Read the Latest Outreach Connection from NIMH: Spring 2016

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Acting NIMH Director Bruce Cuthbert

Acting Director Bruce Cuthbert, PhD

NIMH is pleased to share this latest issue of Outreach Connection with you, featuring highlights of the many ways your organizations work to ensure that mental health research makes its way to the community. We applaud your efforts and look forward to working with you in May for Mental Health Month and beyond to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of mental health.

Of special note, this May 5, in observance of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, NIMH will conduct a Twitter Chat with Dr. Ellen Leibenluft, Chief of the Institute’s Section of Bipolar Spectrum Disorders. Many of you may recall hearing from Dr. Leibenluft at the 2010 and 2013 Outreach Partnership Program (OPP) annual meetings about her landmark research with children diagnosed with bipolar disorder. What Dr. Leibenluft and her team discovered is that many of these youngsters have a disorder that is distinctly different from bipolar disorder that has been named Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD), and is characterized by frequent, severe outbursts and constant, debilitating irritability. This finding led to the inclusion of DMDD in the DSM-5. By fine-tuning the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children, and teasing out which kids have DMDD, Dr. Leibenluft’s research is transforming the care of children suffering from these two mental disorders which require entirely different treatments. 

Recently released findings from another NIMH-funded study called the Pittsburgh Bipolar Offspring Study, or BIOS, has similarly advanced the understanding of which children will go on to develop bipolar disorder as adults. The BIOS researchers identified three types of symptoms that were strong predictors of whether a youth with one parent with bipolar disorder will go on to develop the disorder. This offers a much more precise roadmap for assessing the risk of bipolar disorder early in at-risk youth, one that is based on symptoms, not traditional psychiatric diagnoses. I’m reminded how important it is that we make the public aware that mental disorders often occur early in life and can have lifelong, devastating impacts if not caught early and diagnosed and treated correctly. Please join us on May 5 and let your constituents know about the Chat to help ensure that these advancements make their way to clinical care and have the greatest public health impact. The more we spread the word about these research findings, the more likely any child with bipolar disorder or DMDD will get the right diagnosis and the right treatment(s) at the right time. Thank you for amplifying the message that Research = Hope!  


Getting Research and Resources Out

Outreach Partners have been disseminating NIMH materials and research findings throughout their States.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Arkansas used NIMH facts and figures in a presentation about mental illness in youth and young adults at a local Alpha Kappa Alpha college event on transition age youth heading to college. 

Carlos Zarate MD

The DC Behavioral Health Association has a regular "NIMH Column" in its e-newsletter to share new research findings. A recent issue highlighted a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Record article summarizing a lecture by NIMH researcher Carlos Zarate, M.D. on fast-acting drugs for treatment-resistant depression.

NAMI NJ Newsletter

NAMI New Jersey shared findings from NIMH's BRIGHTEN Study as well as other science news through its quarterly research e-newsletter, Science and Research Update quarterly.

NAMI St. Louis Facebook Post

The Missouri Outreach Partner, NAMI St. Louis, shared the availability of NIMH publications via its Facebook page.

NAMI NC Google+ Post

NAMI North Carolina announced the release of new NIMH publications on its Google+ page.

Meeting Street, the Rhode Island Outreach Partner, distributed NIMH autism and depression publications to staff and family members at its Early Learning Center.

Univ of Puerto Rico OPP Banner

The University of Puerto Rico Institute for Psychological Research distributed NIMH educational materials at a multidisciplinary conference about research and innovative interventions for children and adolescents.  

NAMI Washington shared NIMH publications at its state psychological association conference. 


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  NAMI WA Exhibit

First Episode Psychosis (FEP) Outreach

Thanks to all the Partners that have been educating their communities about the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) study and programs for FEP.

New Educational Resource

NIMH CSC Fact Sheet  

NIMH released a printable fact sheet and checklist on the Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) model, a recovery-oriented treatment program for FEP.

New RAISE Cost-Effectiveness Findings

NIMH released findings from a new analysis of the RAISE study showing that CSC for young people with FEP is more cost effective than typical community care. 

Many Partners disseminated these findings to their communities, including Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio, which reported on the findings in its cable show.

Community Education

The New Mexico Outreach Partner, the University of New Mexico's Division of Community Behavioral Health, in collaboration with the National Association for State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), created a fact sheet on establishing CSC programs for FEP in rural and frontier settings.

NAMI Minnesota offered a workshop for families, young adults, and professionals to convey the importance of early intervention for FEP.

