Mental Health Awareness with Christine Moutier, Episode #27

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Today’s guest on the Mitlin Money Mindset™ is Dr. Christine Moutier, the Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Christine knows the impact of suicide firsthand. After losing colleagues she dedicated herself to fighting this leading cause of death. She has testified before the US Congress and provided multiple congressional briefings on suicide prevention. She has also presented to the White House, spoken at the National Academy of Sciences, and co-anchored CNN’s Emmy award-winning Finding Hope a suicide prevention town hall. Dr. Moutier is the go-to expert in the area of suicide for virtually every news outlet and publication. Suicide prevention and mental health is an area of great importance to me after losing my brother-in-law in 2004. I thought there would be no better way to highlight Mental Health Awareness Month than to have Christine on the show.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • Christine’s path to the AFSP organization [2:12]
  • What can people do to care for their mental health? [3:43]
  • Are there things that parents can do to help their kids’ mental health? [7:19]
  • How has technology affected people and their mental health? [12:30]
  • How AFSP does and does not assist those who are affected by mental illness? [16:14]
  • Have research & studies helped mental health and suicide prevention? [21:31]
  • What is going on with the suicide rate? [25:50]
  • Something for everyone! Getting involved with AFSP [30:19]
  • What Christine did today that put her in the right mindset for success? [35:17]

 

From UCSD to AFSP, Dr. Christine Moutier’s road to suicide prevention

Dr. Christine Moutier is a psychiatrist but the issue of suicide, stigma, and mental health experiences come to her through life experience, not just patient care. She was Dean for Student Affairs and Medical Education at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine before she went to AFSP. It was there that she experienced her struggles as a student and later the experiences of losing physician colleagues to suicide— more than a dozen— over a period of 15 years. Christine became deeply involved in preventing suicide among her colleagues while she was taking care of patients and doing medical education.

She got to know the organization AFSP, as a volunteer and helped start the San Diego chapter. The issue of suicide prevention, specifically for certain groups— in her case colleagues, physicians, and trainees— was a passion for Christine. Through the work with AFSP, Dr. Moutier came to understand the scientific underpinnings for preventing suicide. That’s how she designed the program at UCLA, which is still going strong. Seven years ago Christine made the move across the country to work full-time for AFSP.

Working out your mental health muscles to keep your mind in shape

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and people are hungry for information. Maybe you are wondering what can you do to care for your mental health? Are there certain things that you can be thinking about and proactively doing? Dr. Christine Moutier says ABSOLUTLEY!

She says the term mental health sometimes means something different or very specific, but the truth is… we all have mental health, just like we all have physical health. It doesn’t mean we have a mental health condition, although it’s very common and 1 in 4 Americans do. She says you can be proactive by doing things like taking care of your sleep, making sure you’re hydrated, having decent nutrition, keeping alcohol intake to a minimum, managing your stress, and exercising on some kind of regular basis. Look out for how you’re doing and how you’re feeling. Are you able to be resilient and stay optimistic? All of those things tap into our mental health. We can learn how to practice by doing specific daily activities that help shore up our mental health and our resilience. This is a family affair so look out for your loved ones as well.

Protecting your children’s mental health after a year of pandemic life

We’re coming out of a year of pandemic life and there’s been a lot of talk about what the impact is going to be on our children’s mental health. They’ve experienced extra stresses over the last 12 months and their lives have been disrupted. Are there things that parents can do to help their kids’ mental health? Is it the same as the adult practices discussed above or is there a different approach for them?

Dr. Christine Moutier says the basics apply to all human beings, no matter the age. With kids, in particular, they need to have structure and expectation that presents a feeling of security for them. Help them understand what’s coming in the days or weeks ahead to reassure them that no matter what is going on in the world, pandemic or otherwise, the family environment- your home- your love, is going to stay the same. There’s security in that for them. Be careful about overloading kids, especially young kids with world news. Even adults need to limit the amount of media we consume.

Social media is a huge part of kids’ lives. Depending on the age range, you want to encourage them to notice things that are and are not good for them. That’s more ideal than just setting rules, arbitrarily. Idealistically, if they’re mature, willing, and able to be open with you and talk about their observations, that can help them cultivate a sense of ownership of their life their mental health, and their wellbeing.

But over and above all of that try to create an environment through the little things— the day in and day out, dinner time, in the car conversations— where you’re creating an environment where you’re involved, you care, where there are boundaries and expectations, but where they also hear regularly that nothing that they do, no challenge they face, is going to be too much for you as a family to handle together.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Christine Moutier

Dr. Christine Moutier (pronounced Moo-tee-ay) knows the impact of suicide firsthand. After losing colleagues to suicide, she dedicated herself to fighting this leading cause of death. A leader in the field of suicide prevention, Dr. Moutier joined AFSP in 2013 as Chief Medical Officer, and it’s through her passion and commitment that we see a lasting impact via research, education, and support to communities across the U.S.

She has testified before the U.S. Congress and provided multiple Congressional briefings on suicide prevention, presented to the White House, spoken at the National Academy of Sciences, co-anchored CNN’s Emmy Award-winning Finding Hope suicide prevention town hall, and has appeared as an expert in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time magazine, The Economist, The Atlantic, the BBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, and other print, radio and television outlets.

Throughout her career she has focused on training healthcare leaders, physicians, and patient groups to change the culture surrounding mental health, fighting stigma, and optimizing care for those suffering from mental health conditions. In addition to co-founding AFSP’s San Diego Chapter, Moutier co-led a successful suicide prevention program for medical faculty, residents, and students, which featured AFSP’s groundbreaking Interactive Screening Program.

Since earning her medical degree and training in psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, Moutier has been a practicing psychiatrist, professor of psychiatry, dean in the UCSD medical school, and medical director of the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit at the VA Medical Center in La Jolla, treating diverse patient populations from Asian refugees to veterans to corporate and academic leaders. She also served as co-investigator for the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression study (STAR*D), a large National Institute of Mental Health trial on the treatment of refractory depression.

Moutier has authored articles and book chapters for publications such as the Journal of the American Medical Association, Academic Medicine, the American Journal of Psychiatry, the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Psychiatric Times, Depression and Anxiety, and Academic Psychiatry.

 

Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative of CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest’s content linked on this site.

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