Community Mental Health Journal

Published by Springer Nature
Online ISSN: 1573-2789
Print ISSN: 0010-3853
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Recent publications
  • Michael P. Fisher
    Michael P. Fisher
  • Catherine D. Lavender
    Catherine D. Lavender
This study examined opportunities and challenges faced by individuals working to advance mental health policy and programming for first responders. We utilized qualitative content analysis and interviews with 16 firefighters, emergency medical services professionals, law enforcement officers, and others involved in programming or policy in the U.S. state of Ohio. Six themes characterized opportunities and challenges encountered: (1) variations in programming and policy exist across jurisdictions; (2) opportunities exist to enhance mental health awareness and self-care training for first responders; (3) need exists for specialized mental health clinicians accustomed to and capable of effectively working with first responders; (4) confidentiality protections are lacking for peer supporters not trained in critical incident stress management; (5) having an internal champion and broader support is key to program and policy advancement; and (6) interdepartmental collaboration provides opportunities for sharing resources and best practices. Results illustrate continued need for strategic policymaking, program development, and coordination.
The objective was to determine the feasibility of an Open Dialogue-inspired approach in a metropolitan, public hospital setting with predominately African American participants. Participants were ages 18-35, experienced psychosis within the past month, and involved at least one support person in their care. We evaluated domains of feasibility including implementation, adaptation, practicality, acceptability, and limited-efficacy. An organizational change model (Addressing Problems Through Organizational Change) facilitated implementation. Clinicians received three trainings and ongoing supervision. Network meetings were successfully implemented with good self-reported fidelity to principles of dialogic practice. Some adaptations (less frequent meetings and no home visits) were necessary. A subset of individuals completed research assessments over 12 months. Qualitative interviews with participants suggested the intervention was acceptable. Symptom and functional outcomes were preliminary but trended toward improvement. Implementation was feasible with relatively brief training, organizational change processes, and context-specific adaptations. Lessons learned can assist in planning a larger research study.
Within psychiatric research fields, there has been a marked uptick of interest in service user involvement in recent years. Nevertheless, it is often unclear how robust or impactful common forms of inclusion are, and the extent to which they have included individuals with psychosis. Using collective auto-ethnography, this paper describes the experiences of 8 academic and non-academic members of the ‘lived experience’ and participatory research workgroup of a global psychosis Commission and our navigation of power and power hierarchies, differences in background and training, and multiple vectors of identity, diversity, and privilege. We conclude that the realities of “involvement” are much messier, more fraught, and less intrinsically empowering than often signaled in calls for involvement and co-production. We nevertheless stress the power of collective dialogue and support—between and among a pluralistic group—and of honesty and transparency about challenges, barriers, and the colonial underpinnings and geopolitics of global mental health.
Factors associated with the IBHC model based on the social-ecological model
The aim was to identify which factors facilitate providing integrated behavioral health care for Iraqi refugees in nationally recognized community health center in Northern USA. The social-ecological model (SEM) framework guided this qualitative case study exploring the experience of 11 professional staff. Data were collected from June through August 2021 through individual interviews. Eight themes emerged based on the SEM levels: Intrapersonal—gender-driven engagement; interpersonal—the need for discretion and trusting relationship; community—collaboration with community resources and integrator from the community; organizational—holistic care, and long-term care; and policy—insufficient educational preparation. The results highlight components for clinical practice and policymakers regarding a population that is a big consumer of mental health care. Future research should explore other vulnerable populations, the effect of social groups, and the incorporation of community resources as part of the integrated care team.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the feasibility and explore the service user experience of a recovery-focused group intervention delivered in acute inpatient wards in a National Health Service (NHS) Trust in England, United Kingdom. Feedback from the Recovery Group Questionnaire given to patients who had attended the Recovery Group whilst admitted to acute inpatient wards was collated and analysed. The results suggest that patients found the group useful and supportive, as well as easy to follow. Themes which emerged from the content analysis included, value, challenges, support and understanding. The feedback also showed that patients found having an Expert by Experience co-facilitating was beneficial. The Recovery Group is an acceptable and feasible group intervention for those who are admitted to acute inpatient wards. Further research examining the clinical effectiveness of the intervention may be considered, however there are some barriers to doing so given the open-access format of the group.
Implementation initiatives and technology-based resources aim to address barriers to Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) use by creating generalizable techniques that can be used for a variety of youth-serving agencies. However, research has not carefully examined unique differences between agency types or individual programs in readiness to use such technologies and implementation strategies. The current study explored differences between community mental health clinics and child advocacy centers on organizational cultural factors (e.g., ability to change and commitment for change) to implement a novel technology-based toolkit to support delivery of Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Results indicated that TF-CBT providers from child advocacy centers reported greater commitment to change and more support to use the technology-based system than those from community mental health centers. Findings suggest that implementation initiatives should address the needs of individual agencies and service settings and adaptations should be explored to best meet the needs of these settings.
