Read the Latest Outreach Connection from NIMH: Spring 2017

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Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Director of NIMH

Greetings Outreach and National Partners,

It is hard to believe eight months have passed since I joined the NIMH as Director. It has been a busy and productive time. I have learned a lot about the science NIMH funds and have benefitted from the opportunity to meet with several of the national advocacy groups. For those of you whom I have not had the chance to meet, let me share some background about me and my initial thoughts about the NIMH research agenda. For over a decade, I was on the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. While I spent the majority of my time as a basic scientist studying how psychiatric risk genes alter the function of neural circuits, and how neural circuit dysfunction leads to psychiatrically relevant behaviors, I also treated patients and witnessed first-hand their struggles to achieve recovery from mental illness. As I round out the last four months of my first year at NIMH, I look forward to the opportunity to meet all of you and hear more about the needs of individuals with mental illnesses and their families and the gaps in knowledge that can and must inform the NIMH’s current and future research agenda.  

I will have much more to say at the end of my first year about the priorities of the Institute, but for now I can tell you that I am focused on supporting excellent science within a balanced portfolio with short-, medium-, and long-term timeframes. I’ve identified three priority areas in this context. A short-term goal is suicide prevention, where research into how to implement evidence-based practices, such as increasing detection of suicidality through universal screening in emergency rooms, could have an impact. A medium-term goal is to understand the neural circuitry underlying the devastating symptoms of mental illness and to ultimately translate that understanding into novel interventions. Lastly, a long-term goal is to bring much more precision to our understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through computational psychiatry, which means using math to integrate everything we know, from molecular biology to behavior, into our models of how the brain works. We also must maintain a focus on translating and disseminating the science we fund, which is why I was so pleased to learn about the Outreach Partnership Program. The work that you do to make the public aware of the importance of research and the results of that research both in your states and nationally is incredibly important. Thank you and, again, I look forward to meeting all of you.    

Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., NIMH Director


Getting Research Out

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

NIMH Teen Brain Fact Sheet  

The Alaska Youth and Family Network supported Brain Awareness Week activities by sharing the NIMH Teen Brain fact sheet on Facebook.

The Arizona State University's Center for Applied Behavioral Health partners with the state Mental Health America affiliate in Arizona to incorporate NIMH news regularly in its enewsletter.

MHA California shared the availability of NIMH ebooks via Facebook.

NAMI Indiana featured the NIMH-funded Human Connectome Project about Early Psychosis in its newsletter.

NIMH Widget  

NAMI Iowa added the New from NIMH Widget to its website to stream NIMH updates.

MHA of Louisiana distributed NIMH materials at a statewide health summit for providers and the public and highlighted its partnership with NIMH with the new Outreach Partner exhibit sign.

  MHA LA Health Summit
Indian Center Enewsletter Banner

The Indian Center, the Nebraska Outreach Partner, has created a new NIMH News Update enewsletter to share new research findings and resources from NIMH.

As part of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, Nevada PEP held its annual Run Walk and Roll against Bullying to raise awareness about children's mental health and bullying. Statistics from the NIMH website were incorporated in signs at the finish line and held by participants as they ran or walked the course.


NAMI North Carolina tweeted NIMH-funded study findings about the need for better interventions to reduce violence committed by and against adults with mental illness.

Institute for Psychological Research Health Fair  

The Institute for Psychological Research at the University of Puerto Rico disseminated NIMH publications at a mental health exhibit during a symposium for grandparents who are parenting grandchildren.

The MHA of Middle Tennessee conducted a targeted outreach campaign to its university, community mental health centers, and other community partners to broaden the reach of NIMH resources. As a result, the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance incorporated links to NIMH on its Community Engagement website, and featured the MHA’s efforts to educate the community about mental health in a news story

NAMI Wyoming distributed NIMH materials on bipolar disorder, suicide, PTSD, depression, and anxiety to support high school students who are planning awareness activities on suicide prevention and bullying in their community.

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Extending the Reach

Thanks to the Partners who continue to share what was learned at the Program's 2016 Annual Meeting in their own communities.

