May 2018
In This Issue
Who We Are
As a Massachusetts
Department of Mental Health Research Center of Excellence, SPARC aims to improve the mental and behavioral health of all citizens of Massachusetts and beyond.
Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research 
promotes the full participation in socially valued roles of transition-age youth and young adults (ages 14-30) with serious mental health conditions.
What We Do
SPARC and the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research are 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. 
Tell Us What You Think
We want to hear from you!
If you are interested in knowing more about a particular area of research or want to collaborate with us, please let us know .
Contact us at:
Subscribe & Share! Please share this e-letter with your networks; we're happy to include them in our circle.
Stay Connected

Upcoming Local Conferences and Events
The 9th Annual Asian American Mental Health Forum is June 1 in the McCormack Building at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, MA. This year's theme is:
My Identity/Our Community: Together Fostering Mental Wellness & Resilience in Today's World
Stop by the SPARC table and say "Hi!"

The Central Mass RLC 10th Anniversary Celebration is on June 8th 5pm-11pm at Luciano's Banquet and Conference Center in Worcester, MA. 
MHE & YOU Advisory Council's
2018 May is Mental Health Awareness Month Campaign Contest

This year's theme is self-care and healthy ways to cope.

Photographs, poems, videos, and artwork can be powerful ways to share a person's story. If you're inspired by our topic for May is Mental Health Month, then we encourage you to submit your work to share with others. Submissions are due by Monday, May 24, 2018.

Learn more about the contest on the MHE & YOU Advisory Council's website.
Celebrate May Is Mental Health Month!  
5 Tips to Treat 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 are directly from women who have experienced 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 SPARC researchers, including national perinatal mental health expert Dr. Nancy Byatt.  For more resources and toolkits, please visit the MCPAP for Moms website.

Hot off the Press!  
Mental Health Literacy for Children with a Parent with a Mental Illness was recently published in our Journal of Parent and Family Mental Health. This issue brief discusses the importance of child-focused mental health literacy for children who have a parent or parents with a mental health condition.

Find more  here.

New issue brief  This Issue Brief explains the design and validation process of the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division (CT JBCSSD) Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) screening tool to provide guidance to corrections and other agencies looking to either a) examine the integrity of their oun PREA screening tool, or b) adopt the Connecticut JBSCCD version. 

See more about ou r Law & Psychiatry Program
Did You Miss It?

The Annual Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Research Centers of Excellence Conference was on March 29th. You can find the presentations and posters on here our website .

Did you miss any of our recent webinars?
Catch up.

The  Improving Informed Consent to Research video and slides are here .

Find the video and slides for Behavioral Health Disorders and Employment for Justice Involved Adolescents  here.
In The News
SPARC researcher Nancy Byatt and colleagues have been in the news about their new center
Lifeline4Moms. Learn more about it here.

Watch Nancy Byatt highlight MCPAP for Moms in a video campaign series for the March for Moms Event in Washington, DC- May 6, 2018.

Check-out more of SPARC's work on maternal mental health here.
In the Community
Mental and physical well-being go hand-in-hand. Check  out th ese personal  wellness stories developed with SPARC's Mental Health Experienced & Years of Understanding (MHE & YOU) Advisory Council.
Upcoming Webinars

Spring will be a busy webinar season for both
SPARC and the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research  (ACR). Check out our May and June webinars below.

SPARC presents:
Managing Addiction in Offenders through Court-Mandated Treatment
With Ekaterina (Kate) Pivovarova, Ph.D.
Thursday, May 17, 2018 1:00pm to 2:00pm EDT
Register here
Up to 65% of individuals involved with the criminal justice system meet criteria for substance use disorders. Former inmates are at increased risk of death once released back into the community. So it is critical to provide proper addictions treatment for these individuals. One approach is through the use of drug treatment courts, or specialty courts, that mandate treatment in the community in exchange for a reduction of or avoidance of incarceration. A novel approach to examining program attrition will be discussed by focusing on the impact of chronic conditions and health-related quality of life in drug court participants. The discussion will focus on developing interventions that could be used to improve program retention and possibly reduce substance use and criminal recidivism.

The Transitions ACR presents:
Preventing Disability Among Young Adults with Mental Health Conditions: Is It the Condition or Is It System Effects?
With Michelle Mullen
Thursday, May 31, 2018 1pm to 2pm EDT
Register here
Ms. Mullen guides participants through the messages and actions taken and/or encouraged by the mental health system that create the "system effects" that are commonly misinterpreted as psychiatric symptoms. She'll talk about the triggering events that lead to "system effects" and the negative trajectory, such as poverty, unemployment, and social isolation that are typically associated with mental health diagnoses. The webinar also focuses on how supporting the normative, developmentally relevant pathways of young people prevents these system effects and the disabilities experienced by older adults in mental health services by focusing on developing human capital among young adults with mental health conditions. Ms. Mullen will introduce webinar participants to HYPE, Helping Youth on the Path to Employment, a new service that modernizes the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of supported employment by prioritizing education as a critical vocational step for young adults to ensure economic self-sufficiency and prevent disability.

Tips and Tricks to Starting a Young Adult Council: Lessons from the YAB
With Raphael Mizrahi and Tania Duperoy
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 2:30pm to 3:30pm EDT
Register here
Young adult councils are an excellent way of engaging young adults with lived mental health experience to help improve mental health research and services, but they are still underutilized. In this webinar, the value of young adult councils along with in-depth instructions on how to organize one within any organization that serves young adult clients will be explained. We will use the National Youth Advisory Board, a virtual young adult council of the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research, as well as other in-person councils, to illustrate how our center has benefitted from young adult councils.