Yom Kipur of the mental health community

12 10 2014

Atonement

by 

One of my first meetings when I arrived at NIMH 12 years ago was with board members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I asked them how NIMH could be helpful. One board member’s request was especially memorable. “Declare a day of atonement,” she suggested. When I saw this same board member last month at the annual NAMI meeting, we both recalled that 2002 meeting with a touch of regret. I wished I had had a better response to her request. And, as she said to me last month, “I wished I had asked for a week.”

As it turns out, Mental Illness Awareness Week this year began with Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Which begs the question: what do we (in the mental health community) need to atone for? There are so many answers. For some, it may be the culture of blame and shame perpetuated for years by clinicians who explained all mental illness as being caused by trauma and evil parents. For others, it may be the singular reliance on medication and modifying behavior rather than holistic care and the provision of skills. Others will name the paternalistic structure of mental health care, which can undermine rather than empower individuals and their families. The list goes on. Maybe it would take a week, not just a day, to capture the many complaints.

My own favorite atonement issue for Mental Illness Awareness Week this year is the lack of humility in our field. Mental disorders are among the most complex problems in medicine, with challenges at every level from neurons to neighborhoods. Yet, we know so little about mechanisms at each level. Too often, we have been guided more by religion than science. That is, so much of mental health care is based on faith and intuition, not science and evidence. On the plus side, we put a premium on listening and compassion. We help people to change through understanding. But not enough of our care has been standardized to a high level of quality, as expected in the rest of medicine.

On the research side, it’s easy to lose humility. The pace of discovery in genomics and neuroscience is ever more rapid—this week’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine  is a good example of how neuroscience is revealing the fundamentals of brain activity—in this case describing the brain’s “GPS” network. Advances in systems neuroscience, from dissecting circuits to human brain imaging, are unequivocally stunning. But, and this is a humbling caveat, we simply have not been able to translate this revolution in neuroscience to diagnostics or therapeutics for people with mental disorders.

Why the disconnect? Translation takes time. Translation requires replication, regulation, and ultimately reimbursement. Fundamentally, translation is really difficult. For instance, we have thousands of neuroimaging studies but none that has delivered a clinically useful biomarker. For NIMH this is a humbling realization—we still lack biomarkers to identify who should get which treatment. We still lack effective treatments for many aspects of mental illness.

So this year on Mental Illness Awareness Week, my call is for humility. We need to be aware that mental disorders are immensely complex—too complex for scientists, clinicians, patients, or families to solve alone. Prevention, recovery, and cure—the NIMH vision—need a collective effort. Beyond the day—or week—of atonement, we need a massive campaign to transform diagnosis and treatment.





Top 10 selections for 2013 by NIMH director

15 12 2013

By Thomas Insel on December 13, 2013

It’s time again for the year’s ten best from NIMH. A year that included a 16-day government shutdown and a 5.2 percent sequester also saw some outstanding scientific breakthroughs and historic changes in policy. Befitting the complexity of the problems, many of the breakthroughs were not individually reported findings but the cumulative results of several groups contributing different pieces of the puzzle. And some of the most historic policy changes are just launching so their impact is unclear. Paring a lengthy list down to “ten best” is both difficult and unsatisfying, but here goes.

Illustration of neurotransmitters10. Nobel Prize—This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (and Lasker Award) recognized NIMH grantee Thomas Südhof for his discoveries of how neurotransmitters are released from the pre-synaptic terminal. Südhof and his colleagues described the molecular machines that allow vesicles to empty their contents into the synapse and then re-form to collect more neurotransmitters. This process is critical for neurons to communicate efficiently. Recently, Südhof’s work on the post-synaptic compartment has revealed a new world of molecules important for translating these biochemical messages. The genes for many of these protein families (i.e., shanks, neuroligins, neurexins, etc.) are emerging as leading risk candidates for autism and schizophrenia, giving us a new vocabulary for the molecular basis of mental disorders.1

