Huntsman Mental Health Institute Breaks Ground on Translational Research Building

Media Contact:
Patricia Brandt
Manager, Public Relations and Communications, Huntsman Mental Health Institute
University of Utah Health
Email: Patricia.Brandt@hsc.utah.edu

The Huntsman Mental Health Institute at the University of Utah (HMHI), and Huntsman Mental Health Foundation broke ground today on the new Utah Mental Health Translational Research Building, east of HMHI in Research Park. 

The Utah Mental Health Translational Research Building will be dedicated to innovating mental health research and clinical care. It will create a working lab for researchers and educators to collaborate with experts in science, translational science, artificial intelligence, public policy, business, and law in holistic ways to address mental health challenges, including suicide, child and young adult mental health, and mental health for rural and underserved populations.  

“Mental health touches everyone’s family, regardless of faith, status, neighborhood or history,” said Christena Huntsman Durham, Executive Vice President of the Huntsman Foundation. “Our family stands with families who, like ours, have been impacted by mental health disorders. Together, we are committed to ensuring that the Translational Research Building becomes the vibrant hub of innovation and progress in mental health research that our community urgently needs.” 

The 185,000 square foot, multi-floor building will house the world’s only 7 Tesla MRI dedicated to brain research. Designed with distinctive research neighborhoods, a versatile structure, and state-of-the-art technology, the facility will house a world-class team of researchers, scientists, doctors, and educators who are focused on exponentially improving our knowledge of the brain.  

The Utah Translational Research Building is scheduled to open in 2026 and has received the generous support of the Utah State Legislature and philanthropic donors.  

A rendering of the Utah Translational Research Building, which will be located behind the current Huntsman Mental Health Institute hospital.

“The Utah Translational Research Building will enable Huntsman Mental Health Institute to deliver the research, care, and treatment options to combat one of our nation’s most critical health crises,” said Mark Rapaport, MD, CEO of HMHI. “We want to create a place that will help us bring in a new era of knowledge, hope, and healing for everyone.” 

According to the World Health Organization, mental health issues increased 13% during the last decade. Approximately 970 million people—including 14% of the world’s adolescents —suffer from a mental health issue or drug abuse. To rapidly address the growing mental health crisis, treatment and research are becoming increasingly interdisciplinary. 

About Huntsman Mental Health Institute  

 Huntsman Mental Health Institute at the University of Utah (HMHI) was established in 2021 following the Huntsman Foundation’s historic gift of $150 million to the University of Utah. HMHI is a university-wide institute with a reputation throughout the Mountain West as a leader in advanced psychiatric treatment and care, serving a diverse population from young children to geriatric patients. Researchers at HMHI develop and apply the most advanced methods in genetics, imaging, epidemiology, and big data analysis. HMHI is also the regional training center for psychiatry and other mental health disciplines. HMHI’s main 170-bed full-service hospital is adjacent to the University of Utah campus, and HMHI’s 1,644 faculty, staff, and students provide clinical, research, and training programs in more than 20 locations across Utah and Idaho.


https://healthcare.utah.edu/press-releases/2023/10/huntsman-mental-health-institute-breaks-ground-translational-research

Largest-Ever Genetic Study of Suicide Finds New Risk Factors

Media Contact:
Julie Kiefer
Associate Director, Science Communications, University of Utah Health
Email: Julie.Kiefer@hsc.utah.edu

The reasons why people attempt suicide include triggers like trauma and stress, as well as inherited genetic factors. A new study has identified 12 DNA variants, or variations in the human genetic code, that are associated with risk of attempting suicide. The research highlights genetic links between suicide attempt and factors that influence physical and behavioral health—including impulsivity, smoking, chronic pain, ADHD, pulmonary conditions, and heart disease. 

These findings suggest that some of the genetic underpinnings of suicide are shared with these conditions.

One day, this information could lead to a better understanding of biological causes of suicide and improvements in prevention strategies. Eventually, such advances could help health care providers identify people who may need mental health support.

