Read the Latest Outreach Connection from NIMH: Fall 2017

Learn how NIMH Outreach and National Partners are sharing NIMH information in their communities

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NIMH Director Joshua Gordon

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

While the news headlines are no longer dominated by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires, the distress and other impacts caused by these events will be felt for some time. In their wake, people want to know what they can do to have a meaningful impact on the mental health of communities affected by these disasters. We can draw on evidence from NIMH-supported research after past disasters to deploy assistance when and where it can help most.

Natural disasters can be particularly disruptive for individuals with serious mental illness, especially if they are cut off from regular sources of care and support. Reconnecting these individuals to care as soon as possible is critical. For others experiencing disaster-related distress, meeting immediate needs (e.g., safety, medical care, food, water, shelter) and re-establishing routines helps with mental health recovery. Minimizing additional stressors such as multiple relocations and prolonged separation from family can also help with recovery. Children can have difficulty making sense of what has happened, having lost their homes and normal routines. NIMH has brochures that provide information about how to help children cope and heal during these challenging times.

Not everyone impacted by a disaster will develop a mental disorder; however, some will. Further research will help us identify who will recover without treatment and who will have lasting symptoms that require intervention. NIMH is supporting a multi-center study called Aurora that will begin to answer those questions. Researchers are following 5,000 people after they experience a traumatic event to gain a more precise picture of the factors that play a role in the subsequent development of mental disorders. In the short-term, this study aims to deliver tools for clinicians to make informed decisions about risk and follow-up care soon after trauma. Findings from Aurora and other studies underway may shed light on the underlying causes of impairment and identify new targets for interventions, with the goal of improving care for individuals at high risk for developing mental disorders following trauma. 

The mental health advocacy and education community is vital to spreading the word about what has been learned, to help those who are suffering now, and to enable communities to best prepare for future events. I look forward to sharing progress on Aurora and other NIMH-funded trauma research, and to working with you to disseminate the results to help minimize the mental health impact of future disaster events.


Getting Out the Research

Outreach Partners are disseminating NIMH materials and research throughout their states.

NAMI AR depression screening  

NAMI Arkansas distributed NIMH publications while performing depression screenings at a community health fair. 

MHA SEFL CIT Conference Exhibit

The MHA of Southeast Florida distributed NIMH publications at the 2017 Crisis Intervention Team International Conference.

ISU Tweet

During National Women’s Health Week, Idaho State University's Institute of Rural Health shared NIMH’s webpage about women and mental health on Twitter.


The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health tweeted the NIMH science news about using brain imaging to track the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder treatment.

NAMI Ohio Back to School Tweet

NAMI Ohio promoted NIMH resources for children and adolescents as part of its back to school outreach activities.

NIMH Brochure Helping Children and Adolescents Cope

MHA Oklahoma distributed NIMH materials, including the Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters series, at training and community events that are part of a state-funded project to reach rural and urban communities. These events provide disaster preparedness and response information, so communities can plan for severe weather conditions.  

University of North Dakota Enews

The University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health highlighted NIMH publications about coping with traumatic events in its e-newsletter.

WI Family Ties Facebook Post

Wisconsin Family Ties posted the NIMH science news about emergency room follow-up for individuals at risk for suicide on Facebook.

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Tailoring Content

Outreach Partners are adapting NIMH information for materials they create for their community education efforts.

SSG Painted Brain Comic Cover

The Painted Brain, a community partner of Special Service for Groups (SSG) – the Southern California Outreach Partner  – is sharing illustrated adaptations of NIMH publications like Men and Depression, at presentations to high school students. 

NAMI NYS Interview with Robert Heinssen

NAMI New York State (NAMI NYS) produced a television program about the RAISE project and other NIMH initiatives. The program featured Robert Heinssen, Ph.D., Director of the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research.

NAMI North Carolina used descriptions about mental illnesses from NIMH materials in a training developed for the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Extending the Reach

Partners are bringing information from the Program’s Annual Meeting back to their communities and inviting the NIMH grantees who presented to share the research at their own events.

MHA California's recent e-newsletter highlighted information about the breakout session on building resilience among Native communities that appeared in the 2017 meeting issue of Outreach Connection.

John Cahill Yale School of Medicine

NAMI Connecticut hosted NIMH grantee and 2016 meeting presenter Vinod Srihari, M.D., and colleague, John Cahill, MBBS, from the Yale School of Medicine, to present about the Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis Program at its recent annual conference.

