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QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER 
Welcome to the Fall/Winter 2020 Newsletter!

The end of 2020 is approaching! As we all know, this year has brought many challenges, including the continued physical and mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, and a divisive presidential election. With continued separation from family and friends, you might be dealing with increased depression, anxiety and stress during this time. Though many people are experiencing "COVID fatigue," there are numerous ways to cope safely with newfound stressors. Below, some of our DCRP clinicians share their tips for coping during this challenging time.  
 
In addition, the pandemic continues to take a disproportionate toll on Black and Brown communities. In the past months, the DCRP has started to engage in several activities to educate ourselves and reaffirm our commitment to anti-racism:
  • Various DCRP members are affiliated with the Psychiatry Center for Diversity. The Center’s membership has brainstormed new initiatives to improve our department’s anti-racism work. Dr. Nhi-Ha Trinh, Co-Director of the Center and staff psychiatrist in our program, was recently interviewed about the work of the Center here:(https://giving.massgeneral.org/promoting-anti-racism-at-mass-general-and-beyond/).
  • Our program has made donations to both the Loveland Foundation, which provides free therapy sessions to Black women, as well as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We hope to continue our outreach to and support for communities who face systemic barriers to accessing mental health care.
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Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic
These are unprecedented times, and the DCRP is here to offer some help.

Pandemics are stressful. For some people, it seems as if the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty of our world is inescapable and overwhelming. Public safety actions, such as social distancing, contribute to feelings of isolation from our communities, families, and friends. Separation from support systems can make the uncertainty and confusion hard to manage. However, coping with stress in healthy ways will help make you and your community that much stronger. That is why we are sharing some resources describing strategies to cope with the many challenges encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as strategies that we, members of the DCRP, have used.

Below are some resources for managing increased stress during this challenging time:
 
Guide to Mental Health Resources for COVID-19
Shareable Resources on Coping with COVID-19
Guide to Mental Health Resources for BIPOC
Mass 211: Home
 
Here Are Our Tips...

David Mischoulon, MD, PhD  
"Zoom with friends - I reconnected with some friends that I hadn't seen in many years, including some from all the way back in middle school!"

"Read - join Book Bub online for free (and practically free) e-book offers. I get some really good book deals thanks to them."

"Micromastery - work on a skill that you can learn relatively fast. I learned how to drive standard shift."


Maren Nyer, PhD 
"Taking salt baths, remembering that change often comes with some sense of chaos and turmoil, and appreciating the slowing down of pace. I also adopted some kittens!"

Jonathan Worth, MD 
"Gardening, binge-watching 30 Rock, reading happy-ending murder crime novels, watching the sun set, regular Zoom cocktails with faraway friends, making duck leg confit, becoming reacquainted with the deliciousness of hot dogs."

Lauren Fisher, PhD
"Always working towards achieving balance and being mindful of self-talk. That includes taking time off work, unplugging from email, being present with my kids, getting outside, going on bike rides with my 5-year-old, establishing a home exercise routine, and doing puzzles!"

Felipe Jain, MD
"Find time to go on socially distant walks outdoors in nature. Studies have found that spending at least two hours in nature a week improves mood and reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression."
Research Spotlights
Felipe Jain, MD
Recipient of the Paul B. Beeson K76 Emerging Leaders in Aging Research
Career Development Award

 
Felipe A. Jain, MD, Director of Healthy Aging Studies at the Depression Clinical and Research Program, was one of nine researchers from around the country to be awarded a highly prestigious Paul B. Beeson K76 Emerging Leaders in Aging Research Career Development Award from the National Institute on Aging.  The award will support Dr. Jain’s research for 5 years to develop and study remote methods of therapy delivery for older adult family dementia caregivers, and will train Dr. Jain in scientific methods as well as leadership skills needed to help transform healthcare delivery.  The study aims to determine whether Mentalizing Imagery Therapy, a guided imagery and mindfulness approach that Dr. Jain developed to reduce stress and improve understanding of one’s own and others’ thoughts, feelings, behaviors and the mutual influences of people on each other, can improve delivery of caregiver skills.  The study will also develop objective markers of insomnia, stress and depression in older adults using passive smartphone sensors that may provide early warning signs if a caregiver shows alarming signs that suggest worsening of symptoms.  Dr. Jain is the first psychiatrist to receive a Beeson K76 Career Development Award since its inception in 2016.
DCRP Research Presentations
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) 
54th Annual Convention 

Presented by Sylvie Tuchman
November 2020

 
This poster presentation highlighted two case studies from an ongoing, pilot randomized controlled trial of adapted cognitive behavioral therapy for depressed individuals who have sustained moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (Principal Investigator: Lauren Fisher, PhD). Initial findings from the case studies demonstrate feasibility of delivering the intervention to individuals with TBI. Further, numerous factors, such as comorbid psychiatric conditions, may impact treatment outcome, calling for examination of potential mediators and moderators of outcome. 
Mass General Brigham (MGB) Clinical Research Day
Presented by Bridget Wallace and Ashley Meyer
October 2020
 