Identified risk factors for suicide
In the Open Dialogue (OD) based psychiatric services adolescent patients receive less medication and are more often treated within an outpatient setting as compared to standard services. An evaluation of the possible risks of implementing OD are required. The aim of this longitudinal register-based study was to evaluate how treatment under OD is associated with the probability of suicide as compared standard psychiatric care. Study included all 13-to 20-year-old adolescents who enrolled to a psychiatric service in Finland in 2003-2013. The OD-group included adolescents whose treatment commenced in the Western Lapland area (n = 2107), this being the only region where OD covered all psychiatric services. The comparison group (CG) included rest of Finland (n = 121,658). Information was gathered from onset of treatment to the end of the 5-year follow-up or death. In a multivariate Cox regression there were no statistically significant differences in 5-year suicide hazard ratios between OD and CG.
Historical representations are central to individuals' psychological functioning. Empirical advances have demonstrated the link between historical memories and psychological distress. However, research on historical representations and their impact on the psychological functioning of the African people is limited. This study examined the relationship between internalised historical representations (e.g. colonialism and slavery) and psychological distress among Africans, and the mediational role of the perception of discrimination in this relationship. We hypothesised that historical representations relate to psychological distress and that the perception of discrimination mediates this effect. Consistent with our prediction, historical representations were associated with increased psychological distress. In part, the perception of ethnic discrimination explains the relationship between historical representations and psychological distress. This report highlights the effects of historical representations and ethnic discrimination on the psychological distress of Africans living in Europe.
Results themes
Accessing mental health treatment in rural locations is a unique challenge for families with youth experiencing adverse mental health conditions. Families often experience a variety of difficulties accessing and negotiating changes within the system of care. This study aimed to understand the experiences of families and their youth in navigating the mental health system in a rural community. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to examine how participants interpret their experiences within the local system of care. Qualitative interviews were conducted with eight families. Results included five main themes: youth experience, family experience, access to a system of care, relationships between stakeholders, and larger societal beliefs. Families highlighted their experiences accessing the local care system and their hope for strengthening community access and partnerships. Findings indicate that prioritizing family voices should be encouraged by local systems.
Limited research has examined the mental health of individuals experiencing homelessness in Hawai'i, which bears the nation's second highest homelessness rate. Mental health, substance use, treatment need, and health data were collected from 162 unhoused individuals in Hawai'i County by visiting community locations where they congregate (e.g., beaches, vacant buildings). 77% of participants were Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NH/PI) with participants demonstrating severe rates of mental and substance use disorders including 57% experiencing major depressive disorder (MDD), 56% experiencing generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and 64%, 74%, and 12% experiencing alcohol, methamphetamine, and opioid use disorders, respectively-heightening overdose risk. Treatment need was high (62%) but health was poor (85% reporting fair/poor health), with MDD and GAD predicting reduced general health (p < 0.05). Study findings indicate Hawai'i unhoused individuals are disproportionately Indigenous NH/PI, enduring striking mental and physical health disparities that may be reduced by increasing access/utilization of community mental health programs/services.
The current cross-sectional study was conducted among 864 older adults aged ≥ 60 years residing in Rohingya refugee camp through face-to-face interviews during November–December 2021. COVID-19-related anxiety was measured using the five-point Coronavirus Anxiety Scale (CAS) and perceived stress using the 10-point Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). The linear regression model identified the factors associated with COVID-19-related anxiety and perceived stress. The prevalence of COVID-19-related anxiety and perceived stress was 68% and 93%, respectively. The average COVID-19-related anxiety score expected to be significantly higher among those who were physically inactive, concerned about COVID-19, had a close friend/family member diagnosed with COVID-19, and had some difficulty in getting food and routine medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the average perceived stress score was expected to be significantly higher among those without partners, who were feeling overwhelmed by COVID-19, and who experienced COVID-19-related anxiety during the pandemic. The findings suggest providing immediate psychosocial support to older Rohingya adults.
This study investigated the ability of three adverse childhood experience (ACE) types (household dysfunction, emotional/physical abuse, and sexual abuse) to predict current depression among adults. We also determined the contribution of ACEs to current depression after controlling for covariates and chronic illnesses. Respondents to the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (n = 20,345) were divided into depressed and not depressed groups based on Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ-8) scores. Binary logistic regression determined the ability of ACE exposure to predict depression while controlling for effects of covariates and number of chronic illnesses. Hierarchical multiple linear regression determined the association of ACEs on depression scores after accounting for the covariate set and chronic illnesses. Sexual Abuse had the single strongest association with current depression of any ACE exposure. Exposure to three ACE types has the greatest association with current depression. ACEs accounted for about 7% of the variance in depression scores.
Family carers often support people with mental ill-health, however, there is a dearth of research on the importance of recovery to mental health carers. This article describes the delivery and qualitative evaluation of an online training programme on recovery to a group of eleven carers. The participants considered their understanding of the meaning of recovery, differentiating between its personal and clinical nature. They highlighted the importance of carer involvement in the service users’ professional support, alongside the need for carers to participate more widely in service development. Finally, the participants found the training useful in enabling them to recognise their own needs in a caring journey, particularly valuing its delivery by a service user and carer trainer. This study is limited by the small number of participants in this programme; however, this series of connected studies suggests its potential to be rolled out more widely, possibly embedded in Recovery Colleges.
