In collaboration with Mental Health America (MHA), the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI) Community Engagement (CE) program has received a one year award (renewable for two subsequent years) to be one of 55 National Institute of Mental Health (
Our New Partnership
NIMH) Outreach Partners. Outreach Partners are selected through a competitive expert review process and represent every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Our new Partnership will serve the Southern California region. The Outreach Partnership Program is a nationwide initiative of NIMH that enlists national, state, and local non-profit organizations with experience in mental health outreach and education to increase the public's access to science-based mental health
information and encourage involvement in NIH and NIMH research.
Our community partner, MHA has taken the lead on this project, with the SC CTSI CE program serving as the "joint applicant".
MHA, is a private, non-profit community based mental health agency based in Long Beach whose mission is to "promote mental health, prevent mental and substance use conditions, and achieve victory over mental illnesses and addictions through advocacy, education, research and service." Founded in1924, MHA has served Los Angeles County for nearly 90 years and has widespread reach with its public policy, training, outcomes evaluation and educational research.
To accomplish the goals of the NIMH Outreach Partnership, MHA and the SC CTSI, we will 1) establish an NIMH presence on our respective websites and disseminate NIMH mental health information (including information about mental health research and participation in clinical trials) to our many community and academic partners at public presentations and community events and through a wide variety of electronic mechanisms; 2) participate in a Special Outreach Project focused on building capacity to work on community-based and clinical research studies within Latino communities; and 3) develop new research mechanisms to help reduce racial and ethnic and socioeconomic disparities, especially for historically underserved populations.
Additional Benefits of NIMH Outreach Partnership
Through this Partnership the SC CTSI will have opportunities to provide NIMH with feedback on research priorities through dialogue at the annual 3-day Outreach Program Meeting at NIMH headquarters in Bethesda, MD in March 2013. We will also provide quarterly Outreach Program progress reports, and be involved in other networking activities with NIMH staff, NIMH-funded researchers and other experts in the field.
NIMH Outreach Partners have dedicated access to NIMH publications and other materials at no cost. We also receive NIMH biweekly electronic updates, which summarize the latest mental health research findings, recently released federal grant opportunities, new government resources, adaptable outreach tools and materials to support outreach and education efforts that coincide with special observances like National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day and World Suicide Prevention Day.
Dissemination of NIMH Research Findings
We estimate that our project will disseminate NIMH research findings to approximately 10,000 individuals annually in Southern California, including mental health consumers, family members, service planners, administrators, supervisors and front-line staff, business organizations, veterans and their families, secondary/ post-secondary professors, teachers and counselors, students, people entering the mental health workforce and the general public.
Dissemination will be accomplished by: 1) creating an NIMH Outreach Partnership Program electronic presence on MHA and SC CTSI websites that provide information on and links to NIMH's information, findings and websites; 2) capturing a wide range of constituents into a listserv and communicating with them through "e-news" mailings; 3) collaborating with partners and providers at community based events to extend the organization's reach and distribute NIMH materials; and 4) communicating with Southern California media.
Holly Kiger, RN, MN, CNS from the SC CTSI CE, will use the program's established formal partnerships with leading academic, clinical, and community health organizations in Los Angeles County to promote the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program's outreach and dissemination goals. These include its 31 member Health Care Leadership Council that represents major public and private healthcare delivery systems in Los Angeles and a 20 member Children's Mental Health Research Task Force with representation from USC researchers and a variety of community mental health providers (including the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, community based mental health agencies, schools and other community based agencies).
Expansion of Research
As with all other aspects of the project, the expansion of research will be a collaborative effort. To help promote the development of research projects focused on serving the severely mentally ill population we are very fortunate to have John Brekke, PhD, a researcher from the USC School of Social Work and one of the SC CTSI CE program's Co-Directors, serving as the research scientist on the project. Dr. Brekke has over 25 years of research experience focused on the integration of biological aspects of mental disorder into psychosocial rehabilitation for individuals with schizophrenia, accelerating the use of evidence-based practices into community-based treatment for individuals with schizophrenia, and transforming community-based mental health services. He has served on several national scientific committees and editorial boards, and has received awards and recognitions for his mentorship and research contributions.
Dr. Brekke's role will be supplemented by Ms. Kiger's primary role as the SC CTSI CE program's research navigator. Her work is focused on working with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) directly and contract agencies (like MHA) to develop community engaged mental health research projects.
Discover our Outreach Partners
Learn more about the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program
All future e-newsletters will feature updates from NIMH, including 1) Science and Service News Updates; 2) Resources: Publications, Toolkits, Other Resources; 3) Calendar of Events;4) Calls for Public Input; and 5) Funding Information.
Highlights from the January 15, 2013 Update include links to articles and websites on autism, end of life discussions with teens, prescription drug misuse, "seasonal sadness", drug and alcohol use among teens, stress and relaxation techniques, resources to help families and communities affected by trauma from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), post partum depression, veterans with PTSD, and much more.
Highlights from the February 1, 2013 Update include an article entitled, "NIH Research matters: Early Autism May Not Last a Lifetime", resourced related to treating drug and alcohol use in teens, the role of dogs in the recovery of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new Spanish website focused on research and best practices on cyberbullying, prevention, and response, suicide among veterans, and a podcast on chronic pain.
Highlights from the February 15, 2013 Update include a report on a new NIMH supported study showing that early signs of autism can be detected in 6-month-old infants, a family centered treatment to reduce substance abuse in African American teens, resources for caregivers, a comparative effectiveness of interventions addressing trauma other than maltreatment or family violence, the 22nd annual report providing state-level data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, a report on the "Needs of Caregivers of Children Who Remain In-Home After a Maltreatment Investigation", a tip-sheet on "Working with Polyvictimized Children" from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Safe Start Center, addressing mental health issues in corrections institutions, and a Real Warriors podcast that discusses how maintaining close ties with friends, family, and unit members can enhance resilience before, during, and after deployment.
Highlights from the March 1, 2013 Update include The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration's (SAMHSA) Center for Financing Reform and Innovation's new Information Resource Center to provide people in the behavioral health care field important information about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can improve access to behavioral healthcare services; more information about autism from NIMH director Thomas Insel; a report on alcoholism among minorities from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA); a report on how the ACA will build on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008; the role of parents and other caregivers in shaping youths' perception of risks associated with substance use; Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers (Spanish version); a brochure to educate college-aged people about the risks with using prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs nonmedically (includes tips for how to cope with the stress and pressure of college demands); a report on the first large-scale, longitudinal study of drug, alcohol, and psychiatric disorders in a diverse sample of juvenile detainees; information on "Strategies to Maintain Positive Health"; a DCoE blog that provides characteristics of resilient marriages for military families; and a series of webinars about using social media for outreach, collaboration, and campaign promotion.