow down the startling risk factors that can cause autism
    In the past decade, researchers have come a long way in narrowing down which conditions may make autism more likely to develop. What they learn could lead to more sophisticated treatments for autism at its early stages, or even prevent the disorder from developing in the first place.
    Heather Volk is quoted in an article in CNBC.

  • Long-Term Opioid Prescription Use Jumps Threefold Over 16-Year Period, Large-Scale Study Suggests
    A new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that opioid prescription use increased significantly between 1999 and 2014, and that much of that increase stemmed from patients who’d been taking their medication for 90 days or longer.
    Ramin Mojtabai, MD is study author. Article from JHSPH News Release.

  • Exercising in midlife offers no protection against dementia, study finds
    Contrary to previous research, a new study has found that exercising in midlife is not associated with delaying the onset of cognitive decline and dementia — including Alzheimer’s disease — later in life.
    Alden Gross, lead author, is quoted and Joe Gallo was involved in the study. Article from the Minnesota Post.

  • 5 Innovative People Improving Brain Health and Performance
    Beneath the drive for professional success is the desire for personal growth. And one crucial part of continued growth is researching one of our most vital organs--the brain. These are five BrainFutures presenters who are doing science-backed things with the brain.
    Michelle Carlson is one of the presenters mentioned in INC.

  • Higher Rural Suicide Rates Driven by Use of Guns
    Rural suicide rates in Maryland, 35 percent higher than urban rates, can be traced to significantly higher use of firearms in rural areas.
    Paul Nestadt, MD (postdoctoral fellow in DMH) led the study.

  • How characters with autism got starring roles on TV’s ‘Good Doctor,’ ‘Atypical,’ ‘Claws’
    As autism has increased in frequency and recognition in society, TV is welcoming more characters with the condition. But as TV seeks more representation of people with physical or developmental challenges, it's important to present accurate and honest portrayals, while not defining characters solely by their condition.
    Heather Volk is quoted in USA Today.

  • Civil unrest related to Freddie Gray death caused depressive symptoms among mothers in affected neighborhoods, study finds
    Article in The Baltimore Sun about new research by the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
    amar Mendelson is quoted in the article.

  • Mother petitions for playground safety, telling school board her first-grader was attacked by classmate
    The attack occurred on an open and highly visible field next to the playground and was observed by at least one child that the child’s mother knows of. The incident, which was of a sexual nature, has made the child’s mother into an advocate for school playground safety at Guilderland (NY).
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in The Altamont Enterprise (Guilderland, NY).

  • Tooth Fairy in the Lab
    #JHSPH researchers are bringing the latest, greatest tools in #autism diagnosis and treatment to the whole world.
    Heather Volk's and Dani Fallin's research discussed in an article in the Summer Edition of the Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine.

  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in Elderly May Predict Amyloid Deposition
    Older cognitively normal adults who tend to be sleepy during the day may be more likely to have future beta-amyloid deposition, according to a new study. Beta-amyloid deposition thought to be is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
    Adam Spira, study lead, is quoted.

  • B’More Clubhouse Helping Their Members Build Meaningful Lives
    It’s called “psychiatric rehabilitation.” Simply put, it’s helping people with mental illness transition from patient-hood to person-hood.
    JHSPH research is mentioned in article at WJZ. (Bill Eaton has been strongly involved with B'More.)

  • How the American Health Care Act Would Affect Mental-Health Coverage
    The Republican bill would decrease access for millions, and in the process dismantle the tools used to fight substance abuse.
    Elizabeth Stuart is quoted in The Atlantic.

  • Are Bullies Getting Run Out of U.S. Schools?
    The long-feared, lunch-money-stealing schoolyard bully may soon be a thing of the past, a new analysis suggests. The analysis stems from an ongoing survey conducted from 2005 to 2014 that found bullying has been on a decade-long downswing.Tracy Evian Waasdorp is quoted in U.S. News and World Report.

  • Right wing relapse? How the Opioid Fight is Threatened by Healthcare Reform
    Newsweek features the work of Professor Deborah Agus's opioid treatment program through her organization, the Behavioral Health Leadership Institute (in which Joint Professor Michael Fingerhood is also involved). Brandon Saloner is also quoted about his research.
  • Childhood Sex Abuse Could Accelerate Puberty in Girls, Study Finds
    A study that tracked small cohort of child sex abuse survivors over three decades say they’ve observed another phenomenon: that child sex abuse accelerates the timeline of puberty in adolescent girls. Early puberty has been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers, like ovarian and breast cancer, due to prolonged exposure to estrogen.
    Ryan Shields is quoted in CBS News.

  • Social Media is Causing Depression Among Teen Girls
    A "steady stream of research" suggests that far more girls than boys are battling major depression in their almost-adult years — and the growing psychological dependence on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and other social media may be making young women more vulnerable to mental illness.
    Ramin Mojtabai’s research is mentioned in MSN Lifestyle.

