Supporting Our Community by Shining a Light on Mental Illness
The Katie Foundation donation to Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s (GCSOM) Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) will be used to purchase licenses for an online simulation to teach students, health providers and community members to identify individuals at high risk for depression, anxiety, suicide and substance abuse. The BHI plans to purchase 600 licenses to be used over a three-year period with a goal of educating 200 people per year.
After completing the online simulation, learners should be able to screen patients for depression and substance use using evidence-based tools; recognize risk factors and warning signs of substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation; conduct brief interventions using motivational interviewing techniques; engage in collaborative treatment planning with patients; and coordinate referrals to treatment or follow-up care. A study of the simulation with 425 health professionals shows that it results in statistically significant increases in skills to identify risk factors, screen patients, discuss treatment options, engage in collaborative decision-making, and build intrinsic motivation in patients to adhere to a treatment plan.
The Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) is working on several projects that The Katie Foundation donation helped to support:
- Family to Family Education program - This program is a free 12-week evidence based educational program for family members of anyone affected by mental illness. It is taught by a team of 2 family members who have been through NAMI’s train the trainer program.
- Mental Health First Aid Class - Available to community members at no cost. Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that gives people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The evidence behind the program demonstrates that it does build mental health literacy, helping the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness.
- Public Awareness to Reduce Stigma – NAMI purchased ad space on placemats in local restaurants. Watch for NAMI ads at Silver Spoon in Clarks Summit, the Viewmont Diner on Route 6 and the Bucktown Diner in Dunmore!
- Ribbon Campaign: Find Help. Find Hope - In conjunction with the Walk for Mental Health Awareness, NAMI Scranton & Northeast Region will launch our first Mental Health Awareness Ribbon Campaign: Find Help. Find Hope. Having ribbons displayed in businesses, on streets, in public parks and other places where people go everyday demonstrates that mental health issues impact everyone and is a part of everyday life. This increased awareness reduces the isolation that many people feel when faced with mental health challenges. Having the ribbons displayed may help start those critical conversations. Thanks to a donation from The Katie Foundation there is no cost to you to hang a ribbon and NAMI will deliver them to you. You can receive a ‘fancy 5-7 loop bow’ or a 6’ length of ribbon that you can tie in a simple bow. All ribbons are printed with the NAMI Scranton logo and contact information and the message “Find Help. Find Hope.”