Year in Review 2021: Putting the Pieces Together To Meet a Critical Need

July 29, 2022

Like so many, the McLean community has experienced enormous challenges and inspiring triumphs as we have continued to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout, we have maintained deep commitment and sharp focus on our mission—to improve the lives of people and families affected by psychiatric illness. In many respects, this mission has never been more compelling than now. Though we are only beginning to understand the full extent of the mental health toll from the pandemic across all ages and around the world, McLean is rising up in efforts to address these extraordinary impacts.

Through enhancement of clinical care, research, education, and advocacy, McLean is mobilizing to better meet the mental health needs of our regional and global communities.

In this magazine, we are excited to share some of the highlights of 2021, as we have sought to increase access to McLean services and expertise, including:

  • In direct response to the mental health surge in Massachusetts, McLean launched three new inpatient units in the southeast region of the state. These programs—two for adults and one for adolescents—represent the largest expansion of McLean’s inpatient services in more than two decades.
  • With an emphasis on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion, the hospital launched a summer research program aimed at improving access to research-focused education and training for college students who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
  • As attempted and completed suicide rates continue to rise, McLean responded by developing an online suicide assessment course, where the nation’s leading experts in suicide prevention presented current best practices and the most recent advances in the field.

You can also read about our collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital to support caregivers in the Navajo Nation and the transformational impact that philanthropy has had on our ability to grow mission-critical programs.

These features are just a glimpse into the work we are doing to promote hope and deliver life-changing interventions to the people we serve. As the mental health crisis persists in the United States, and beyond, know that McLean Hospital is here as a unique resource for you and your loved ones, as well as others around the world.

Read the Articles

Cover of Year in Review 2021

McLean SouthEast Increases Offerings in Response to Pandemic’s Toll
The toll of the pandemic on the physical well-being of Massachusetts residents is a topic of daily news and conversation. The expansion of McLean SouthEast with an additional 68-bed inpatient facility for children, adolescents, and adults demonstrates a response to the less well-publicized yet powerful impact of COVID-19 on behavioral health.

Improving Quality of Life for Patients Starts With Supporting Caregivers
Dementia. The mere mention of cognitive decline is usually enough to send chills down the spines of older Americans and their family members. While there is broad recognition of the devastating impact of living with illnesses that include symptoms affecting memory and thinking, such as Alzheimer’s disease, there has been less focus on the impact on those who care for loved ones with dementia.

Fostering Scientific Curiosity and Encouraging BIPOC Students To Pursue Careers in Mental Health
One of the major challenges in health care today is addressing social determinants that can affect the quality of care a person receives. Central to improving that care is for patients to be able to see people who look like them—whether at the bench or the bedside. That’s the central premise of the McLean Mental Health Research Summer Program (MMHRSP), a 10-week paid internship that brings Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) undergraduate students to McLean’s campus to gain valuable experience in neuroscience or clinical psychology research.

“I Wanted To Do Anything That Could Help:” Offering Support to Caregivers in Indigenous Communities
The Navajo Nation covers 27,000 square miles of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. While beautiful, its rural setting brings a range of health disparities compounded by inadequate access to specialty clinical care. Responding to these disparities, the Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization launched its collaboration with the Navajo Area Indian Health Service (IHS) in 2010.

The Worldwide Impact of Online Training for Suicide Prevention
Medical education has long been a part of McLean Hospital’s mission, with programs aimed at both clinicians and the general public. But a long-planned suicide assessment workshop, held virtually in October 2021, brought home the value of online options as a way to reach the most people in the most efficient way. The pandemic was not the impetus for the five-hour session, the first in an ongoing series of continuing education programs, but it certainly didn’t hurt attendance.

Spirituality and Psychotherapy: In Pursuit of Common Ground
For over a century, psychiatry and religion have had a rocky relationship. Thankfully, McLean’s new Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program is designed to get that relationship onto smoother ground. “Sigmund Freud was virulently anti-religious,” said David H. Rosmarin, PhD, ABPP, director of McLean’s Spirituality and Mental Health Program, a hospital-wide initiative, which includes the CPE program.

Examining the Possible Link Between COVID-19 Vaccines and Menstrual Changes
One of the persistent questions surrounding the reluctance of some women to get COVID-19 vaccinations is the potential impact on their reproductive health. A McLean Hospital researcher and some colleagues are working hard to provide some answers.

Is There a Connection Between Early Life Stress and COVID-19?
Can early life stress contribute to how COVID-19 affects a patient? That’s a question being asked by a McLean Hospital researcher in a national mental health study of college students in his native Pakistan that will be conducted over the next two years. The project is one of two undertaken by Alaptagin Khan, MBBS, FRSPH, a research associate in the Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program. A second study aims to examine a potential link between COVID-19 and a gene involved in the entire continuum of stress-related and anxiety disorders.

Personal Experience Paves the Path to One Couple’s Dedication
Carroll and Bob Pierce understand the heartache of trying to help family members with mental health concerns. Two of their four daughters began experiencing anxiety when they were in middle school. “We had zero idea what anxiety was when our first daughter was diagnosed. I cannot overstate our ignorance,” Carroll said. “But from then on, we went headfirst into educating ourselves because we knew it was sink or swim.”

Rappaport Gift Is Culmination of Two Decades of Basic Neuroscience Support
Phyllis and Jerry Rappaport have always taken two things very seriously: McLean Hospital’s leadership in neuroscience research and the importance of emerging leaders in advancing the field of psychiatry. As evidence, and as a capstone to a 20-year relationship with the hospital, the couple has endowed McLean’s division of basic neuroscience—now called the Jerry and Phyllis Rappaport Center of Excellence in Basic Neuroscience Research—and established the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Endowed Chair in Psychiatry.

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