A Look Back at 2016: Innovation in Mental Healthcare

By January 4, 2017

There is incredible momentum of innovation in mental health treatment, advocacy, and technologies all contributing to changing how care is approached and delivered. We know you work hard every day to make a difference in the lives of your clients and we salute you and your remarkable teams of clinicians and administrative staff. Here are a few inspiring examples of innovation from 2016 to keep you going strong into the new year:

Crisis Management

Grand Lake Mental Health Care in rural Oklahoma gives out iPads to at-risk clients and local emergency providers so people living with mental health conditions have contact with each other and Grand Lake’s intensive outpatient staff. To date, 721 potential admissions were avoided, 62% were diverted to outpatient care and the time a responder spends on handling a crisis has gone down from 4.5-20 hours to an hour and a half. Learn more.

Peer Support

NAMI Alameda Mentor on Discharge Program (MoD) provides hospital patients receiving acute psychiatric care, with peer mentors who have experienced a psychiatric hospitalization, resulting in a 72% reduction in re-hospitalization of patients in the program. Learn more.

Mental Health Court

The Las Vegas Municipal Court’s Mental Health Court Program moves defendants who need mental health services away from incarceration and into a program with progressive phases through to recovery and living independently. Learn more.

Caregiver and Family Support

MyHealios, Inc., offers videoconference to help mental health patient’s caregivers and families by connecting a behavioral health clinician directly with caregivers in their homes, reducing caregiver stress and increasing client retention and compliance above 80%. Learn More.

Workforce Development

The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) connects high school and college students through teleconference with behavioral health mentors in their area of educational interest, conducts training for providers and community members, and created a mental health focused job search web site for employers and job seekers. Learn more.

Brain Science

Neuroscientists at MIT identified brain circuits that could play a part in mental illness, including depression, addiction, anxiety, and PTSD. Findings suggest that scientists need to look less at how brain regions work and more into specific cell and neuron populations. Their hope is their work will lead to new therapies for mental illness. Learn more.

Reducing Trips to the ER

The transitional care clinic at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio treats up to 1500 patients with serious mental illness each year bridging a gap in care until the patient can see a consistent provider. This keeps mental illness patients out of the ER and reduces incidents of deterioration that occurs without care. Only 2.5 percent of psychiatric patients seen at the clinic return to the ER with three months. Learn more.

Using Text to Manage Crisis

The Crisis Text Line at 741741 is a free 24/7 text line for people in mental crisis. A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly to move a person from a “hot moment to a cool moment” and makes a plan with the texter to stay safe and get help. Counselors are trained using the latest techniques in empathetic listening. This nonprofit organization shares their crisis data to help grow a global understanding of what types of issues texters are most affected by and when. Learn more.