Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI), its alliance partner Lundbeck, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the National Council for Behavioral Health joined in two years ago to organize Connect 4 Mental Health®. It is an initiative that aims to help communities throughout the United States implement local approaches that provide additional support for those with serious mental illness.
Connect 4 Mental Health (C4MH) encourages community-based organizations, such as emergency services, law enforcement, and public housing, to work with mental healthcare providers and advocates to develop programs that support the estimated 6% of Americans living with serious mental illness.
"Our hope is that Connect 4 Mental Health will ignite a movement inspiring individuals and organizations to collaborate in order to help improve the lives of people with mental illness, one community at a time," said Donna Erwin, Director, Advocacy and Policy, OAPI.
C4MH has identified four areas of focus that may help communities address mental illness locally: 1) Early Intervention, 2) Creative Use of Technology, 3) Integration of Services, and 4) Continuity of Care.
To recognize organizations that have shown good examples of work in these areas, C4MH implemented a 'Community Innovation Awards' program. Winners received a 10,000 USD award and access to a one-on-one mentorship program.
The winning organizations chosen for the 2014 awards:
Early Intervention: NAMI of Collier County (Naples, Florida)
Creative Use of Technology: Crisis Text Line (New York City)
Continuity of Care: Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center (Charleston & Summerville, South Carolina)
Service Integration: Robert Young Center (Moline, Illinois)