brain three-quarters view9. Beyond Magic Bullets—Several important new trends emerged this year in non-pharmacological treatments, sometimes from pharmaceutical companies. In April, a Nature commentary that included authors from the pharmaceutical giant GSK described “electroceuticals,” heralding a new era in treatment development focusing on devices to deliver electric signals rather than drugs to alter the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neuromodulation, arguably a better term than electroceuticals, had already been gaining traction with treatment of depression using deep brain stimulation and direct current stimulation. This year neuromodulation was introduced for anorexia nervosa. But neuromodulation was also extended to include approaches beyond electrical stimulation. In September, the cover headline of Nature—“Game Changer”—referred to a study by Adam Gazzaley and colleagues on the impact of cognitive training with NeuroRacer, a video game for enhancement of cognitive control. Not only did older adults (60 – 85 years old) trained on this game surpass performance of untrained 20-year-olds, cognitive enhancement generalized to working memory and other forms of cognitive control, with improvements persisting 6 months later. Cognitive training changed local brain activity as well. The key concept: if mental disorders are brain circuit disorders, then successful treatments need to tune circuits with precision. Chemicals may be less precise than electrical or cognitive interventions that target specific circuits.2,3,4

8. Organoids—It’s been 6 years since the first report of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These are cells derived from mature skin cells, induced to become undifferentiated stem cells in a dish, and then differentiated to form mature cells like neurons or heart muscle cells. It’s been a year since this work was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The excitement of this new technique was the potential to take cells from an individual with a disorder and either regenerate new cells in vitro (imagine new dopamine cells for someone with Parkinson’s disease) or recapitulate the disorder in vitro to define its development and screen for new treatments. This year there were some remarkable reports of using iPSCs to explore the altered development of neurons in children with rare forms of autism. But if autism and mental illnesses are circuit disorders or “connectopathies,” how can individual cells teach us about the altered connections? Amazingly, according to a team from the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, when neurons are grown in a dish, they self-assemble into circuits that resemble the normal cortex. These “organoids” are not “mini-brains” capable of consciousness but they are functional enough to permit the study of connections. It now appears that iPSCs could be a powerful tool to study circuit disorders.5,6,7

7. DSM-5 and RDoC—For NIMH, probably the year’s most oft-quoted statement was my April blog post about transforming diagnosis. Referring to the pending release of the DSM-5, I said, “Patients with mental disorders deserve better.” To many, this was interpreted as a critique of mainstream psychiatry. In truth, I was complaining that we in the research community have failed to provide the objective measures for diagnosis present in every other area of medicine. The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project aims to do just that, by using biological, cognitive, and social information to build more precise classifiers for each patient. RDoC is not a diagnostic system. At this point it is simply a framework for organizing the data. But it is a promise from the NIMH to get beyond diagnostic categories based only on symptoms. Why is this important? For brain disorders, symptoms are generally a late manifestation of a years-long brain process. In medicine, early detection and early intervention have often been the best ways to improve outcomes. RDoC is a first step towards achieving these goals with mental disorders.8,9

6. EP3—A year that began with concerns about school shootings and mental illness saw more mass shootings, many of them connected to serious mental illness (SMI). For this unfortunate reason, there was more media attention on mental illness this year than any time in recent memory. The number of articles about “mental illness” in theNew York Times in 2013 were more than double the average of the previous five years. Among the many recurring themes—access to weapons, access to treatment, incarceration—one prominent one was the need for earlier detection and treatment for SMI. The Early Prediction and Prevention of Psychosis (EP3) program, launched this year at NIMH, is an example of efforts to answer that need. Building on the success of the Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) project, which was implemented this year in New York and Maryland, EP3 will focus on tools for the prodrome, that period prior to psychosis when symptoms are just beginning to emerge and may be most treatable. New studies will build on results from the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS), just completing 10 years of critical research to develop ways to identify individuals who are at risk for an initial psychotic episode. With a series of new funding announcements and with the success of RAISE and NAPLS, NIMH made EP3 its signature program this year.10,11

chromosones and double helix5. Psychiatric Genetics—In 2003,Science magazine named the identification of genes for mental illness as its #2 breakthrough of the year (just behind confirmation of the existence of dark energy in the cosmos). It has taken another decade to deliver results that are statistically significant and clearly reproducible. For schizophrenia there are now 128 genetic associations, all common variants found across the genome. None of these alone accounts for much of the risk, but groups of these “hits” point to specific biological pathways. For autism, there are many rare variants emerging, many of these “de novo” or spontaneous mutations not found in other family members. These mutations seem to be most common in children with both autism and intellectual disability. Studies that have looked across disorders find some common genomic associations, with some findings across childhood disorders and others across adult disorders, irrespective of diagnosis. Before concluding anything about the significance of these cross-disorder findings, it will be important to understand the actual variation (which gene is involved) and the functional role, if any, of the variant.12,13

