NIMH Director Thomas Insel, MD
Greetings Outreach Partners!
I’m pleased to have this opportunity through the first issue of Outreach Connection to shine a light on the Outreach Partnership Program and express NIMH’s gratitude for the work that you do to advance the Institute’s mission. NIMH views its partnership with your organizations as critical to the Institute’s ability to achieve our public health mandate. Through your lens, working in your states and communities on some of the most burdensome issues facing our Nation – from the loss of life to suicide to national disasters such as Hurricane Sandy to the toll of the invisible wounds of war – NIMH better understands the issues that matter for research to move mental health forward. These insights are of enormous value – and of equal importance is your work to get NIMH research out to the right people, at the right time, with the information they need. Throughout this newsletter, you will find examples of this important work. Read on to learn more.
Through traditional media, social media, statewide and community events, and other activities, Outreach Partners are hard at work reaching the residents of their states with the latest mental health research. Here are just a few examples:
NAMI Minnesota live tweeted NIMH Director Thomas Insel's presentation at the National NAMI Convention.
NAMI Alabama reprinted the NIMH Director's Blog Words Matter in its recent newsletter to constituents.
The Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Inc. distributed NIMH materials at a deployment meeting with the 108th Airborne in Topeka, Kansas.
Tennessee Voices for Children is using NIMH Spanish language materials in outreach and training to Hispanic parents in Sumner County, Tennessee.
Mental Health America (MHA) of Louisiana staff traveled to LaPlace, Louisiana to reach out to families and children affected by Hurricane Issac. NIMH booklets were given to rescue responders, community workers, and parents affected by the disaster.
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The connections forged between Outreach Partners and researchers at the Program’s annual meeting often spawn new efforts to make science accessible to the public. Highlighted below are examples of how Outreach Partners and scientists are getting research to those who need it most:
NIMH Grantees Headline NAMI New York State Educational Conference
The 30th anniversary of this statewide conference featured researchers from past OPP annual meetings, including Catherine Cerrulli, J.D., Ph.D., Director of the NIMH-funded Laboratory for Interpersonal Violence and Victimization in Rochester. Cerrulli, a 2011 OPP annual meeting presenter, spoke about how families can help their loved ones navigate the criminal justice system. NIMH grantees, Donald Goff, M.D. of the Nathan Kline Institute and Lisa Dixon, M.D. from the Center for Practice Innovations at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, also provided an update on research being conducted in New York State.
Partners Bring Research on Suicide and Older Adults to their Communities
After hearing a talk at the Program’s 2012 meeting about safety planning and preventing suicide in older adults by University of Pennsylvania’s Gregory Brown, Ph.D., two Partners found avenues to bring this research to providers in their communities.
The MHA of New York City-coordinated Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York held a symposium for providers of aging services featuring Brown's work and that of other NIMH grantees focused on geriatric depression, including the University of Rochester’s Yeates Conwell, M.D., and Weill Cornell’s Patrick Raue, Ph.D.
The Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) featured Brown's presentation, Suicide Prevention in Older Adults, in trainings for social workers and nurses.
Bullying Prevention Seminar in Maryland
MHAMD and the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research sponsored a bullying prevention seminar for educators and healthcare providers featuring 2011 Annual Meeting presenter Stephen Leff, M.D. of the University of Pennsylvania. Leff is testing a new intervention with urban African American girls aimed at reducing relational aggression (e.g., rumor-spreading, excluding, and verbal insulting), a common form of bullying among girls.
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When it comes to gaps in access to and quality of mental health care, Outreach Partners are making a difference by reaching out to populations in need.
Georgia Healthy Moms Initiative
Through its Project Healthy Moms initiative, Mental Health America of Georgia (MHA of GA) works to shed light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), the leading complications of childbirth in the U.S. “All women of childbearing age are at-risk, yet few providers know about PMADs and how to treat them, and typically don’t screen for them,” says MHA of GA’s Sarah Schwartz. Through this initiative, MHA of GA provides: 1) the Upcoming Provider Program to educate students in the health professions; 2) the PMAD Screening and Training Project for providers that come in contact with childbearing women (e.g., physicians, nurses, social workers, home visitors, and others); 3) the Pregnant Pause newsletter; 4) Perinatal Peer Support and Resource Linkage, featuring online and in-person peer support and a warmline; 5) the Beyond Postpartum blog; and 6) an online Perinatal Depression Screening provider toolkit. These efforts aim to increase awareness of the prevalence and symptoms of PMADs; the adverse consequences for mothers, babies, and the entire family; the need for and ways to screen for PMADs; and treatment options and referral methods. MHA of GA also collaborates with the Women’s Mental Health Program at Emory University to promote participation in PMAD studies.
MHA of GA recently established the Georgia Coalition on Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, comprised of provider organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, and maternal and child health nonprofits such as the Georgia Perinatal Association and Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies of Georgia. Since its launch in July 2012, the Coalition has enlisted State Representative Sharon Cooper, (R-D43), a nurse and advocate for women’s issues, to sponsor a resolution establishing February 3-9, 2013 as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week in Georgia. The Coalition rolled out a public awareness campaign to mark the week, which was kicked off with a presentation by Schwartz to the State Health and Human Services Committee chaired by Rep. Cooper.
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Outreach Partners are getting out the word about the benefits of participation in research and NIMH-funded studies that are actively seeking volunteer research participants. Check it out:
East Texas Area Health Education Center re-tweets NIMH study announcements to its Twitter followers.
The Massachusetts Association of Mental Health distributes announcements about NIMH studies to clubhouses and other peer-run organizations statewide.
Outreach Partners are teaming up with researchers in their states to promote clinical trials and disseminate research findings. Here are just a couple examples:
Ethics in Research Webinar for Idaho Practitioners
The Idaho State University Institute of Rural Health, in collaboration with the NIMH Intramural Research Program, held an educational webinar on research ethics. The webinar featured expert clinicians from NIMH’s Human Subjects Protection Unit to provide an overview of the historical aspects and current understanding of informed consent, including ethical standards for assessing capacity to provide informed consent. As one participant stated in the post-webinar evaluation survey, “When working with older adults and others that suffer cognitive impairments, understanding and having the tools to assess ‘capacity’ at any level of information is very valuable.”
Promotion of Multi-Site Psychotic Depression Study
Outreach Partners in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are helping increase awareness about the NIMH-funded multi-site study, Sustaining Remission of Severe Depression: The STOP-PD II Research Study. Whether through website postings, listserv announcements, support group meetings, or community events, these Outreach Partners are helping to advance research into the treatment of this serious mental illness.
Researchers are still actively recruiting for STOP-PD II, which examines how long people need to stay on an antipsychotic medication to prevent new episodes of psychosis after recovering from their initial symptoms. For more information, contact study coordinator Patricia Marino at 914-997-8691.
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