During its statewide Children Come First Conference, Wisconsin Family Ties offered a workshop to highlight a Wisconsin FEP program based on CSC, and the importance of early identification and intervention in young people experiencing psychosis.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) features FEP programs in a recent SAMHSA News article discussing changes in the state Mental Health Block Grant funding targeting efforts to address early psychosis. 

Sharing Virtually

The National Council for Behavioral Health created a new webpage with resources to educate its constituents about FEP and early intervention treatments for psychosis.

NAMI Washington promoted the NIMH video of RAISE investigator, John Kane, M.D., discussing the treatment of FEP with CSC via its e-newsletter. 

  NIMH First-Episode Psychosis Video

NASMHPD maintains an Early Intervention in Psychosis virtual resource center that provides information for practitioners, policymakers, researchers, consumers, and families on addressing the needs of persons at risk for, or experiencing a FEP. In addition to linking to the NIMH RAISE webpages, it links to the materials that emerged from the NIMH RAISE research initiatives, 
OnTrackNY and Navigate. NASMHPD has also hosted a number of educational webinars on CSC, which are now archived for public access.

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Tackling Disparities

Outreach Partners are using NIMH materials and research in their efforts to address mental health disparities.

MHA DE Annual Mental Health Conference

The Mental Health Association in Delaware shared NIMH brochures at its annual Community Mental Health Conference, which educates urban communities and people of color about mental wellness and suicide prevention.

The Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas disseminated NIMH information at an Asian Wellness Day event, focusing primarily on depression, grief, substance abuse, and stress.

The Nebraska Federation for Families and Children's Mental Health distributed NIMH materials on depression and suicide prevention at a wellness conference hosted by the Chadron Native American Center, reaching Native American college students, community members, and families.  

The Mental Health Association Oklahoma shared NIMH Spanish-language materials with participants at Vestido Rojo, an annual event for Latina women hosted by the American Heart Association. 

  MHA OK Outreach Event
Federation of South Carolina Native American Cherokee Trail River Festival

The Federation of Families of South Carolina (FFSC) 
distributed NIMH brochures at the Native American Cherokee Trail River Festival. Pictured: Adrian Bailey, Flute Player, Soulful Echoes; Chief Thelma Hamilton Ballard, Circle of Native Americans; Pheobe Malloy, Outreach Specialist, FFSC. 

Promoting Research Opportunities

Outreach Partners are informing their communities about NIMH-funded trials actively recruiting participants.

NAMI Alabama has created a Join a Study webpage on its website to promote clinical trials seeking participants.

Southern California Outreach Partner, Special Service for Groups (SSG), identified a selection of NIMH intramural research studies recruiting for participants nationally, and shared them in its e-newsletter.

NIMH ADHD Study Flyer

The Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida promoted an NIMH-funded study about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder by distributing study information at its offices, at staff training sessions, and through its email lists.

Univ of Idaho Tweet

The University of Idaho Institute of Rural Health tweeted about an NIMH intramural depression study recruiting nationally. 

NAMI Maryland promoted a University of Maryland NIMH-funded brain imaging study in its e-newsletter.

  NAMI MD Study Info
NAMI VA Facebook Post

NAMI Virginia shared information about NIMH intramural research studies in response to a post on its Facebook page about an individual's willingness to participate in a research project. 

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Educating the Public about Research

Partners are educating their communities about the importance of research and the research process.

SSG CTSI Promotoras Outreach

SSG held a workshop about community-based participatory research at an annual promotores and community health workers conference. To increase awareness of basic research ethics and participant rights, SSG adapted NIMH clinical research resources into an English and Spanish-language handout for the workshop presentation. 

NAMI Indiana hosted a special "NIMH Research Table" at its state conference, encouraging participants to think about getting involved in research by understanding the process and possibly joining a clinical trial. NIMH materials such as Neuroimaging and Mental Illness, NIMH Strategic Plan for Research, and About NIMH, were distributed. In addition, pages from the NIH Clinical Research Trials and You website such as "What Questions to Ask" were download and shared with participants. 

UNM Stephen Miles

NAMI Minnesota and the University of Minnesota partnered on their annual research dinner to bring new research findings on mental illnesses to the community in a way that can be easily understood by lay people. Steven Miles, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Bioethics, kicked off the event by talking about research and human subjects protection at the university.

UNM Kathryn Cullen

In addition, NIMH grantee, Kathryn Cullen, M.D., from the University of Minnesota, presented on the current research on new treatments for adolescent depression.

The University of New Mexico's Division of Community Behavioral Health distributed NIMH publications at a New Mexico Tribal Prevention Project grantee meeting as part of efforts to educate communities about research. Approximately 40 tribal members representing seven to eight tribes discussed prevention research outcomes, evaluation, and reporting.