“Many people who die from suicide have significant health conditions associated with that risk,” says Anna Docherty, Ph.D., the study’s corresponding author and associate professor of psychiatry at Huntsman Mental Health Institute at the University of Utah. “If we can use genetic information to characterize the health risks of those who attempt suicide, we can better identify those patients who need contact with the mental health care system.” The research published online on October 1 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

“If we can use genetic information to characterize the health risks of those who attempt suicide, we can better identify those patients who need contact with the mental health care system.”

Anna Docherty, Ph.D.

Scientists at HMHI, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center led the collaboration with multiple institutions worldwide. They analyzed data from 22 different populations across the globe, including people of diverse ancestral and ethnic backgrounds.

UNDERSTANDING GENETIC RISK OF SUICIDE

No single gene causes suicide. Rather, the cumulative effect of many different genes influences a person’s risk. “In psychiatry, we have many tiny genetic effects, but when we account for all of them together, we start to see a real genetic risk signal,” Docherty explains.

To tease out such a diffuse signal, researchers applied statistical methods to data collected from a large number of people and identified genetic variations that are more common among individuals who have attempted suicide. The new analysis combines data from the Million Veteran Program (MVP) and the International Suicide Genetics Consortium (ISGC). Together, these include 43,871 documented suicide attempts and 915,025 ancestry-matched controls, making this the largest genetic study of suicide to date.

A meta-analysis of the studies identified new genetic variants that correlated with suicide attempt. The researchers then compared all variant signals with previously published genetic data on more than 1,000 other traits and disorders, including psychiatric conditions (e.g., ADHD), physical conditions (e.g., heart disease), and behaviors (e.g., smoking), and determined that genetic variants linked to suicide attempt are also linked to other health conditions.

“That allowed us to look at how genetic risk for suicide overlaps with genetic risk for depression, heart disease, and many other risk factors,” Docherty says. “It showed significant overlap with mental health conditions, but also a lot of physical health conditions, particularly for smoking and lung-related illnesses. This is something we can’t necessarily see in medical records of people who die from suicide.”

The results do not mean that people with any one of these health factors are at high risk for attempting suicide, notes Hillary Coon, Ph.D., study co-author and professor of psychiatry at HMHI. Rather, combining the genetic predisposition with other stressors—which could include other genetic risk factors, health conditions, life circumstances, or traumatic events—could increase that risk, she explains.

Initial analyses support the idea that many of the DNA variants that the scientists identified are located in genes with known biological functions, bolstering the case that changes in these genes could affect a person’s physiology or behavior. Several of the genes control processes in cells such as managing cellular stress, repairing damaged DNA, and communicating with the immune system. Most are also highly expressed in the brain and are known targets of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs.

Scientists will need to carry out additional studies to determine whether the variants directly or indirectly impact suicide risk, and how. The research so far has shown an association and not cause and effect.

Understanding how suicide is linked to other health conditions could open doors to new ways of assessing—and treating—suicide risk, Docherty adds. “We want to start to explore the biological underpinnings that are common across suicide and these health factors, because that will lead to the most convincing drug targets,” she says.

# # #

The research published as “Genome-wide association study meta-analysis of suicide attempt identifies twelve genome-wide significant loci and implicates genetic risks for specific health factors” with support from the National Institutes of Health, Huntsman Mental Health Institute, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Janssen Research and Development, LLC, Clark Tanner Research Foundation, Clinical Science Research and Development Sevice of the Veterans Health Administraton Officde of Research and Development, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

About Huntsman Mental Health Institute  

Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) was established in 2021 following the Huntsman Foundation’s historic gift of $150 million to the University of Utah. HMHI is a university-wide Institute with a reputation throughout the Mountain West as a leader in advanced psychiatric treatment and care, serving a diverse population from young children to geriatric patients. Researchers at HMHI develop and apply the most advanced methods in genetics, imaging, epidemiology, and big data analysis. HMHI is also the regional training center for psychiatry and other mental health disciplines. HMHI’s main 170-bed full-service hospital is adjacent to the University of Utah campus, and HMHI’s 1,644 faculty, staff, and students provide clinical, research, and training programs in more than 20 locations across Utah and Idaho.   

