Group Health psychiatrist Greg Simon has been a driving force in mental health research at Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) since the early 1990s. With a knack for finding effective real-world strategies, he consistently pursues a rigorous and diverse research agenda that helps improve mental health treatment for people everywhere.
Dr. Simon leads the Mental Health Research Network (MHRN), a consortium of research centers affiliated with 11 large health systems across the United States. This network, funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), aims to improve the efficiency, relevance, and impact of mental health clinical and health services research. Now in its second five-year funding cycle, the MHRN is exploring a broad range of issues—including using mobile devices for mental health clinical assessments, improving heart health in people with serious mental illness, using electronic medical records to improve follow-up care for depression, and understanding the causes of racial and ethnic disparities in mental health care.
Well-known for extensive research on practical approaches to improving mental health care—including providing care management support by phone and online—Dr. Simon’s work recently expanded to include a focus on preventing suicide. Each year, more than nine million U.S. adults think seriously about killing themselves and more than a million try to take their lives.
In 2013, Dr. Simon and colleagues showed that routinely administered depression outcome questionnaires can identify people at increased risk for suicide attempt. With funding from the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory, Dr. Simon’s team at GHRI (along with colleagues at Kaiser Colorado’s Institute for Health Research and the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research) are conducting a large randomized trial to determine whether population-based outreach programs can reduce risk of suicide attempt in people identified by those questionnaires. This research will test two suicide-prevention interventions: an outreach and care management program (delivered online and by phone) and an online psycho-educational program focused on development of emotion regulation skills.
Dr. Simon is an editor for the Cochrane Collaboration’s depression and anxiety review group and sits on the editorial boards for General Hospital Psychiatry and Psychiatric Services. He also chairs the scientific advisory board for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Dr. Simon has practiced adult psychiatry in Group Health’s Behavioral Health Service since 1990 and holds an appointment as a research professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington.
Fernandez Y Garcia E, Joseph J, Wilson MD, Hinton L, Simon G, Ludman E, Scott F, Kravitz RL. Pediatric-based intervention to motivate mothers to seek follow-up for depression screens: the Motivating Our Mothers (MOM) trial. Acad Pediatr. 2015;15(3):311-8. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2014.11.008. PubMed
Ahmedani BK, Stewart C, Simon GE, Lynch F, Lu CY, Waitzfelder BE, Solberg LI, Owen-Smith AA, Beck A, Copeland LA, Hunkeler EM, Rossom RC, Williams K. Racial/ethnic differences in health care visits made before suicide attempt across the United States. Med Care. 2015;53(5):430-5. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000335.
Brown HJ, Andreason H, Melling AK, Imel ZE, Simon GE. Problems with using patient retention in the evaluation of mental health providers: differences in type of dropout. Psychiatr Serv. 2015 Apr 15:appips201400059. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Steinfeld B, Franklin A, Mercer B, Fraynt R, Simon G. Progress monitoring in an integrated health care system: tracking behavioral health vital signs. Adm Policy Ment Health. 2015 Apr 4. [Epub ahead of print].
New York Times, Feb. 13, 2015
Randomized controlled trial including peer support helps patients at Group Health and Swedish Medical Center.