Use of commitment
In this study, we examine to what extent availability of a crisis center in a behavioral health district is related to changes in emergency hold petitions and outcomes of those holds as submitted by police officers. Using data from between 2010 and 2020 and a series of interrupted time series analysis, we analyze 22,619 police petitions for involuntary commitment and their outcomes related to crisis center availability. Results show inconsistent and varied effects between availability of a crisis center and emergency hold petitions. Similar results are observed for the emergency hold evaluation process outcome and associated final disposition outcome. The implementation of crisis centers in the study site may not have achieved the immediate goals of reducing the use of the emergency hold petitions nor relevant outcomes. The results vary in direction and magnitude indicating there is more research to be done to understand if, and how, crisis center availability and use are associated with changes in the involuntary emergency hold system.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the quality of life (QoL), daily lifestyle, and mental health of people suffering from a mental disorder. This study aimed to investigate the effects of the prolongation of the COVID-19 emergency on QoL and lifestyles in a sample of 100 outpatients at the Psychiatry Unit in Palermo University Hospital, Italy. QoL was measured through the 12-item Short Form Survey and the COV19-Impact on Quality of Life. Lifestyle changes during the pandemic were measured through the lifestyle change questionnaire. The majority of participants reported a great impact of COVID-19 on the QoL, and almost half reported worsened lifestyles. Worsened lifestyles were predictive of both poor mental and physical health related QoL. These results suggest that people with mental illness need interventions targeting lifestyles, and the mental health service in Italy should adjust to the ongoing pandemic, developing virtual treatments.
LGBTQ+ individuals experience health care disparities and difficulty accessing affirming care. Little is known regarding the health and experiences among subpopulations of specific sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI). We implemented the first LGBTQ + health needs assessment survey in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York, to assess individuals’ health care experiences, behaviors, access to care, and health care needs. The sample (N = 1150) consisted of many SOGI subgroups. Greater than 60% of respondents reported symptoms of chronic depression; over one third reported disrespectful health care experiences; and two thirds experienced verbal harassment. Bisexual/bicurious, pansexual, queer, gender nonconforming and transgender individuals experienced highest rates of mental health concerns and difficulty accessing care. Behavioral health concerns were also high among Black, multiracial, Hispanic, Asian, young adult, and lower-income respondents. Gaining an understanding of unique differences among LGBTQ+ subgroups can guide implementation of services targeting specific subpopulations to improve access to care and reduce disparities.
Healthy Kids intervention effect size, stratified by race and ethnicity
Although suicide is a leading cause of mortality among racial and ethnic minority youth, limited data exists regarding the impact of school-based mental health interventions on these populations, specifically. A single-arm pragmatic trial design was utilized to evaluate the equity of outcomes of the universal, school-based mental health coaching intervention, Building Resilience for Healthy Kids. All sixth-grade students at an urban middle school were invited to participate. Students attended six weekly sessions with a health coach discussing goal setting and other resilience strategies. 285 students (86%) participated with 252 (88%) completing both pre- and post-intervention surveys. Students were a mean age of 11.4 years with 55% identifying as girls, 69% as White, 13% as a racial minority, and 18% as Hispanic. Racial minority students exhibited greater improvements in personal and total resilience compared to White students, controlling for baseline scores.
Prevalence of types of adverse childhood experiences overall and by high ACE exposure (sum score ≥ 4) among behavioral health patients
Average adverse childhood experience score by psychiatric diagnosis.a
aACE sum score calculated as the total number of ACE items reported by participants as “yes”, “no”, “true”, or “false”. Sum scores ranged from 0 to 10. Values are average with the error bars representing standard deviation
A large number of individuals in the US have experienced childhood trauma. However, little is known about the prevalence of trauma in a diverse patient population entering treatment in a community mental health center. To assess early trauma in this population, the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) questionnaire was administered to 856 participants over a nine-month period. 40% reported four or more ACEs. Among high scorers, emotional abuse, physical abuse and emotional neglect were the most prevalent ACE experiences. High mean ACE sum scores were observed among patients with PTSD, depression, impulse disorder and substance use disorder. Having a higher ACE sum score was associated with a greater number of co-occurring psychiatric disorders. Characterizing ACEs by patient sociodemographic attributes and psychiatric diagnoses extracted from the electronic medical records (EMR) can benefit therapeutic interventions. These findings indicate a need for creating more trauma-informed settings with knowledgeable, trained staff.