Using data from an 8-week digital phenotyping study in collaboration with MIT, this poster investigated how demographic variables, anxiety, and perceived stress impacted engagement with wearable technology among depressed adults. Correlation and regression analyses showed that older age and education level were associated with greater difficulty putting on the wrist sensors (ease of use), and higher perceived stress was related to lower willingness to wear the sensors to monitor depression outside of the study.
2020 Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) Annual Meeting
Presented by Aava Jahan
June 2020

 
This pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) aimed to (A) increase resilience and reduce stress in dementia caregivers using Mentalizing Imagery Therapy (MIT) relative to Support Groups (SG), and (B) investigate the neural correlates of stress susceptibility and resilience in family caregivers. The results demonstrate that MIT was superior to SG for increasing resilience and reducing stress, and increase in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) connectivity strength was correlated with increased resilience and reduced stress.
International Association of Yoga Therapists Symposium on Yoga Research
Presented by Emily Tan
June 2020

 
This presentation described a case report of a participant in a randomized controlled trial of heated hatha yoga for depressive symptoms. The participant was diagnosed with treatment resistant depression (TRD) at the beginning of the study and experienced full remission of depressive symptoms as demonstrated by a reduction in HAM-D28 and IDS-C30 scores during the yoga intervention. At the one-month follow-up, the participant continued to be in remission, indicating that heated hatha yoga holds promise for TRD in patients who have not previously responded to traditional treatments such as antidepressants.
Welcome to the Newest Members
of the DCRP!
Richard Liu, PhD
 
Richard Liu, PhD is Director of Big Data Studies in the Depression Clinical and Research Program and Director of Suicide Research in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He completed his PhD in clinical psychology at Temple University and post-doctoral fellowship at Brown University. He conducts research on prediction and mechanisms of risk for suicide, non-suicidal self-injury, and depression in youth and young adults. His work particularly focuses on clarifying temporally delimited and state-sensitive risk factors for these outcomes, with an emphasis on stress processes and neurocognitive mechanisms of risk.
Emily Ohrtman
 
Emily is the new Program Manager for the DCRP. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a Clinical Research Supervisor at the University of California- San Francisco Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center. While there, she supervised a research team in addition to being the lead coordinator on a study looking at immunotherapy in prostate cancer. Her other research experience has included sleep disruption among patients with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and research into social recovery following burn injury. She has a degree in Anthropology and Neuroscience from Smith College.
Learn More About Our Team!
Research Opportunities

Explore research studies that are actively recruiting participants!
If you are interested, please contact us to find out if the study would be a good fit for you.
Sensors-Based Characterization
of Depression
This study aims to use wearable and mobile-based sensors to monitor physiological signals, vocal characteristics, sleep patterns, activity, location and phone usage in study patients with depression who are receiving psychiatric treatment.
 
Bridget
(617) 724-2936
bmwallace@mgh.harvard.edu
Find Out If You Qualify!
Do you have Medicare and are struggling to find a depression treatment that works?
The RECOVER study was designed in partnership with many of the nation's top experts in treatment-resistant depression, and approved by Medicare, to provide additional evidence of the benefit of Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Therapy.
 
Megha
(617) 724-7244 
mnagaswami@mgh.harvard.edu
Find Out If You Qualify!
CBT for Depression in Patients
with TBI
Investigates an adapted form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a common form of talk therapy, for adults who are experiencing depression after sustaining a moderate to severe Traumatic Brain Injury. 

Sylvie
(617) 724-3222
stuchman@mgh.harvard.edu
Find Out If You Qualify!
Neurobiological Underpinnings of Placebo Response in Depression
You may be eligible to participate in a research study at Massachusetts General Hospital. We are studying similarities in brain chemistry of people with depression who get better while taking an FDA-approved antidepressant medication and those people who get better taking a placebo. 

Ashley
(617) 643-2497
akmeyer@mgh.harvard.edu
Find Out If You Qualify!
Are you a woman who is dating, in a relationship, or married?
Researchers at MGH are interested in understanding how COVID-19 is affecting South Asian women's relationships and levels of relationship stress and conflict in comparison to non-South Asian women.

Megha
(617) 724-7244 
mnagaswami@mgh.harvard.edu
Find Out If You Qualify!
Stay Connected!
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Emergency Resources

If you or someone you know are thinking of suicide, seek help immediately. You can visit your local emergency room or contact one of the following hotlines:

  • Boston Emergency Services Team: 800-981-4357
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK)
  • Good Samaritan’s Hotline: 877-870-4673 (877-870-HOPE)
  • Treatment Advocacy Center: 800-784-2433 (800-Suicide)
  • The Trevor Helpline: 866-488-7386 (866-4-U-Trevor) for LGBT youth and young adults
The Depression Clinical and Research Program
at the Massachusetts General Hospital
One Bowdoin Square, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114 

Information on participating in a research study: 877-552-5837.
Contact the clinical program: 617-726-8895.

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Depression Clinical and Research Program at MGH · 1 Bowdoin St · Boston, MA 02114-4201 · USA

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