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Vol. LXVII, No. 3
January 30, 2015
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Mental Health Is Focus of Initiative by NIH, Delta Sigma Theta

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, D.C., recently.

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.
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 and abroad.

“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.


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