The Outreach Partnership Program is a nationwide initiative of the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison (OCRPL). The Program works to increase the public’s access to science-based mental health information through partnerships with national and state nonprofit organizations. The Program has a particular emphasis on reaching historically underserved populations. The Program also strives to enhance opportunities for the public to benefit from participation in research. These partnerships provide NIMH with the opportunity to engage community organizations in dialogue to better understand the needs, questions, and concerns of those intended to benefit from the research the Institute supports.
The Outreach Partnership Program is vital to NIMH’s efforts to deliver science-based information to communities across the country. Specifically, the Program is designed to:
- Foster more widespread understanding about mental disorders, the brain, and behavior, thereby helping to reduce misperceptions and negative attitudes towards mental illness;
- Increase awareness of the role of basic, translational, and clinical research in the understanding, prevention, and treatment of mental illnesses; and
- Increase awareness about the opportunities to benefit from participation in mental health research.
There are 55 Outreach Partner organizations representing all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Outreach Partners disseminate NIMH research findings and educational materials to the public throughout their states and local communities, including families and individuals affected by mental illness, healthcare professionals, underserved populations, and other constituencies such as schools, social service agencies, and faith-based organizations. Outreach Partners also conduct targeted outreach activities to address mental disorders among children and adolescents and other populations identified to be at-risk, and mental health disparities that occur because of race, ethnicity, age (e.g., older adults), education, income, disability status, geographic location, or risk status related to sex and gender. In addition, Outreach Partners promote volunteer participation in NIMH and NIH clinical trials and often collaborate with researchers to advance the research process. Learn more about what Outreach Partners are doing to address mental health disparities and increase awareness about mental disorders during childhood and adolescence.
Outreach Partners are selected through a competitive process and serve three-year terms. Benefits provided to these organizations include an annual stipend, sponsored participation in an annual meeting, the biweekly electronic Update newsletter featuring the latest Federal news and resources related to mental health, and access to NIMH scientific and educational publications for mass dissemination. Partners are able to network among themselves and with Federal, national, and state organizations through the annual meetings and a dedicated electronic mailing list.
The Outreach Partnership Program is a nationwide initiative of the NIMH with support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The Program enlists national and state organizations in partnerships to help bridge the gap between research and clinical practice by disseminating the latest scientific findings; informing the public about mental disorders, alcoholism, and drug addiction; and reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with these illnesses. The Program strives to increase public awareness about the importance of basic and clinical research in improving treatments for, and ultimately curing and preventing, mental illnesses and addiction disorders through advancing knowledge about the brain and behavior. The Program also provides NIMH with the opportunity to engage community groups across the U.S.
Click here to review NIMH’s recently published Strategic Plan. Dr. Thomas R. Insel, M.D., Director of NIMH stated that this document represents the culmination of a year-long initiative launched by NIMH to develop a new Strategic Plan that will serve as a guide to the Institute for advancing mental health science over the next five years. Its development has been a collaborative effort among scientific experts, advocacy groups, Institute staff and more than 500 members of public who provided input.
Click here to see the current edition of the NIMH update.