Published: April 30, 2018

MSU experts can discuss Mental Health Month issues

Contact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709

Mental Health Month begins Tuesday and Michigan State University has plenty of experts who can discuss related issues – from childhood bullying to depression to drug abuse to couples therapy.

Experts include:

Jed Magen, a psychiatrist who specializes in the psychological effects of opioid use and childhood/adolescent psychiatry. He can discuss bipolar and anxiety disorders. 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,

Robert Smith, a University Distinguished Professor in medicine and psychaitry. It's estimated that 85 percent of all mental health care is provided by primary care physicians, yet only 2 percent of their training is devoted to the health issue. Smith can discuss potential solutions that can help arm these physicians with better training and also discuss the current medical environment, which often can't effectively handle those with mental health issues. Smith can be reached at

Bengt Arnetz, professor and chair of family medicine. Arnetz can speak to the mental readiness of first responders who handle emergency situations including police officers, firefighters, paramedics and 911 dispatchers. Often times, these responders are faced with extremely stressful situations causing impulse control to decrease dramatically. He can provide additional insight into what can happen physiologically in these crisis situations and what can be done to counteract these stress reactions. He can be reached at (616) 234-0966 or

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 with expertise in the treatment of children and families. She has a background in pediatric health psychology and works with children who have medical conditions or pain. Moser created a group therapy program for children who have been victims of bullying – Getting Back Up Again. It is a skill-based, supportive group that runs approximately once per year out of the MSU Psychological Clinic. Moser can be reached at (517) 355-9564,

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,

Joanne Riebschleger, associate professor of social work, is an international expert in mental health literacy among children and young adults. Her research particularly focuses on children, teens and young adults, including those living with a family member with a mental illness. Riebschleger can be reached at (517) 353-9746,

Jason Moser, associate professor in the Department of Psychology. He specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety-related problems, with a specific focus on exposure-based therapies for obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Moser’s research and clinical expertise is in anxiety-related problems and their impact on people’s lives. He looks at how anxiety impacts students’ and community members’ ability to bounce back after making mistakes, stay focused and control their negative feelings using a variety of methods, including neuroimaging techniques like electroencephalogram, or EEG. Moser can be reached at (517) 355-2159,