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NIMH Director Insel

NIMH Director Thomas Insel, MD

It was great to see all of you in April. As always, I value the opportunity to dialogue with you and get a better sense of the mental health landscape in your states. As we at NIMH begin to shape future scientific questions and disseminate the results of the research we support, it’s important that these efforts are informed by the issues and concerns currently having the greatest impact on individuals living with mental illness, their families, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders. Thank you for your thoughtful feedback and for your work following the meeting to get the science you heard disseminated to your constituents. We’re pleased to be able to highlight several of these efforts below. Keep sending us your examples!


Getting Research Out

Outreach Partners disseminate NIMH materials and research findings throughout their state.

AK Facebook Post

The Alaska Youth and Family Network posted a Director's Blog on Facebook.

NIMH Pub Depression  

Arizona State University disseminated NIMH publications to high school students at talks about depression and suicidal behavior.

PPD Brochure

Mental Health America of Georgia disseminated NIMH's new postpartum depression brochure as part of its Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week efforts.

Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) has incorporated NIMH information throughout its newly designed website. NIMH statistics and publication content appear on "illness-specific" webpages like the anxiety page.

As part of a law enforcement training at Tulsa Community College, Mental Health Association Oklahoma (MHAOK) distributed thumb drives with electronic versions of NIMH publications.

NAMI NJ Science Update Masthead

NAMI New Jersey interviewed NIMH grantee Dr. David Mohr for its Science Update newsletter, after learning about his work in a NIMH Director's Blog about technological innovations in mental health.

NAMI Minnesota (NAMI MN) is using NIMH's men and depression brochures and posters for its anger management group for African American males, many of whom are transitioning from jail to community.

  NIMH Men and Depression brochure
NIMH Years Lived With Disability Figure  

Nevada PEP informed its constituents about the new NIMH website resource featuring disability and burden of disease statistics.

NAMI Oregon distributed NIMH brochures on mental illness in children at a middle school resource fair.

  NIMH ADHD Brochure
NAMI Wyoming Video

NAMI Wyoming incorporated NIMH statistics into a University of Wyoming public television program about getting help for a mental illness.

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Partners Meet and Dialogue at Annual Meeting

Sherry Glied

In April, representatives from the Outreach and National Partner organizations met on the NIH campus for the OPP's 2014 annual meetingDr. Sherry GliedDean of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, delivered the keynote address, "Improving Behavioral Health in the Era of Healthcare Reform." In addition to updates from Dr. Insel on the state of mental health research, presentations covered the use of technology in mental health interventions and peer support services; updates on the NIMH Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) and Early Prediction and Prevention of Psychosis research initiatives; and the new Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention

Partner Sharing

The 2014 meeting featured a number of Partner sharing opportunities. As one Partner said, "It was very helpful to hear from other OPP organizations because there were practical and concrete ideas to take home and immediately implement."

On the first day, NIMH communications staff facilitated a dialogue with NAMI Utah (NAMI UT), MHAOK, and Mental Health America of Illinois about how to take advantage of the changing media landscape to disseminate NIMH information to communities.

Partner Sharing Session

In addition, over 30 Partners shared their education and outreach activities in the Partner Sharing Session, a hands-on opportunity to learn how others are disseminating research in their states. In a breakout session NAMI UT, Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio (MHA-NKY&SWO), and NAMI South Dakota shared lessons learned from implementing Crisis Intervention Training programs in their communities. In another breakout session, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) staff joined NAMI Virginia (NAMI VA) and NAMI MN to talk about communication activities to respond to tragic events and build dialogue about mental health in  communities.

Community-Research Collaboration

Holly Kiger

The meeting provided an opportunity for Partners to hear from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and some fellow Outreach Partners about community-research collaborations. PCORI began the session by describing how they are engaging patients and communities in the research process, and the types of mental health research projects they are supporting.

Mental Health America of Montana detailed its steps for identifying and engaging a researcher to embark on a research project to evaluate peer support training. The Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI)the OPP co-partner for Southern California and an NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) project, discussed how they are partnering with communities to develop research projects. They suggested that Partners contact research navigators at one of the over 60 CTSAs across the country to learn about possibilities for connecting with researchers. 

Social Media Shout Outs

During the meeting, MHAMD, NAMI Maine, and NAMI North Carolina (NAMI NC) shared photos and highlights with their constituents via Facebook.

