Chair’s Column September 2012

Integrative Mental Health Initiatives: History and Future Plans

J. Lake

Several initiatives on integrative mental health are on-going in North America and Europe. Principle North American initiatives and years established are:
• APA Caucus on Integrative Psychiatry (2004)
• CAHCIM IMH working group (2009)
• AACAP Committee on CAM (2009)
• ABIHM (1996 ABHM)
European initiatives in IMH include an annual conference on integrative psychiatry based out of the Center for Integrative Psychiatry, Gronningen, The Netherlands (inaugurated in 2006), and the European Consortium of Integrative Mental Health Centers, founded in 2009. So far INIMH, founded in 2010, is the only initiative on integrative mental health with a broad international agenda.

The APA CAM Caucus (recently renamed “Caucus on Integrative Psychiatry”) was established in 2004 to represent psychiatrists’ interests in CAM and IMH, educate psychiatrists on safe, appropriate CAM and integrative treatments, facilitate CAM-related research, build liaison with professional societies representing allied mental health professionals and CAM practitioners, and educate psychiatrists on ethical, legal and regulatory issues affecting practice of CAM/IMH. Caucus membership is restricted to psychiatrists who are APA members. Membership has ranged from approximately 50 to over 100 members. Resources currently include a website and e-newsletter. Meetings take place annually during the APA annual conference. Caucus members have organized several symposia at annual meetings and plans are currently under way for a one-day symposium at the 2012 APA annual meeting and webinars on topical issues in CAM and IMH. Others significant accomplishments include a sub-committee on omega-3s (2005) resulting in published peer-reviewed paper recommending provisional guidelines, and a Task Force on CAM and mental health (2007) resulting in a peer-reviewed paper recommending a broad research agenda. Caucus leadership are interested in collaborating on shared goals with INIMH, the working group on IMH in CAHCIM and other initiatives.

The CAHCIM (Consortium on Academic Healthcare Centers for Integrative Medicine) working group on IMH was founded in March, 2009 during the CAHCIM Research Conference following a conversation that took place at the December, 2008 Groningen conference. Approximately 35 individuals attended the organizing meeting including MA and PhD psychologists, psychiatrists, RNs, MSWs and NDs. World regions represented included North America, the EU, and the Middle East. The working group was unanimously approved by the CAHCIM leadership in July, 2009. Membership is currently limited to academic faculty affiliated with 40 CAHCIM member institutions. Strategic goals of the working group on IMH include: facilitating networking between clinicians and researchers, developing model curricula for post-graduate training in IMH, and broadening the CAHCIM agenda to include collaboration with other organizations, and inviting international involvement in planning strategic initiatives. An important initial goal of the working group was establishment of INIMH. Activities of the working group to date have included monthly conference calls (archived) for strategic planning and clinical case conferences.

Establishment of International Network of Integrative Mental Health (INIMH) came out of discussions within the CAHCIM working group on IMH during a one-day organizing meeting in March, 2010 that took place before the 1st U.S. Conference on IMH, Phoenix. A proposal for establishing INIMH as a non-profit organization was funded by the Mann Foundation in June, 2010. A one-year period of intensive planning focused on establishment of bylaws and designing a high-end website for mental health professionals. The website was formally launched in early June, 2011. A 4-day strategic planning meeting took place in April, 2011 in Tucson.

AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) established a committee on CAM and IMH at its 2010 annual conference. The Committee includes Special interest group exploring research network and collaboration. There is strong support from leadership. which has invited regular contributions on CAM in the AACAP newsletter. A proposal is currently under review for a full day institute on CAM (up to 700 M.D.s) at this year’s annual meeting.

The ABHIM (American Board of Holistic Integrative Medicine (formerly ABHM) was established in 1996. Mental health has always been a major emphasis. The current focus is on tightening board certification requirements in integrative medicine. Over 1500 M.D.s are currently certified. The 12th annual board review course will take place this Fall. ABHIM is currently developing a fellowship certification program for M.D.s with at least 900 hours of didactics and at least one yr of fellowship training. A formal relationship with Plaintree is being explored.

The European Consortium of Integrative Mental Health Centers was founded during the 2nd annual conference on integrative medicine, in Berlin, December, 2009. The organizers’ intention was to follow the conceptual framework of the CAHCIM working group and INIMH. To date this organization has been relatively inactive however a website domain name has been established and there is on-going informal contact between clinicians and researchers based in the EU.

The Center for Integrative Psychiatry, Groningen, The Netherlands is the hub for a national Dutch network of integrative clinicians including 50 psychiatrists, 50 psychologists, 30 family physicians and many Master’s level therapists. It is based in an outpatient clinic at the University of Groningen which includes 3 psychiatrists, 5 psychologists, 3 RNs specialized in IMH, 2 psychiatry residents, one physical therapist and an expert in mind-body medicine. A research program at the Center is conducting studies on mindfulness, heart rate variability (HRV) and natural products (eg, inositol). The Center recently put on its 4th conference and is now planning its 5th conference for April, 2012.