4. Brain Exceptionalism—For me, 2013 will be the year when we began to realize how much the brain differs from other organs. We already knew that cells in the brain express (translate into protein) more of the genome and use more energy than any other organ. But two discoveries this year really made the case for the human brain as not only the most mysterious but the most exceptional of organs. Leveraging new tools for single cell biology, scientists working with Rusty Gage at the Salk Institute and Ira Hall at the University of Virginia reported that the brain has its own genome, with abundant and sometimes profound variation not found in other tissues. In human frontal cortex, they report as many as 41 percent of cells having at least one large mutation, with a million DNA bases either duplicated or deleted. These are mutations not seen in blood cells (which have been the basis for all psychiatric genetic studies) or in neurons elsewhere in the brain. Equally surprising, the brain epigenome also appears unique. The epigenome is a complex of molecules that coat the DNA helix, “silencing” parts of the genome to ensure that certain genes are not translated. The entire DNA strand consists of only four bases: cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine. Whereas in most cells in the body silencing occurs where cytosine and guanine are adjacent, brain cells follow a different set of rules with all the base pairs involved. This means that the mechanisms by which experience influence biology are completely different in brain cells compared to blood cells or liver cells. The lesson is that we cannot use peripheral cells to know what is happening in the brain.14,15

CLARITY 3D brain image3. CLARITY—It may be an inelegant acronym but the results are utterly beautiful. CLARITY = Clear Lipid-exchanged Anatomically Rigid Imaging/immunostaining-compatible Tissue hYdrogel. By replacing the brain’s fat with a clear gel, CLARITY turns the opaque and impermeable brain into a transparent and porous structure. Most important, the hydrogel holds the brain’s anatomy intact. And because the hydrogel is permeable, the brain can be stained to localize proteins, neurotransmitters, and genes at a high resolution. Unlike other recent breakthroughs in neuroanatomy, this one can be used in human brains. And unlike virtually all neuroanatomy of the past century, CLARITY is 3-dimensional. Flying through the tissue in 3-D allows the first comprehensive view of how cells and processes are arrayed across the entire brain. Karl Deisseroth earlier developed optogenetics as a revolutionary tool for studying brain circuits in behaving animals. This time his lab has revolutionized how we will look at the brain post-mortem.16

full color brain scan2. BRAIN—On April 2nd, President Obama in the East Room announced the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative. The speech should be read by everyone with a stake in brain research or brain disorders. Calling BRAIN the “next great American project,” he challenged a broad scientific community to explore the brain as we had once explored space. BRAIN will involve several government research agencies as well as several private sector partners. And it complements a large brain project underway in the European Union and projects being developed in Israel, Japan, China, and elsewhere. This global interest in neuroscience reflects both the growing awareness of the cost of brain disorders and the growing recognition that success in the 21st century will depend on a “brain economy” rather than a “brawn economy.” The U.S. BRAIN initiative will launch in 2014 with $110M, of which $40M will be from NIH. Funding announcements for the first wave of NIH projects will be released this month.17

Woman at NIMH Clinic1. Parity—My guess is that in terms of mental health issues, history will remember 2013 not for a scientific finding but for a long overdue policy change: mental health parity. While the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was signed into law in October 2008, the final rule providing the guidance to implement this law was only released in November 2013. Most important, the Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, affirmed mental health care as an “essential benefit.” As a result, mental health care must be provided in all health care plans and the provision of care for mental disorders must be on a par with other medical disorders (i.e., same co-pays, deductibles, certification requirements). When you add to these changes the removal of exclusions for pre-existing conditions, the extension of coverage to offspring until age 26, and in some states the expansion of Medicaid, you can see that this is really the most far-reaching change in mental health care since the Community Mental Health Act 50 years ago. And this is coming at an important time. Over the summer, the Global Burden of Disease project reported out on 291 medical disorders, updating its 1990 report with 2010 data. The new report finds mental illness and substance abuse disorders to be the leading source of years lost to disability, with the burden of illness from this group of disorders increasing 37 percent since 1990. Depression and anxiety were the largest contributors among the 20 mental and substance abuse disorders, accounting for 55 percent of the DALYs (disability adjusted life years—a composite measure of disability and premature mortality).

