Let’s Get This Party Started

Igniting renewed passion for mental health begins on October 29

Recover, Reflect & Reignite. It’s the 34th Psych Congress theme, presented in-person, in San Antonio, Texas, as well as virtually around the world, between Friday, October 29 and Monday, November 1, 2021.

These three simple words—Recover, Reflect & Reignite—are set to do some heavy lifting, with a hard focus on three levels of significance: breakthrough education and updates that impact mental health clinicians, patients facing challenging mental health disorders, and the world of mental health in general. 

“During the pandemic, everyone in mental health has managed difficulties in connecting with patients, colleagues, and new challenges that came up daily. We’ve had to do things we’re not used to doing, like telehealth. And we’ve grieved for people we lost. I think it’s time, though, to begin recovering—for ourselves as well as our patients and our profession.”

It’s a hopeful view from Julie Carbray, PhD, FPMHNP-BC, PMHCNS-BC, APRN, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago; Administrative Director, Pediatric Mood Disorder Clinic, Pediatric Brain Research and Intervention Center, Department of Psychiatry, Chicago, Illinois. Of note, Dr. Carbray is the first-ever psychiatric mental health nurse to co-chair the Psych Congress.

Put Into Words

A key part of recovery, according to Dr. Carbray, is reconnecting. For some, that means rediscovering the passion that drives their dedication to patients’ mental healthcare. For others, it’s about shoring up connections with their mental health team. For most, Dr. Carbray emphasizes, recovery is about reconnecting with the whole ball of wax—career passion, teammates, and patients.

Reflection, of course, is about looking at what we’ve all gone through, so we can see what we’ve learned,” Dr. Carbray says. “COVID-19 forced us to connect in new ways with our patients. Think of telehealth. What began as a temporary fix has given us hope for our work lives ahead. It looks like we found a better way to reach and treat more patients.”

As for the Psych Congress 2021 push to reignite, Dr. Carbray sounds almost gleeful as she explains. “This is about getting an exhausted, recovering group of mental health clinicians reengaged with the enthusiasm that first brought them into the field. It’s about reigniting with that excitement for what we do, the persons we work with, and the care we give to our patients. I think it’s also about reigniting with the significance of caring for ourselves—something that sometimes fell off the list after the pandemic hit.”

Highlighting Goals

With its emphasis on connecting members of the entire mental health team—psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, primary care physicians, and other mental health professionals—the Psych Congress 2021 agenda has been built to bridge chasms between scientific research and real-world treatment.

ConferenceInsider™, in association with Drugs.com Professional Edition, will be covering several sessions set to boost recovery and reflection that may help reignite passion. Here are a few highlights:

  • Managing Agitation in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: What’s Available, What’s New, What’s Next, presented by Leslie Citrome, MD, MPH, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Citrome will investigate suboptimal treatment overuse for agitation and underuse of new interventions that are equally as effective, sometimes better tolerated, and provide a wider range of treatment choices.
  • Personalized Medicine for Bipolar Depression: Combining Evidence and Clinical Wisdom to Improve Clinical Outcomes, presented by Joseph F. Goldberg, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York. Addressing clinicians, Dr. Goldberg will present an overview about how to apply tailored, individualized pharmacotherapy approaches to the treatment of bipolar depression, based on measurable, patient-specific clinical and neurobiological characteristics.
  • Digital Mental Health 360: Improved Patient Outcomes with Technology, presented by an esteem team that includes Gowri Aragam, MD, Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Co-Founder, Stanford Brainstorm Lab for Mental Health Innovation Harvard Medical School; Steven R. Chan, MD, MBA, Clinical Assistant Professor (Affiliated), Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California; Rakesh Jain, MD, MPH, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Texas Tech University School of Medicine – Permian Basin Private Practice, Austin, Texas. This ground-breaking session will take a deep dive into digital mental health, from covering cutting-edge software and hardware to prevent, manage, or treat a mental health disorder—and how to best utilize these new technologies for patients.
  • Sex on the Female Brain: Etiology and Treatment of Female Sexual Dysfunction, presented by Nicole H. Cirino, MD, PMH-C, CST, IF, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine; Center for Women’s Health, School of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon. Dr. Cirino’s session, developed in partnership with the International Society of Reproductive Psychiatry (ISRP), will explain how sexual dysfunction for women, which only 20% of this population self-reports, correlates with an increase in psychiatric conditions. She will also discuss why and how psychotropic medications play into both the etiology and treatment of female sexual function.

There will be, of course, much more to discuss during Psych Congress 2021—although with so many breakout sessions, chat rooms, and networking events, there’s no telling what additional topics will begin to circulate.

One thing is certain. “This is going to be an exciting conference that brings together people who are similarly passionate about mental healthcare,” Dr. Carbray says. “We’ll be having conversations that light up our enthusiasm for new approaches and new ways of thinking. When Psych Congress closes on November 1, it’s my greatest hope that our attendees leave with a new passion and enthusiasm for the work that we do.”