Books, Articles and Research
Empowerment Exchange Uses Peer Support Toward Meaningful Outcomes
This E-News Bulletin from the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Inc. (NYAPRS) discusses findings from a recent outcome measurement study of the Empowerment Exchange, a peer-run nonprofit program that works to increase self-help and recovery activities across the country. The study demonstrated the importance of connection to others and trust in overcoming emotional challenges and addressing these challenges before they become crises, while also creating stepping stones for individuals in recovery.
Community-Partnered Cluster-Randomized Comparative Effectiveness Trial of Community Engagement and Planning or Resources for Services to Address Depression Disparities
This study sought to bridge a gap in understanding of outcomes of quality improvement (QI) healthcare programs across diverse health and human services sectors. QI programs in health care involve "systematic and continuous actions that lead to measurable improvement in health care services and the health status of targeted patient groups" (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2011, http://www.hrsa.gov/quality/toolbox/methodology/qualityimprovement). Specifically, this study compared the effectiveness of two programs, Community Engagement and Planning (CEP) and Resources for Services, in supporting implementation of depression QI programs to improve clients' quality of life as it pertains to their mental health and increase their use of services. They found that the CEP programs were more effective in increasing mental health and well-being, physical activity, and use of services while decreasing homelessness risk factors, behavioral health hospitalization rates, and medication visits. These findings support the importance of community engagement for underserved populations in efforts to decrease health disparities.
Improving the Physical Health of Adults with Serious Mental Illness
This 3-year study looked at the impact of 56 programs funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration grants. One type of impact this study examined was how the 56 programs through their use of integrated primary care and behavioral health services made a difference in the physical health of people with mental health problems like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. The study found mixed success in each location's ability to successfully integrate behavioral health and primary care services, but that, once people were enrolled in the program, they were more likely to receive primary care services. Investigators found that health outcomes did improve for some chronic conditions, including diabetes, cholesterol, and hypertension, but outcomes did not improve for obesity and smoking. Researchers found that three traits were associated with greater access to care among program participants: co-location of services, integration of practices, and staff perception of themselves as being part of a team.
Conceptual framework for personal recovery in mental health: systematic review and narrative synthesis
This article describes a systematic review of published descriptions and models of personal recovery that researchers conducted to create a synthesized conceptual framework of people's experiences of recovery. Their goal was to increase understanding of common elements of recovery to be used in recovery-oriented research and practice. They used 97 papers to create this framework, which, according to the article abstract, includes "(a) 13 characteristics of the recovery journey; (b) five recovery processes comprising: connectedness; hope and optimism about the future; identity; meaning in life; and empowerment (giving the acronym CHIME); and (c) recovery stage descriptions which mapped onto the transtheoretical model of change." Additionally, researchers found that studies focused on certain ethnicities were more likely to show a greater emphasis on spirituality and discrimination, along with other culturally specific aspects of recovery.
Telehealth Therapy Stacks Up When Compared to Standard Care
This blog post introduces telehealth therapy and discusses the promising findings of a study done to compare this therapy to standard care in its ability to reduce depressive symptoms. The study was a meta-analysis, a kind of study in which researchers review other similar studies that have been done and look at overall findings. Telehealth therapy uses technology, such as video or telephone conferencing, to connect consumers and providers for therapy sessions. This allows individuals access to treatment that may have been difficult to attain otherwise due to lack of time or considerable geographical distance between consumers and providers. It is especially valuable in reaching rural areas, which generally have more limited mental healthcare resources. The study found that there was no significant difference in treatment outcomes for those in telehealth therapy and those in therapy conducted in person in traditional settings. The author hopes that this method of utilizing technology may prove to be a valuable means of meeting the demands for increased access to mental health care.
