NIMH Director Thomas Insel, MD
This fall, I’m pleased to share some exciting news with you. First, we are celebrating two extraordinary NIMH-supported scientists: Thomas Südhof, M.D. from Stanford for being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his groundbreaking work in brain signaling, and Susan Murphy, Ph.D. from the University of Michigan for being named to the esteemed 2013 class of MacArthur Fellows for her innovative work to customize treatment regimens for individuals coping with chronic or relapsing disorders such as depression or substance abuse. Second, work is getting underway on an historic neuroscience research initiative involving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other Federal and private partners. What President Obama has called, “the next great American project,” the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative will support the development of new technologies for understanding how neural circuits link to behavior. Leveraging recent progress in molecular biology and imaging, we can now make rapid progress on understanding neural circuits, including the circuits involved in mental illness. Already, NIH has approved nine high-priority research areas for BRAIN proposed by leading neuroscientists for fiscal year 2014 funding. Stay tuned for updates about this unprecedented neuroscience effort.
Outreach Partners disseminate NIMH materials and research findings throughout their state.
The Institute of Rural Health at Idaho State University created a new Twitter feed, @ID_Mentalhealth, to distribute mental health information from NIMH and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
High school students from 16 Nebraska communities attended the first of what will be the annual Ambassador High School Conference to learn about behavioral health and health careers that serve people with mental illness. Students received NIMH materials about depression and suicide. The purpose of this conference, coordinated by the Nebraska Outreach Partner, the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, is to connect students from rural communities with behavioral health professionals and graduate-level students who can serve as mentors and encourage their career goals.
The Vermont Association for Mental Health and Recovery provided NIMH materials for an exhibit table at a concert by the Me/2 Orchestra, a classical music organization created for individuals with mental illnesses and the people who support them. The concert featured performances that encourage dialogue about mental health issues.
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI Utah utilized information from NIMH in its "A Fact a Day in the Month of May" campaign. Throughout May, NAMI Utah shared facts about mental health through Facebook, Twitter, and on its website. During the month of May, the Facebook posts were viewed by thousands of people, and the number of individuals who “Liked” NAMI Utah’s page increased by nearly 200.
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After the Program's Annual Meeting, Partners are bringing the findings to their own communities.
NAMI Iowa shared research findings at its affiliate meetings through a compilation of annual meeting presentations.
Following a presentation by DSM-5 Task Force chair, David Kupfer, M.D., the Puerto Rico Outreach Partner, the University of Puerto Rico's Institute for Psychological Research, created a fact sheet in Spanish about the changes in the DSM-5.
The Federation of Families of South Carolina shared annual meeting presentations about the teen brain, anxiety, and childhood bipolar disorder with the 15 pediatric practices in South Carolina participating in the South Carolina-CHIPRA (Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act) pilot grant.
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Partners conduct outreach projects addressing mental disorders among children and adolescents, or mental health disparities.
Colorado Youth Outreach
In the 2011 Healthy Kids Colorado survey of high school students, 16.4 percent of respondents stated they had considered suicide and nine percent had attempted suicide. The city of Denver has the largest number of reported youth suicides in the state. Mental Health America of Colorado’s (MHAC) Check Your Head (CYH) school-based program seeks to reduce suicide and other forms of violence in Denver by strengthening protective factors among at risk youth. Skilled youth leaders teach students how to express their emotions through the arts. Students combine hip-hop elements – dance, lyrics, and art – with their knowledge of emotional wellness and fuse them into a creative performance for their peers. Students explore issues such as self-identity, conflict resolution, depression, tolerance, and other topics during a six-week CYH enrichment course. Youth share personal experiences on each theme and discuss various NIMH statistics, which are integrated into the curriculum content. MHAC also distributes NIMH brochures to participating schools. Through CYH, MHAC also provides educational presentations to school personnel and parents to establish a support system for youth who may be experiencing mental health issues. After completing the program, graduates of CYH were more likely to report that they had increased self-confidence and educational aspirations, and had the skills to resolve conflicts.
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Outreach Partners are getting out the word about opportunities for the public to participate in research.
NAMI North Carolina created a new webpage to promote NIMH and local research studies.
Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio (MHANKSO) produced a cable show with the Lindner Center for Hope, a local mental health treatment center that conducts research, to increase understanding about the importance of clinical research. The show describes how studies are managed, and the pros and cons of study participation. It was distributed to regional cable stations, inpatient behavioral health units, and a regional college, and is available on MHANKSO's YouTube Channel.
The Puerto Rico Outreach Partner assisted in the recruitment of participants for NIMH-funded depression studies at the University of Puerto Rico. The Partner promoted the studies through flyers, its website, Facebook, and radio programs.
NAMI New York State toured the NIH Clinical Center during the OPP 2013 Annual Meeting and subsequently the Partner prepared a summary for its newsletter describing what families and individuals may experience if participating in a study at the NIH.
NAMI Iowa embedded an NIMH video about one family's experience participating in clinical research into its newsletter to encourage its community to learn about involvement in research.
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Partners are teaming up with researchers in their states to promote clinical trials, and disseminate and apply research. Here are just a couple examples:
The Mental Health Association in Tulsa (MHAT) has teamed up with the Laureate Institute for Brain Research to educate its community about brain research. To kick off its "Scan Your Brain" campaign and encourage community members to participate in research, MHAT's Executive Director Mike Brose volunteered to have his brain scanned (pictured here) for a research project, and share his experience through multiple educational activities, including a video on his blog.
Partners provide opportunities for NIMH scientists and grantees to present their findings at local meetings and conferences.
NAMI South Dakota's annual conference featured Stuart White, Ph.D., a NIMH DIRP scientist, who discussed the state of the science in the development, assessment, and treatment of antisocial behavior.