There are many questions about how parity will reduce DALYs: Who will provide the care? What will it cost? Where will mental health care be delivered? What is the dose and duration of psychosocial treatments that will be covered? None of these questions will be answered in 2013, but going forward NIMH can ensure that the best science informs this historic change.18,19

References

1 Südhof TC. A molecular machine for neurotransmitter release: synaptotagmin and beyond. Nat Med. 2013 Oct; 19(10):1227-31. doi: 10.1038nm.3338.

2 Anguera JA et al. Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults. Nature. 2013 Sep 5;501(7465):97-101. doi: 10.1038/nature12486.

3 Lipsman N et al. Subcallosal cingulate deep brain stimulation for treatment-refractory anorexia nervosa: a phase 1 pilot trial. Lancet. 2013 Apr 20;381(9875):1361-70. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62188-6. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

4 Famm K et al. Drug discovery: a jump-start for electroceuticals. Nature. 2013 Apr 11;496(7444):159-61. doi: 10.1038/496159a.

5 Shcheglovitov A et al. SHANK3 and IGF1 restore synaptic deficits in neurons from 22q13 deletion syndrome patients.Nature. 2013 Nov 14;503(7475):267-71. doi: 10.1038/nature12618. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

6 Krev JF et al. Timothy syndrome is associated with activity-dependent dendritic retraction in rodent and human neurons.Nat Neurosci. 2013 Feb;16(2):201-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.3307. Epub 2013 Jan 13.

7 Lancaster et al. Cerebral organoids model human brain development and microcephaly. Nature. 2013 Sep 19;501(7467):373-9. doi: 10.1038/nature12517. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

8 Cuthbert BN, Insel TR. Toward the future of psychiatric diagnosis: the seven pillars of RDoC. BMC Med. 2013 May 14;11:126. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-126.

9 Casey BJ et al. DSM-5 and RDoC: progress in psychiatry research?;
Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 Oct 18;14(11):810-4. doi: 10.1038/nrn3621.

10 Fusar-Poli P et al. The psychosis high-risk state: a comprehensive state-of-the-art review. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013 Jan;70(1):107-20. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.269.

11 Carrion RE et al. Prediction of functional outcome in individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013 Nov 1;70(11):1133-42. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.1909.

12 Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium: Genetic Risk Outcome of Psychosis (GROUP) Consortium.Identification of risk loci with shared effects on five major psychiatric disorders: a genome-wide analysis. Lancet. 2013 Apr 20;381(9875):1371-9. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62129-1. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

13 Ripke S et al. Genome-wide association analysis identifies 13 new risk loci for schizophrenia.Nat Genet. 2013 Oct;45(10):1150-9. doi: 10.1038/ng.2742. Epub 2013 Aug 25.

14 McConnell MJ et al. Mosaic copy number variation in human neurons. Science. 2013 Nov 1;342(6158):632-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1243472.

15 Lister R et al. Global epigenomic reconfiguration during mammalian brain development. Science. 2013 Aug 9;341(6146):1237905. doi: 10.1126/science.1237905. Epub 2013 Jul 4.

16 Chung K et al. Structural and molecular interrogation of intact biological systems. Nature. 2013 May 16;497(7449):332-7. doi: 10.1038/nature12107. Epub 2013 Apr 10.

17 Insel TR et al. Research priorities. The NIH BRAIN Initiative.Science. 2013 May 10;340(6133):687-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1239276.

18 US Burden of Disease Collaborators. The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors.JAMA. 2013 Aug 14;310(6):591-608. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.13805.

19 Whiteford HA et al. Global burden of disease attributable to mental and substance use disorders: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet. 2013 Nov 9;382(9904):1575-86. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61611-6. Epub 2013 Aug 29.





Are there indeed “Right-Brained” or “Left-Brained” Personality Traits?

24 08 2013

Posted By Neuroscience News 

Chances are, you’ve heard the label of being a “right-brained” or “left-brained” thinker. Logical, detail-oriented and analytical? That’s left-brained behavior. Creative, thoughtful and subjective? Your brain’s right side functions stronger —or so long-held assumptions suggest.

But newly released research findings from University of Utah neuroscientists assert that there is no evidence within brain imaging that indicates some people are right-brained or left-brained.

For years in popular culture, the terms left-brained and right-brained have come to refer to personality types, with an assumption that some people use the right side of their brain more, while some use the left side more.

Following a two-year study, University of Utah researchers have debunked that myth through identifying specific networks in the left and right brain that process lateralized functions.

