NIMH Deploys New Strategy for Outreach
New resources, events, and tools will support engagement with stakeholders and communities
• Institute Update
Against a backdrop of significant changes in the way health information is communicated to the public, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is launching a new comprehensive outreach effort to increase the public’s access to science-based mental health information. As part of the first phase, NIMH developed NIMH Education and Awareness, a portal on the NIMH website with tools and resources designed for and dedicated to outreach.
The portal features sharable social media graphics and messages, videos, podcasts, mental health information, brochures and fact sheets, statistics, and announcements about upcoming live events and exhibits. Individuals and organizations can freely use all the resources to raise awareness about mental health and complement their own outreach efforts. Initial topics include autism spectrum disorder, child and adolescent mental health, eating disorders, and suicide prevention, and NIMH plans to add resources on a wide variety of mental disorders and related topics.
“NIMH’s stakeholders play an important role in disseminating our evidence-based mental health information,” said Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., director of the NIMH. “We are exploring and developing new ways to support stakeholders who share our goal of increasing awareness about mental health and the role of research in reducing the burden of mental illnesses.”
NIMH encourages you to share the resources from the portal using the hashtag #ShareNIMH to connect with people or organizations with similar goals. Using the hashtag helps NIMH evaluate which resources and topics are most useful.
In addition to the portal, NIMH will continue to provide stakeholders access to NIMH scientific information and patient education materials related to screening and diagnosis, treatment, and clinical trials. Higher numbers of brochures and fact sheets—when possible—will be available for advocacy groups, clinics and hospitals, schools, and other organizations, and NIMH will exhibit and distribute these printed materials at conferences and meetings nationwide. NIMH is also planning virtual town hall meetings, webinars, and other interactive events as part of this comprehensive outreach strategy. All of these new efforts will replace the Outreach Partnership Program (OPP), which will end in April 2020 when the OPP contracts conclude.
“The OPP has played an important role in increasing the public’s access to science-based mental health information, and we are committed to working with the local, state, and national communities that have been served through the OPP,” said Dr. Gordon. However, NIMH’s outreach strategy must evolve with the dynamic, digital communication landscape. Our new approach to outreach will help further NIMH’s mission of transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illness through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.”