For more information, visit HMHI.utah.edu and join the conversation on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook

By Caroline Seydel


https://healthcare.utah.edu/press-releases/2023/10/largest-ever-genetic-study-of-suicide-finds-new-risk-factors

Huntsman Mental Health Institute Receiving Center to Reopen

The Receiving Center at HMHI is a program where you or a loved one can receive supportive services to help manage a mental health crisis.

HMHI Receiving Center Ribbon Cutting

 Salt Lake County Mayor, Jenny Wilson, and members of the community, along with staff at HMHI, officially reopened the Receiving Center in a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Additionally, the receiving centers will allow law enforcement officers to bring those having a mental health crisis to a safe place where professional help is available. The Receiving Center will serve the community of Salt Lake County until the new Kem and Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center opens in 2025.

“We appreciate the community’s patience during the construction phase, while we worked to expand capacity (from 6 to 12 beds) and services for a more comprehensive assessment of those dealing with a mental health crisis, in a safe and compassionate environment with a team of caring experts. We thank Salt Lake County and Mayor Jenny Wilson for their generous support of this project”, said Ross VanVranken, Executive Director of HMHI. 

Mental health crisis care and support is available 24/7 at HMHI, located at 501 Chipeta Way on the University of Utah campus. For more information, visit HMHI.utah.edu.  Get help with crisis response, suicide prevention, and emotional support by calling 1-800-587-3000 or dial 988.

About Huntsman Mental Health Institute  

Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) was established in 2021 following the Huntsman Foundation’s historic gift of $150 million to the University of Utah. HMHI is a university-wide Institute with a reputation throughout the Mountain West as a leader in advanced psychiatric treatment and care, serving a diverse population from young children to geriatric patients. Researchers at HMHI develop and apply the most advanced methods in genetics, imaging, epidemiology, and big data analysis. HMHI is also the regional training center for psychiatry and other mental health disciplines. HMHI’s main 170-bed full-service hospital is adjacent to the University of Utah campus, and HMHI’s 1,644 faculty, staff, and students provide clinical, research, and training programs in more than 20 locations across Utah and Idaho. 


https://healthcare.utah.edu/press-releases/2023/09/huntsman-mental-health-institute-receiving-center-reopen

Researchers to Track Prevalence of Cerebral Palsy in Utah Children

Media Contact:
Julie Kiefer
Associate Director, Science Communications, University of Utah Health
Email: Julie.Kiefer@hsc.utah.edu

University of Utah investigators who lead the Utah Registry of Autism and Developmental Disabilities (URADD) have received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track the prevalence of cerebral palsy and examine associated characteristics in 4- and 8-year-old children. The study will last four years and cover a region of northern Utah including Davis, Salt Lake, and Tooele Counties, marking the first time cerebral palsy has been systematically tracked in the state. 

Led by Amanda Bakian, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI), and Deborah Bilder, M.D., professor of psychiatry at HMHI, URADD has been participating intermittently in the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network since study year 2002 to conduct population-wide surveillance of autism spectrum disorder among children ages 4, 8, and 16 years. This year, the CDC has expanded the network to include tracking of cerebral palsy in five of its 16 sites nationwide: Minnesota, Missouri, Utah, and Tennessee, as well as at the CDC-managed site in Georgia.

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood. The neurodevelopmental disability causes weakness or problems with using muscles that affect voluntary and involuntary movement, posture, and coordination. The condition is caused by nonprogressive processes occurring during the pre- and/or post-natal period of early brain development. 

Bilder says it is critically important that children with cerebral palsy are identified as early as possible to ensure their access to evidence-based treatment during a critical period of heightened neuroplasticity. However, current data on the prevalence of cerebral palsy and the age at which children receive an initial diagnosis in different U.S. communities, including Utah, are lacking. 

Cerebral Palsy

The cerebral palsy surveillance will be a collaboration between the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Pediatrics at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at University of Utah, with Betsy Ostrander, M.D., director of the Fetal and Neonatal Neurology Program, taking the lead on developing monitoring criteria and providing clinical expertise on cerebral palsy. The Utah Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early initiative, and the Utah Parent Center will help URADD conduct their cerebral palsy project, which will launch within the next six months. 