The image shows the hemispheric lateralization maps for the hubs of the brain. The caption best describes the image.

The hemispheric lateralization maps for the nine hubs of the left-lateralized network and 11 hubs of the right-lateralized network are shown in lateral and medial projections. Color scale (t-statistic) shows significantly left-lateralized (warm colors) or right-lateralized (cool colors) to the seed (i.e., hub). A black circle marks the position for each seed. Image and caption credited to Jared A. Nielsen et al in PLOS ONE.

Lateralization of brain function means that there are certain mental processes that are mainly specialized to one of the brain’s left or right hemispheres. During the course of the study, researchers analyzed resting brain scans of 1,011 people between the ages of seven and 29. In each person, they studied functional lateralization of the brain measured for thousands of brain regions —finding no relationship that individuals preferentially use their left -brain network or right- brain network more often.

“It’s absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right. But people don’t tend to have a stronger left- or right-sided brain network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection, ” said Jeff Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study, which is formally titled “An Evaluation of the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Hypothesis with Resting State Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” It is published in the journal PLOS ONE this month.

Researchers obtained brain scans for the population they studied from a database called INDI, the International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative. The participants’ scans were taken during a functional connectivity MRI analysis, meaning a participant laid in a scanner for 5 to 10 minutes while their resting brain activity was analyzed.

By viewing brain activity, scientists can correlate brain activity in one region of the brain compared to another. In the study, researchers broke up the brain into 7,000 regions and examined which regions of the brain were more lateralized. They looked for connections — or all of the possible combinations of brain regions — and added up the number of connections for each brain region that was left- lateralized or right-lateralized. They discovered patterns in brain imaging for why a brain connection might be strongly left- or right-lateralized, said Jared Nielsen, a graduate student in neuroscience who carried out the study as part of his coursework.

“If you have a connection that is strongly left- lateralized, it relates to other strongly lateralized connection only if both sets of connections have a brain region in common,” said Nielsen.

Results of the study are groundbreaking, as they may change the way people think about the old right-brain versus left-brain theory, he said.

““Everyone should understand the personality types associated with the terminology ‘left-brained’ and ‘right-brained’ and how they relate to him or her personally; however, we just don’t see patterns where the whole left-brain network is more connected or the whole right-brain network is more connected in some people. It may be that personality types have nothing to do with one hemisphere being more active, stronger, or more connected,” said Nielsen.

Notes about this neuroimaging and neuropsychology research

Contact: Melinda Rogers – University of Utah Health System
Source: University of Utah Health System press release
Image Source: The image is credited to Jared A. Nielsen, Brandon A. Zielinski, Michael A. Ferguson, Janet E. Lainhart, and Jeffrey S. Anderson; and is adapted from the PLOS ONE open access research paper (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071275.g003).
Original Research: Full open access research for “An Evaluation of the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Hypothesis with Resting State Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging” by Jared A. Nielsen, Brandon A. Zielinski, Michael A. Ferguson, Janet E. Lainhart, and Jeffrey S. Anderson in PLOS ONE. Published online August 14 2013 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071275





A survey on clinical applications of Neuropsychoanalysis

3 08 2013

 Dear Friends and Colleagues!

As we were preparing to the International Conference in Cape town:”Clinical applications of Neuropsychoanalysis”, we were reflecting on our practice.

This reflection ended by constructing a questionnaire that we now attach for you to enjoy. This survey is going all over the material worked through the last 14 years of discussions,

Research, and conferences trying to find out what was the benefit of all that endeavor to your practical clinical practice.

We made an online form and will be grateful if you will be able to take some moments from your time and add your words and choices.

You have to click on the link  and reply as you pass over the material. There is some space there to have your input to what we missed.

As this online questionnaire will be answered, we hope to present the statistics on our panel, led by Maggie Zellner, on Sunday morning.

