First 2014 Issue of Outreach Connection

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NIMH Director Insel

NIMH Director Thomas Insel, MD

Despite immense efforts to understand how to identify those at risk and prevent suicide, the answers have remained largely elusive and suicide continues to be an intractable problem. Suicide claims the lives of over 38,000 people in America every year, and in 2010, there were more than 650,000 hospital visits related to suicide attempts. We need a response that matches the magnitude of the problem – and one that is informed by the best science. That’s why three years ago, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention established the Research Prioritization Task Force (RPTF) in an effort to identify what we know works, and what research needs to be prioritized, if we are to make a dent in this country’s suicide rate. The RPTF, co-chaired by the Jed Foundation’s Phillip Satow and myself, called on more than 60 national and international research experts and more than 700 individual stakeholders to gather input that would shape the research agenda. Outreach Partners and National Partners of the Outreach Partnership Program provided valuable insights, and we thank you for your contributions. The RPTF has just released, A Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention: An Action Plan to Save Lives with the expressed goal of reducing suicides in this country by 20 percent in five years and 40 percent in the next 10. The hope is that the Plan draws attention to measures already known to be effective, as well as to new research needed in less-studied areas, and encourages tests of whether commonly used anti-suicide programs are having the intended effects. Efforts like the New Mexico Outreach Partner’s dissemination of science-based information from NIMH to Native American populations impacted by suicide – described in this issue – are critical to making communities aware of how best to target their response. It is our hope that these efforts will be strengthened by the Research Agenda. By working together to inform communities about how to reliably identify those at risk, how to reach them, and how to deter them from acting on suicidal thoughts, we can save lives.


Getting Research Out

Outreach Partners disseminate NIMH materials and research findings throughout their state.


NAMI Connecticut incorporated NIMH statistics and information into a presentation about children and adolescents with a co-occurrence of mental illness and autism.

Mental Health America of Illinois in partnership with Illinois Safe School Alliance, participated in a summer camp serving LGBTQ youth. They presented NIMH materials, including the NIMH depression video, in educational activities about mental illness, suicide prevention, and depression.


Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida distributed NIMH Spanish-language brochures at a gathering of over 900 people to support a local health clinic serving the Hispanic community.


The Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Inc. distributed NIMH materials at a meeting to assist Veterans and families with community and family reintegration.

NAMI Minnesota Community Conversations

NAMI Minnesota affiliates organized 19 community conversations across the state to support the National Dialogue on Mental Health, and distributed fact sheets with NIMH statistics and NIMH brochures on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

NAMI Maine Tweet
NIMH Publications Image

NAMI Maine promoted the availability of ordering NIMH publications via Facebook and Twitter.



NIMH Director Insel TedTalk  

The Mental Health Association of Tulsa named Dr. Insel's TedTalk in the Top 3 TedTalks on mental health of 2013. 

NAMI Wyoming distributed NIMH materials at a training session for nursing students at Casper College. NIMH publications on schizophrenia augmented an activity for the students that simulated the experience of "hearing voices."

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Extending the Reach

After the Program's Annual Meeting, Partners are bringing the findings to their own communities.

Jeffery Swanson at NAMI North Carolina Conference

After the Program's Annual Meeting, Jeffrey Swanson of Duke University School of Medicine presented the keynote address at the NAMI North Carolina State Conference: Creating Community Conversations Post-Sandy Hook

United Self Help, the Hawaii Outreach Partner, incorporates data presented during Annual Meeting presentations into mental health education talks with high school students.

NAMI New York State Conference Zarate

NAMI New York State's Educational Conference featured two NIMH scientists who presented at last year's Annual Meeting. Dr. Jay Giedd shared his research about the teen brain and Dr. Carlos Zarate led a workshop about the latest research on bipolar disorder treatment. 

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Tackling Disparities

Outreach Partners conduct projects addressing mental disorders among children and adolescents, or mental health disparities.

Honoring Native Life Logo

Honoring Native Life

Like other western states, New Mexico grapples with one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Native American communities are particularly hard hit. American Indian and Alaska Native youth have the highest rate of suicide for males and females ages 10 to 24 of any racial group. The University of New Mexico Center for Rural and Community Behavioral Health runs “Honoring Native Life” (HNL), a state-funded clearinghouse for tribal agencies and communities to access culturally appropriate information, technical assistance, training, and support for suicide prevention, intervention, and/or postvention efforts. 

HNL connects Native New Mexicans to a network of resources, including providers, community members, researchers, youth, educators, and tribal leaders. HNL conducts “conversations” with youth, parents, and teachers, and engages schools, primary care clinics, and community centers. HNL recently created a youth council to engage and obtain input from Native American youth in the design and implementation of culturally appropriate suicide interventions. New Mexico Outreach Partner, Dr. Caroline Bonham noted that, "The NIMH publications and science updates are particularly helpful when we go into the community to create awareness of mental health issues."

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Promoting Research Opportunities

Outreach Partners are getting out the word about opportunities for the public to participate in research.

The Mental Health Association of Maryland promoted an NIH-funded study about stress and parenting conducted by the University of Maryland ADHD Center by distributing study fliers at a Maryland Coalition of Families conference and posting the study announcement to its website.

Mental Health America of Louisiana promoted NIMH clinical trial opportunities at community forums statewide designed to facilitate dialogue between consumers, families, and mental health providers about mental health services issues in Louisiana.

