NIMH Director Thomas Insel, MD It’s that time of year when I like to reflect on what progress has been made in our field over the course of the past 12 months. In my latest blog, I share what I believe to be the most exciting achievements in mental health research for 2014. Topping the list is the RAISE(Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode) research program. It was a watershed moment when, in the fiscal year (FY) 2014 appropriation bill, Congress set aside funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Community Mental Health Block Grant program for dissemination of evidence-based interventions for first episode psychosis similar to those tested in RAISE. SAMHSA and NIMH are collaborating to take full advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to move research into practice swiftly in contrast to the widely reported 17-year lag in adoption of evidence-based treatments by clinicians. Congress reaffirmed its commitment to this effort with continuation of this set aside in the recently enacted FY 2015 appropriation. We estimate that RAISE-like programs, called Collaborative Specialty Care (CSC), will be available in at least 29 states by October of 2015. While states are beginning to implement these models, or expand upon existing programs, outreach to individuals who experience first episode psychosis will be critical so they know about treatments that can help in the earliest stages of their illness. This issue of Outreach Connection features an example of how Partners are working to make communities aware of the RAISE approach. Your work engaging youth and young adults, families, providers, and other key stakeholders is all the more important now as states’ efforts get underway. The Voices of Recovery video series is a good example of a number of educational resources from the RAISE Connection program that can be used for outreach to the community. NIMH wishes you all the best this holiday season and as always commends you for your efforts to improve the lives of all those affected by mental illness.
Getting Research Out
Outreach Partners inform their communities about the latest NIMH research through social media and other venues.
The Massachusetts Association of Mental Health distributed NIMH materials at a Summit on Elder Behavioral Health, which brought together a range of stakeholders to dialogue on the challenges serving the growing aging population.
The Mental Health Association Oklahoma co-hosted a girls’ and mothers’ conference for the African American community in Tulsa. NIMH resources were distributed to supplement the open discussion on issues facing teen girls, including depression, suicide, and addictions.
Outreach Partners conduct outreach projects addressing mental disorders among children and adolescents, or mental health disparities.
Mental Health America of Montana Youth Crisis Diversion Project
Rural and frontier communities in northeast Montana have been significantly impacted by the oil boom of Bakken Oil field in Montana and North Dakota. While the influx of jobs and job-seekers has been a positive for these largely underserved communities, there are also downsides. With stressed infrastructures and families, youth in a psychiatric crisis often end up in a jail or detention setting rather than a nurturing environment focused on utilizing the strengths and resources of the youth, family, and community. In response to this growing challenge, Mental Health America of Montana (MHA of MT) has created the Youth Crisis Diversion Project (YCD) to work directly with law enforcement, youth probation, youth mental health, schools, and other community stakeholders who may determine a youth to be at risk and in need of temporary safe diversion associated with a mental health crisis. Most diversion interventions are six hours to 24 hours in length and involve MHA of MT YCD workers engaging the family and community resources to secure a mental health provider and support services to maintain the youth in the community.
YCD on-going activities in these communities include the development of “safe” local solutions within each county and community; recruitment of staff who have diversity and expertise with families and children who have been involved with the children’s system of care; and collaboration with community stakeholders who are “first responders” to youth in mental health crisis. MHA of MT is collecting data about the youth served by this new project, and an evaluation of YCD is planned to begin next year.
MHA of MT has used NIMH materials and information as part of its outreach and training activities to stakeholders in these communities. For example, recently YCD trainers distributed NIMH publications and showed the Development of the Young Brain video at three law enforcement trainings on children’s mental health, and how to best stabilize and provide safety for youth in crisis.
NAMI New York State’s (NAMI NYS) 2014 Education Conferencefeatured a session by NIMH DIRP staff on the importance of participating in NIMH Clinical Trials. Participants learned the benefits of research participation and the role it plays in understanding and improving care for psychiatric diseases.
Partners provide opportunities for NIMH scientists and grantees to present their findings at local meetings and conferences.
NAMI New Jersey’s 2014 Annual Meetingfeatured NIMH grantee, Michelle Burns, PhDof the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, addressing her research on behavioral intervention technologies.
The NAMI NYS 2014 Education Conference featured NIMH research in a number of sessions, including a presentation about the NIMH RAISEstudy and the keynote by NIMH grantee, Stephan Glatt, PhD, Director of the Psychiatric Genetic Epidemiology and Neurobiology Laboratory at SUNY Upstate Medical University. In addition, Dwight Dickenson, PhD, of the NIMH DIRPClinical Brain Disorders Branch led a workshop about his schizophrenia research.
The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation blogged about a recently launched NIMH-funded studyto develop and test a personalized, computer-based suicide risk screening tool to help emergency departments identify troubled teenagers.
The Depression Bipolar Support Alliance interviewed two NIMH DIRP scientists for its Educational Podcast Series: Daniel Pine, MD, addressing anxiety and depression in children and adolescents, and Ken Towbin, MD, discussing the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children.
NAMI honored NIMH grantee Lisa Dixon, MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center. Among her accomplishments, Dr. Dixon is a principal investigator for the NIMH RAISE study.
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]
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 of55 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 contactNIMHPartners@mail.nih.gov
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