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Mind and Matter

Mental Health Corner

Mental Health Trends for 2022

Mental health became an important part of the public conversation in 2021, as Olympic athletes, celebrities, and other public figures came forward about their well-being and helped reduce the stigma. It was an innovative year for scientific research in the mental health field. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, we can expect mental health to continue to be a top priority in 2022, particularly as the U.S. considers the growing mental health issues. Exciting research studies have shown us how we can improve mental health services, address racial and socioeconomic disparities, and ultimately, enhance our overall well-being from the inside out.

In fact, a recent poll by the American Psychiatric Association showed that one-quarter of Americans made a new year’s resolution to improve their mental health in 2022.

Keep an eye out for these emerging trends and exciting new research developments in mental health in the new year.

  1. Trauma-informed care

Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is an approach in the human service field that assumes that an individual is more likely than not to have a history of trauma. Trauma-Informed Care recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role trauma may play in an individual’s life. Around 1 in 6 adults endure four or more traumatic events during childhood, with women and people from minoritized communities facing a greater risk. Clinicians, health care practitioners, educators, and mental health professionals are widely embracing a trauma-informed approach to care to address trauma among the broader population.

  1. Blood tests for mental illness

In April 2021, researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine developed a novel blood test for mental illness, suggesting that biological markers for mood disorders can be found within RNA biomarkers. This breakthrough study indicated that a blood test can determine the severity of depression and the risk for developing severe depression and bipolar disorder in the future. The blood test may also help tailor an individual’s medication choices. According to Nathaniel Ivers Ph.D., department chair and associate professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, “this method will remain an adjunctive to traditional diagnostic tools, as mental illnesses are complex and have biological, psychological, and sociocultural etiologies.”

  1. Setting healthy boundaries with social media

If you have a smartphone, you’re probably aware that limiting your screen time can be a challenge. Not to mention, spending too much time online can negatively affect your well-being. We can expect to hear more conversations about “digital wellness” and establishing healthy boundaries with social media, particularly as research continues to shed light on the negative effects on adolescents and adults alike. The following boundaries can be helpful: 1) limit screen time, 2) Unfollow people, 3) don’t read comments.

  1. Continued expansion in telehealth services 

Therapy administered via tele-mental health picked up steam in 2020, sustained in 2021, and is here to stay, according to experts. According to Nathaniel Ivers, Ph.D., “because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many mental health professionals now have the training, experience, confidence, and technology to conduct tele-mental health services effectively and ethically. It also has the potential to increase mental health treatment access to rural and older adult communities.”



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