MSU to host virtual talk April 15 about schizophrenia
From MSU News Service
Montana State University’s Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery will host an online talk Thursday, April 15, focused on schizophrenia.
The talk is the fourth in the center’s “Experience and Science of Mental Illness” series. It will feature Calen Pick, who will describe his experience of living with mental illness, and Dr. Sophia Vinogradov, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Minnesota medical school, who will discuss basic features of schizophrenia and share some of her research on brain information processing networks.
The event will be held online at 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public, and continuing education credits are available. For login information, visit the Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery website at montana.edu/cmhrr.
Pick said his struggles with mental illness began around the age of 15, when he started experiencing problems with anxiety that eventually led him into a downward spiral. Several years later, he said, he began losing touch with reality and was hospitalized in Helena. He then went to the McClean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, for two years, where he ultimately was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a disorder characterized by both psychosis and mood symptoms. Diagnosis and treatment at age 19 was the start of his recovery and the beginning of the process of building back his life, he said.
Pick, along with his mother, Jessie Close, and his aunt, the actress Glenn Close, are advocates for mental health and founders of Bring Change to Mind, a nonprofit organization with a mission to end to the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness. In addition to his work with Bring Change to Mind, Pick is a self-taught artist.
Vinogradov’s research focuses on networks that change when an individual has illness characterized by psychosis such as schizophrenia.
“Brains are information processing organs that are networks of cells that act like circuits to process information from the environment, as well as memories and emotions that result in behavior that arises from this information,” Vinogradov said. She added that her work is aimed at learning how to improve altered brain information processing to help with psychosis. In doing so, she hopes, in turn, to help individuals experience better thinking and functioning skills.
The event is co-sponsored by NAMI Montana, Bring Change to Mind, the MSU Office of the Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education and the MSU Center for Science, Technology, Ethics and Society. For more information, visit montana.edu/cmhrr. •