The SECURE STAIRS framework promotes trauma informed understanding and training across the workforce to inform work with children and young people. A component of the framework is the ‘Trauma Informed Practice with Children and Young People in Secure Settings’ (TIPSS) training programme for multidisciplinary staff. Between November 2020 and May 2021, a total of 123 members of multidisciplinary staff from a Secure Children’s Home (SCH) in the North East of England attended five-day TIPSS training. A pre-post repeated measures design was adopted. Paired samples t-tests were used to analyse pre- and post- questionnaires regarding self-reported levels of (i) knowledge, (ii) understanding and (iii) confidence across Attachment and Developmental Trauma, Understanding Complex Behaviour and Trauma Informed Care training modules. Staff reported significant (p ≤ .001) post-training improvements in knowledge, understanding, and confidence across all three training modules. Implications of findings are discussed, and further developments outlined.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have higher incidences of mental health conditions and behavioral support needs than people without IDD but may not receive needed care from community providers. We examined rates of co-occurring conditions in a representative sample of adults with IDD who use state funded services in [state name redacted for peer review]. Using data from two datasets, we identified four categories of mental health and behavioral conditions. We used these categories to examine differences in individual- and system-level factors in people with and without co-occurring conditions. We found high rates of co-occurring conditions in our sample. We found important disability factors and system-level characteristics that were associated with having a diagnosed mental health condition or behavioral support needs. Differing patterns of diagnosis and treatment for co-occurring conditions suggests more work needs to be done to support people with IDD and co-occurring mental health conditions living in the community.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to elicit client perspectives on the Los Angeles County Full Service Partnership (FSP) program - an adaptation of Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 FSP clients. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Two major themes were identified from the interview data: (1) Clients' acknowledgement of the material benefits of the FSP program; and (2) FSP's impact on restoring and stabilizing clients' social and treatment relationships. Interviewees greatly valued the material (i.e., basic needs, housing assistance) and relational (i.e., relationships with providers, restored personal relationships) aspects of the program, but did not ascribe the same degree of value to mental health treatment. Interviewees' emphases on material and relational aspects reflect the status of assertive mental health treatment as an intervention on intermediary determinants of health in the lives of persons diagnosed with serious mental illness.
Scholars suggest that marginalized people in non-urban areas experience higher distress levels and fewer psychosocial resources than in urban areas. Researchers have yet to test whether precise proximity to urban centers is associated with mental health for marginalized populations. We recruited 1733 people who reported living in 45 different countries. Participants entered their home locations and completed measures of anxiety, depression, social support, and resilience. Regression and thematic analyses were used to determine what role distance from legislative and urban centers may play in mental health when marginalized people were disaggregated. Greater distance from legislative center predicted higher anxiety and resilience. Greater distance from urban center also predicted more resilience. Thematic analyses yielded five categories (e.g., safety, connection) that further illustrated the impact of geographic location on health. Implications for community mental health are discussed including the need to better understand and further expand resilience in rural areas.
Peer support groups have become widely utilized among those in recovery from problematic substance use. Yet, these peer-based programs vary and research examining their effectiveness has yielded mixed results. Relatively less is known about the impacts of arts-based peer recovery programs. Some research suggests that theatre may offer a powerful tool to address biopsychosocial changes among individuals in recovery. To explore the role of arts-based peer support programs, we draw on qualitative interviews with performers in two arts-based recovery programs. Our findings suggest that arts-based peer recovery programs may aid individuals in recovery in four main ways. Performing allowed participants to build relationships with others in recovery, channel experiences creatively while challenging stigma, foster confidence and recovery-identity formation, aiding participants in working through emotional impacts of prior substance use. These findings support emerging scholarship examining the role of performance in challenging stereotypes about substance use to aid those in recovery.
In 2009, 98.0% of people with mental illness in Sierra Leone were not receiving treatment, partly due to the absence of public psychiatric facilities outside the capital. In response to this situation, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation rolled out nurse-led mental health units (MHUs) to every district. This study evaluates the barriers and facilitators to mental health service delivery in decentralised MHUs in Sierra Leone using key informant interviews and focus group discussions with 13 purposefully sampled clinical staff and senior management personnel. The interviews were audio-recorded, translated from Krio if necessary, transcribed, and analysed using manifest content analysis. The findings suggest that factors affecting nurse-led mental health service delivery include small workforce and high workload, culture and beliefs, risks, lack of safety measures and required resources, outdated policies, poor salaries, lack of funds for medication, distance, power, influence, and stigma. Factors that could facilitate nurse-led mental health services include: increasing motivation, increasing the workforce, knowledge sharing, mentorship, availability of medication, passion and modern psychiatry. The findings contribute towards understanding the challenges and opportunities faced by the recently established nurse-led decentralised mental health services across Sierra Leone, in order to address the large mental health treatment gap. We hope the findings will inform further policy and planning to improve the quality of decentralised mental healthcare.
Young adults experiencing homelessness (YAEH) have high rates of mental health problems but low rates of mental health service use. This study examined identification of mental health problems among YAEH in seven U.S. cities and its relationship to service use. YAEH that screened positive for depression, psychological distress, or Post Traumatic Stress (n = 892) were asked whether they felt they had a mental health problem. One-third identified as having a mental health problem (35%), with 22% endorsing not sure. Multinomial logistic regression models found that older age, cisgender female or gender-expansive (compared to cisgender male), and LGBQ sexual orientation, were positively associated with self-identification and Hispanic race/ethnicity (compared to White) was negatively associated. Self-identification of a mental health problem was positively associated with use of therapy, medications, and reporting unmet needs. Interventions should target understanding mental health, through psychoeducation that reduces stigma, or should reframe conversations around wellness, reducing the need to self-identify.
