Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

NAMI Minnesota

Name of Innovative Program: 
Help Open People’s Eyes – The HOPE project
Sponsoring Organization
NAMI Minnesota
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Sue Abderholden, MPH
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Project Description: 
Wondering about the quality of the inpatient experience, NAMI Minnesota conducted a survey two years ago and found that only 50% - 60% of the people with mental illnesses who responded felt that they were treated with respect, kindness, and empathy or were offered words of hope in an inpatient psychiatric unit. Less than 50% reported that they were provided information about their illness or medication or were engaged in their treatment plan. Family responses were similar and pointed to the lack of education and engagement. Limited visiting hours, the inability to leave messages easily and only 25% reporting that they received get well cards, leaves people in a psychiatric unit isolated and alone.Efforts to reduce re-hospitalizations and to encourage earlier intervention will not be successful if hospitals don’t change their environments, engage patients and families, and ensure equal treatment between psychiatric and other medical wards. If hospitals are to truly become healing places, there needs to be both physical and operational transformations. The HOPE project will work with hospitals in Minnesota to open their eyes as to how to make inpatient psychiatric units healing places where people are supported in their recovery and treated with dignity and respect. 
Creativity and Innovation: 
NAMI Minnesota has developed a number of materials to address the problems identified in the surveys:
  •         Posters on respectful language and how to talk with someone hospitalized for a mental illness
  •          Posters depicting people’s personal stories of recovery
  •          An online anti-stigma training 
  •          Two videos, one depicting good and bad experiences during hospitalizations along with advice for staff and the other one featuring stories of recovery
  •          A booklet explaining psychiatric hospitalizations for families
  •          NAMI in the Lobby, where volunteers are available to talk with family members.
Under the HOPE Project we will engage hospitals to assess their psychiatric units – physical space and operations - develop recommendations to improve the environment and the patient and family experience, and work with them to implement the recommendations. We will provide in-person anti-stigma training and work with them to ensure that hospitals are using the resources developed above. 
A discussion among providers in the metro region of Minnesota led to an idea to conduct a public awareness/anti-stigma campaign so that people would seek treatment early. NAMI Minnesota’s response was that while that was a great idea, people would be re-stigmatized once they entered any one of their hospitals. Our response was based on the numerous calls to our helpline, conversations in our classes, poor outcomes and high readmission rates. This led to a postponement of the public awareness campaign and to NAMI Minnesota convening a working group to address this issue. The group included representatives of hospitals, mental health professionals, counties, health plans, families and people with mental illnesses. The working group was very involved in developing the survey, posters and trainings.  The HOPE Project led by NAMI Minnesota will build on two years of anti-stigma work and will take this project to the next level.    
Once hospitals have agreed to partner with the HOPE Project, it will take a limited amount of time to sustain the efforts. 
All these materials are available for use. Posters can be downloaded from the NAMI Minnesota website and NAMI will freely share all materials developed to address this issue. 
NAMI Minnesota is committed to using program evaluation methods to track accomplishments. Process evaluation will review how the program is being implemented including: number of hospitals engaged, number of NAMI in the Lobby volunteers, number of posters placed, number of participants in the trainings. NAMI uses two types of summative evaluation: satisfaction evaluation and outcome evaluation. The satisfaction evaluation assesses how participants view the program. For example, we ask participants whether the program satisfied their needs, what additional information they would like to see included, and several questions about teachers, organization and curriculum. The outcome evaluation is used to evaluate participant change. Additionally, NAMI will redistriubute the inital survey to measure overall changes.