The National Institute of Mental Health and the
National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development have partnered with Delta Sigma
Theta Sorority, Inc.—a private non-profit organization
that provides community assistance
and support through targeted programs—to
launch the Mental Health Across the Lifespan
Initiative. The effort seeks to raise awareness
about postpartum depression (PPD), bullying
and successful aging.
Dr. Thomas Insel, director of NIMH, John Jarman,
executive officer of NICHD, and Dr. Paulette
Walker, national president of Delta Sigma
Theta, signed a memorandum of understanding
establishing the initiative at Delta Sigma
Theta’s national headquarters in Washington,
The initiative has two goals. The first is to
educate and raise awareness about the three
aspects of mental health through targeted
outreach efforts in underserved communities.
The initiative also aims to reinforce the importance
of recognizing the signs of mental illness
and of seeking help and treatment from
health care providers.
“This is the right partnership at the right time
to encourage community discussions about
postpartum depression, which impacts thousands
of women and families and is often
under-diagnosed and under-treated,” said Insel.
|On hand at the signing are (from l) Dr. Triesta Fowler-Lee, Dr. Juanita Sims-Doty,
Phyllis Quartey-Ampofo, John Jarman, Lisa Kaeser, Delta Sigma Theta president Dr.
Paulette Walker, Dr. Pamela Collins, NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel, Dr. Philip Wang
and Dr. LeShawndra Price.
The collaboration between NIMH and NICHD
will expand and intensify NIH’s efforts to
increase awareness about the diagnosis, treatment
and latest research in the area of PPD.
Expansion of efforts to increase support, education
and research related to PPD was a key provision
of the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
In recent months, the two institutes have also
collaborated on a series of Twitter chats to educate
the public and health care providers on
issues related to youth violence and PPD. The
partnership with Delta Sigma Theta will extend
the reach of NIH’s research-based information
directly into the communities served by more
than 1,000 DST chapters in the United States
“We are ecstatic to reach this day of collaboration
to partner with NIMH and NICHD,” said
Walker. “This initiative brings three families
together on one accord and for one vision—a
vision and focus on mental health that Delta
Sigma Theta has maintained throughout its
over 100-year history.”
The partners are currently developing outreach activities for the initiative, which
will include training programs for outreach workers, informational webinars and
educational materials. “This initiative reinforces our mission to address issues
affecting reproductive health and impacting the optimal development of young
people—we are happy to be a part of it,” said Jarman.