  NAMI Maine Facebook Post

Extending the Reach

Since the meeting, Partners have been sharing research findings and taking outreach ideas back to their organizations. The Federation of Families of South Carolina (FFSC) prepared a Top 10 Meeting Takeways blog post and SC CTSI, NAMI NC, and MHA-NKY&SWO posted meeting summaries in their e-newsletters. In addition, NAMI New York State promoted OnTrackNY, the second generation RAISE program in its state, which was presented by NIMH grantee Dr. Lisa Dixon.

Thank you to all the Partners for making the 2014 Annual Meeting a success!

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Tackling Disparities

Outreach Partners conduct projects addressing mental disorders among children and adolescents, or mental health disparities.

NAMI Ohio M.I.N.D. Movement


Out of the tragedy in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a new initiative was born in Ohio to address the stigma surrounding mental illness that too often prevents young people from seeking the treatment they need. NAMI Ohio (NAMI OH), in collaboration with 17 other mental health groups in the state, established the MIND (Mental Illness-No Discrimination) Movement Ohio (MMO). This multi-pronged, two-year campaign is aimed at youth ages 15-25. It is designed to change attitudes about mental illness and eliminate the discrimination individuals with mental illness experience all too often. MMO utilizes social media, personal contacts, and other age-appropriate strategies that are guided by an active steering committee. A website has been developed, which will feature all campaign materials.

MMO was rolled out in mid-April at Ohio State University and 9 other college campuses in the state featuring a screening of the movie, Silver Linings Playbook followed by remarks from an individual living with mental illness and discussion. Each event had a literature table featuring NIMH educational materials. This summer, NAMI OH and the MIND Movement will take to the highway with the NAMImobile, visiting over 100 communities across Ohio to educate the public about mental health and advocate for the nearly three million Ohioans and their families who are affected by mental illness.   

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Promoting Research Opportunities

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

FFSC blog post increased awareness about participation in clinical trials by sharing a staff member's experience of bringing her son for an NIMH study interview at the NIH Clinical Center.

Wisconsin Family Ties informed its constituents about the NIMH-funded study, Family Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorder, being conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison via its website and social media.

Collaborating with Researchers

Partners team up to connect communities with researchers to promote research participation and findings.

UNM Neuroscience Day

The New Mexico Outreach Partner, the University of New Mexico (UNM), is working with community groups concerned with behavioral health and brain conditions through its Brain and Behavioral Health Institute (BBHI) to develop a coalition with the UNM Health Sciences Center researchers and clinicians. To support this effort, they are bringing these groups together for educational and networking activities, such as Neuroscience Day during Brain Awareness Week. In addition to distributing NIMH publications to the participants, the event featured poster and plenary sessions as well as interactive panel discussions to encourage conversations between research­ers, students, clinicians, and community members about how the brain works and the underlying causes of brain-related disorders. To promote the importance of communicating science to a lay audience, BBHI sponsored a poster competi­tion in which judges assessed researchers’ scientific abstracts and their ability to speak clearly, answer questions, and explain the importance of their work.

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Taking Research to the Community

Partners provide opportunities for NIMH scientists and grantees to present their findings at local meetings and conferences.

NIMH DIRP scientist Dr. Ken Towbin presented research findings about pediatric bipolar disorder and severe mood dysregulation at the annual conference of the DC Behavioral Health Association.

Gazzaley Title Slide

The Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida hosted a continuing education event for  providers by locally broadcasting the NIMH OPP webinar with NIMH grantee Dr. Adam Gazzaley on the use of video games to enhance cognitive function.

As part of the Children's Mental Health Matters! Campaign, MHAMD hosted a webinar for family members and providers with NIMH DIRP scientist Dr. Erin Berman on coping strategies for anxious children.

Nevada PEP hosted a training session by former NIMH grantee Dr. Eric Bruns of the University of Washington on the effectiveness of Wraparound, a program focused on community-based, family-driven, and youth-guided systems of care.

NAMI Virginia Brown Bag

In honor of Mental Health Month, NAMI VA and its partners hosted Virginia Commonwealth University researcher Dr. Danielle Dick to share her NIH-funded research at a lunch session for mental health providers, family members, and consumers. Her work examines the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to alcohol use and emotional health.  

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

Summer 2014

Welcome New Partners

NIMH has awarded six new Outreach Partner organizations to the Program:

Alaska Youth and Family Network 
DC Behavioral Health Association 
NAMI Indiana 
NAMI Southwest Missouri in partnership with Burrell Behavioral Health
Consumer Voices Are Born in partnership with the PRO Alliance (Washington State)

New OPP Video


The OPP has a new video highlighting the Program and Partners. Many Partners have already posted the video on their websites and in e-newsletters. Check it out!

