Read the Latest NIMH Outreach Connection: 2017 Meeting Issue

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NIMH Director Joshua Gordon


During my first year as the NIMH Director, I heard a great deal about your work to bring the latest mental health research findings into your communitiesIt was a pleasure to finally meet you at the Outreach Partnership Program Annual Meeting this July. I enjoyed the opportunity to spend time over lunch with a small group of you discussing the mental health priorities in your states. I also appreciated learning about your mental health outreach and education projects during the Sharing Sessions. 

The meeting was an excellent opportunity to hear first-hand from experts and researchers in areas such as suicide prevention, mood disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. I know many of you were tweeting from the meeting, and others have published summaries of the research shared at the meeting in newsletters and on websites. It is impressive to witness your organization's efforts to make mental health research more accessible to the public. 

I am pleased to share this special meeting issue of Outreach Connection, which features highlights from the annual meeting, including your efforts to extend the meeting's reach into your own communities.

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

Meeting Highlights

Partners Meet and Dialogue

Room Shot

Representatives from Outreach and National Partner organizations gathered on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Campus for the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program's 2017 Annual Meeting to hear research updates from NIMH leadership and NIMH-supported researchers.

NIMH Director Joshua Gordon

NIMH Director Joshua Gordon, MD., Ph.D., opened the meeting by introducing himself to the Partners and outlining his priorities for the Institute: identify implementable evidence-based practices and knowledge gaps in suicide prevention research, an area of research with the potential to yield benefits in the short-term; develop technologies to study neural circuits; and develop 
computational perspectives and approaches to improve the understanding and treatment of mental disorders. He then provided an update about NIMH activities including collaborations with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to increase the availability of evidence-based care for individuals experiencing first episode psychosis. 

Dr. Gordon also shared a number of recent science highlights, including research from the NIMH-funded Mental Health Research Network (MHRN) study on racial and ethnic differences in psychiatric diagnosis and treatment in health care systems across the country, and a study that found a pediatrics-based brief therapy had better outcomes than a more standard referral to mental health care with follow-up for youths with anxiety and depression, especially for Hispanic youth. He also stressed the need for individuals with mental illnesses to become involved in research, and described the potential of what can be learned to enhance the understanding and care of mental illnesses from big data research approaches.

All of Us Image

As an example of a major effort, he described the potential for the NIH All of Us Research Program to improve the treatment of mental illnesses. Dr. Gordon's remarks set the stage for a talk by Eric Dishman, Director of the All of Us Research Program, a historic effort to gather data from one million U.S. participants and accelerate research that will ultimately pave the way for personalized medicine. Mr. Dishman shared his personal story as a cancer patient, patient advocate, and social scientist, and outlined the program’s priorities and plans to engage and nurture relationships with one million volunteers. He informed partners of ways they could hear about upcoming national recruitment efforts, including his video blog, The Dish. Recent blogs describe the program's mission and objectives, and Mr. Dishman's story and his passion to lead this effort.

Partner Sharing Session

The meeting also highlighted partner activities in forums such as the Partner Sharing Sessions, in which over 65 Outreach and National Partners and Federal agencies shared examples of how they are disseminating NIMH-funded research and educating the public, families, and other stakeholders about mental health.

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The Push for Suicide Prevention

Major portions of the meeting focused on suicide prevention, particularly efforts to address risk in health care settings.

Michael Schoenbaum and Ed Boudreaux

In a plenary on approaches to detecting suicide risk in healthcare systems, NIMH Senior Advisor for Mental Health Services, Epidemiology, and Economics Michael Schoenbaum, Ph.D., described collaborative research efforts with the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the MRHN using electronic health records to identify groups of individuals at high risk for suicide. He stressed the need for communities and health care systems to track suicide attempts and mortality to best address the increased numbers of suicides, a growing public health problem. Edwin Boudreaux, Ph.D., from the University of Massachusetts Medical School discussed findings from the Emergency Department Safety Assessment and Follow-up Evaluation (ED-SAFE) study that looked at universal suicide screening and brief intervention in the emergency department setting. Dr. Boudreaux highlighted resources from SAMHSA's Suicide Prevention Resource Center for emergency department health care professionals and about Zero Suicide efforts for communities seeking to address suicide in medical settings. 

