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American Psychiatric Association, May 21-25 | Health, Sports Health & Fitness

Physician Information Staff

The American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting was held May 21-25 in New Orleans and attracted attendees from around the world, including clinicians, academics, allied health professionals, and others interested in the psychiatry. The conference highlighted recent advances in the prevention, detection and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

In a presentation, Kiara Alvarez, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and her colleagues provided recommendations for addressing structural racism in youth suicide prevention.

After assessing the impact of structural racism within mental health services, the education system, and the justice system, the researchers made recommendations to address structural racism in suicide prevention. Recommendations included promoting solutions on many levels, starting with supporting policies that promote racial and economic equity, placing greater emphasis on suicide prevention practices that will benefit all young people, and finding ways to separate a response to a mental health crisis from school discipline and law enforcement systems.

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“Clinicians are essential across the suicide prevention continuum, in systems ranging from primary care to specialized mental health care to emergency care and in many other settings. They have an important role to play in their direct interactions with patients, in their advocacy for how the systems they work in respond to patients, and in how they engage with communities,” Alvarez said. “It is important for clinicians to know that asking questions about suicide does not cause someone to have suicidal thoughts. In fact, the opposite is true, and open conversations about suicide help young people know that there are people who care and want to help. From there, to specifically address the impact of structural racism on suicide prevention, clinicians can promote person-centered, culturally appropriate prevention and intervention practices that focus on building strengths and resources for young people.

In a related presentation, Margarita Alegría, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and her colleagues provided an overview of two types of investments that could amplify the impact of the 2022 federal block grants for health services. community mental health (which provided $1.6 billion in funding), including evidence-based policies that address unmet social needs (e.g. universal school meals and savings accounts for children) and mental health prevention programs designed by and for communities of color.

Presenters provided details of interventions with strong evidence to improve mental health (i.e. reduce or prevent clinical symptoms) or mental health-related outcomes (i.e. increase quality of life or mental health literacy) among people of color in the United States. These goals can be achieved within five years by addressing the social determinants of health or changing the context to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Presenters described the interventions and summarized the evidence of their impact on mental health and mental health-related outcomes.

For children and adolescents, interventions include universal school lunch programs, children’s savings accounts, comprehensive behavioral health models, and workforce support for after-school recreational programs. For adults, examples include the Housing First model, individual job placement and employment supports, earned income tax credits, mental health literacy campaigns, and community-based addiction prevention programs. mental health offered by paraprofessionals.

“For old people, [the interventions] highlight the expansion of green and blue spaces (i.e. the greening of vacant urban land), centers for the elderly offering health promotion activities, exercise and psychosocial programs for the prevention of disabilities (Positive Minds-Strong Bodies) and peer-led programs for the management of chronic mental health conditions,” Alegría said.

Gaëlle Rached, MD, of Northwestern University in Chicago, and her colleagues found that Lebanese expatriates are negatively affected by traumatic events that occur in Lebanon, months after the traumatic incident, regardless of the length of their stay. absence from their country.

The researchers presented the results of a survey conducted via social media seven months after the explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020, to investigate the impact of the explosion on the mental health of Lebanese expatriates. A total of 1,117 participants completed the survey; 447 participants were excluded because they were not Lebanese or were still living in Lebanon at the time of the explosion. On the Hopkins Symptom Checklist, a 20-item self-report questionnaire commonly used in screening for anxiety and depression in disaster medicine, 41.2% of participants had scores above the cutoff . Only the 268 participants who experienced the blast first-hand or whose immediate family or loved ones suffered physical harm from the blast completed the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) screening tool, and 57.5% had symptoms related to PTSD.

“Expats already live in stressful living conditions. Little is known about the mental health of expats, let alone in the context of traumatic events in their home country,” Rached said. “We need to provide additional support to this population, especially if their country of origin is going through a traumatic event.”

Aaron I. Esagoff of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and his colleagues have identified structural brain changes in people participating in mixed martial arts (MMA). Structural changes in the brain have been found to depend on the number of training sessions.

Using a cross-sectional analysis that included adjusted multivariate regression analyses, the authors examined the effects of weekly habitual training sessions on white matter and a limited number of regional brain volumes measured by a single CT imaging. magnetic resonance (MRI). Models were adjusted for age, gender, education, race, professional combat, total intracranial volume, and type of MRI scan. The researchers found that the number of habitual training sessions per week was significantly associated with increased white matter hyperintensity volume and bilateral caudate volume.

“The take-home message is that, based on our preliminary study, sparring practice in MMA fighters may have a double-edged sword effect on the brain, as we associated sparring practice with greater caudate volume. important but also to potential white matter damage,” Esagoff said. . “However, we also conclude that more research is needed to further investigate the impacts of sparring among MMA fighters and our findings need to be replicated.”

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