This week there are two topics of note related to mental health in the news. First, a recent NARSAD-funded study on the effects of the drug ketamine in treating severe depression in patients with bipolar disorder continues to make headlines. NARSAD Young and Independent Investigator, Dr. Carlos Zarate Jr., led the research that has been reported in TIME magazine, The New York Times and other news outlets. In the New York Times article, Dr. Dost Ongur, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard, said, “This is a solid piece of work that really has the potential for being a true advance. There is real hope, there is real excitement around this, even though there is skepticism from some quarters.”
Dr. Zarate’s complete findings were reported in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Also of interest this week was a two-part series of stories from NPR on mental illness in India. The series opens with shocking statistics: “One psychiatrist for every 400,000 people living in India, according to a recent study by the Indian government. It is one of the lowest ratios anywhere in the world.” The series goes on to explore the social stigma that exists around mental illness in India. The series has resonated with listeners/readers who themselves (or friends and family) face such stigma here in the United States.