The mission of Utah Department of Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) can be gleaned quite clearly in its name. In addition to its existing services, DSAMH wanted to promote statewide resources and position itself as a provider of cutting-edge, critical mental health information. To this end, they approached MindWise Innovations with a specific solution in mind, the MindWise Screening Program, which became an integral part of this strategy. By providing both substance use and mental health screening tools, DSAMH of Utah developed the Healthy Minds Utah campaign, through which it was able to both educate the population and provide quick links to resources in each of its 29 counties.
Utah has consistently placed in the top 12 states for high rates of death by suicide. DSAMH saw the clear need to raise awareness about behavioral health and reduce suicide risk through a campaign that would reach urban, rural and native American populations. According to Pam Bennet, Adult Mental Health Administrator at DSAMH, “We pushed hard for innovation and prevention in areas of suicide risk and early intervention.”
Another particular challenge in Utah is the small-town nature of life. “We are very aware of stigma, especially in smaller towns where people know one another,” added Bennett. “ The idea of an anonymous screen was to get a broad reach and address the lack of knowledge [about mental health and suicide].”
MindWise Innovations created a site with an interactive map, where individuals from every Utah county could click on their area, take the anonymous mental health screen, and be connected to local mental health resources. The site has been successful in reaching Utah residents, particularly in the Urban areas.
“We liked the idea of the privacy of an anonymous screening program, going statewide and having the map on the site which allowed us to work with local authorities in each county,” said Pam Bennett. “People will come in to the counseling services with printed results of the screen, sharing what they’ve learned. The mobile-friendly aspect of the screening tool was a key factor in choosing the MindWise Screening program.”
Outcomes by the Numbers
Of those who responded to the “Will You Seek Help” question,
“Youth in transition (ages 18 to early 20s) is a demographic we are focused on and there is a lot of push behind it,” said Pam Bennett. “This is the age when mental illness surfaces and when we first see evidence of psychosis.”
“We did not use promotional materials as much as could have; twitter language was very helpful,” said Pam Bennett. “We will continue our attempts to provide more outreach to Native American tribes in Utah.”
- Communication strategies around mental health awareness and suicide prevention
- Screening program implementation and availability outreach
- Screening microsite development consultation and direction
- Expertise in both in-person and online suicide prevention for adults and youth
“MindWise Screening staff were easy to work with in terms of creating the screening site, teaching administrative access, and working with us to make our outreach program as effective as possible in serving our population.”Pam Bennett Adult Mental Health Program Administrator