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

Spring 2016

New from NIMH

NIMH Chronic Illness and Depression

NIMH released the new brochure
Chronic Illness and Mental Health, which discusses chronic illnesses and depression, including symptoms, health effects, treatment, and recovery. 

In addition, the following updated publications are now available for ordering at the NIMH Catalog:

Revised Brochures

Revised Booklets

New Clinical Research Education Materials

NIMH has prepared two new resources, available in English and Spanish, to educate the public about clinical research.

NIMH Clinical Trials Q&A

This tip sheet, Clinical Research Trials and You: Questions and Answers, offers responses to frequently asked questions about clinical trials, including who participates, what the risks and benefits of participating are, and questions to ask prior to joining a study. 

Towards Better Treatment Poster

This poster, Towards New and Better Treatmentencourages learning about clinical trials being conducted and highlights the importance of clinical research to finding new and better treatments.

New Resource on DMDD

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a childhood condition of extreme irritability, anger, and frequent, intense temper outbursts. Learn more about this relatively new diagnosis on the DMDD page on the NIMH website.

NIMH Outreach Partner Steering Committee

The following Outreach Partners have joined the NIMH Outreach Partner Steering Committee:

Dan Aune of Mental Health America of Montana

Mark Creekmore of NAMI Michigan

Kay Daneault of the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi

Lisa Furst of the Mental Health Association of New York City

Pheobe Malloy of the Federation of Families of South Carolina

Nicole Massmann of the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health

Rusty Selix of the Mental Health Association in California

Matthew Shapiro of NAMI New York State

Erica Shehane of SSG in Los Angeles, California along with its partner, the Southern California Clinical and Translation Science Institute 

New Partner Activity Map

Partner Activity Map

The updated NIMH Outreach Partner Activity Map is now available!

Use the map to learn how Outreach Partners are addressing mental health disparities and disseminating NIMH information across the country.

Upcoming Observances & Resources

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 
(May 5, 2016)
Share NIMH materials about children and adolescents, including Teen Brain: Still Under Construction, Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens, and Treatment of Children with Mental Illness.

National Prevention Week
(May 15-21, 2016)
Check out NIMH resources about suicide prevention

PTSD Awareness Month 
(June 2016)
See NIMH resources about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Extending the Reach

Partners extend the reach of the Program's Annual Meeting by sharing what they learned in their own communities.

As part of its efforts to promote early identification of children at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders, the FFSC distributed NIMH information at a local Head Start health advisory board meeting, which serves low-income children birth to age five and their families. After sharing information learned about Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) at the 2015 Partners Annual Meeting, FFSC was able to connect a family member with an NIMH expert on PANDAS, Sue Swedo, M.D., leading to a diagnosis of this under-recognized disorder.

National Partner Activities

The Program's National Partners are actively promoting NIMH research and information.

BBRF Quarterly

The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation interviewed NIMH researcher Daniel Pine, M.D. for an article on parenting children with anxiety in its quarterly newsletter.

MHA Tool Kit example

Mental Health America incorporated statistics provided by NIMH in its May is Mental Health Month Tool Kit.

Studies Seeking Participants

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

NIH Clinical Center

Depression Research Studies Enrolling Participants

Several studies are identifying the physical traits of adult depression and investigating medications that rapidly reduce symptoms.

Descriptive Study of Severe Irritability

(Outpatient: 1 day evaluation, and may include follow-up visits until age 25) This study describes, over time, the moods and behavior of children and the associated brain changes. Participants must be in treatment with a physician, medically healthy, and not currently hospitalized, psychotic, or suicidal. Symptoms include chronic anger, sadness, or irritability, along with hyperarousal (such as insomnia, distractibility, hyperactivity) and extreme responses to frustration (such as frequent, severe temper tantrums). The study procedures include research and computer tasks, neuropsychological testing and brain imaging. Recruiting ages 7-17. [02-M-0021] 

Social Media

Thanks to all the Outreach and National Partners for sharing NIMH social media activity, including the recent Twitter chat on mind and body approaches for stress and the Facebook Q&A on electroconvulsive therapy.

With your help, NIMH's Thunderclap message to promote clinical research awareness reached over 300,000 people on social media.

Join us for NIMH's next Twitter chat in recognition of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day on May 5. The Twitter chat on DMDD and severe irritability with feature NIMH expert Dr. Ellen Leibenluft.

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 organizations. The core component of the program consists of 55 Outreach Partners representing all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In addition, over 80 non-profit organizations participate in the program as National Partners, including professional, consumer, advocacy, and service-related organizations with a nationwide membership and/or audience.


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