The investigators’ goals for the current study year include assessing Utah’s capacity for conducting cerebral palsy surveillance; piloting surveillance methods for reporting prevalence and early identification of cerebral palsy among children aged 4 and 8; and implementing surveillance methodology for a broader study to be conducted in 2024. 

“Expanded awareness will be a major benefit, because right now, people don’t often think about cerebral palsy, and earlier intervention is really important.”

Deborah Bilder M.D.

“Expanded awareness will be a major benefit, because right now, people don’t often think about cerebral palsy, and earlier intervention is really important.”

Deborah Bilder M.D.

Results from URADD’s cerebral palsy surveillance will be disseminated to support efforts by family stakeholders, health providers, and policy makers to improve early detection, outcomes associated with the condition, and service provision.

“Expanded awareness will be a major benefit, because right now, people don’t often think about cerebral palsy, and earlier intervention is really important,” Bilder said. “By measuring prevalence, and doing a lot of outreach activities, we will be able to raise awareness about cerebral palsy to improve early cerebral palsy recognition and access to treatment.”

Bakian hopes having a firmer grasp of cerebral palsy prevalence will help children and their families in the same way she and her colleagues’ monitoring of autism has benefitted families throughout Utah. Their work has led to expansion of early diagnosis efforts, which leads to treatment beginning sooner and, ultimately, better outcomes. 

Bakian also cites URADD’s data being used by family advocates to inform the state legislature about the prevalence of autism, resulting in a successful Medicaid pilot program to fund treatment. The group’s data also supported a successful state bill expanding autism service coverage to those with private insurance. The cerebral palsy program may one day similarly inform support services and policy related to this condition.

“Our numbers are pretty important for determining how many children might be eligible for state-supported services and what the costs would be,” Bakian said.

Families who want to learn more about cerebral palsy and monitor their children’s overall development can visit the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early website. 

– Written by Chris Palmer


https://healthcare.utah.edu/press-releases/2023/09/researchers-track-prevalence-of-cerebral-palsy-utah-children

Utah Philanthropic Community Bolsters State and County Investment to Address State’s Most Pressing Health Issue

Kem and Carolyn Gardner Crisis Care Center will be the first of its kind, bringing unique resources to South Salt Lake

Utah state, county and philanthropy are joining forces to tackle one of the most pressing issues of our time: mental health. On August 25, 2023, state and county leaders, local philanthropists, Huntsman Mental Health Institute, and the University of Utah celebrated the placement of the final beam during a topping out ceremony for the 82,000 square foot Kem and Carolyn Gardner Crisis Care Center.  

“Mental health challenges affect individuals from all walks of life and have wide-reaching implications for community health,” said Joe Stampe, CEO of the Huntsman Mental Health Foundation. 

A first of its kind, the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Crisis Care Center will welcome people experiencing a mental health crisis and provide immediate, compassionate care at no cost to individuals. The Center is scheduled to open in 2025.

“This endeavor undertaken by Utah’s philanthropic network, in tandem with significant investment from the state and county, to establish a robust safety net of resources and services is an unparalleled effort. Our hope is for this collaborative model to set a new standard for philanthropic initiatives in the mental health arena.”

A critical part of Utah’s best-in-class integrated crisis intervention system, the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Crisis Care Center will provide crisis services and stabilizing treatment individualized to meet patient needs. In addition to clinical and crisis services, an entire building floor will be dedicated to supporting services including: a law clinic, intensive case management and connections to existing community programs for housing, health care, and employment.

“This is possible because of a synergistic and strategic convergence of resources,” said Christena Huntsman Durham, Executive Vice President of the Huntsman Foundation. “When the public, private and philanthropic sectors unite our resources with shared determination, we can drive change on an impressive scale. We know that when we address mental health challenges head-on with direct services, we transform lives.”

Support for the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Crisis Care Center was provided by the State and County, as well as the following prominent Utah philanthropists: the Huntsman Foundation, Kem and Carolyn Gardner, Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation, Marriott Daughters Foundation, and Zions Bank.

