0
The Medical Director's Desk
Psychiatric Foundation Programs Benefit Patients, General Public
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 13 page 4-26
Anchor for JumpAnchor for JumpWhen I launched the medical director's column in Psychiatric News in May, one of my initial goals was to help our members better understand the various parts of the Association and how each works to meet the needs of our members. In the last two columns, I shared with you information on the activities of the American Psychiatric Press Inc. and the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education (APIRE), two of the three corporate subsidiaries of the American Psychiatric Association. In this column, I am focusing on the third subsidiary, the American Psychiatric Foundation.

The American Psychiatric Foundation is a charitable and educational subsidiary of APA. Founded in 1991, the foundation has experienced rapid growth over the last few years. Its Board of Directors is unique among the APA corporations in that it includes individuals who are from outside of psychiatry and bring diverse viewpoints on mental health issues. They include consumers of mental health services, corporate executives, educators, and national communications experts. Each brings experiences that help to shape the board's perspective on mental health issues, and each adds to our base of knowledge and understanding. The foundation has a staff of five who carry out a variety of programmatic, fundraising, and administrative functions.

The foundation's patient- and family-focused mission is to improve the lives of patients, families, and the community through support of education, advocacy, and research that advances the understanding, prevention, and treatment of mental illness and is synergistic with the mission of APA. The programs and activities funded by the foundation are consistently focused on raising awareness of mental illness, increasing access to quality mental health services, and complimenting APA's educational and advocacy efforts.

The foundation's grants program has provided more than $300,000 in funding in the last year alone to local organizations for activities in their communities that directly educate patients and families about mental illness. Over the next five years, the foundation hopes to award more than $1.5 million to organizations providing direct educational activities on the local level. A foundation grant to Harlem Hospital's Center for Victim Support, for example, funded a special educational program about the emotional impact of September 11, 2001, for young people who were already coping with the reality of daily violence in their lives. Children in Harlem who lack access to quality mental health services are for the first time understanding that the fear and uncertainty that have become so common in their lives can be confronted and overcome.

Another foundation grant will support the production of Minnesota Public Radio's "Troubles in Mind" series. This series explores the leading causes and treatments for debilitating conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and other mental illnesses. The series provides a tangible opportunity to increase public understanding of mental disorders and reduce the stigma that keeps so many from seeking help.

Foundation grants are also used for pilot demonstration projects with the goal of producing data and outcomes that can be leveraged for larger funding. A relatively small foundation grant in 2001 was used to fund an educational component of a pilot project at Maine Medical Center on early detection of psychotic disorders. The project has been so successful that the foundation's small investment has been leveraged into $7 million from federal and private foundation funding for the full project.

The foundation is also a major supporter of APIRE. This past February, the foundation made its largest grant ever when it awarded a five-year, $700,000 grant to APIRE for a major initiative that will identify strategies to reduce barriers to quality mental health care. This project holds the potential, when aligned with other major initiatives in APIRE, to influence significantly the ways mental health care is delivered.

The foundation is also embarking on several new initiatives, each geared toward different audiences, but all in need of education about mental illness. A grass-roots mental health educational initiative for teens will be piloted later this year in which the foundation will be working with district branches, teachers, parents, and youth leaders to educate communities on the early warning signs of mental illness in young people. The goal of this initiative is to reduce the gap between the onset of mental illness and detection and improve treatment outcomes.

The foundation is also assuming leadership of the National Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, which was established by APA in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, to address mental health issues in the workplace. The National Partnership is a unique coalition of Fortune 500 companies and mental health organizations working closely together to educate employers and employees about the benefits of a mentally healthy workforce. The National Partnership can fill an information void in this arena and is a positive step toward psychiatry and business working together for a common goal. It will also be the educational partner of APA's Business Initiative, which is a broad-based advocacy effort by the Association to encourage purchasers of corporate benefits to provide better access to mental health services.

At APA's annual meeting in San Francisco in May, the foundation launched an awards program called the Minority Mental Health Awards. Psychiatrists, other mental health professionals, and mental health programs are eligible for these annual awards. Two recipients (four in future years) will be selected to receive a $5,000 award in recognition of their efforts in minority communities to raise awareness of mental health issues and promote access to quality mental health services. As many of you know, minority mental health issues have become a top priority for APA, particularly in light of the crumbling public mental health system and the historic barriers to quality care that minorities encounter every day. By recognizing outstanding accomplishments today, the foundation is encouraging others to devote time and energy to minority mental health issues.

In addition to its programming, the foundation also serves as the fundraising arm of the entire APA. Beginning in 1999, APA made a concerted effort to consolidate all of its fundraising activities into the foundation, which has the expertise to carry out these activities. This consolidation has allowed APA to prioritize its funding needs, build appropriate relationships with donors, and deliver a clear and consistent message to the external funding community. The result has been a growth in fundraising revenue from $1.2 million in 1999 to an anticipated $3.5 million in 2003.

Also during APA's annual meeting, I had the opportunity to hear the foundation's superb president, Abram M. Hostetter, M.D., address the APA Assembly. I encourage you to call one of the foundation's staff or visit the foundation's Web site at <www.PsychFoundation.org> to learn more about its programs and how you can get involved. I think you will agree that the foundation has only scratched the surface of its potential and is worthy of your support and attention.

Feel free to e-mail me with your comments, questions, and suggestions at MedicalDirector@psych.org.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for JumpWhen I launched the medical director's column in Psychiatric News in May, one of my initial goals was to help our members better understand the various parts of the Association and how each works to meet the needs of our members. In the last two columns, I shared with you information on the activities of the American Psychiatric Press Inc. and the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education (APIRE), two of the three corporate subsidiaries of the American Psychiatric Association. In this column, I am focusing on the third subsidiary, the American Psychiatric Foundation.

Interactive Graphics

Video

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Related Articles
Articles