Many mental health problems begin in adolescence and occur on a spectrum of severity: early recognition and intervention is important. This study is a quantitative feasibility study of the Mental Health Foundation’s Peer Education Project (PEP). Attrition, psychometric properties of questionnaires, indications of improvement on a range of outcomes, and sample size required for a powered trial of effectiveness were assessed. 203 students completed the survey both pre and post-intervention. It was found that existing previously-validated measures had good psychometric properties, with two new questionnaires demonstrating reasonable reliability (self-help confidence alpha = 0.78, mental health knowledge alpha = 0.59). There were indications of improvement in help-seeking intentions, the number of sources likely to seek help from, and mental health knowledge from pre- to post-intervention. A future trial of PEP with a sample of approximately 36 schools, researcher-led data collections, and help-seeking intentions or sources as a primary outcome appears to be feasible.
Average number of poor mental health days reported in past month per county by urbanicity category
Plot to justify nonlinear relationship between education and poor mental health days
Plot to justify nonlinear relationship between income and poor mental health days
Geography may influence mental health by inducing changes to social and physical environmental and health-related factors. This understanding is largely based on older studies from Western Europe. We sought to quantify contemporary relationships between urbanicity and self-reported poor mental health days in US counties. We performed regression on US counties (n = 3142) using data from the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. Controlling for state, age, income, education, and race/ethnicity, large central metro counties reported 0.24 fewer average poor mental health days than small metro counties (t = − 5.78, df = 423, p < .001). Noncore counties had 0.07 more average poor mental health days than small metro counties (t = 3.06, df = 1690, p = 0.002). Better mental health in large central metro counties was partly mediated by differences in the built environment, such as better food environments. Poorer mental health in noncore counties was not mediated by considered mediators.
Public stigma toward those experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia in the general population is high; yet research into such stigma within the diverse Latino communities remains under-investigated. This study employed a randomized experimental vignette methodology to assess various domains of public stigma toward individuals experiencing psychosis and/or diabetes within Latino communities. A communitybased sample of 243 Latino adults participated. Contrary to our expectations, respondents who were more sympathetic toward those with mental health problems tended to score higher on public stigma. The belief that a person was responsible for their own mental health problems was associated with higher levels of stigma. Results indicate that perceptions of dangerousness toward someone experiencing psychosis were common, and the perception that a person was responsible for their mental health problems was associated with higher levels of stigma Results emphasize the complex nature of stigma within the diverse Latino communities and the need for ongoing research.
Pathways to increased hope from accessing a mental health service
Hope is essential to mental health recovery, yet little is known about how mental health services can foster hope. This paper addresses the question: How can mental health services influence the sense of hope experienced by people who access their services? Sixty-one people who accessed a new mental health service were interviewed about their experiences, including about how the service had influenced their sense of hope. Interviews were analysed using constant comparative analysis. The data revealed that hope increased when people perceived positive changes in themselves and their circumstances: developing new understandings and perspectives; having effective strategies to manage challenges; seeing progress or having plans; and having support. Changes were attributed to three major features of the service: accessibility; staff competence and wisdom; and caring interactions. The findings highlight that, while individual clinicians are important, other interactions with services and the wider service context are also critical for facilitating hope.
This study examined mental health service utilization and disparities during the first year of COVID. We analyzed data from all adult respondents with any mental illness in the past year (n = 6967) in the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health to evaluate if mental health service utilization differed by geographic areas, race/ethnicity, and age groups. Only 46% of individuals with any mental illness had received mental health treatment. Compared to non-Hispanic Whites, Asian and Hispanics were less likely to receive outpatient services and prescription medicine. Rural residents received less outpatient treatment compared to large metropolitan residents. No difference was found in telemedicine utilization across area types and race/ethnicity groups. Older individuals were less likely to utilize telemedicine services. Our findings highlighted continued mental health treatment disparities among race/ethnic minorities and other sub-populations during COVID. Targeted strategies are warranted to allow older populations to benefit from telemedicine.
Gender differences in methods of completed suicides
Suicide is a global phenomenon with about 79% of suicides occurring in low and middle-income countries. This study investigated current trends, demographics, and characteristics of completed suicides based on reports from leading Pakistani Newspapers. This study performed a qualitative analysis of completed suicides in Pakistan's four newspapers from January 1st, 2019, through December 31st, 2020. Data about socio-demographic characteristics, methods of suicide, possible motives, and associated features were analyzed. 2295 suicides were reported in Pakistan during 2019 and 2020. About 61.87% were completed by men, and 38.12% by women. The most suicides occurred in individuals ages < 30 years. The predominant method of suicide in this group was ingestion of poisonous substances. The most commonly reported reasons for suicide were domestic conflicts, financial problems, and failure in love/marriage. By providing insight into characteristics of suicide, this study highlights the need for effective suicide prevention policies and programs to tackle rising rates of suicide in Pakistan.