Kem and Carolyn Gardner, who provided the lead philanthropic gift for the Crisis Care Center reflected on the importance of a shared vision for progress. “Amidst the challenges our community faces, there is an imperative for bold action and robust support. The crisis care center is able to attract donors because of its uniqueness. When the center opens its doors, it will be a sanctuary of hope and healing, and a powerful reminder of what is possible when a community unites for the greater good.”

A first of its kind, the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Crisis Care Center will welcome people experiencing a mental health crisis and provide immediate, compassionate care at no cost to individuals. 

Scheduled to open in 2025, the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Crisis Care Center will be located at 3300 South and 1000 West in South Salt Lake. 

The Receiving Center at Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) will reopen to the public Monday, October 2, 2023, with enhanced supportive services and increased capacity, for those experiencing a mental health crisis during a crucial time of need. Renovations for the HMHI Receiving Center were made possible thanks to generous funding from Salt Lake County.


https://healthcare.utah.edu/press-releases/2023/08/utah-philanthropic-community-bolsters-state-and-county-investment-address

Utah Crisis Line Answers 90 Percent of In-State Calls in First Year of 988 Launch

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) are proud to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Since the launch of the three-digit number on July 16, 2022, the lifesaving crisis line has provided invaluable support, resources, and hope to individuals in crisis throughout Utah.

Over the past year, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has played a vital role in enhancing the mental health support infrastructure in our communities. The 24/7 crisis resource has served as a lifeline for countless individuals who have found solace, compassion, and professional assistance when they needed it the most. 

For the past decade, Utah has invested significant resources in moving this vision forward. Due to the commitment from the Governor’s Office, the Utah Legislature, and partners in health systems, private business, local government, and non-profit agencies, suicide and crisis intervention has proven to be a top priority. With national legislation spearheaded by Utah’s own congressmen, Utah has been a national leader in its commitment to providing mental health services to all. 

“At DHHS, our goal is to ensure that all Utahns have fair and equitable opportunities to live healthy and safe lives,” said Tracy Gruber, executive director of DHHS. “We know supporting people’s emotional, behavioral, and mental health are key points of focus if we are to succeed in this vision. Together with our many community partners—health care systems, providers, community advocates, local governments, and everyday Utahns—we are building a comprehensive crisis system that can serve anyone, anytime, anywhere in the state. When people are in crisis, 988 is there to take the call. We are grateful for the funding and support from the Governor’s Office and Utah Legislature in building this system.” 

Key accomplishments of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline in its inaugural year:

  • Since the launch of 988, 35% of the total call volume to the Utah Crisis Line originated from the national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Prior to the 988 launch, 25% of the total call volume to the Utah Crisis Line came from the National Lifeline number. 
  • Total call volume to the Utah Crisis Line increased 27% in July 2022 (the national launch of 988) compared to July 2021.
  • Nearly 87,000 calls were answered by a certified crisis worker in Utah in fiscal year 2022 (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022).
  • 90% of crisis calls in Utah were answered in-state by a certified crisis worker.
  • 90% of crisis calls in Utah were resolved over the phone.
  • 40 new crisis workers were hired in FY22 to expand capacity and prepare for the launch of 988 on July 16, 2022, a 93% increase of the Utah Crisis Line workforce compared to FY21. 42 new crisis workers were hired in FY23 to continue improving Utahns’ access to 24/7 lifesaving services. 

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 for calls, texts, and chats for those experiencing emotional distress, suicidal thoughts, substance use disorder crises, veteran’s crises, and LGBTQIA+ crises. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a national network comprised of more than 200 crisis centers across the country. Anyone that calls 988 from a Utah area code is directed to the Utah Crisis Line, which is managed and staffed by certified crisis workers at HMHI.

“Our team of crisis workers are compassionate, dedicated, and incredibly skilled at offering support and hope to the people who demonstrate tremendous courage when they call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline,” said Rachel Lucynski, director of Community Crisis Intervention & Support Services at HMHI. “We know it can be difficult to make that phone call and seek help, and it’s a privilege and honor to have people trust our team in their time of need. Dealing with life’s stressors or a mental health crisis can be overwhelming, and we want people to know that you don’t have to go through those challenges alone.”  