ASQ Logo

This research plenary was followed by a panel discussion focused on several efforts to address suicide risk. The panel featured NIMH Intramural Research Program (IRP) scientist, Lisa Horowitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., who described the use of the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) suicide screening tool in a community pediatric practice, along with representatives from Crisis Text Line and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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Improving Outcomes for Bipolar Disorder

NIMH grantees from the University of Pittsburgh shared their research on psychosocial interventions for bipolar disorder.

Tina Goldstein and Holly Swartz

Holly Swartz, Ph.D., described how circadian rhythms impact health and mood, and how Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy can improve mood and sleep for individuals with bipolar disorder. Tina Goldstein, Ph.D., highlighted the adaption of psychosocial interventions for youth, including dialectical behavioral therapy to reduce suicidal ideation and brief motivational therapy to improve medication adherence.

Addressing Disparities

Breakout sessions featured Partner and Federal efforts to reach populations experiencing mental health disparities, specifically Native American and Alaska Native communities, and youth transitioning into adulthood.

Building Resilience Among Native Communities

Roberto Delgado Rising Sun

Partners heard from Roberto Delgado, Ph.D., from the NIMH Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health, 
who described the Reducing the Incidence of Suicide in Indigenous Groups – Strengths United through Networks (RISING SUN) initiative and highlighted what is being learned from this initiative to evaluate suicide prevention interventions across Arctic states.

Jacque Gray, Ph.D., from the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health –- the NIMH Outreach Partner for the state –- shared lessons learned from Wac'in Yeya: The Hope Project, a pilot research grant in partnership with Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing involving focus groups with Lakota youth to explore factors that provide them with hope. Dr. Gray shared examples of the creative projects that the youth plan to present to their communities about what offers them hope. 

Supporting Healthy Youth Transitions to Adulthood 

Eric Lulow from SAMHSA described the needs of transition age youth (TAY) and particular vulnerabilities for those experiencing or at risk for mental illnesses. He described SAMHSA's Healthy Transitions, an initiative designed to help states build collaborative partnerships to enhance mental health services for TAY. Kisha Ledlow from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services then described one of SAMHSA's grants, the Tennessee Healthy Transitions Initiative, aimed at implementing a youth participatory action research project with TAY. Mr. Lulow also shared SAMHSA's Youth Engagement Guide, which was developed to help agencies adopt best practices in engaging youth in activities.

Zima Creason

Zima Creason, Executive Director of Mental Health America (MHA) of California –- the NIMH Outreach Partner for Northern California –-shared lessons learned from the California Youth Empowerment Network, which empowers TAY to be leaders in community and mental health system transformation, and to create positive change through the promotion of culturally appropriate supports, services, and approaches that improve and maintain the mental health of California’s TAY. 

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Clinical Research Education

To support Outreach Partners in their efforts to educate the public about clinical research, the meeting's final session addressed questions communities have about participating in studies.


Social workers from the NIMH IRP Human Subjects Protection Unit described the protections that are in place for adults and children who participate in NIMH studies at the NIH Clinical Center, including a capacity assessment of a potential volunteer’s ability to provide informed consent. To provide an overview about the experience of participating in an intramural study, two NIMH research investigators shared what individuals and families may expect when contacting NIMH to enroll and participate in a study. In addition, a former participant in an NIMH ketamine inpatient study shared her experience as a research volunteer, including how she learned of the study, what factors contributed to her decision to join the study, and discharge planning. 

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Extending the Reach

During the meeting, many Partners shared highlights with constituents back home using the #NIMHOPP2017 Twitter hashtag and other social media.


Ken Norton, Executive Director of NAMI New Hampshire, tweeted from Dr. Schoenbaum's talk on detecting suicide risk.