PDSA grade and quality rating frequencies
This study investigated the sustainability of a multi-agency 15-month Learning Collaborative (LC) for implementing trauma-informed care in 23 rural Pennsylvania counties. Provider agencies (N = 22) were assessed three years following completion of the LC. Sustained trauma-informed practices were assessed through criteria indicating organizational achievement as a trauma-informed care center. A theoretical model of clinical training was applied to determine the extent to which training- and skill-related factors were associated with sustained trauma-informed care. Three years after the LC, trauma symptom screening rates and staff training improvements were sustained, while staff confidence in delivering trauma-informed care worsened across time. Sustained trauma-informed care was associated with implementation milestone completion and third-party ratings of quality improvement skills during the LC. Building capacity for organizational change through training and skill development during active phases of implementation is important for sustained trauma informed care in behavioral health service.
This study examines relations between suicide prevention gatekeeper beliefs and actual helping behaviors following participation in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Participants (n = 434) completed measures examining suicide-related beliefs and behaviors using a naturalistic pre-post design. All beliefs demonstrated significant change from pre- to posttest. Regression analyses indicate that beliefs about perceived barriers to action and the controllability of suicide predicted identification of high-risk youth; perceived barriers to action were also negatively related to helping responses and referrals 6–9 months post training. Self-efficacy was not related to suicide prevention behaviors at follow-up. The importance of anchoring training curriculums and measurement to health behavior change theories is discussed.
Community mental health experiences on delivering mental health services in the community
Demographic characteristics of the participants
This study aimed to describe the experiences of community mental health workers, predominantly female, nurses and doctors providing community-based mental health services in Borama, Somaliland. A qualitative explorative study using focus group discussions was conducted. Data were collected from three focus group discussions with 22 female community health workers, two medical doctors, and two registered nurses and analyzed using content analysis with an inductive approach. Three main categories were identified from the analysis: (1) bridging the mental health gap in the community; (2) working in a constrained situation; and (3) being altruistic. Overall, the community mental health workers felt that their role was to bridge the mental health gap in the community. They described their work as a rewarding and motivated them to continue despite challenges and improving community healthcare workers’ work conditions and providing resources in mental health services will contribute to strengthening mental health services in Somaliland.
The peer recovery workforce, including individuals in sustained recovery from substance use, has grown rapidly in the previous decades. Peer recovery coaches represent a scalable, resource-efficient, and acceptable approach to increasing service delivery, specifically among individuals receiving substance use services in low-resource communities. Despite the potential to improve access to care in traditionally underserved settings, there are a number of barriers to successfully integrating peer recovery coaches in existing recovery services. The current study presents results from two focus groups composed of peer recovery coaches. Findings suggest that peer recovery coaches report discordance between their perceived role and their daily responsibilities and experience both inter- and intrapersonal challenges that impact their own recovery processes. These results point to several promising policy and structural changes that may support and enhance this growing workforce.
Depressive symptomatology casts a more adverse impact on the well-being of women in countries with unfavourable societal norms. The prevalence of depressive symptomatology in Indian women and the treatment gap in case of mental health issues are alarming and thus may require interventions at a community level. The present study tested the efficacy of a psychosocial community-based intervention in managing depressive symptomatology and associated factors like rumination, reappraisal, psychological resilience, and self-efficacy using a pre-test post-test control group design. A total of 114 (Mage=23.03, SD = 5.29) and 37 (Mage=24.89, SD = 6.44) adult females were there in the experimental and the control group, respectively. A series of ANOVAs showed that participants’ scores on depressive symptomatology and associated vulnerabilities and defences improved as compared to the baseline and the control group. The findings support the use of psychosocial community-based intervention in a non-specialized healthcare setting to manage depressive symptomatology, associated vulnerability and defences.
Over the past two decades, there has been increased recognition of the effectiveness of peer delivered services, with prior research highlighting the benefits for both recipients of peer services and peer providers. Despite this, peer specialists report challenges to their work such as experiencing stigma associated with their role and difficulty integrating into a non-peer dominated workforce. The study sought to explore the perceptions of agency leadership from three supportive housing agencies regarding peer specialists and peer-delivered services within their organization before and after a peer-led intervention to promote healthy lifestyles for people with SMI. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with agency leadership and analyzed using a content analysis approach. Findings from this study contribute to the literature on the peer specialist workforce by identifying factors (e.g., agency’s prior experience employing peer specialists) and potential strategies (e.g., exposure to peer services) impact the level of workplace integration of peer specialists.
Focus group discussion content
Refugees face significantly worse mental health outcomes compared to the general population within their host country; however, few refugee-specific mental health programs exist within the United States. Utilizing Community-based Participatory Research methods, a community-based mental health intervention named Positive Minds for Refugees (PMR) is in development. In this preliminary study, we shared the in-development intervention with refugees (n = 8), holding a series of 3 focus groups to gain feedback on the intervention content and determine acceptability. Findings suggest that the intervention is generally acceptable and relevant to the refugee community. Mental health for refugees is closely linked with their ability to navigate new social, cultural, and physical environments during resettlement; therefore, to address unmet needs, additional content should be added on: American cultural norms, navigating US society, and coping with social isolation and self-care. This study highlights cultural considerations for presenting written intervention content and implementing sessions.