Changing Knowledge and Attitudes with a Middle School Mental Health Education Curriculum
This study sought to examine the effectiveness of the Breaking the Silence: Teaching the Next Generation About Mental Illness curriculum, which was created to help increase youth's understanding and acceptance of people with mental health issues. Because many social attitudes are formed in the early years of life and rates of children diagnosed with mental health issues have risen, it is vital now more than ever that teachers, families, providers, and communities at large ensure that attitudes towards these issues are positive and recovery-oriented as opposed to negative and discriminatory. Researchers found that utilizing this curriculum with middle school students improved their knowledge of signs of and treatment for mental health issues, their attitudes toward these issues, and their overall willingness to interact with a person with a mental health issue.
Barriers to and Supports of Family Participation in a Rural System of Care for Children with Serious Emotional Problems
The qualitative study described in this article was done to examine both the barriers and the supports that people living in rural areas experience in relation to mental health services. Article authors discuss challenges families faced in a rural system of care for mental health services; challenges included negative attitudes, transportation issues, isolation, affordability, and access to services. Authors also discuss support systems in rural areas, such as religious groups and supportive community relationships. These factors have special implications for how health care services in rural areas should be planned, implemented, and evaluated.
Sustainable development helps us to flourish
This article examines the connection between sustainable environmental practices and positive mental health, suggesting that efforts to improve conditions for our planet have the potential to also improve mental health throughout society. The author explores ways the natural environment is connected to psychological wellness, emphasizing ways it serves one's needs, not only for food and water, but also for one's spiritual and emotional wellness. In the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand's recognition of these described connections, some common goals for their work with organizations are listed: integrating social, cultural, economic, and environmental goals; regenerating natural and social capital; affirming the value of local communities; valuing nature intrinsically; and promoting non-material sources of happiness.
Neighbourliness: Local connections and mental wellbeing
This Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand article explores social capital and its potential to support growing communities and enhance mental health. The author discusses social capital as it is defined by Robert Putnam, "the collective value of all 'social networks' and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other." The article highlights the impact of local community projects and campaigns on increasing trust between community members and social connectedness. It also covers the current status of social connectedness in New Zealand, recommendations for building local connections and opportunities at the local level, and encouraging quality relationships among neighbors and community members.
Social inclusion: Its importance to mental health
This Mental Health Coordinating Council document outlines the importance of social inclusion for people with mental disorders and the role that community-based organizations can play in establishing a socially inclusive community. In addition to emphasizing the importance of a meaningful community connection, this publication also focuses on the need for supportive family and caregivers, strong consumer networks, and access to clinical services as a way of reaching social inclusion.
Prevention, treatment, and recovery supports for those with substance use problems: Opportunities for enhanced access and quality of care
While recognizing the negative impact that substance use disorders can have on an individual, one's family, and community, this article explores ways to improve access to prevention and care for substance use disorders.
Designing healthy communities
This book discusses tools for individuals looking to bring about positive change within their communities. It explores ways in which the design of an environment influences the health of individuals and also discusses issues relating to social and environmental justice. Obesity and a variety of additional preventable diseases are addressed, while the author also takes time to emphasize best practices for countering these conditions.
This article discusses how public perspectives regarding individuals with mental disorders have changed since the 1960s. It describes social inclusion as a moral imperative and encourages individuals to find ways to promote and support full inclusion of people with mental disorders into their communities.
Introduction to "Building communities from the inside out: A path toward finding and mobilizing a community's assets"
This publication is an introduction to a guide on rebuilding troubled communities that emphasizes identifying and building upon community strengths rather than focusing on deficits within the community. It includes success stories of communities that have thrived and the role that the asset-based community development strategy has played in developing steps toward community growth. This introduction explores ways the traditional approach has failed communities, identifies problems, and discusses solutions and assets of a community, including those of individuals, associations, and institutions.
Mental health problems in rural contexts: A broader perspective
The objectives of this article are to expand and comment upon a recent review in Australian Psychologist of the literature in relation to mental health problems in rural contexts by Jackson et al. (2007). In this article the authors reviews recently published qualitative research on the help-seeking attitudes and experiences of rural Australian adolescents.
No comfort in the rural south: Women living depressed
An article discussing the opportunities for research and strategy that exist for providing mental health services to women in a rural area.