SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)
Behavioral Health Nursing Leadership Team's Effort
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Since May 2005, the Nursing Behavioral Health Leadership Team at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (WFBMC) located in Winston-Salem, NC has hosted an annual mental health awareness event. The goals of the project are to help educate others about mental illnesses, suicide, and substance abuse issues. Further, we provide information about the impact of experiences of mental illnesses upon individuals, families, and the community. We raise awareness about hope for recovery.
As a premier academic medical center with distinct designation and recognition by the Magnet Recognition Program® for providing excellent nursing care, the medical center has supported an interpersonal strategy as an opportunity to positively impact the community at large. Being an academic medical center, the WFBMC interacts with both in-house professionals and paraprofessionals (who are in training) in several disciplines, which include nursing, medicine, allied health affiliates, social/public science students, volunteer personnel, and chaplaincy areas.
This situation permits a proactive opportunity to positively impact teachers and students in the various healthcare fields of study during early learning phases. In addition, although our primary service geographical area is a 24-county region in northwestern North Carolina and southwestern Virginia, in the year 2008, persons served came from 96 (of 100) North Carolina counties, all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and several foreign countries. This network of healthcare recipients provides a large expanse of potential invitees.
Our methodology incorporates discussion and modeling of appropriate language and terminology when referring to persons with mental illnesses. Stigmatizing descriptions such as “crazy,” “psycho,” or other polarizing nonspecific descriptors that only serve to reinforce fear, angst, and negativity toward persons with mental health problems are decisively and deliberately challenged.
Funded with a $2,000 budget, scholarships, and in‐kind support, the Nursing Behavioral Health Leadership Team engages a number of internal and external partners in one venue in which open dialogue, face‐to‐face information, and education are offered. In‐house participants have included colleagues from the Department of Nursing, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, the Employee Assistance Program, CareNet Counseling, Recreation and Massage Therapy, the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, the Geriatric Outreach Program, Care Coordination, Pet Therapy, and the Center for Integrative Medicine. Community‐based partners have included representatives from the Coalition for Drug Abuse Prevention, the Mental Health Association, Carolina Behavioral Health Alliance, the Domestic Violence Agency, and Amos Cottage. Janssen Pharmaceuticals has had a presence at several past events, offering “virtual hallucination” experiences through a controlled video and audio apparatus.
Medical center entranceways, hallways, elevators, wall boards at information booths, and display cases are blitzed with printed flyers, posters, publications, press releases, and postings at least 3 weeks in advance. For the first several years, the event was hosted in a cordoned-off section of the main cafeteria. Marquees marked times for discussion of topics such as panic, bipolar, addiction, and psychotic disorders and topics pertinent to pediatric and elder populations. Allotted space and time were provided for an “Ask-A-Doc” table manned by psychiatrists or psychologists. Prizes, snacks, and targeted giveaways were used to entice persons toward the location.
Beginning 2010 and again in 2011, this event was held in WFBMC’s BestHealth℠ location, which is a special community resource center located in Winston-Salem’s Hanes Mall. The location is a walk-in location that offers free health information through printed materials and face-to-face seminar opportunities, blood pressure checks, and physician referral directories. Hours of operation are Monday–Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The events were promoted in our BestHealth newsletter, www.wakehealth.edu/besthealth , in our internal Infinet, community event pages, and visually in front of the BestHealth location on a poster display board.
Past annual themes were “Always Wear a Silver Ribbon” (2005), “Mind Your Health Because Every Mind Matters” (2006), “Check Up From the Neck Up” (2007), “No Health Without Mental Health” (2008), “Live Your Life Well, Naturally” (2009), “Mental Health Day at BestHealth” (2010), and “A Family Awareness and Wellness Event @ BestHealth,” which coincided with National Children’s Mental Health Day (May 5th), 2011.
In 2007, 169 visitors were tallied, and over 350 visitors were tallied in 2008. These numbers primarily reflected employees and visitors to the medical center. Smaller numbers were tallied at the BestHealth location; however, attendees were largely community residents and mall visitors. 127 persons attended the various talks at BestHealth in 2010 and 75 (not including walk-in traffic) in 2011.
Feedback is sought through various engagement activities, such as awarding prizes for those who review and complete answers to quizzes (“How Much Do You Know About Mental Health Problems?”, match famous persons with mental illnesses with their illness).
Post-event evaluations have been completed by healthcare partners and providers with summaries indicating both appreciation for the invitation and valuation for the cause.
A poster presentation on our multiyear event efforts, “A Medical Center Effort To Make A Difference,” was selected to be featured at the June 2008 National Mental Health America conference.
For further information about this event, contact Kim Hutchinson, Ed.D., APRN-CNS, LCAS, at 336 –713–2238 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.