Mental health is being reframed as a fundamental right for all people, and mental health literacy is a tool that can enable patients to gain the knowledge, personal skills, and confidence to take action to improve their mental health, and their lives overall. This exploratory study analysed the power of dialogic literary gatherings (DLGs) to foster it in a group of patients with mental health disorders who gathered for 1 h once a week to share their readings of literature masterpieces. During the year-long study, a total of 140 patients participated in the DLGs in groups of 12 to 15 people. Results suggest that DLGs promoted the development of the participants’ mental health literacy and produced gains in emotional and social wellbeing by strengthening reading, speaking, and listening skills, fostering supportive relations, contributing to overcoming stigma, and enhancing agency. The transferability of DLGs to mental health care is discussed.
This national, observational study examined factors associated with undetermined self-directed violence (SDV) classification among Veterans with a SDV event classified as either “suicide attempt” or “undetermined SDV” in in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) between 2013 and 2018 (N = 55,878). Generalized estimating equations were used to examine associations of patient and SDV event factors with likelihood of an undetermined SDV classification. Veterans who used poisoning or other methods had 1.52 (95%CI: 1.38, 1.66) and 2.33 (95%CI: 2.16, 2.50) increased odds of having their SDV classified as undetermined, respectively. Veterans with a prior year substance use disorder diagnosis had 1.19 (95%CI: 1.14, 1.24) increased odds of having their SDV classified as undetermined. In sex-stratified analyses, associations of poisoning and substance use disorders held only among males. Additional clinical evaluation of patients with histories of substance use disorders or who use poisoning as method of SDV may be warranted when making SDV determinations.
Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) that provide comprehensive health services, including integrated behavioral health (IBH), transitioned to deliver care via telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study explored how FQHCs adapted IBH services using telehealth. A mixed-method design was used, pairing a survey disseminated to FQHC administrators with a structured interview. Of the 46 administrators who participated in the survey, 14 (30.4%) reported delivering IBH using telecommunication prior to the pandemic. Since COVID-19, almost all of the FQHCs surveyed used telecommunication to deliver IBH (n = 44, 95.7%). Nine interviews with FQHC administrators resulted in the four themes: telehealth was essential; core components of IBH were impacted; payment parity and reimbursement were a concern; and telehealth addressed workforce issues. Findings confirm the necessity of telehealth for FQHCs during COVID-19. However due to the lack of co-location, warm-handoffs and other core components of IBH were limited.
Comparison of the annual emergency department visit rate after self-harm (VRSH) and the VRSH by age group in metropolitan and rural areas. The Y-axis indicates the VRSH for each age group corresponding to the crude VRSH (X-axis) in the two areas. Most areas with an VRSH above 100 per 100,000 people were rural areas. In these high incidence areas, the VRSH in the elderly population (65 years and older) has been stable. However, the VRSH in the young (15- to 34-year-old) population has been increasing
In order to formulate and implement a community-based suicide prevention program, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of these programs, it is necessary to understand the epidemiological characteristics of self-harm. Clinical data were collected from the National Emergency Department Information System (NEDIS) data panel in Korea for patients seen after self-harm episodes. Socioeconomic factors were collected from Statistics Korea. Variables representing SP provisions (SPPs) were collected from the Korea Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Increasing the number of mental health providers resulted in lower annual emergency department visit rate after self-harm (VRSH) in the entire population, as well as in both the young and elderly populations. An increase in the mental health budget led to a significant reduction in VRSHs. However, the number of suicide prevention centers did not have any significant association with the VRSH. This study also provides substantial evidence that community-based SPPs are effective in preventing self-harm.
Active Minds, a national non-profit, was created to combat suicide and mental health stigma among youth and young adults. Research has indicated that Active Minds has been effective in positively changing students’ attitudes and behaviors towards mental health. This study seeks to understand what else Active Minds can do to address mental health barriers and help-seeking within student populations and how Active Minds can better support at-risk populations in their wellness. This study consisted of four focus groups, and 13 participants completed a Brief Questionnaire and answered open-ended questions from a semi-structured interview guide. The narrative was coded and categorized, and thematic analysis was utilized. Eight themes were identified: (a) creating shared safe spaces (b) mental health stigma among Native American and Hispanic/Latinx students (c) the vulnerability of LGBTQ + student populations (d) addressing special populations in Active Minds programming (e) the role of gender and religion in mental health (f) cultural education and resources (g) normalizing mental health through education and family conversation, and (h) promotion of Active Minds and accessibility of counseling. Because the sample size only consisted of 13 participants the results cannot be generalized to students, but the results are transferable to student populations. The researchers recommend that Active Minds use a peer support model and develop curriculums that address mental health stigma and cultural education in diverse populations. Future research is needed to uncover those strategies that might engage males in mental health education.
