May 2019
Welcome to our iSPARC
May 2019 Newsletter!
Advancing Research
New Issue Brief Published at the
Journal of Parent and Family Mental Health

It's called Mothers, Mental Health and Opioids: Engaging with Researchers at Co-occurring mental illness and opioid misuse is a significant and rising public health issue for mothers in the US. In recent years, opioid misuse during pregnancy has increased a great deal. Only a small subset of mothers will seek and receive help for themselves and their children.When it is sought, treatment is not necessarily targeted or tailored to meet the needs of mothers and families.This research is bringing mothers and researchers together to promote a shared understanding of mothers’ experiences and needs, and to inform research that is relevant, meaningful and effective, with the goal of improving mental health/opioid misuse treatment and outcomes for mothers and children. Read more...
We Are Improving Practice & Lives
5 Tips to Treating Women with 
Perinatal Depression
Approximately 1 in 7 women experience perinatal depression, a depressive episode that occurs during pregnancy or within the first year after delivery or adoption. These 5 tips for health care providers come directly from women who have experienced their own perinatal depression: 
1. Let women know that perinatal depression is
common and that the best thing they can do for
themselves and their baby is to get the treatment they need and deserve.
2. Provide new moms with information about perinatal depression and discuss the symptoms. 
3. Be knowledgeable about treatment options, including medication and non-medication treatments like
therapy. Continue existing medication regimens as necessary. 
4. Provide opportunities for mothers to process the birth experience; encourage them to discuss their
experiences with you.
5. Ask mothers specific questions to learn about their mental health, such as: 
  • How are you sleeping? 
  • How are you eating? 
  • Are you crying during the day? If yes, how often? 
  • How are you coping with pregnancy and having a new baby?
These tips are based on research done by iSPARC researchers, including national perinatal mental health expert Dr.Nancy Byatt .   For more resources and toolkits, please visit the MCPAP for Moms  website .
Empowered to Act
Let us tell you about our FABulous FAB and pizza!
Do you know that we have several Stakeholder Advisory Boards ? These are groups of people that represent the voices of those with lived mental health experience and those who support them. Currently, we have a Family Advisory Board, a Young Adult Advisory Board, and the Mental Health Experienced & Years Of Understanding (MHE &YOU) Advisory Council.

This month we want to talk about the FAB. Our Family Advisory Board (aka FAB ) meets with our staff once a month to infuse  family voice  into iSPARC and Transitions ACR research and knowledge sharing activities. The group of 6-8 members share their lived experience to direct our research. Our group meeting usually includes lots of pizza and conversation about current research we are considering. The family members advise us and influence the direction we take, the research we do and the products we produce for dissemination. Currently the FAB team is working on a Tip Sheet that they wrote, focused on self-care for family members. We are also creating a short a video focused on the same topic.

Our goal is always to gather insight and feedback  from family members of loved ones with mental illness on our work to improve the lives of people with lived mental health experience. Read more about our Advisory Boards and Councils HERE .
May is Mental Health Awareness Month & MHE & YOU at iSPARC is Hosting a PET PHOTO CONTEST!
Enter your pet's photo for a chance to
Win $100 and bragging rights!

The theme of this photo contest is

“How my animal helps me with my mental health.”

The Mental Health Experienced & Years Of Understanding ( MHE & YOU ) Advisory Council is the mental health consumer advisory council for the Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center ( iSPARC ) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
For this year’s May is Mental Health Awareness Month Campaign, the MHE & YOU has launched a photo contest open to people across the Unites States.  Animals have been shown to have a positive impact on a person’s mental health. If this is true for you, we want to see and hear about the service, companion, or support animal who helps you.
Enter our contest and vote for your favorite entries HERE .
Changing Policy
Improving Educati onal Outcomes
Through Supported Educational Services
The majority of college students with serious mental health conditions do not finish school, jeopardizing their long-term employment. Can supported education services help? We think so. Marsha Ellison Michelle Mullen  and  Kathleen Biebel , researchers and trainers of supported education services, hosted a 2-part webinar series called Supporting the Education of Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions: State of the Science & State of the Practice.
You can view the recorded Webinar Series HERE .

Barriers and Facilitators to Initiating a Meaningful
Partnership with Disenfranchised Groups
Jonathan Delman , an iSPARC researcher, is the lead author of “ Barriers and Facilitators to Community-Based Participatory Mental Health Care Research for Racial and Ethnic Minorities ”, which appeared in the March 2019 issue of  Health Affairs . People with serious mental health conditions, particularly members of racial and ethnic minority groups, are rarely included in prioritizing research topics or developing the tools and measures important for improving their care. Using lessons learned from a project to improve understanding of patients’ preferences and discrimination in depression and diabetes treatment, the authors describe barriers and facilitators to initiating a meaningful partnership with disenfranchised groups.
Learn more about Dr. Delman's work HERE .
Young Adult Corner - In Her Words...
"I’m a research staff member at the ACR and I write about my experiences working with both medical and mental health conditions."
Read the most recent blog post in our Young Adult Blog Corner on the  Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research  website. This section of our website includes real world experience from our young adult team members. This one's called "Accommodations in the Workplace" It was just posted by one of our young adults researchers. Read more here

Check out Voices4Hope here , our web content written by young adults for young adults living with mental health conditions.
Meet Our Faculty - Featured Researcher
Celine Larkin is an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Her PhD was in Health Services Research and she is passionate about suicide prevention in health care. Suicide takes over 800,000 lives a year worldwide, a statistic calling out for more research and practice on how to reduce this number. Health care settings represent a valuable opportunity to detect and manage risk. Celine moved to UMass Medical School in 2016 to undertake postdoctoral training in implementation science and has worked on several studies focusing on suicide, substance use and other behavioral health concerns. She is excited to be a part of the iSPARC faculty, with a special focus on stakeholder engagement. View one of Celine's recent presentations, " Creating a System of Safety: Healthcare System and Communities Working Together  " HERE .
Who We Are
The Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (formerly known as the Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center ) is a part of the University of Massachusetts Medical School's Department of Psychiatry. 

iSPARC is a Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) Center of Excellence for Public Mental Health Services and Implementation Research that aims to improve the mental and behavioral health of all citizens of Massachusetts and beyond. iSPARC is committed to transferring knowledge and insights gained through rigorous research to improve the lives of people with lived mental health experience.

We conduct Participatory Action Research, an all-inclusive approach that ensures that every aspect of our research incorporates the voices of those with lived mental health experience.
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