NIMH DIRP Staff lead session

NAMI New York State invited the NIMH Intramural Schizophrenia Research Department to its recent educational conference to lead a workshop about participation in NIMH research trials.

Mental Health America of Los Angeles in partnership with the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute held workshops on mental health topics at an annual educational conference for promotoras (i.e., Hispanic/Latino lay community health workers). Presenters discussed the importance of research involvement and distributed copies of the Spanish language NIMH publication, A Participant's Guide to Mental Health Clinical Research.

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Collaborating with Researchers

Partners team up with researchers in their states to promote clinical trials, and disseminate and apply research. For example:

The Mental Health America of Montana teamed up with the University of Montana-Helena's Dr. Nathan Munn and Montana’s Peer Network to train peer recovery support coaches for people recovering from mental and substance use disorders. The team is collecting data to assess the effectiveness of the training.

Taking Research to the Community

Partners provide opportunities for NIMH scientists and grantees to present their findings at local meetings and conferences.

Jay Tischfield NAMI NJ Conference

NIMH Grantee, Dr. Jay Tischfield from Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey, provided a keynote talk about mental disorders in the genomic age at the NAMI New Jersey Annual Conference. In addition, the meeting featured a discussion about NIMH's Research Domain Criteria (RDoC).

NIMH grantee, Dr. Barbara Stanley of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, presented at the Texas Suicide Prevention Symposium organized by Mental Health America of Texas. Dr. Stanley reviewed safety planning and other brief interventions to mitigate risk with suicidal individuals.

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Outreach Connection is a service of the National Institute of Mental Health's (NIMH) Outreach Partnership Program.

Winter 2014

New from NIMH

NIMH Postpartum Depression Facts

Check out this new NIMH publication about postpartum depression.

Upcoming Observances & Resources

Brain Awareness Week
(March 10-16, 2014)
NIMH offers educational resources that can be used in schools and other community settings to help explain how the brain works.

Brain Basics image of synapse

Consider using videos about the developing brain and the brain's wiring in 3D in your education efforts!

National Autism Awareness Month
(April 2014)
Take a look at the NIMH publication, A Parent's Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder, and other NIMH resources on autism.

Mental Health Month
(May 2014)
Check out NIMH materials and resources for your Mental Health Month activities!

Borderline Personality Disorder Month
(May 2014)
Don't forget about the NIMH brochure on borderline personality disorder.

Older Americans Month
(May 2014)
Consider NIMH depression and older adults information.

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
(May 8, 2014)
Find NIMH brochures and videos about children and adolescents, including the fact sheets, Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents, Depression among Children and Adolescents, and Teen Brain: Still Under Construction.

National Prevention Week
(May 18-24, 2014)
Check out NIMH resources on mental health promotion and suicide prevention.

PTSD Awareness Month
(June 2014)
See NIMH resources and videos about post-traumatic stress disorder.

Studies Seeking Participants

NIH Clinical Center

The NIMH Division of Intramural Programs in Bethesda, MD is seeking participants for the following trials. Spread the word.

Descriptive Study of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
(Outpatient: 1-3 visits and may include follow-up visits until age 25) This study describes, over time, the moods and behavior of children. Participants must have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, be currently in treatment with a physician, medically healthy and not currently hospitalized, psychotic or suicidal. The study includes performing research & computer tasks, neuropsychological testing, and MRI brain imaging. Recruiting ages 6-17.  [00-M-0198]

Bipolar Disorder & Riluzole
(Outpatient or Inpatient: 8 weeks) This study of Riluzole (an FDA-approved drug for Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS) tests how this drug affects glutamate in the brain and improves treatment resistant depressive symptoms (failure to reduce symptoms after taking two or more antidepressants.) Recruiting ages 18-70. [03-M-0092]

The dREMe Study: Donepezil for REM Enhancement and Behavioral Change in Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) REM enhancement and behavioral change is being studied at the NIH Clinical Center, the dREMe Study. Researchers are investigating the effects of donepezil on communication in children with ASD, by comparing it to placebo. [Note: this study is recruiting participants from states east of the MIssissippi River.]

National Partner Activities

Thanks to the National Partners for actively promoting NIMH research.

NEDA Webpage

The National Eating Disorders Association highlighted the work of NIMH Director Dr. Insel and his recent keynote at its annual conference on its website.

Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America regularly incorporates NIMH research and news into its daily blog and e-news.

The American Psychiatric Association summarized a talk by NIMH scientist Dr. Jay Giedd about the adolescent brain in its electronic newsletter.

Dana Foundation Tweet

The Dana Foundation tweeted Dr. Insel's blog post about what's to come for 2014 in mental health and neuroscience.

NAMI National featured Dr. Insel's blog post about antipsychotic medications on its website and e-newsletter.

About the Program

The Outreach Partnership Program, a nationwide initiative of the National Institute of Mental Health Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison (OCRPL), works to increase the public’s access to science-based mental health information through partnerships with national and state nonprofit organizations. The program has 55 Outreach Partners representing all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and over 80 National Partners, including professional, consumer, advocacy, and service-related organizations with a nationwide membership and/or audience.


Outreach Connection provides a vehicle to share how the Outreach Partners and National Partners are disseminating NIMH research across the country. If you have feedback about the newsletter, please contact