This Week in Mental Health

The latest on research and advocacy for the week of April 12th.

Written by Esther Fernandez

This Week in Mental Health

01 Research looks at how suicide did not globally increase, how psychedelics may help treat depression, how a certain gene increases the risk of OCD, and more.

02 France provides free counseling for youth, and K-pop star Kang Daniel and "The Wanted" Max George open up about their mental health.

Trigger warning: mentions of suicide

Conversations about mental health have grown exponentially over the last decade, with more and more people committing to personal and collective wellness. While we have a ways to go before mental health awareness, education and treatment are accessible to all, each day brings new and positive strides within the field. 

Our This Week In Mental Health series covers the latest happenings in research, treatment, human interest stories, and more. Stay updated on new developments so you’re better equipped to navigate the world, and most importantly, your own recovery.

Here’s what’s happening the week of April 12th.


Global Suicide Rates Did Not Increase At The Beginning Of The Pandemic 

Despite an increase in suicidal ideation, suicide did not globally increase during the beginning of the pandemic. A new study looked at suicide rates from the beginning of April to the end of July in 21 countries, and found that the rates either stayed the same or decreased. However, researchers still urge the importance of looking at the bigger picture as the pandemic has exacerbated other issues such as increasing rates of depression and eating disorders.

Learn more here.

Health Researcher Explains Steep 5.8% Drop in Suicide Rates Amid COVID Pandemic

Psychedelic Drug Worked For Depression As Well As Common Antidepressant, Small Trial Finds

A new study from London shows that psychedelic drugs may be as effective as treating depression as antidepressants. Researchers had 59 adults take psilocybin for six weeks, then had them fill two questionnaires and have two clinical evaluations. The majority reported that the psilocybin was more effective in alleviating depressive symptoms, though researchers say they are still looking at long term effects.

Learn more here.

For People With Depression, Supportive Partners Protect Relationships

The University of Massachusetts Amherst found that having a supportive partner can help prevent depression and stress from negatively impacting relationships. People with depression who did not have a supportive partner had worse quality relationships, but the quality of the relationship rose if the partner practiced behaviors like listening without reacting and supporting their partner’s needs. The study looked at 200 newlywed couples for three and a half years. 

Learn more here.

1 In 5 Americans On Prescribed Mental Health Meds Amid COVID-19

New data from the CDC shows that about 1 in 5 Americans are now taking mental health prescriptions. Within the last eight months, there was a 6.5 percent increase across the nation, suggesting the effect the pandemic has had on Americans. For some states, increases in prescriptions are as high as 20 percent.

Learn more here.

Spit Samples Uncover Genetic Risk Factors For Pediatric Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

A new study shows that a certain gene increases the risk of OCD. Researchers had 5,000 youth give saliva samples and fill out the Toronto Obsessive Compulsive Scale. They found variation in the PTPRD gene increased the risk of obsessive-compulsive traits, which is the first time a genome-wide risk has been found for childhood OCD. These findings may help with diagnosing OCD more earlier in life. 

Learn more here.

People Want To Improve Mental Health By Exercising, But Stress And Anxiety Get In The Way 

Throughout the pandemic, anxiety, depression, and sedentary time has increased while aerobic activity and strength training has decreased. Researchers from McMaster University surveyed 1,600 participants to understand these changes. They found that although people know exercising helps improve mental health, their mental health is preventing them from exercising. 

Learn more here.

Suicide Among Female Nurses Is Double That Of The General Female Population 

A new study shows that compared to the general female population, female nurses are two times more likely to die by suicide. While most suicides by the general population are from gunshot wounds, nurses are more likely to die by overdose. The University of Michigan looked at mortality data from the CDC over the past decade.

Learn more here.


Kang Daniel on Mental Health, Astrology, and "Yellow" 

K-pop star Kang Daniel opened up to Allure about his journey with mental health as an artist. After experiencing the stress of fame and taking off three months to be in treatment for his depression and panic disorder, the singer now feels better equipped to handle and talk about his conditions. He describes how gaming and listening to music helps alleviate some of his symptoms.

Learn more here.

강다니엘(KANGDANIEL) - Antidote M/V

France To Aid Kids' Mental Health With Free Counseling

The president of France announced this week that youth aged 3 to 17 are entitled to ten free therapy sessions. This announcement comes amidst surges in coronavirus cases and psychiatric emergencies in the country. The sessions will be offered until the health crisis ends.

Learn more here.

Max George Opens Up About Depression Battle

Singer Max George talked about his hidden struggle with depression while experiencing success with his band “The Wanted”.  As one of their singles reached number one on the charts, he recalls having his first mental health episode. He also describes the physical effects, and how his girlfriend has been able to help support his mental health.

Learn more here.

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