988 represents more than just a phone line—it represents an opportunity to access a broader system based on a vision where a person experiencing behavioral, emotional, or mental health crisis has access to help: anytime, anyplace, anywhere. 

“The implementation of the 988 Lifeline has been a transformative step toward prioritizing mental health and breaking down barriers to access care,” said Mark Rapaport, MD, CEO of Huntsman Mental Health Institute. “With the support of the Utah Department of Health and Human Services and our community partners, we now have a lifeline that offers hope and healing to individuals in their darkest moments. We remain committed to expanding our efforts, raising awareness, and ensuring that mental health services are readily available to all individuals in need.”


https://healthcare.utah.edu/press-releases/2023/07/utah-crisis-line-answers-90-percent-of-state-calls-first-year-of-988-launch

La línea de crisis de Utah responde al 90 por ciento de las llamadas adentro del estado en el primer año de funcionamiento del 988

El Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de Utah (DHHS) y el Instituto de Salud Mental Huntsman (HMHI) se enorgullecen de conmemorar el primer aniversario de la Línea 988 de Prevención del Suicidio y Crisis. Desde el lanzamiento del número de tres dígitos el 16 de julio del 2022, la línea de crisis ha proporcionado un apoyo inestimable, recursos y esperanza a personas en crisis de todo Utah.

En el último año, la Línea 988 de Prevención del Suicidio y Crisis ha desempeñado un papel vital en el fortalecimiento de la infraestructura de apoyo a la salud mental en nuestras comunidades. El recurso de crisis que opera las 24 horas los 7 días, ha servido de salvavidas a innumerables personas que han encontrado consuelo, compasión y ayuda profesional cuando más lo necesitaban.

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline La Línea 988 de Prevención del Suicidio y Crisis está disponible las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana, para llamadas, mensajes de texto y chats para quienes experimentan angustia emocional, pensamientos suicidas, crisis por trastornos por consumo de sustancias, crisis de veteranos y crisis LGBTQIA+.

Durante la última década, Utah ha invertido importantes recursos en hacer avanzar esta visión. Gracias al compromiso de la Oficina del Gobernador, la Legislatura de Utah y los socios de los sistemas de salud, la empresa privada, la administración local y las agencias sin fines de lucro, la intervención en casos de suicidio y crisis ha demostrado ser una prioridad absoluta. Con una legislación nacional encabezada por los propios congresistas de Utah, este estado ha sido líder nacional en su compromiso de proporcionar servicios de salud mental a todos.

“En el DHHS, nuestro objetivo es garantizar que todos los habitantes de Utah tengan oportunidades justas y equitativas de llevar una vida sana y segura”, declaró Tracy Gruber, directora ejecutiva del DHHS. “Sabemos que el apoyo a la salud emocional, conductual y mental de las personas es un punto clave si queremos tener éxito en esta visión. Junto con nuestros numerosos socios comunitarios -sistemas de salud, proveedores, defensores de la comunidad, gobiernos locales y ciudadanos de Utah- estamos construyendo un sistema integral de crisis que pueda atender a cualquier persona, en cualquier momento y en cualquier lugar del estado. Cuando la gente está en crisis, el 988 está ahí para atender la llamada. Agradecemos la financiación y el apoyo de la Oficina del Gobernador y la Legislatura de Utah para construir este sistema”. 

Los principales logros de la Línea 988 de Prevención del Suicidio y Crisis en su año inaugural:

  • Desde el lanzamiento del 988, el 35% del volumen total de las llamadas a la Línea de Crisis de Utah procede de la Línea Nacional 988 de Prevención del Suicidio y Crisis. Antes del lanzamiento del 988, el 25% del volumen total de llamadas a la Línea de Crisis de Utah procedía del número nacional.
  • El volumen total de llamadas a la Línea de Crisis de Utah aumentó un 27% en julio de 2022 (el lanzamiento nacional de 988) en comparación con julio de 2021.
  • Cerca de 87.000 llamadas fueron atendidas por un trabajador de crisis certificado en Utah en el año fiscal 2022 (1 de julio de 2021 – 30 de junio de 2022).
  • El 90% de las llamadas de crisis en Utah fueron atendidas en el estado por un trabajador de crisis certificado.
  • El 90% de las llamadas de crisis en Utah se resolvieron por teléfono.
  • En el ejercicio fiscal 2022 se contrataron 40 nuevos trabajadores de crisis para ampliar la capacidad y preparar el lanzamiento del 988 el 16 de julio de 2022, lo que supone un aumento del 93% de la plantilla de la línea de crisis de Utah en comparación con el ejercicio fiscal 2021. En el año fiscal 2023 se contrataron 42 nuevos trabajadores de crisis para seguir mejorando el acceso de los habitantes de Utah a servicios que salvan vidas 24 horas al día, 7 días a la semana.

La Línea 988 de Prevención del Suicidio y Crisis está disponible las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana, para llamadas, mensajes de texto y chats para las personas que sufren trastornos emocionales, pensamientos suicidas, crisis por trastornos por consumo de sustancias, crisis de veteranos y crisis LGBTQIA. La Línea 988 de Prevención del Suicidio y Crisis es una red nacional formada por más de 200 centros de crisis de todo el país. Cualquier persona que llame al 988 desde un código de área de Utah es dirigida a la Línea de Crisis de Utah, gestionada y atendida por trabajadores de crisis certificados en HMHI.

“Nuestro equipo de trabajadores de crisis es compasivo, dedicado e increíblemente hábil a la hora de ofrecer apoyo y esperanza a las personas que demuestran un enorme valor cuando llaman al teléfono 988 de Suicidio y Crisis”, declaró Rachel Lucynski, directora de los Servicios Comunitarios de Intervención y Apoyo en Crisis de HMHI. “Sabemos que puede ser difícil hacer esa llamada telefónica y buscar ayuda, y es un privilegio y un honor que la gente confíe en nuestro equipo cuando lo necesita. Afrontar los factores estresantes de la vida o una crisis de salud mental puede ser abrumador, y queremos que la gente sepa que no tiene por qué pasar por esos retos sola”. 

El 988 representa algo más que una línea telefónica: representa una oportunidad de acceder a un sistema más amplio basado en una visión en la que una persona que pasa por una crisis de comportamiento, emocional o de salud mental tiene acceso a ayuda: en cualquier momento, en cualquier lugar y en cualquier sitio.

“La implementación de la Línea 988 ha supuesto un paso transformador para dar prioridad a la salud mental y derribar las barreras de acceso a la atención de salud”, ha declarado el Dr. Mark Rapaport, director general del Instituto Huntsman de Salud Mental. “Con el apoyo del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de Utah y de nuestros socios comunitarios, ahora disponemos de una línea de vida que ofrece esperanza y curación a las personas en sus momentos más oscuros. Seguimos comprometidos a ampliar nuestros esfuerzos, aumentar la concienciación y garantizar que los servicios de salud mental estén fácilmente disponibles para todas las personas que los necesiten.”


https://healthcare.utah.edu/press-releases/2023/07/utah-crisis-line-answers-90-percent-of-state-calls-first-year-of-988-launch

Newly Discovered Brain Mechanism Linked to Anxiety, OCD

Media Contact:
Julie Kiefer
Associate Director, Science Communications, University of Utah Health
Email: Julie.Kiefer@hsc.utah.edu

The pandemic and its aftermath have raised anxiety to new levels. But the roots of anxiety-related conditions, including obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder (OCSD), are still unclear. In a new study, University of Utah Health scientists discovered insights into the importance of a minor cell type in the brain—microglia—in controlling anxiety-related behaviors in laboratory mice. Traditionally, neurons—the predominant brain cell type—are thought to control behavior.

The researchers showed that, like buttons on a game controller, specific microglia populations activate anxiety and OCSD behaviors while others dampen them. Further, microglia communicate with neurons to invoke the behaviors. The findings, published in Molecular Psychiatry, could eventually lead to new approaches for targeted therapies.

