University of Pittsburgh
June 23, 1998

NEW PITT CENTER TO RESEARCH COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS

Contact: 

Sharon Blake

412-624-4364

Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, June 24 -- The University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work has received a $2 million federal grant to operate the Center For Mental Health Services Research -- one of only seven newly-created social work research centers in the country. Its goal is to foster research in the mental health field that will lead to better services for mentally ill individuals.

Under the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant, faculty investigators will study a broad range of mental health issues. They will determine if mental health treatment is available for those who need it, if clients are completing their treatment, and how effective it is. All data will then be shared with service providers.

One current project, "Caring for Mothers with Children in Mental Health Treatment," is looking at the prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders in mothers whose children are undergoing psychiatric treatment. The hypothesis is that children won't respond well to treatment if their mothers are suffering from untreated mental illness.

Co-directed by professor of social work Wynne Korr and professor of psychiatry Carol Anderson, the Center is a unique partnership that combines the academic component of Pitt's School of Social Work with the clinical research expertise of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. "This prestigious federal grant will enable us to devote time and resources to tackling community mental health problems," said David Epperson, dean of Pitt's School of Social Work. "We are particularly excited about the prospects for collaboration among faculty from different disciplines."

A 1991 study by an NIMH task force revealed that few social workers were involved in large-scale mental health research. This new center will promote research that will address mental health problems in the context of family and community. Pitt's School of Social Work, one of the oldest in the country, offers undergraduate, master's degree, and doctoral degree programs. Its master's program is ranked 18th in the nation, according to the latest edition of U.S. News and World Report's Best Graduate Schools.

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