Dan Aune, Executive Director of MHA Montana, shared information about dialectical behavioral therapy.

  MHA MT Tweet about DBT
NAMI SD Facebook post  

NAMI South Dakota used Facebook to share photos each day of the meeting.

Instagram Post MHA GA

MHA Georgia's Executive Director, Jewell Gooding, posted photos from the meeting on Instagram.


During the meeting's final session, NAMI New York State (NAMI NYS) tweeted appreciation for hearing from a former research participant.

After returning to their communities, Partners continued to share what they learned at the meeting. NAMI NYS posted a summary on social media. The District of Columbia Behavioral Health Association, NAMI New Jersey, NAMI Utah, and NAMI Washington also highlighted the meeting in their newsletters. 

Indian Center Enewsletter
Nebraska Outreach Partner, the Indian Center, Inc., shared their involvement in the meeting in a recent enewsletter.

Thank you to all the Partners for making the meeting a success! We look forward to continuing to hear about how you are extending the reach of the meeting.

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

2017 Meeting Issue

New Suicide Prevention Announcements

On the heels of presentations by Drs. Schoenbaum and Boudreaux on addressing suicide risk in health care settings, NIMH has released new data showing the cost-effectiveness of emergency department suicide prevention strategies.

In addition, NIMH released highlights from a recent meeting which convened Federal and private stakeholders to review the current state of knowledge and the scope of the suicide problem in U.S. emergency departments. 

Outreach Partner Sharing

Outreach Partner Sharing Session
Partners present their organization’s mental health education efforts.
MH Colorado
Mental Health Colorado shared efforts to develop tool kits to support early childhood and school mental health activities.
MHA in Delaware shared how they are using NIMH resources in activities across the state.
MHA Georgia highlighted the expansion of its peer support programs to improve mental health, perceived social support, and healthcare utilization among low-resource new mothers.
NAMI New Jersey highlighted its outreach activities to South Asian and Chinese communities.
MHA South MS
Partners learned about MHA of South Mississippi's mental health and wellness activities.

National Partner Activities

Thank you to the National Partners who shared their projects in the Sharing Sessions:

 Academy for Eating Disorders

Academy for Eating Disorders
Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
Real Warriors
Real Warriors

Federal Participation

Partners had the opportunity to learn about Federal initiatives of relevance to the mental health community:


Changing Minds
Changing Minds Campaign
Brother, You're on My Mind Campaign
NIH Clinical Research Resources
NIH Clinical Research Tools

Resources for Education about Research

To assist Outreach Partners in their outreach activities and to complement the final plenary session on clinical research, NIMH OPP staff distributed a compilation of Federal educational resources that are available to educate the public about research. Below is a selection of the resources.

NIMH Brochure: Clinical Research Trials and You: Questions and Answers 
This NIMH brochure covers what a clinical trial is, who participates in clinical trials, why people participate in clinical trials, and protections for study participants.

NIH Clinical Research Trials and You
This NIH website offers frequently asked questions about clinical research studies, videos of researchers and research volunteers telling their personal stories, promotional materials to raise public awareness of clinical research, and links to registries and additional resources.

HHS Questions to Ask

About Research Participation: Videos and Questions to Ask 
This Department of Health and Human Services Office for Human Research Protections website in English and Spanish offers a series of short videos about participating in research and a printable list of questions potential volunteers can ask.


Investigación Clínica—Spanish Language Website 
This section of, NIH’s Spanish-language website, describes the major concepts of clinical research participation in plain language and features videos of NIH researchers and patient volunteers whose native language is Spanish answering questions about their participation in the research process.

Children and Clinical Trials
This NIH website links to several resources, including interactive video games created to educate families, children, and healthcare providers about the importance of children’s participation in research. The website features videos of children, parents, researchers, and healthcare providers discussing the rewards and challenges of participating in research, study protections, the difference between research and care, and questions to ask. 

About the Program

The NIMH Outreach Partnership Program 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