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Initiatives in Integrative Mental Health

Initiatives in Integrative Mental Health

Integrative Mental HealthThe APA Caucus on Integrative Psychiatry (http://www.intpsychiatry.com) was established in 2004 to represent psychiatrists practicing nonconventional therapies; to educate psychiatrists on safe, appropriate uses of nonconventional modalities; to facilitate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)-related research; to liaise with allied mental health professionals and CAM practitioners; and to educate psychiatrists on ethical, legal, and regulatory issues that affect the practice of CAM/integrative mental health (IMH).

Several symposia on a range of CAM-related themes have been presented at annual APA meetings. Important accomplishments of the APA Caucus include a subcommittee on omega-3s (2005) that resulted in the publication of a peer-reviewed paper on the evidence for omega-3s in mental health care, and a special Task Force on CAM and mental health (2007) that resulted in publication of a peer-reviewed article that summarized research evidence for select CAM therapies in MDD.

The Consortium on Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM; http://www.imconsortium.org) working group on integrative mental health was founded in March 2009. Membership is currently limited to academic faculty affiliated with Consortium member institutions worldwide, including North America, the European Union, and the Middle East. The major activity of the working group is a bimonthly conference call devoted to strategic planning and expert-hosted discussions on evidence-based integrative management of specific psychiatric disorders.

In 2010, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP; http://www.aacap.org) established a committee on CAM and IMH that is concerned with research and education.

The International Network of Integrative Mental Health, Inc (INIMH; http://www.inimh.org) was established in March 2010, and a high-end Web site for mental health professionals was launched in June 2011; membership has been steadily growing. The INIMH is building collaborative relationships with other US and European initiatives to achieve important strategic goals. A 4-day strategic planning meeting was held in April 2011, at which the following priorities were set:

• Facilitating communication and collaboration among the INIMH, CAIM (Caucus on Alternative and Integrative Medicine), AACAP, European initiatives, and other entities on shared goals

• Expanding the network to include worldwide mental health professionals

• Ensuring that Web site includes expert forums, searchable library, world map showing member clinicians by specialty, links to Web-based resources, video library

• Developing curricula and training programs for mental health professionals and postgraduate trainees in medicine and allied mental health degree programs

• Publishing a White Paper establishing IMH as discipline and inviting interdisciplinary dialogue on the future of psychiatry

• Identifying key research priorities and facilitating research agenda at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine/NIH and at other private and public institutions

The Center for Integrative Psychiatry (www.congressintegratedpsychiatry.com/English/) in Groningen, the Netherlands, is the hub for a national Dutch network of integrative clinicians, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and family physicians. A research program at the Center is conducting studies on mindfulness, heart rate variability, and natural products (eg, inositol). Since 2006, the Center has organized a yearly major international conference on integrative psychiatry.

The European Consortium of Integrative Mental Health Centers (www.ecimh.com) was established in 2009 and shares the broad strategic goals of the INIMH and the CAHCIM working group.

Novel approaches for evaluating and treating serious mental illnesses are being shaped by advances in neuroscience and genetics as well as scientific validation of ancient healing traditions. In the coming decades, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) will evolve from the use of “herbs and vitamins” to a sophisticated research-driven model of integrative medicine based on individualized treatments that incorporate biological, mind-body, informational, and energy therapies. This multidimensional approach will target complex multifactoral causes of mental illness.


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