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Media Relations Contact

Jessica Pratt
Data & Communications Manager
Phone: 503-515-6884


July 28, 2018 by Shannon Hughes, PhD

Fort Collins Research Collaborative Recruiting for Second Test Group of Novel Program

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.

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December 12, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

MindFreedom International Will Use Advocacy Training to Aid Mental Health Recovery & Change Public Discourse

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                         December 12, 2017


(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.

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November 30, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

Filmmaker and Historian Team Up to Change How Mental Health Care is Taught, Practiced

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                         November 30, 2017

(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.

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November 24, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

Award-Winning Columbia Med Center Psychiatrist Lisa Dixon Secures New Grant for Care Innovation

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                         November 24, 2017

(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.

Photo of Lisa Dixon, MD

Lisa Dixon, MD

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.

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November 17, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

Fort Collins Doctor Teams Up with CSU Professor to Test New Options for Young People in Distress

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                         November 17, 2017


(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.

Headshot of Shannon Hughes, PhD

Shannon Hughes, PhD

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.

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November 10, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

OHSU psychologist wins Foundation grant to study micronutrient treatment of ADHD in young people

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                         November 10, 2017


(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.

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October 27, 2017 by EXCELLENCE Editor

EXCELLENCE congratulates winners of its 2017 Expanding the Science and Practice of Recovery Care grants

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                            October 27, 2017


(Wilsonville, OR) – The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care is pleased to announce the awards for this year’s Expanding the Science and Practice of Recovery-Based Mental Health Care and Supports grants. These one-year grants of up to $100,000 were selected for their vision and promise to effect cultural and system change, care innovation, and “slow psychiatry”, especially as these impact the lives of children.

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October 3, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

New grant boosts hearing voices approach in USA

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                            October 3, 2017


(Wilsonville, OR) – A pioneering approach to understanding voices, visions, and other extreme states will now be available to more Americans, thanks to a $300,000 grant to the Hearing Voices Research and Development Fund.

For more than 25 years, the Hearing Voices Network – an international collaboration of professionals, voice hearers, and their families and friends – has been working to develop a peer-support based approach to help those coping with distressing voices, visions, and other anomalous experiences. It enables voice hearers – even those who have been chronically disabled – to come to terms with their voices or to silence them altogether. One in ten people will hear voices at some point in their lives, and for many, this experience can be terrifying and isolating. The most common treatment in the US is a long-term course of ‘antipsychotic’ drugs, which are often ineffective and can have unwanted side effects. Only now are real alternatives starting to become known here.

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September 27, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

Courageous Mental Health Film Premieres October 15 at Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles

CRAZY has been selected to screen Saturday, October 14th at the NYC Mental Health Film Festival ( and Sunday, October 15th at the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles (

The one hour documentary tells the story of a young man diagnosed with schizophrenia, who goes off his meds because he is afraid of their side effects. His decision unleashes a series of personal, legal and medical conflicts that reveal how we think about and how we treat “severe mental illness.” The high stakes drama is the only film to explore Assisted Outpatient Treatment, dangerousness, mental health rights and consumer choices, issues hotly debated among stakeholders, the press and the legislatures.

Yana Jacobs, Chief of Development for the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care will be talking on CheddarTv on October 12 about the problems CRAZY highlights and the new kinds of treatment solutions FEMHC is working on.

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July 17, 2017 by EXCELLENCE Editor

New study finds that stopping psychiatric medication is difficult, but most are “satisfied with their choice”

(Morro Bay, CA) – Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals.

While 1 in 6 Americans take a psychiatric medication for serious mental illness, there is little research on people’s experiences coming off of them. In the first large scale study in the U.S., Live & Learn, Inc., in partnership with researchers at UCLA, UCSF and New York University, began to fill this knowledge gap. Study findings are available online today in the journal Psychiatric Services, published by the American Psychiatric Association.

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  • Yana Jacobs, MFT

    Yana Jacobs, MFT

    Santa Cruz, CA Download
  • Gina Nikkel, PhD

    Gina Nikkel, PhD

    Wilsonville, OR Download