Simple slope analysis depicting moderation of pre-migration stressors by post-migration stressors on posttraumatic stress symptoms
The present study investigated the cumulative and potential synergistic effect of prolonged adversity from pre-migration to post-migration phases in the prediction of posttraumatic stress [PTSD & Complex PTSD (CPTSD)] among Iraqi and Syrian refugees in the U.S. This study included recent 51 Iraqi and 43 Syrian (n = 94) refugees in Massachusetts. Quantitative data were collected through surveys measuring trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress. Effects were evaluated through a series of hierarchical and multiple regression analyses. Preliminary analyses indicated pre-and post-migration stressors together predict PTSD but not CPTSD. However, only post-migration discrimination predicted CPTSD. Post-migration stress exposure emerged as a significant moderator between pre-migration stress exposure and psychological distress (i.e., PTSD). Findings provided support for the cumulative impact of refugees’ exposure to trauma from the pre-to-post-migration process, and shed light on the importance of the post-migration context in the prediction of PTSD.
Count of Psychiatric Emergencies in LAC + USC Hospital over 156 weeks from Jan 5, 2018 to Dec 31, 2020. Note Initial set of societal restrictions (March 13 to May 8, 2020) shown with the blue dashed vertical lines. The left vertical line is at week 115 beginning on March 13, 2020 with 596 psychiatric emergency visits. The right vertical line is at week 123 beginning on May 8, 2020
Proportion of ED visits classified as psychiatric in LAC + USC hospital over 156 weeks from Jan 5, 2018 to Dec 31, 2020. Initial set of societal restrictions (March 13 to May 8, 2020) shown with the blue dashed vertical lines
Emergency department (ED) visits for psychiatric care in the US reportedly declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. This work, however, does not control for strong temporal patterning in visits before the pandemic and does not examine a potential “rebound” in demand for psychiatric care following the relaxation of initial societal restrictions. Here, we examine COVID-19-related perturbations in psychiatric care during and after the 1st stage of societal restrictions in the largest safety-net hospital in Los Angeles. We retrieved psychiatric ED visit data (98,888 total over 156 weeks, Jan 2018 to Dec 2020) from Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. We applied interrupted time series methods to identify and control for autocorrelation in psychiatric ED visits before examining their relation with the 1st stage of societal restrictions (i.e., March 13 to May 8, 2020), as well as the subsequent “rebound” period of relaxed restrictions (i.e., after May 8, 2020). Psychiatric ED visits fell by 78.13 per week (i.e., 12%) during the 1st stage of societal restrictions (SD = 23.99, p < 0.01). Reductions in ED visits for alcohol use, substance use, and (to a lesser extent) anxiety disorders accounted for the overall decline. After the 1st stage of societal restrictions, however, we observe no “rebound” above expected values in psychiatric ED visits overall (coef = − 16.89, SD = 20.58, p = 0.41) or by diagnostic subtype. This pattern of results does not support speculation that, at the population level, foregoing ED care during initial societal restrictions subsequently induced a psychiatric “pandemic” of urgent visits.
The outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic challenged vulnerable populations such as individuals with significant mental illness. In this fresh focus, we describe the innovative development of the UPSIDES mental health peer support intervention, in face of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel. While the research program is still ongoing, in this paper we focus on the processes and lessons learned from dealing with the rapidly changing circumstances of the pandemic. We portray additional activities conducted above and beyond the UPSIDES protocol in order to maintain continuation and prevent dropout. We learned that an essential combination of keeping a close adherence with the core peer principles and UPSIDES’ systematic program and the use of flexible telecommunication means, helped to maintain social connection and service users’ participation throughout these times. The sudden pandemic challenges appeared to level out power imbalances and accelerated the formation of reciprocal and supportive relational interactions within the intervention. These processes highlight experiential knowledge as a unique asset, and peer support services as useful in supporting individuals with significant mental illness throughout COVID-19.
In Uganda, low resources for mental health provision combine with disadvantage and inadequate supports for family and community-based care. Catalysed by the need to reduce overcrowded psychiatric hospital wards and frequent readmissions at Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital (BNRMH) in Kampala, the nongovernment organisation YouBelong Uganda (YBU) developed the YouBelong Home (YBH) intervention. YBH is a theoretically eclectic pre and post hospital discharge intervention. This paper reports on qualitative findings of the project Curtailing Hospital Readmissions for Patients with Severe Mental Illness in Africa (CHaRISMA), which explored how to refine the YBH intervention. The project was funded by a UK Joint Global Health Trials (JGHT) Development Grant. Data was collected through structured interviews with service users and caregivers, reflective practice by the YBH implementing team and a stakeholder focus group. A summary of refinements to the YBH intervention follows the TIDieR format (Template for Intervention Description and Replication).
Top-cited authors
Ritika Uniyal
  • Jamia Millia Islamia
Usama Rehman
Kaveri Gupta
  • Jamia Millia Islamia
Drishti Kashyap
  • Jamia Millia Islamia
Masrat Khursheed
  • Jamia Millia Islamia