After hearing his presentation about trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) at the 2016 Annual Meeting, the Institute for Psychological Research at the University of Puerto Rico sought guidance from NIMH grantee Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D., from the Drexel University College of Medicine to train providers to deliver the treatment to children and adolescents at a public housing project in San Juan. 

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Addressing Disparities

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

Arizona State University’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy distributed NIMH materials at its supportive services clinic, which is embedded within a low-income housing facility. 

During a mental health training to rural community health aides, NAMI Arkansas provided "care packages" containing NIMH brochures, including Postpartum Depression Facts, for their community home visits. 

MHA CO Community Conversations

As part of outreach to the Latino community, Mental Health Colorado CEO Andrew Romanoff conducted community conversations with the Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy Research Organization and the Pueblo Latino Chamber of Commerce. NIMH brochures on depression, anxiety, and older adults and depression were distributed at these outreach events.

MHA Illinois provided NIMH materials for a presentation about depression and anxiety at a community event organized by the Muslim Pharmacists Association.

MHA SC KS Exhibit  

MHA of South Central Kansas distributed NIMH’s Suicide in America brochure at a community event for older adults.

UPR Exhibit

The University of Puerto Rico Institute for Psychological Research distributed NIMH Spanish-language materials at a job fair at a public housing project in San Juan.

MHA of Middle Tennessee distributed the Spanish-language versions of NIMH’s depression and bipolar disorder brochures at its Encuentro Latino meeting, which brings together health care and social service providers who serve Nashville’s Spanish-speaking community.

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Promoting Research Opportunities

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

NIMH IRP Teen Depression Flyer

The Federation of Families of South Carolina (FFSC) posted information about the NIMH IRP teen depression research study on its website

NAMI Vermont Facebook Post

NAMI Vermont promoted the NIMH IRP depression medication and brain imaging study on Facebook.

NIMH IRP Schizophrenia Lab  

The NIMH IRP schizophrenia research team informed attendees at the NAMI NYS conference about studies seeking volunteers

Educating the Public about Research

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

Image of Brain  

In its newsletter, NAMI Alabama educated its members about the NIH NeuroBioBank and how brain donations advance research discoveries. 

SSG DBSA Presentation Slide on Clinical Trials

In a presentation to Los Angeles Bipolar and Depression Support Alliance members, SSG highlighted the importance of clinical research and described research protections. 

At its recent conference, NAMI Maryland invited social workers from the NIMH IRP Human Subjects Protection Unit to present a workshop on the history and the current state of research protections for human subjects. 

The North Dakota Brain Injury Network, a program of the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health, shared information about NIMH clinical trials and other research, including the NIMH Clinical Research Trials and You fact sheet, during its annual Mind Matters conference on brain injury.

FFSC shared information at a Head Start Center about volunteer participation in clinical trials. In addition to distributing NIMH materials on clinical trials, FFSC conducted an online demonstration of how to search for studies on the website.

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Taking Research to the Community

Partners are providing opportunities for NIMH scientists and grantees to take their research to the community. 

At the NAMI MD annual conference, NIMH IRP researcher Bashkim Kadriu, M.D., shared research being conducted by the NIMH Experimental and Pathophysiology Branch to develop the next generation of antidepressants for severe and treatment-resistant depression.

Dr. Merikangas

The NAMI NYS annual educational conference featured a presentation by NIMH IRP researcher Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D., (pictured left) who presented about an NIMH community-based family study of affective spectrum disorders. In addition, NIMH grantee Kirsten Brennand, Ph.D., from the Ichahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, presented her research using induced pluripotent stem cells to better understand the genetic and cellular underpinnings of schizophrenia.  

NAMI South Dakota’s annual conference featured NIMH IRP researcher Elizabeth Ballard, Ph.D., who reviewed research advances in treating individuals at risk for suicide, and described NIMH research seeking to understand the neurobiology of suicide. 

NAMI Utah provided an update about new NIMH research, initiatives, and resources at its annual state conference. 

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

Fall 2017

NIMH Resources: Coping with Traumatic Events

Coping with Traumatic Events Image

NIMH offers resources to help communities impacted by traumatic events.

The Coping with Traumatic Events webpage lists common reactions to trauma, signs someone needs help, and links to additional resources.

NIMH has brochures for parents, rescue workers, and community members that provide practical ways for them to help children after traumatic events.

New from NIMH: Toolkit for Suicide Risk Screening Tool

ASQ Image

The Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) Toolkit is a free resource for medical settings that can help nurses or physicians successfully identify youth at risk for suicide. For more information, visit

Follow the NIMH Director on Twitter

NIMH Director Twitter Account Image

Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the NIMH, is now on Twitter!

