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April 27, 2017

From depression to drug abuse, MSU experts can discuss Mental Health Month issues

As Mental Health Month begins Monday, Michigan State University has a wealth of experts who can discuss related issues – from childhood bullying to depression among men, and from Americans’ mental-health literacy to the potential ramifications of a popular TV show on teen suicide.

Experts include:

Mark Skidmore, an economist who helped conduct a new national survey on mental health literacy. Among the findings: Less than half of Americans can recognize anxiety and nearly 8 in 10 don’t recognize prescription drug abuse as a treatable problem. Skidmore can be reached at (517) 353-9172,

Jed Magen, a psychiatrist who specializes in the psychological effects of opioid use and childhood/adolescent psychiatry. Of “13 Reasons Why,” he said the Netflix series on teen suicide does service by bringing to light a serious problem. “However, a critical issue is the degree to which television can both sensationalize and make attractive a very bad option. There is research that suggests that there are copycat suicides whenever there are media depictions of suicide that downplay or ignore the terrible consequences, but instead dwell on details of the suicide and prominently feature relatives and friends.” Magen can be reached at (517) 353-4363,

Farha Abbasi, a psychiatrist who specializes in providing culturally appropriate care to Muslim patients and communities. She can discuss issues including cultural psychiatry, bullying and harassment among Muslim children, and the psychological effects and implications of traumatic events related to terrorism and other acts of violence. Abbasi can be reached at (517) 353-4363,

Andrea Wittenborn, associate professor of Human Development and Family Studies and an expert on improving outcomes of treatment for depression. She can discuss couple therapy and depression; depression among men; and developing and evaluating treatment for depression, as well as testing methods of personalizing treatment to fit the needs of a given patient. Wittenborn can be reached at (517) 432-2263,

Katharine Thakkar, a neuroscientist who specializes in understanding the biological basis of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. She can also discuss the mechanisms behind bipolar disorder. Thakkar can be reached at (517) 884-8489,

Natalie Moser, a licensed psychologist and director of the MSU Psychological Clinic.  She is an expert on the assessment and treatment of child anxiety and the psychological problems affecting children with chronic illness, as well as bullying, parenting and toileting. Moser can be reached at (517) 355-9564,

Christopher Hopwood, a practicing therapist and an expert in personality and personality disorders. His work has been influential in how health clinicians classify personality disorders. Hopwood can be reached at (517) 355-4599,

William Chopik, a social psychologist who studies how relationships – and the people in them – change over time and across situations. Named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30 in Science” in 2015, Chopik’s work has explored the health and happiness of married couples, the best states for lovers and the empathy of Americans. He can be reached at (517) 355-6645,

Kimberly Fenn, a psychology professor who directs the Sleep and Learning Lab and investigates the effect of sleep on mental health and memory. Among Fenn’s findings: sleep deprivation is linked to false confessions and people learn while they sleep. Fenn can be reached at (517) 432-6258,