Panel Overwhelmingly Recommends FDA Approve Esketamine for Resistant Depression

On February 12th, an FDA advisory panel recommended overwhelmingly that the agency approve a drug called esketamine for the rapid relief of depression in patients who have not been helped by existing therapies. If approved, the drug will also be used to reduce suicidal thinking in patients in crisis, where it has also shown effectiveness in tests.

Like the closely related experimental drug ketamine, which has been used for years as an anesthetic, esketamine has been shown in multiple clinical trials to dramatically reduce the symptoms of even intractable depression in many patients, often within minutes or hours of its administration. Its effects typically last 1 to 2 weeks, but can be continued in “maintenance” dosing following initial treatment, clinical trials have suggested.

Read entire article HERE.

Don’t Neglect your Mental Health during the Holidays

The Holidays are upon us – for better or for worse!
During the holiday season, many look forward to festivities with friends and family. But for others, this time can bring on or worsen stress, anxiety and depression.
Read up on some tips HERE from


When Love Isn’t Enough

Suicide’s Legacy: A father’s struggle – from the AJC
One year after losing his teen daughter to suicide, Richard Blackwell is learning to laugh
Sixteen-year-old Alex Blackwell died in September 2017, after a yearlong struggle with
social anxiety and depression, inflamed by back-to-back sports concussions and extensive
leg surgery. The Atlanta-journal-Constitution shared Alex’s story in a Personal Journey
earlier this year. Click HERE to read her story.
The rosy-cheeked girl with striking blue eyes was beloved for her wicked sense of humor
and spontaneity. Her sudden death, the result of an intentional overdose, left a dent in the
Blackwells’ close-knit Tucker community and at Greater Atlanta Christian School, where
Alex played soccer.
“She was the best adventure of my life,” said Seth Masters, Alex’s boyfriend.
It was two months after Alex’s death before Blackwell and his wife, Kim, spent a day
without tears; six months before there were more days without tears than with them.
Richard Blackwell and daughter Alex shared a close bond.
On the one-year anniversary of her death last month, neighbors placed luminaries around
the Blackwell’s home. The couple spent the stormy night eating sushi and drinking a
couple beers before going to bed. Blackwell said they awoke the next morning and felt “like
a type of burden had lifted up and off.
“Everybody seemed to think the year was the magic point,” Blackwell said. “And it’s true. It’s
amazing what a year will do and allow you to recover from. ”
Recognizing depression To help heal from Alex’s death and to help parents of other teens
suffering from depression, Blackwell focused his energy on depression awareness. He
began curating and circulating a detailed checklist for parents to identify signs of
depression and improve verbal communication with their children.
But as time passed, he grew concerned by the growing suicide rate. The number of
suicides among 15- to 19-year-old girls has doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a
40-year high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Blackwell decided to shift his attention from learning the signs of depression to educating
himself on treatments for depression.
He was fueled, in part, by his own downward spiral.
Read entire article HERE.

Schizophrenia and Computers!

Computer-Delivered Cognitive Training Significantly Helped Schizophrenia Patients in Rehab Setting
eNews from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
Cognitive difficulties experienced by people with schizophrenia are the symptoms of the illness that tend to have the greatest impact on daily functioning and overall quality of life. Individuals who have reduced interest in activities, problems remembering and learning, or interpreting verbal cues, find it very difficult to hold jobs or cultivate social relationships that are central in normal functioning.
Knowing that the medicines commonly used to treat psychotic symptoms have no meaningful impact on the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, researchers have been trying for years to find therapies that will specifically improve cognitive functioning. Targeted cognitive training (TCT) has recently been shown to have moderate to high effectiveness when administered in carefully controlled academic settings. The training method targets the brain’s auditory processing system, in which deficits have been shown to correlate with patients’ deficits in auditory perception and verbal learning.
Read entire article HERE.

June 26 Pizza Social

Pizza Social for our friends and members with a mental health condition!
Click HERE for more information!

2018 NAMI GA Annual Conference April 20-21

Get more information and register NOW for NAMI Georgia’s Annual Conference
After April 18 you must register at the door.
The Clubhouse Forum begins at 11:15 AM on Saturday and will be a “blue ribbon” event featuring Jack Yatsko, COO of Clubhouse International as well as representatives from three successful Clubhouses.
“What Is A Clubhouse” flyer
“Clubhouses – Benefits that Exceed Expectations” flyer
Email for more information on the Clubhouse Forum portion of the Conference.


When Love is Not Enough

When Love is Not Enough: Know When to Seek Help
One in five children in the U.S. show signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year. Yet, nearly 80% of children who need mental health services don’t get them. Parents and caregivers often don’t know what to do to help a child who is struggling with a mental illness.
Attend the forum to hear an in-depth conversation about the mental health crises affecting children and families. Learn the signs to look for at home, and how to partner with schools and community agencies to address mental health concerns.
REGISTER at EventBrite.

Annual Meeting & Potluck Feb 10, 2018

During our annual meeting, we will elect new board members and share our 2018 plans. You will be receiving a nomination form for board candidates soon. Members whose dues are up to date can nominate candidates and vote. If you are not yet a member of NAMI Northside, please consider joining!  Your dues are tax deductible and we value your input. 
Annual Meeting and Potluck
February 10th
Peachtree Presbyterian Church
3434 Roswell Road, Buckhead
Room #2202
NAMI Northside is a nonprofit organization with the mission of serving individuals in our community who confront the challenges of mental illness in themselves or in a loved one. Everything we offer is free and would not be possible without the gifts, contributions and membership dues we receive. These funds enable us to offer free resources, education and support through our regularly scheduled weekly and monthly meetings; as well as our annual Mental Health Fair and Annual Meeting and Potluck.  The only fees associated with the benefits of membership are the annual dues.
If you are not yet a member, or if you have received a notice that your membership has lapsed, won’t you consider joining our efforts as we work to provide help, hope, and support to those impacted by mental illness?
Please click below to join! We look forward to welcoming you to our NAMI Family!  #youarenotalone 

NAMI Basics Class begins Jan 11, 2018


Schizophrenia study still open

Individuals with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia are invited to participate in a paid online study about the side effects of atypical antipsychotic medications and the impact the side effects have on daily life.

The purpose of the study is to understand how specific adverse events due to treatment with atypical antipsychotics affect the functioning of patients with schizophrenia: both physically and mentally, as well as quality of life from a patient perspective. It will also serve to better understand how patients with schizophrenia feel in response to experiencing adverse events which have a functional impact on them. We are hopeful this information will help developers of such treatment become more aware of such impact from medications.

Patients who have started a new treatment within the past 12 months are invited to participate by clicking on the following link or copying it to the search bar.

(This link is for United States residents only. If you live in Canada or Australia, please contact us for the link specific to your country.)

The honorarium is a $40 Amazon Gift Certificate and the survey takes about 10-30 minutes to complete. (The certificate will be mailed to a valid address of the participant.)

ALL information is strictly confidential. If one chooses to take a break and return to the survey later, it must be completed within 5 days of starting.

For questions about the study or if there is a technical difficulty, please contact Linda or Erin at or call 908-698-1038.


Erin Pilkington

Pillar Patient Advocates LLC

….Supporting you on your healthcare journey