Prevention

  • Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) is a universal intervention (delivered to all youth of a group/class) mental health promotion program that aims to raise mental health awareness about risk and protective factors associated with suicide, including knowledge about depression and anxiety, and toenhance the skills and emotional resiliency needed to deal with stress and crisis. The format of the YAM intervention empowers youth to think, verbalize, and discuss important mental health issues, such as suicide, in a context that is meaningful to them.
    • In a study, which involved ~11,000 ninth grade adolescents in 10 European countries, the YAM intervention reduced incident (new cases of) suicide attempts by 59% and suicidal thoughts by 52%, compared to control, over one year.
      • Lancet. 2015;385(9977):1536-44. PubMed PMID: 25579833
    • The CMHRR, in collaboration with the YAM originators and Madhukar Trivedi, MD (UT Southwestern), is testing YAM for the first time in the US. The collaborative team is currently evaluating the feasibility and acceptability of delivering YAM to ~2,000 students from eight schools in Montana and five schools in Texas, and secondarily assessing its efficacy for mental health resiliency and other mental health outcomes when adapted to the US.
    • MSU Extension, in collaboration with the CMHRR and Bill Bryan of One Montana, received a USDA grant to evaluate delivery of YAM by Extension faculty in frontier and rural setting schools in Montana. A Montana Mental Health Trust Foundation grant is extending this work. 
    • The CMHRR will pursue funding for a randomized, controlled trial of YAM, which will include additional schools in Montana and Texas.
  • Good Behavior Game (GBG) is a universal intervention delivered to elementary school-aged children, which empowers teachers to use social learning principles in a game-like context to reduce early aggressive/disruptive and bullying behavior in the classroom. These behaviors are risk factors for later antisocial behavior, drug use, and suicidality (suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts). CMHRR plans to pilot a one-year feasibility and acceptability trial of the GBG in ~200 Montana first graders in collaboration with one of the leading GBG investigators, Holly Wilcox, PhD, of Johns Hopkins, in the fall of 2017.
    • Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008; 95(Suppl 1): S60–S73

Diagnosis

  • Testing whether the combination of two brain imaging measures (EEG and fNIRS) will improve the diagnosis of depression and anxiety in youth
    • Objective measures that identify who will develop depression and anxiety do not currently exist.
    • The study will collect simultaneous EEG and fNIRS data on ~150 participants (ages 6-25) while they are resting (baseline) and while they are performing cognitive tasks. The study team hopes to find “signatures” that combine these methods that are associated with depression or anxiety. If identified, the signatures would represent potential new diagnostic tools for these diseases.
    • http://www.montana.edu/domelab/participate.html
  • Identifying biomarkers of response to TMS treatment in adults with Alzheimer’s disease
    • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment, which is effective for many individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the individual response to TMS treatment is variable, and treatment is costly.
    • The goal of this project is to use combined EEG-fNIRS brain assessment technologies to identify a brain activity signature in individuals with AD that is associated with a beneficial response to TMS treatment, allowing for the targeting of treatment to those most likely to benefit.

Treatment

  • Developing a novel, non-opioid medication to treat chronic pain, which could eliminate the risk of opiate addiction and overdose (SiteOne Therapeutics, Inc. and MSU collaboration)
    • Overdose from opioid pain medications results in over 20,000 deaths annually in the US
    • There is a significant link between chronic pain, opioid abuse, depression, and suicide
    • SiteOne Therapeutics, Inc. and the CMHRR are collaborating to develop non-addictive pain medications.
  • Improving medication adherence (taking medications as prescribed) in individuals with schizophrenia (CMHRR Director Matt Byerly, MD is lead investigator)
    • Large, multi-site study seeking to improve treatment adherence for those who have trouble taking medication regularly
  • Testing a next-generation, highly engaging version of a computerized/online cognitive behavior therapy (cCBT) for depression (Thrive) in rural communities (Mark Schure, PhD and MSU Extension)
    • Many studies have shown cCBT to be effective for anxiety and depression, but results vary and challenges with engagement (completing full course of treatment) have emerged
    • The CMHRR is testing a cCBT program (Thrive) that is intended to enhance engagement by emphasizing video presentation that is tailored to users’ needs.
    • Available anywhere there is internet access, the intervention provides treatment anonymity and privacy.
    • This study is the first of cCBT in a rural setting in the US.

Workforce

  • MSU Extension recently partnered with the CMHRR to implement mental health literacy and suicide prevention programming. By the spring of 2017, the CMHRR will be collaborating with Extension to train and support 17 Extension faculty in delivering YAM as part of a pilot study in rural Montana. MSU Extension will be the first Extension program to test YAM in the US.
  • CMHRR has trained 12 YAM facilitators in the pilot delivery study of YAM to high school students in Montana. Five facilitators will continue their training to become YAM Trainers early in 2017.

Stigma

  • In November of 2016, CMHRR evaluated a contact-based mental health stigma reduction intervention that incorporates the singing and story-telling of country artist Jason DeShaw, whose performance has received national awards for mental health advocacy. Anecdotal feedback on Mr. DeShaw’s performance suggests that the combination of music and his personal account of living with mental illness is tremendously engaging and inspiring to youth, especially to those struggling with mental health challenges. In the current study, the level of stigma related to mental health in youth, along with other resiliency outcomes, will be assessed before and after Mr. DeShaw’s performance using short, written, anonymous surveys.