Since 2015, CHPR researchers have been awarded approximately $1.5 million to perform mental health research, with support coming from federal and state agencies as well as foundations. Examples of research in this program conducted by CHPR faculty members include: research on the role primary care can play in reducing suicide risk, development of behavioral health measures, and analysis of the intersection between homelessness and behavioral health.

Recent Highlights

Tailored Activation of Middle-Aged Men to Promote Discussion of Recent Active Suicide Thoughts: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Jerant, Kravitz, and Franks, with CHPR staff support, conducted a randomized controlled trial to promote discussion of recent active suicide thoughts among middle-aged men. They found that suicide discussion with physicians was more likely among intervention patients (those who used a tailored interactive computer program designed to encourage discussion of suicide with their physician) than those who received standard care.

County Mental Health Crisis Services for Adult/ Transitional Age Youth

  • CHPR has partnered with the UC Davis Behavioral Health Center of Excellence to evaluate a state-funded program supporting county mental health crisis services for adult/ transitional age youth. Drs. Melnikow (PI), Carter (PI) and Niendam, along with CHPR staff, are partnering with a team at UCSF to conduct the evaluation, funded by the Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC).

The Rise of Early Psychosis Care in California: An Overview of Community and University-Based Services

  • Niendam and Melnikow collaborated with CHPR staff, funded by the MHSOAC, to evaluate California’s early psychosis treatment programs. Their survey of representatives of the early psychosis program yielded substantial variability in data collected about services, inclusion criteria, and data recorded. These findings highlight the need to harmonize data collection methods among these programs in California.

How Do Early Psychosis Services Define and Operationalize the Duration of Untreated Psychosis?

  • Niendam and Melnikow also studied the differences in provider-established start and end points of “duration of untreated psychosis” (DUP), a metric which affects initiation of recommended early psychosis care. They found that front-line providers proposed a more structured operationalization of DUP than any published in the traditional literature.
  • Niendam was awarded funding by the National Institute of Mental Health to create the California Collaborative Network to Promote Data-Driven Care and Improve Outcomes in Early Psychosis (EPI-CAL). For this project she is evaluating health outcomes associated with Early Psychosis clinics in a recently developed network of such clinics in California that are working collectively to improve their care through prospective collection and feedback from client-reported outcomes.

QTc Monitoring in Adults with Medical and Psychiatric Comorbidities: Expert Consensus from the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry

  • CHPR faculty member, Dr. Glen Xiong, was first author on the paper in which the expert consensus guidelines for clinicians in how to balance the risks and benefits of psychiatric medications that have the potential to increase risk for ventricular arrhythmias were published. The authors developed an algorithm to help clinicians determine whether ECG monitoring should be considered for a given patient.

Substance Use, Homelessness, Mental Illness and Medicaid Coverage: A Set-up for High Emergency Department Utilization

  • CHPR researchers have also focused on the intersection of substance use and mental health problems, which frequently co-exist in people presenting to an emergency department. Dr. Aimee Moulin, M.D. and Dr. Ethan Evans, Ph.D., when they were post-doctoral fellows at CHPR, worked with Dr. Melnikow to evaluate six years of California emergency department (ED) data to determine the impact these co-occurring problems were suspected of having on frequent ED use. They found that patients with substance use disorders, who are homelessness and have public healthcare coverage, are more likely to be frequent users of EDs for mental illness.