KY Mannarino Presentation

After hearing his presentation about Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at the 2016 Annual Meeting, MHA of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio hosted NIMH grantee Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D., to present the keynote at its Education Summit on Trauma-Informed Interventions for Youth.

MHA Montana presented to five Tribal communities that want to expand and/or integrate primary care and behavioral health services to include peer support services.To generate the discussion, MHA distributed NIMH materials and information from the Annual Meeting’s panel on addressing disparities in mental health care

MHA Texas summarized Annual Meeting presentations about device-based and pharmacologic advancements for the treatment of refractory depression for its enewsletter.

Tackling Disparities

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

MHA of Southeast Florida (MHASEFL) distributed NIMH materials and used NIMH data in presentations to older adults to support the local elder services resource network.

MHA South MS Health Fair

MHA of South Mississippi distributed NIMH publications at a local disability health fair.

NAMI St. Louis, the Missouri Outreach Partner, distributed NIMH materials as part of its Public Safety Mental Health First Aid training to corrections officers in the local county jail system.

NAMI Oregon distributed NIMH Spanish-language materials at its NAMI de Familia-a-Familia class for Spanish speaking residents who have a family member living with mental illness.

University of ND Center for Rural Health Flyer

The Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota hosted its annual American Indian Health Research Conference in which attendees heard information on health disparities, including mental health, in American Indian communities. NIMH materials were distributed to conference attendees as well as a flyer detailing information about the Center’s role as the North Dakota Outreach Partner.

The University of New Mexico distributed NIMH pamphlets at a training to demystify opioid and alcohol abuse detoxification with providers and community members, many representing Navajo and other indigenous groups.

NIMH PPD Brochure

NAMI South Dakota is providing the NIMH postpartum depression brochure to an obstetrics nurse in a hospital serving a frontier region of the state so that every new mother receives a copy.

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Promoting Research Opportunities

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

NAMI Connecticut promoted the NIMH-funded MindMap study, which is being conducted at Yale University and seeks to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis, on its website

MHASEFL is promoting NIMH intramural research on irritability in children to its constituents through its mailing list and social media and directly to participants at resource fairs and classes. 

Northwestern Intellicare Study

MHA of Illinois hosted Susan Kaiser, M.P.H. from Northwestern University’s Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at its Illinois Mental Health Summit. She shared information about two NIMH-funded studies, Stepped Telemental Health Care Intervention for Depression and IntelliCare Study: Artificial Intelligence in a Mobile Intervention for Depression.


MHA of New York City tweeted about an NIMH intramural study about depression and teenagers.

Through its Voices of Recovery support and advocacy group, MHA of Southeastern Pennsylvania educates the community about participating in research and points participants to a webpage of local research opportunities.

Educating the Public about Research

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

MHA CO Tweet

MHA Colorado tweeted about the NIMH webinar about clinical research to educate its community about the research process.

NAMI Michigan’s affiliate, NAMI Washtenaw, held a session with Aislinn Williams, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Michigan Psychiatry Department who described her work using induced pluripotent stem cells to study bipolar disorder as part of efforts to build relationships between scientists and the community.

NIMH grantee Sophia Vinogradov, M.D., Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota shared the university's research activities, including how they are protecting human subjects in research, at the NAMI Minnesota’s Research Dinner.

NIH Video Encouraging Participation

NAMI Oregon posted information about the NIH videos, Researcher Story: Encouraging African Americans to Participate in Research Studies and What is Clinical Research?, on its clinical trial recruitment webpage to educate its constituents about clinical research.

SARDAA, a National Partner, described clinical research studies and volunteer participation in its enewsletter.

In its quarterly research newsletter, NAMI Virginia links to information about study participation on the NIMH Join a Study page, and the NIMH Clinical Research Trials and You: Questions and Answers fact sheet

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  NAMI VA Quarterly Research Update

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

Spring 2017

New from NIMH

NIMH Looking at My Genes

New Fact Sheet: Looking at My Genes: What Can They Tell Me About My Mental Health? answers commonly asked questions about genes and their role in a person’s mental health. It covers family history, genetic testing versus genome scans, and NIMH research on genetics.