  • Loss of Spouse or Partner to Suicide Linked to Physical, Mental Disorders
    In this nationwide register-based cohort study, an increased risk of mental and physical disorders, mortality, and adverse social events were noted among people bereaved by spousal suicide. Bereavement by suicide differed from bereavement by other manners of death. Paper published in JAMA Psychiatry by Annette Erlangsen, PhD (Adjunct). Holly Wilcox, PhD is contributing author. View paper:
    Coverage in Baltimore Sun: Suicide causes partners more mental, physical ailments

  • When the First Report Is Ignored, Terrible Things Happen
    Organizations serving youth need strong child sexual abuse prevention policies.
    Elizabeth Letourneau discusses her and Ryan Shields’ work at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in Pychology Today . They were asked to make recommendations as to how a Pennsylvania Dioceses should reform policies and procedures to make child sexual abuse prevention a focus.

  • Game Played at School May Curb Bad Habits Down the Road
    Thousands of students at dozens of schools in the region have learned to control potentially destructive behavior through a program called the Good Behavior Game, which ongoing research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has shown has immediate rewards in the classroom and long-lasting public health benefits.
    Sheppard Kellam and Nicholas Ialongo are featured in this Baltimore Sun article.

  • Why do Myths About Vaccines Persist?
    Despite extensive scientific evidence, myths persist about the safety of vaccines, and their connection to autism.
    Dani Fallin discusses the impact these misperceptions have on autism research
    on WYPR Morning Edition.

  • The Career Pivot is the Ultimate Test of Self-Reinvention
    Andrew Feinberg is mentioned in a piece in The Washington Post about older workers reinventing themselves, which features two Bloomberg School MPH students, Jim Miller and Pauline Lubens.

  • Close Friends and Loving Relationships Keep the Brain Strong
    Having a vibrant social life may protect your brain as you age, according to a new report from AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health. The council’s review of the data shows that having close ties to friends and family, as well as participating in meaningful social activities, may help keep your mind sharp and your memories strong. Michelle Carlson's rsearch is mentioned.

  • Is a Teen Depressed, or Just Moody?
    From 2005 to 2014, the prevalence of depression — that is, the chance of having a major depressive episode over the course of a year — increased significantly among 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States and the prevalence is more intense among girls, per a recent study. Ramin Mojtabai, study lead, is quoted in The New York Times.

  • U.S. Legislation Boosted Access to Autism Services, With No Added Cost to Families
    Findings show 2008 federal 'parity' law is having desired effect, researchers say. Use of health care services by children with autism increased modestly in the wake of a U.S. law requiring equal insurance benefits for mental and physical health. But out-of-pocket costs for their families didn't rise, a new study finds. Co-authors Elizabeth Stuart and Colleen Barry are quotedin

  • Long-lasting Mental Health Isn't Normal
    Most people have at least one bout of depression, anxiety or other disorder, study suggests. A small, poorly understood segment of the population stays mentally healthy from age 11 to 38, a new study of New Zealanders finds. Everyone else encounters either temporary or long-lasting mental disorders.William Eaton is quoted in Science News.

  • Questions About Teen Depression (feat. Dr. Oz)
    The incidence of adolescent depression grew by 37 percent, and teen suicide rates, particularly among young girls ages 10-14, tripled in the past 15 years. Ramin Mojtabai's research is mentioned in NewsOK.

  • Depression in Teens on the Rise
    WYPR broadcast with Ramin Mojtabai and Tamar Mendelson.
    Study leader and professor of mental health, Dr. Ramin Mojtabai says more research is needed. Then, preventing and spotting depression in teens. Hopkins psychologist Tamar Mendelson tells us what behavioral changes parents and teachers should look for.

  • Helping the Lonely and Elderly During the Holidays
    About 29 percent of people age 65 or older live alone, according to the Administration on Community Living, an agency established in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to encourage housing choice and community support for older Americans and people with disabilities.
    Joseph Gallo is quoted in The Baltimore Sun.

  • Study: Teen Violence Spreads Like A Disease
    Treating violence like a contagion through a social network can be effective.
    The Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence is mentioned in Vocativ.

  • Elizabeth Letourneau talks about child sexual abuse being a preventable public health issue at TEDMED Conference
    In her talk, she makes the argument that treating pedophilia as not solely a criminal justice issue, but as a preventable public health issue that should be addressed with more compassion.

  • The Good Behavior Game is citied in the first-ever Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health
    One universal elementary school-based prevention program has shown long-term preventive effects on substance use among a high-risk subgroup, males with high levels of aggression. (Chapter on Prevention; page 3-6)

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.

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The Department of Mental Health holds a weekly seminar in various areas related to public mental health.

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