National Partner Activities

Thanks to the National Partners for actively promoting NIMH research.

Blog Postings

BBRF Zarate Interview

The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation interviewed NIMH Division of Intramural Research Programs (DIRP) scientist Dr. Carlos Zarate about his research to develop a fast-acting anti-depressant for a "Discoveries" blog post.


The Anxiety and Depression Association of America hosted a webinar with NIMH DIRP scientist Dr. Daniel Pine, who discussed medication and psychosocial treatments for kids and teens who are suffering from anxiety and depression.

The International Bipolar Foundation hosted a webinar with NIMH grantee Dr. Louisa Sylvia of the Harvard Medical School about the “Nutrition/weight loss, Exercise, and Wellness” treatment program.

Resources to Support Care for First-Episode Psychosis

To prepare states for the 5% set-aside Mental Health Block Grant effort to support “evidence-based programs that address the needs of individuals with early serious mental illness, including psychotic disorders," NIMH has posted a variety of Coordinated Specialty Care program development materials, such as treatment manuals, videos with personal vignettes, educational handouts, and worksheets. Take a look to see how these could be used in your state.

NIMH Staff Honored

Congratulations to NIMH leadership for the field's recognition of their scientific contributions.

NIMH Director Thomas Insel  

Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

NIMH Director Thomas Insel, M.D. received the Productive Lives Award for his work in advancing the understanding of the challenges of brain disorders.

American Psychiatric Association

  NIMH DSIR Director Robert Heinssen

Robert Heinssen, Ph.D., Director of the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research received the 2014 Presidential Commendation from the American Psychiatric Association (APA). He was recognized by the APA for championing research on early psychosis and translating it into policy and programs for clinical implementation as a new standard of care.

Upcoming Observances & Resources

Check out NIMH resources to support upcoming annual mental health observances!

National Suicide Prevention Week
September 7-13, 2014
Check out these NIMH suicide prevention fact sheets and publications. Consider linking to NIMH videos about suicide prevention research.  

Recovery Month
September 2014
Use the Recovery Kit resources in your Recovery Month activities.

National Wellness Week
September 15-21, 2014
Take a look at the brochures in the Depression and Other Illnesses series.

National Bullying Prevention Month
October 2014
Check out Federal resources about bullying on the website.

Mental Illness Awareness Week 
October 6-10, 2014
NIMH has a number of materials and resources to support this week's activities.

PANDAS Awareness Day
October 9, 2014
Share NIMH facts and research about PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) .

American Diabetes Month
November 2014
Check out the NIMH resource about depression and diabetes.

OPP Visits Outreach Partners

Each year, OPP staff members strive to learn about issues and activities across the states by attending Outreach Partner meetings.

Dakota Conference on Rural Health

North Dakota: 2014 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health

Rajni Agarwal participated in this annual conference sponsored by the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota (ND), the OPP Outreach Partner for ND.

Studies Seeking Participants

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

NIH Clinical Center

The dREMe Study: A trial of donepezil for REM sleep enhancement and improvement of ASD core symptoms

NIMH is conducting research to study if a medication, donepezil (Aricept®) compared to placebo, can improve the way communication skills and social interaction develop in young children (ages 2 through 4) with autism spectrum disorders (ASD),. The dREMe Study is an outpatient and inpatient study at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD.  The study requires eight visits to the NIH over an 18-month period. Compensation is not provided. For more information, call 1-866-444-2214 (TTY 1-866-411-1010) or e-mail and refer to study 13-M-0164.

Treatment of Severe Mood Dysregulation

SMD (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 for discontinuation of medication, followed by either methylphenidate plus citalopram, or methylphenidate plus placebo. Recruiting ages 7-17. [09-M-0034]

Bipolar Disorder and Riluzole

(Outpatient or Inpatient: 8 weeks) This study of Riluzole (an FDA-approved drug for Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS) tests how this drug affects glutamate in the brain and improves treatment resistant depressive symptoms (failure to reduce symptoms after taking two or more antidepressants.) Recruiting ages 18-70. [03-M-0092]

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 nonprofit 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 Partners and National Partners are disseminating NIMH research across the country. If you have feedback about the newsletter, please contact