We have many current research interests focused on our work with wellness and long-term mental health outcomes:
- Poetry for Personal Power mental health outcomes– This is our social inclusion campaignwhere we go to universities across Missouri and ask students what they do to get through adversity. We have a small amount of funding to put together an academic literature article on our social inclusion campaign from 2010 – 2012, and now in preparation with our first draft. We are looking for help with theming participant comments, finding appropriate journals to which to submit, and preparing the literature review.
The Psychlers Team from Bike for the Brain, where long term mental health outcomes research could be shared in Kansas City.
- Participatory action research – We have completed participatory action research projects on mental health outcomes with Wichita State University and University of Missouri and are interested in furthering this approach.
- Translational medicine – Wellness Wordworks is beginning to build a partnership with Frontiers in Kansas City, one of 60 Clinical and Translational Science Award consortiums (CTSA’s) in the country that are working to bridge academic research with practical clinical applications. We are bringing mental health service recipient perspectives to anyone interested in collaborating with us. It turns out that there are 10 reasons that people in recovery may know more about mental health outcomes than professionals. We believe that all research studies on people with mental health labels will be much more publishable, impactful, and relevant when peers are involved in study design from the beginning. We have contact with mental health service recipients across the nation.
- Mental health social messaging – Sharing ideas that medication help some people but not everyone, and may be increasing the amount of disability in our country. Emotional distress can be temporary and transformative. Psychosis is an event, not a a person. Overwhelming emotions are usually biographical, not biological in origin. How to correct inaccurate messaging that is currently shared by pharma and outdated advocacy approaches.
- Safe medication tapering protocols and studies on people who have successfully come off psychiatric medication. Right now psychiatric medication is a one way street and very people out there know how to help someone safely come back off the medication it is no longer needed. Long term studies have shown that better mental health outcomes come when people take little or no medication.
Bike for the Brain’s first rest stop in 2011 showing downtown Kansas City, KS with it’s many murals. Hosted by Mental Health America of the Heartland.
- Substance use vs. abuse – The Chocolate Fairy would like to know which substances, licit or illicit, cause the most harm or the most addiction. This way people can make honest choices about which substances they can use when they need a little emotional distance from their problems. If people had all the facts, they could choose which substances harm them the least and easiest for each different person to control.
- Epigenetic and dopamine supersensitivity changes causes by wellness activities like meditation, gardening, exercise, animal support, art therapy, or peer counseling.
- Outcomes for peer programs – Peer support centers like the 22 in Kansas and 6 in Missouri can often help people move forward in recovery much better than traditional services, but have low levels of empirical outcomes data. New Hampshire was able to show cost reductions for Medicaid enrollees who use peer support centers, and this study needs to be replicated nationwide for all peer program.
- Mental health labeling – Does having a diagnosis help or harm people? Paula Caplan has published a website with stories showing that having a name for the problem might indeed make a problem seem much harder to solve and worsen mental health outcomes.
What do you think is the most important research to boost long term mental health outcomes in our world?