PANDAS Fact Sheet

Revised Fact Sheet: PANDAS: Questions and Answers covers causes, signs and symptoms, treatment, and clinical trials for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

New Webpage: Integrated Care describes how integrated care, which combines primary health care and mental health care in one setting, works and why it is important.

NIMH Stress Fact Sheet

Revised Fact SheetFive Things You Should Know About Stress 
discusses things to know about stress and how to manage it. 

Revised WebpageClinical Trials-Information for Participants links users with NIMH-funded and supported trials and resources about participating in research. 

NIMH Researchers in the News

NIMH scientist, Carlos Zarate, M.D., discusses depression and the promising treatment of the drug ketamine in a recent issue of the National Library of Medicine MedlinePlus magazine.

Upcoming Observances & Resources

May is Mental Health Month
(May 2017)
Check out NIMH materials and resources for your Mental Health Month activities!

Borderline Personality Disorder Month
(May 2017)
See NIMH's latest webpage on borderline personality disorder.

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 
(May 4, 2017)
Share NIMH materials about children and adolescent mental health.

National Prevention Week
(May 14-20, 2017)
Find NIMH resources about suicide prevention.

PTSD Awareness Month 
(June 2017)
See NIMH resources about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

National Partner Activities

Meeting Presentations

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) featured researchers from the NIMH Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch (ETPB) in a session on novel biomarkers of ketamine’s response in depression, anxiety, and suicide at its annual convention.

Research Highlights

The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation highlighted the discovery by NIMH ETPB researchers that the ketamine metabolite hydroxynorketamine can generate the same rapid antidepressant effect as ketamine without the drug’s serious unwanted side effects in its Top 10 Advances & Breakthroughs of 2016.

Webinar Promotion

NIMH Webinar Image

A number of National Partners, including ADAA, the Children’s Mental Health Network, Mental Health America, and Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Association of American (SARDAA), promoted the series of NIMH webinars about pediatric anxiety and severe irritability organized by the NIMH Emotion and Development Branch in enewsletters and on social media.

First Episode Psychosis Education

Thanks to the many efforts of Outreach and National Partners, communities are learning about first episode psychosis (FEP) programs and NIMH RAISE findings.

The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hosted webinars on the use of cultural competence practices and addressing suicidal ideation and behavior in Coordinated Specialty Care programs. They also hosted a webinar on new FEP technical assistance materials.

NAMI National has created a series of tip sheets to educate families and communities about FEP:

FEP Infographic

SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation created an infographic providing an overview of the opportunities for identification, diversion, and treatment for people experiencing FEP who come into contact with the justice system. 

Studies Seeking Participants

The NIMH Intramural Research 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]

Depression in Teenagers: (Outpatient & Inpatient) 
This study seeks to understand the causes of depression in teenagers. As part of a larger study looking at mood dysregulation, this part of the study is currently recruiting medically healthy teenagers ages 12 to 17, who meet the criteria for major depressive disorder, and are in treatment with a physician. The study begins with an initial 1-day outpatient evaluation (clinical assessment, interviews, and questionnaires). Research visits may include annual outpatient visits up to age 25, and/or a 4- to 15-week inpatient treatment. The study may include performing research tasks, computer games and a brain imaging; and/or treatment with standard medications, cognitive-behavioral therapy, research testing, some psychological testing, and a brain imaging. Currently recruiting ages 12-17. (02-M-0021)

Schizophrenia and Brain Processes 
(Inpatient: 6 months) This study examines the way the brain works in individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder to better understand the underlying biology of the illness and the brain processes that cause severe psychiatric symptoms. Medical and psychiatric tests are done first to make sure participants are suitable for the research while standard psychiatric care is given. The second part of the study is off medications, with close monitoring and support, for up to five weeks while brain imaging tests are done. Research is stopped if a participant becomes too sick to continue. After the research is completed, the participant is treated with standard psychiatric treatments. Eligible participants must have no current alcohol or drug abuse. Recruiting ages 18 years or older. [89-M-0160]

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 program supports 55 Outreach Partners representing all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In addition, over 75 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