Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
College of Human Medicine


Depression Summit for Researchers and Clinicians

I’m pleased to announce the availability of our registration page for the first Depression Summit to be held at MSU/Pine Rest on Monday night, Nov 13 (welcome reception at the MSU Secchia Center) and Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 (scientific meeting at the Pine Rest Postma Center). We have a great lineup of speakers including Dr. John Mann from Columbia University and Dr. Ray DePaulo from Johns Hopkins University. The event is being hosted to kick off MSU/Pine Rest’s entry into the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC).

The target audience to attend the conference are researchers in and around Michigan who have depression as the focus of their research work as well as clinicians interested in depression treatment. Attendees will be introduced to MSU and Pine Rest as resources for conducting ground-breaking research in depressive disorders. We would ask you to please forward this to your colleagues.

Registration is limited and will fill quickly so please visit the registration website as soon as possible. www.pinerest.org/depression-summit

Michigan Minds Empowered

Michigan Minds Empowered is a community dedicated to building strength, finding hope and establishing meaning on our journey to wellness.

We believe that every person facing a mental health challenge can access inner strength and wellbeing, so we created a space where we could do just that – connect, learn and draw inspiration from one another.

We understand the power of asking for help because it has changed our own lives. But we also understand that no one journey looks the same.

We’re here to help you find a path to wellness that works for you.

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The NNDC Weighs in on 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why is a new Netflix original series depicting the events surrounding the suicide of fictional high schooler Hannah Baker. Praised by some as an unflinching account of high school life, the show covers everything from bullying and slut-shaming to substance abuse and sexual assault. While the show does draw attention to youth suicide, it unfortunately does so in an irresponsible, and potentially fatal, way. We sat down with NNDC member and suicide prevention expert Dr. Holly Wilcox, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, to learn more about how the presentation of suicide in 13 Reasons Why could do more harm than good.

Suicide is an incredibly complex issue, with no single cause. The premise of 13 Reasons Why stems from that fact – in the wake of her suicide, Hannah leaves behind a box of tapes explaining the 13 reasons that led her to take her own life. However, these tapes are ultimately accusations addressed to certain individuals at school, each tape detailing one person’s involvement in Hannah’s eventual death. The narrative crafted through this process poses two immediate problems: that specific people and acts of bullying lead to suicide, and that suicide is an effective tool for revenge.

This narrative is not just inaccurate – most individuals who are bullied or assaulted do not die by suicide – it is actually dangerous. Decades of research shows that media coverage of suicide can influence suicide risk in a subset of individuals, an effect referred to as contagion. Young people, who are often more impulsive, tend to be affected more by contagion. Suicide prevention experts agree on a set of guidelines for responsible reporting on suicide:

  • Avoid normalizing or romanticizing suicide;
  • Provide few details on the method or location of suicide; and
  • Never show photos or video of a suicide.

With its explicit depiction of Hannah’s suicide, 13 Reasons Why disregards all of these guidelines. For those with a history of depression, anxiety, or bipolar illness, this show could be risky to watch.

These are only some of the issues with how 13 Reasons Why handles youth suicide. The list goes on: school counselors and other adults are portrayed as ineffective; there are no examples in the show of effective coping with adversity; mental illness is not addressed; no suicide prevention information or resources are provided during or surrounding the episodes. There was an opportunity to use the Netflix original series platform to start a meaningful national discussion surrounding suicide and mental illness. Unfortunately, it seems Netflix and the show’s producers have missed that opportunity.

13 Reasons Why is readily available on Netflix. Unless you have set up account restrictions, children can easily watch this show without permission from a parent or guardian. Parents should make a thoughtful decision about how and when to allow their teenage children to watch the show. If your teenager does watch the show, we encourage you to watch together and talk about what you see. The JED Foundation and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) have put together talking points to help facilitate a conversation about healthy coping.


The National Network of Depression Centers is a non-profit 501(c)(3) research network that unites the nation’s leading academic institutions to advance knowledge, improve care, and drive the national conversation on depression, bipolar and related mood disorders. The NNDC fosters connections among its members to mobilize around the Network’s top priorities, including large-scale research initiatives, standardization of treatment protocols, and education and outreach on a national level to inform policy and advocate for public and private support of mood disorders research. Through collaboration-based initiatives like the Suicide Prevention Task Group, NNDC members are generating the momentum necessary to effect meaningful changes in the way we understand and treat mood disorders. Visit the NNDC at www.nndc.org

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Teasing out Dementia, Delirium, and Depression (Pearls for Primary Care)

Postma Center at Pine Rest, Grand Rapids MI

Dementia, depression, and delirium can all present very similarly. Swapnil Rath, MD will help participants gain knowledge in identifying and treating these disorders and share tips on working with older adult patients and their care givers. Swapnil Rath, MD is a Psychiatrist on the Older Adult Unit at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services is passionate about serving older adults with mental health disorders. CME and CEU credits are offered.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

7:00Am - 8:00am


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Lithium and the Kidneys: In Depth Analysis of Risks and Benefits (Grand Rounds)

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Postma Center at Pine Restbr
300 68th Street SE 
Grand Rapids, MI 49548

Topic: Lithium and the Kidneys:  In Depth Analysis of Risks and Benefits

Presenter: Brett Plattner, MD

Time: Noon – 1:00 p.m. (Registration and lunch begin at 11:30 a.m.)

Location: Pine Rest Postma Center, 300 68th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49548

Cost: $25 general; Pine Rest Staff no charge

Continuing Education Credits: One CME for medical professionals.

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MSU-CHM Division of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine: Power Through Collaborations

The Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine is the teaching, research, and patient care arm for the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in West Michigan. The division physician faculty are committed to educating Michigan State University medical students, conducting ground-breaking research, and caring for the people of western Michigan who are suffering with mental health and substance use disorders.

The Division of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine is a growing academic psychiatry program in a place known for the last 100 years for providing excellent clinical care.  We are combining the resources of Michigan State University, a research-1, Big Ten university, with the clinical strengths of our partner teaching hospital, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, one of the five largest free-standing psychiatric providers in the United States, and the Van Andel Institute, a top-tier private research institute, to make incredible breakthroughs in psychiatry.  In this short film, we hope to introduce you to a few of our faculty, and highlight our growing clinical-translational research programs in depression and first episode psychosis as well as our new, state-of-the-art training facilities for residents and fellows.

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