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Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)

Focus on Mental Health

List of Articles

  • Contraception and Mental Health
    This review highlights for healthcare providers evidence and principles for practice, affecting women with the common mental health conditions, who want to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. Among the most prevalent and disabling chronic diseases affecting reproductive-aged women worldwide, depression and anxiety can contribute to adverse reproductive health outcomes, including an increased risk of unintended pregnancy and its health and social consequences. Effective contraception can be an important strategy to maintain and even improve mental health and well-being. Reproductive health clinicians play a critical role in providing and managing contraception to help women with mental health considerations achieve their desired fertility. This discussion reviews the literature on relationships between mental health and contraception and describes considerations for the clinical management of contraception among women with depression and anxiety. The issues related to contraceptive method effectiveness, adherence concerns, and mental health – specific contraceptive method safety and drug interaction considerations, clinical counseling and management strategies are also discussed. Given important gaps in current scientific knowledge of mental health and contraception, the Women’s Health and Education Center (WHEC) highlights areas for future research. Ultimately, mental health promotion may reduce adverse pregnancy-related outcomes, improve family-planning experiences, and help achieve reproductive goals for women, their families, and society.

  • Psycho-Oncology Services for Gynecologic Cancer
    The purpose of this document is to begin to bridge the gap between clinicians' and patients' expectations of how psychosocial services should be used in response to distress screening. The Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC) supports professional organizations with the mission to improve survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care. In 2014, the WHEC approved new standards to promote patient-centered care, an exciting shift driven by research over the past decade showing that patient-centered services improve outcomes. Patient-centered standards include the provision of treatment and survivorship plans, palliative care services, genetic services, navigation programs, and psychosocial distress screening. Given that the popularity of distress screening is increasing exponentially, and begins to bridge the gap between clinicians' and patients' expectations of how psychosocial services should be used in response to distress screening. Key findings and implications for service delivery were: 1) receptivity to referral is a separate issue from that of distress level, 2) strong preference among those who declined psycho-oncology referral to cope on their own emphasized the potential role of self-management interventions, and 3) low social support was a major theme among those accepting referral, suggesting that assessing family support might further contribute to identifying patients in need of additional psychological assessment. Additional studies are needed to further examine, on a large scale, patients' preferences for follow-up care after distress screening. Several different approaches to distress screening are discussed above, and additional studies should examine their comparative acceptability and efficacy.

  • The Diseases of Addiction: Opiate Use and Dependence
    Dependence on opioids is associated with seri­ous morbidity and mortality, and advances in the understanding of the dependence have led to the development of effective treatments. A confusing aspect of the body of research on opi­ate abuse and dependence is the inconsistent use of important terminology that describes the nature and severity of involvement with therapeutic and illicit opiates. The purpose of this document is to provide the reader with a current, evidence-based overview of opiate abuse and dependence and its treatment. Topics covered in this review include the history and demographics of illicit and prescription opiate abuse; risk factors, background characteristics, and comorbid conditions of opiate abusers; the pharmacology of opiate drugs; the biological and behavioral characteristics of opiate dependence; and management of opiate dependence, including treatment of overdose, detoxification and with­drawal, agonist replacement therapy, and drug-free approaches. Additional areas of the course are devoted to the abuse liability of prescription opiates and the impact of abused opiates on the fetus.

  • The Diseases of Addiction: Methamphetamine Abuse
    The admissions rates for treatment of methamphetamine-related disorders have ballooned alarmingly in some areas, particularly in rural or frontier areas, causing public health concerns. As a result, it is important that healthcare professionals have a solid knowledge of the effects and appropriate treatment of methamphetamine abuse and dependence. Various programs addressing substance abuse and methamphetamine abuse are also discussed. The Fellowship of Crystal Meth Anonymous works a Twelve Step program of recovery. Crystal Meth Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, so they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from addiction to crystal meth. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.

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