Opioid abuse, suicide prevention, school shooters, and schizophrenia.

SAN DIEGO—Some 3,000 mental health professionals — psychiatrists, physician assistants, psychologists, and nurse practitioners, as well as primary care physicians — will gather here from October 3-6 for Psych Congress 2019 to receive a full download covering current approaches to management of mental health disorders, as well as an overview of emerging therapies.

Not surprisingly, this year’s Congress has slated sessions covering a number of issues that have dominated not only clinical meetings, but also national headlines.

The Congress kicks-off with a presentation by Arshya Vahabzadeh, MD, chief medical officer, Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy in Boston, who will provide a “look ahead” to psychiatry of the future. What, for example, will be the impact of artificial intelligence? Will clinicians’ main resource be apps on smart phones? Vahabzadeh will be addressing those issues and others as he walks attendees through the ways in which technology will be integrated into clinical practice.

A number of sessions will address opioid use disorder, as well as alternatives to opioid therapy for pain management — all presented in the context of the ongoing public health concerns about opioid abuse. Sessions include:

  • What you need to know about buprenorphine treatment for opioid abuse.
  • Innovative non-opioids for chronic pain.
  • Approaches to substance use disorders.

Among the daily challenges faced by mental health providers is the very practical issue of understanding how to interpret findings from research studies. Leslie Citrome, MD, MPH of New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY, will offer some practical advice on P values and how they can really be understood in the context of clinical implications in a session titled, “When does a difference make a difference? Everything you always wanted to know about effect sizes (but were afraid to ask).”

Mental health providers are dealing with the scourge of school shootings on almost a daily basis, but what is known about these shooters? Philip Resnick, MD, professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine will take a deep dive into this issue at a featured session on school shooters.

Citrome is partnering with Christoph Correll, MD, professor of Psychiatry and Molecular Medicine, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, Hempstead, NY, and Medical Director, Recognition and Prevention Program, The Zucker Hillside Hospital, Northwell Health, Glen Oaks, NY, to tackle the challenge of evolving therapies for schizophrenia. Their session promises a “comprehensive understanding of the biologic rationale, clinical evidence, and side effects of all new and emerging agents.”

Finally, the Congress has a number of sessions on suicide prevention and will close the discussion with a Sunday afternoon session on physician suicides. Pamela Wible, MD, a private practice psychiatrist in Eugene, Oregon, has investigated more than 1,300 doctor suicides, and she will share what she has learned from her research.