The team at the Hearing Voices Research and Training Project has been accomplishing great things! The trainers continue to crisscross the country offering multi-day trainings for new facilitators of Hearing Voices peer-support groups, as well as technical assistance after the training to help new groups get up and running. The team also offers a monthly networking call for US group facilitators and a weekly online support group, attended by voice hearers across North and South America. For more information, or to discuss bringing a facilitator training to your community, contact Caroline Mazel-Carlton, Training and Outreach Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And since there are still too many communities around the country where the Hearing Voices approach remains unknown, the Project has started awarding mini-grants to community groups to support outreach programs in their local areas. The creativity and diversity of these projects is exciting – look out for upcoming events in Atlanta, Seattle, and Palo Alto. A date for applications for another round of mini-grants will be announced soon.
The Project’s research team is equally hard at work – seeking out the experiences of people around the country who have participated in HVN peer-support groups. The goal of their study is to identify the precise characteristics that make these groups so effective for so many people. With a clearer evidence base, the researchers hope to foster wider acceptance of the Hearing Voices approach among clinicians and other mental health professionals in the US. Dozens of voice hearers around the country have already sent in their responses; if you or someone you know has participated in an HVN group and not yet completed the survey, please check it out at: https://www.ourvoicesraised.org/
And finally, as part of the overall goal of raising the visibility of the Hearing Voices approach across the United States, the Project’s collaborative team of voice hearers, peer workers, and researchers are creating a short film, offering a powerful introduction to the approach through the stories of people whose lives have been changed by participating in HVN groups. Stay tuned for more information, available soon!Read More
Following the successful release of the documentary, Kings Park: Stories from an American Mental Institution, filmmaker Lucy Winer has teamed up with critically acclaimed author and historian, Nancy Tomes, PhD, to create a groundbreaking digital learning site aimed at the mental health care community, with special focus on those going into the healthcare profession.
Believing in the power of personal narratives to shift attitudes and inspire positive change, the site is called Unlocked: Stories of Public Mental Health Care. Rooted in the wealth of first-person narratives Lucy has filmed over the years with people who, like herself, had firsthand experience of Kings Park State Hospital, the site puts a human face on the past and its impact today.Read More
(Westchester, NY) – The New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) at Columbia University, in collaboration with the Mental Health Association (MHA) of Westchester is conducting a study to evaluate the feasibility of offering Social Network Meetings to individuals enrolled in New York State’s first episode psychosis program, OnTrackNY. The study is supported by a grant from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.
These Social Network Meetings are derived from the Need-Adapted Treatment and Open Dialogue models and view psychotic disorders as heterogeneous, requiring individualistic treatment. These models integrate an individual’s social network throughout the entire treatment process and provide a consistent treatment team throughout the person’s recovery.
This study is open to all English speaking OnTrackNY clients (ages 16-30) and family members of their choosing.
Over the last three months, researchers have enrolled three individuals and their families into the social network arm of this the study. All of these participants have been offered at least one social network meeting and our first set of participants have had regular social network meetings since enrolling in May.
The study team is exploring ways to increase enrollment and will be focusing enrollment efforts on individuals who are newly entering the OnTrackNY program. The study team hopes that by offering social network meetings within the OnTrackNY program that individuals will receive enhanced social support allowing them to make greater strides toward reaching their recovery goals.
Lisa Dixon, MD, MPH
Edna L. Edison Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center
Director, Division of Behavioral Health Services and Policy Research & Center for Practice Innovations
New York State Psychiatric Institute
1051 Riverside Drive, Box 100, Room 2702 New York, NY 10032
Follow me on twitter @lisabdixon
Editor, Psychiatric Services
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(Portland, OR) – The first North American trial of a 36-ingredient micronutrient formula is underway at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), The Ohio State University (OSU) and at University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. In only three months of recruiting, the Micronutrients in ADHD Youth (MADDY) Study has enrolled 40 participants among the three sites, nearly one-third of our target number. All three sites are actively recruiting eligible children to participate. The children must be off of psychotropic medication for at least two weeks prior to starting the study to meet entrance criteria. The study is supported by a grant from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.
Children, ages 6-12 years of age, who have ADHD and some irritable mood symptoms are participating in an 8-week randomized controlled trial. During this phase, they will receive either the active product or a matching placebo. Neither the participants’ families nor the clinicians will know which one. After 8 weeks, all the children are eligible to receive the active product for a further eight weeks. We are collecting data on the children’s mood and behavior at baseline and comparing their reports at the end of the treatment. We are also collecting blood, urine, stool, hair and saliva to begin looking at the biological basis for why some children benefit from taking the micronutrients and others do not. The MADDY Study is based on the research from Dr. Julia Rucklidge’s lab in New Zealand in which she found that the children with ADHD and irritable, angry moods reported the most benefit from the treatment.