Kind Regards,
 
Irith, Iftah and The Israeli Forum of Neuropsychoanalysis

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1DmirPISn6llyAejZM-nnDs1qIBlyK0ogCGEYB2sfvzE/viewform





A New Job Board for Applicants with disabilities

10 07 2013

 Today I wish to briefly introduce a new Job board for applicants with disabilities. This unique job board was established by the Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and is aimed to further enhance work inclusion of people with disabilities in Israel.  For more details (in Hebrew) see: http://www.mtlm.org.il/jobs/ or join the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MTLM.JOBS

As part of this project, I had the privilege to write a guide for Job seekers with disabilities. In this guide, I sought to present relevant information about the job search process and to provide practical tools that will assist  job seekers in this complex journey. Furthermore, I discuss the disability disclosure issue, that is, whether, and when the person should disclose her/his disability (to read more on this issue see http://www.uwrf.edu/CareerServices/upload/HandoutDisabilityDisclosure.pdf). I will share this guide with you in the next few days. I will also share a review that I wrote about job boards to people with disabilities, worldwide.





The World Future Council is looking for a Policy Officer – Persons with Disabilities

6 06 2013

This time I wish to publish a  job offer by the World Future Council (WFC). The WFC is a global forum of 50 respected personalities who give voice to the shared ethical values of citizens worldwide. The Council works closely with policy-makers, civil society and business to identify and implement best policies to protect the rights of future generations (http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org). Good luck!

 

WORLD FUTURE COUNCIL – VACANCY

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 14 June 2013

 

The World Future Council is looking for a

Policy Officer – Persons with Disabilities

 

Starting date: 1st September 2013

Period: 12 months, with possible prolongation

Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Responsibilities:

  • Liaise with the Zero Project overall coordinator, the Essl Foundation, as well as project partners: the European Foundation Centre
  • Research innovative policies advancing the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Co-author the annual Zero Project Report
  • Co-organize the annual Zero Project Conferences in Vienna
  • Present the Zero Project in briefings, side events and conferences  to stakeholders (especially in Geneva, New York, Vienna)
  • Develop the Zero Project network, especially with parliamentarians with disabilities
  • Contribute to the Zero Project’s website: www.zeroproject.org and social media presence:www.facebook.com/zeroproject.org
  • Develop and maintain the WFC’s Zero Project online presence: www.worldfuturecouncil.org/enable.html as well aswww.futurepolicy.org,
  • Support media, fundraising activities and research for cooperation
  • ·         Monitor and assess project progress
    • Report to the Supervisor

 

Profile:

  •   Academic background, preferably in human rights/disability law and policy, international relations or political sciences
  • Working experience in a Disabled Peoples Organisation, direct experience of disability or with persons with disabilities is an asset
  • Outgoing and reliable personality with a ‘can-do’ attitude
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Very good knowledge of research, editorial work as well as event management
  • Excellent knowledge of German, English and of a further UN language, preferably French
  • Very good IT literacy. Knowledge of CMS (especially WordPress and Typo3) is an asset
  • Committed to the WFC’s vision and mission of long-term sustainability and equity
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of an international team
  • A Swiss/EU work permit is required

Please address your application to the WFC Coordinator of the Geneva Office: Ms Ingrid Heindorf. Please send a cover letter, CV and published writing sample, as well as your salary expectations, to Ingrid.heindorf@worldfuturecouncil.org. Subject heading: Policy Officer and your name. Deadline: 14 June 2013. Only candidates invited for interview will be contacted. Interviews will be held on 25th June 2013.

 





A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness by Glenn Close

30 05 2013

Award-winning actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close will narrate “A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness” an inspiring documentary that tells the stories of everyday people to shatter myths about mental illness, highlighting the struggles faced by those with mental health challenges, and their hope, resilience and recovery.

Ms. Close is a dedicated mental health advocate, having founded a national anti-stigma campaign, Bring Change 2 Mind in partnership with The Balanced Mind Foundation, Fountain House, and Garen & Shari Staglin of the International Mental Health Research Organization (IMHRO). The idea for Bring Change 2 Mind was born when Ms. Close volunteered at Fountain House in order to learn more about mental illness, which both her sister, Jessie Close, and nephew, Calen Pick, live with.

“The toxic stigma around mental illness can be as painful as the illness itself,” said Ms. Close. “It’s crucial that these diverse and powerful stories are told and shared so that everyone realizes that mental illness touches us all. No one need struggle in isolation, silence and shame. Listening and having the courage to join the conversation will save lives.”

“A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness” is produced by KVIE, Sacramento’s PBS station, as part of a comprehensive statewide effort to increase the number of people who seek early help for mental challenges by reducing stigma and discrimination around mental illness. It is a Prevention and Early Intervention program of California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working together to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families, and communities, and funded by the voter-approved CaliforniaMental Health Services Act (Prop. 63).

SOURCE California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA)
glenn-close