Interesting Recent Mental Health Research

Matt Kuntz
3 min readMar 12, 2021
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Interesting combination of new studies. The first is a large analysis of suicidality through the combined lenses of genetics, traumatic experiences, posttraumatic stress, social support, and socioeconomic status. The second looks as musical therapy to improve clinical outcomes for depression. The third study investigates the effect of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) on improving the outcomes of vocational rehabilitation for people with different mental health and substance abuse conditions.

Sex-stratified gene-by-environment genome-wide interaction study of trauma, posttraumatic-stress, and suicidality.

Wendt FR, Pathak GA, Levey DF, Nuñez YZ, Overstreet C, Tyrrell C, Adhikari K, De Angelis F, Tylee DS, Goswami A, Krystal JH, Abdallah CG, Stein MB, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J, Polimanti R. Neurobiol Stress. 2021 Feb 18;14:100309. doi: 10.1016/j.ynstr.2021.100309. PMID: 33665242; PMCID: PMC7905234.


  • “Epidemiologic studies recognize that trauma and posttraumatic stress are associated with heightened suicidal behavior severity, yet examination of these associations from a genetic perspective is limited. We performed a multivariate gene-by-environment genome-wide interaction study (GEWIS) of suicidality in 123,633 individuals using a covariance matrix based on 26 environments related to traumatic experiences, posttraumatic stress, social support, and socioeconomic status.”
  • “[O]ur GEWIS points to extracellular matrix biology and synaptic plasticity as biological interactors with the effects of potentially modifiable lifetime traumatic experiences on genetic risk for suicidality. Characterization of molecular basis for the effects of traumatic experience and posttraumatic stress on risk of suicidal behaviors may help to identify novel targets for which more effective treatments can be developed for use in high-risk populations.”

Music Therapy for Depression Enhanced With Listening Homework and Slow Paced Breathing: A Randomised Controlled Trial.

Erkkilä J, Brabant O, Hartmann M, Mavrolampados A, Ala-Ruona E, Snape N, Saarikallio S, Gold C. Front Psychol. 2021 Feb 16;12:613821. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.613821. PMID: 33664693; PMCID: PMC7920974.


  • “There is evidence from earlier trials for the efficacy of music therapy in the treatment of depression among working-age people. Starting therapy sessions with relaxation and revisiting therapeutic themes outside therapy have been deemed promising for outcome enhancement.”
  • “Objective: To investigate the efficacy of two enhancers, resonance frequency breathing (RFB) and listening homework (LH), when combined with an established music therapy model.”
  • “We found that the addition of RFB to a music therapy intervention resulted in enhanced therapeutic outcome for clients with depression.”

Vocational Outcomes of the Individual Placement and Support Model in Subgroups of Diagnoses, Substance Abuse, and Forensic Conditions: A Systematic Review and Analysis of Pooled Original Data.

Hellström L, Pedersen P, Christensen TN, Wallstroem IG, Bojesen AB, Stenager E, Bejerholm U, van Busschbach J, Michon H, Mueser KT, Reme SE, White S, Eplov LF. J Occup Rehabil. 2021 Mar 4. doi: 10.1007/s10926–021–09960-z. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33661452.


  • “Purpose: To investigate the effect of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) according to diagnoses of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, substance use disorders, or forensic psychiatric conditions.”
  • “IPS was effective regarding schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorder; however, the effect on hours, and weeks worked was not statistically significant regarding bipolar disorder. For people with depression the impact of IPS remains inconclusive.”

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Matt Kuntz

A weird mix of mental health, policy, tech, writing, and Montana. Views are my own, not of any organization I’m involved with.