 Distinguished Professor Mario Capecchi, Ph.D. and Naveen Nagarajan, Ph.D.

“A small amount of anxiety is good,” says Nobel Laureate Mario Capecchi, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of human genetics at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at University of Utah and senior author of the study. “Anxiety motivates us, spurs us on, and gives us that extra bit of push that says, ‘I can.’ But a large dose of anxiety overwhelms us. We become mentally paralyzed, the heart beats faster, we sweat, and confusion settles in our minds.”  

“This work is unique and has challenged the current dogma about the role of microglia function in the brain.”

Mario Capecchi, Ph.D.

Nobel Laureate

The newly identified mechanisms could be important for maintaining behaviors within the healthy range under normal conditions. Under pathological conditions, the mechanisms could drive behaviors that become debilitating, Capecchi says.

“This work is unique and has challenged the current dogma about the role of microglia function in the brain,” says Naveen Nagarajan, Ph.D, a geneticist and neuroscientist at U of U Health and the study’s lead author.

 University of Utah Health scientists discovered insights into the importance of a minor cell type in the brain—microglia—in controlling anxiety-related behaviors.

MANIPULATING MICROGLIA

Mice with OCSD-like behaviors can’t resist grooming themselves. They lick their bodies so much that their fur sloughs off, and they develop welts. Previously, Capecchi’s team discovered that a mutation in a gene called Hoxb8 caused mice to show signs of chronic anxiety and to groom themselves excessively. Unexpectedly, they identified that the source of these behaviors was a type of immune cell called microglia. Accounting for only 10% of cells in the brain, microglia had been thought of as the brain’s “trash collectors” that disposed of dying neurons—the most common brain cell—and abnormally shaped proteins. Their discoveries were also among the first to reveal that Hoxb8 microglia were important for controlling behavior by communicating with specific neuronal circuits. 

But how microglia accomplished these tasks remained a mystery. To learn more, Nagarajan turned to optogenetics, a technique that combines laser light and genetic engineering. Like playing a video game, he used the laser to stimulate specific populations of microglia in the brain.

To the researchers’ amazement, they could turn on anxiety-related behaviors with the flip of a switch. When they used the laser to stimulate one subpopulation, Hoxb8 microglia, the mice became more anxious. When the laser triggered Hoxb8 microglia in other parts of the brain, the mice groomed themselves. Targeting Hoxb8 microglia in yet another location had multiple effects: the mice’s anxiety increased, they groomed themselves, and they froze, an indicator of fear. Whenever the scientists turned the laser off, the behaviors stopped.

 Nobel Laureate Mario Capecchi, Ph.D., distinguished professor of human genetics at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at University of Utah.

“That was a big surprise for us,” Nagarajan says. “It is conventionally thought that only neurons can generate behaviors. The current findings shed light on a second way that the brain generates behaviors using microglia.” In fact, stimulating microglia with the laser caused the neurons sitting next to them to fire more strongly, suggesting that the two cell types communicate with one another to drive distinct behaviors.

Further experiments revealed yet another layer of control by a population of microglia that do not express Hoxb8. Stimulating “non-Hoxb8” and Hoxb8 microglia at the same time prevented the onset of anxiety and OCSD-like behaviors. These results suggested that the two populations of microglia act like a brake and an accelerator. They balance each other out under normal conditions and induce a disease state when the signals are off-balance.

The research shows that location and type of microglia are two characteristics that appear to be important for fine-tuning anxiety and OCSD behaviors. From there, microglia communicate with specific neurons and neural circuits that ultimately control behavior, Capecchi says. “We want to learn more about the two-way communications between neurons and microglia,” he says. “We want to know what’s responsible for that.” Defining these interactions in mice could lead to therapeutic targets for controlling excessive anxiety in patients.


The study, “Optogenetic stimulation of mouse Hoxb8 in specific regions of the brain induces anxiety, grooming, or both,” appears in Molecular Psychiatry.


https://healthcare.utah.edu/press-releases/2023/06/newly-discovered-brain-mechanism-linked-anxiety-ocd

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