Several of the families who have completed the initial 8 weeks report significant improvements in their child’s functioning. While we don’t know which pills they were taking (active or placebo), it is encouraging to hear the positive stories of improvement in mood and attention, reduced anger and an ability to get along better with friends. We hope to complete MADDY recruitment by early 2019.
Jeanette Johnstone, MFT, PhD
Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Researcher
Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Oregon Health & Science University
(503) 494-3700 voice mailRead More
The Fort Collins-based Learning and Self-development Collaborative grant project is midway through supporting its first group of young adults experiencing mood-related distress. It is also actively recruiting for the second group, scheduled to start in late August.
Nearly three-quarters of the young adults in the first group have prior mood disorder diagnoses and have tried psychiatric medications like antidepressants. However, the ineffectiveness and intolerable side effects of the drugs had left them searching for an alternative way forward when they decided to enroll in the Learning and Self-development Collaborative. These young adults are currently medication-free and their outcomes on mood distress, social connectedness, empowerment, and quality of life at six months will be compared to other young adults receiving usual care and daily psychiatric medications in the community.
An initial focus group with participants revealed a number of themes related to young adults’ past experiences with seeking help. Participants discussed feeling frustrated by one-size-fits-all solutions, such as drugs and mindfulness techniques, and invalidated by counselors who failed to connect with their experiences. Lack of information about prescribed drugs was frequently brought up by participants who also shared various stories of “chemical imbalance” and drugs “re-training the brain to relax” told to them by doctors and therapists.
Findings from pre-program focus groups are being used to help inform the content and delivery of educational material in the Learning and Self-development Collaborative.Read More
(Wilsonville, OR) – MindFreedom International, headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, will create web-based resources designed to empower, inspire and give individuals with lived experience of mental health challenges the skills they need to be effective leaders in the community. This online resource will draw on the collective wisdom of its members and affiliates, most of whom identify as psychiatric survivors, and include two webinar trainings, a series of videos and a pocket handbook.Read More
(Wilsonville, OR) – Award-winning director/producer Lucy Winer has teamed up with author and Distinguished Professor of History Nancy Tomes at Stony Brook University to create an innovative digital learning site for health care students and professionals. The site will consist of an extensive video archive and online curriculum that aims to build awareness of the past and instill attitudes and values essential to a mental health care system grounded in the principles of recovery.
“This project is important because it will allow residents the opportunity to look at and discuss issues that are often not included in psychiatric training. These profound glimpses into the past highlight how our mental health care system has evolved and underscore the importance of building a future where patient-centered and recovery-oriented care is central to the work we do as mental health providers,” said Melissa Arbuckle, MD, PhD, Vice Chair for Education and Director of Resident Education in the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University.Read More
(Wilsonville, OR) – Principal investigator Lisa Dixon, MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the Division of Behavioral Health Services & Policy Research and the Center for Practice Innovations at the New York State Psychiatric Institute will head up a new project to test enhancing one site of the OnTrackNY program with family engagement and support services which draw on the Needs Adapted and Open Dialogue models with the goal of improving treatment and recovery outcomes.
OnTrackNY was developed to treat young adults within two years of experiencing an episode of psychosis. The project is a collaboration with OnTrackNY at The Mental Health Association of Westchester and will be the latest adaptation of the Finnish Open Dialogue model to be tested in the United States. It will offer a family therapy option that brings together the person at the center of concern and members of their social network to navigate crises and assist in treatment planning.Read More
(Wilsonville, OR) – Principal investigator Dr. Shannon Hughes at the Colorado State University School of Social Work will collaborate with psychiatrist Scott Shannon at The Wholeness Center, an innovative mental health clinic in Fort Collins, to test a novel, 4-month program aimed at helping young adults, aged 18-26, understand and navigate their mental health challenges without psychiatric labels or medications.
They aim to shift conversation away from an exclusively medical understanding of mental and emotional distress towards a holistic, self-development approach that values body, mind, social connections, and spirituality. Over the course of the program, these young people will learn about emotional distress and a variety of proven non-medical approaches for working through it, participate in peer support groups, receive counseling on nutrition and lifestyle, and explore opportunities to form social connections in the community through activities such as art, sports and clubs.Read More
(Wilsonville, OR) – Principal investigator Jeanette Johnstone, PhD, Instructor & Licensed Psychologist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University will head up an 8-week randomized controlled trial to evaluate the use of a broad-spectrum micronutrient to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in young people. The treatment consists of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants and the study is the first of its kind based in North America.Read More