Follow @NIMHDirector for updates from NIMH.

Upcoming Observances and Resources

NIMH Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Image

Thank you to all the Partners who shared NIMH information about suicide prevention on social media and in newsletters in September during suicide prevention awareness activities!

Below are resources you may consider using for upcoming health observances.

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week
January 22-28, 2018
Check out resources available to educate communities and teens about addiction and alcohol abuse from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

American Heart Month
February 2018
Consider using the NIMH publication, Chronic Illness and Mental Health.

Brain Awareness Week
March 12-18, 2018
Use NIMH resources to educate teens about the developing brain. Also, check out resources from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, including Know Your Brain and Genes at Work in the Brain

National Autism Awareness Month
April 2018
Take a look at the NIMH publication, A Parent's Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month
April 2018
Consider using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Administration for Children and Families resources on preventing childhood maltreatment. 

Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month
May 2018
Check out NIMH’s webpage on borderline personality disorder.

Mental Health Month
May 2018
You may find NIMH materials and resources for your Mental Health Month activities! 

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
May 10, 2018
Find NIMH brochures and videos about mental health issues in children and adolescents. 

First Episode Psychosis (FEP) Education

Thanks to the many efforts of Outreach and National Partners, communities are learning about FEP programs and NIMH Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) findings.

NAMI Indiana (NAMI IN) highlighted interventions for individuals with FEP, specifically the Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) model in the cover story of its newsletter. NAMI IN also featured a session at its recent annual conference on early intervention for youth and young adults with FEP, highlighting how these programs are key to reducing the duration of untreated psychosis.

NAMI National released First Episode Psychosis Programs: A Guide to State Expansion, which describes the research evidence for CSC and provides guidance on the implementation of programs for individuals with FEP.


The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors continues to educate the community about FEP through webinars. A webinar about outcome measurement in FEP programming, featured NIMH’s Dr. Heinssen talking about the NIMH Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET) project, a national learning community of FEP programs. The webinar about the prevalence of FEP in large healthcare systems featured NIMH grantee Gregory Simon, M.D., M.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, and Susan Azrin, Ph.D., Program Chief of the NIMH Primary Care Research Program.

National Partner Activities

The American Psychiatric Association blogged about NIMH Director Dr. Gordon’s lecture at its Annual Meeting.

NIMH OPP National Partner Button

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America added the NIMH National Partner button to its home page to show its affiliation with the Program.

As part of a recent website redesign, the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health added the New from NIMH widget on its home page and links to NIMH resources in its resources section.

Studies Seeking Participants

NIH Clinical Center

The NIMH Intramural Research Program (IRP) in Bethesda, MD is seeking participants for the following trials. Help spread the word.

Join NIH Depression Research Studies
Does depression impede your daily life? Are you currently feeling sad and hopeless, experiencing worthlessness and guilt, and have a lack of interest in everyday activities you once enjoyed? NIH studies are investigating the brain and experimental medications (such as ketamine and diazoxide) to rapidly reduce depressive symptoms. 
Research includes: depressed adults ages 18 to 70, outpatient visits or inpatient stays of up to 12 weeks at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD.  Call 1-877-MIND-NIH, TTY: 1-866-411-1010, or email:

Treatment of Severe Mood Dysregulation
(Inpatient: 12- to 15 weeks) This study tests the efficacy of different treatments for decreasing irritability in children with severe mood and behavioral problems. Participants have symptoms of severe irritability and are not doing well on their current medications. The child must be currently in treatment with a physician, medically healthy and not currently hospitalized, psychotic, or suicidal. The study includes day or full hospitalization to discontinue medication, followed by either methylphenidate plus citalopram, or methylphenidate plus placebo. Recruiting ages 7-17. To find out if you qualify, email or call 1-301-496-8381 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010]. 

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] 

New Clinical Research Educational Resource

DHHS Randomization Video

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Human Research Protection released a new video, What Does Randomization Mean for Research Volunteers? which explains the concept of randomization in research studies and what potential participants need to know when volunteering for a study with a randomized design.

New Science Literacy Tool

NCCIH Nine Questions

Part of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s Know the Science Initiative, the online resource 9 Questions To Help You Make Sense of Health Research provides information to improve understanding of the basics of scientific studies when reading a scientific research article.

About the Program

The Outreach Partnership Program, an NIMH nationwide initiative, 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