Building Awareness & Hope: #1 Convening of Action & Research Team (ART)

October 11, 2019

Welcome to the series, “Building Awareness & Hope.” This Happenings series will follow the development of the Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) Awareness & Hope component. This piece focuses on the first convening of the Depression Grand Challenge Awareness & Hope Action & Research Team (ART).

In order to cut the global burden of depression in half by 2050, new approaches are needed to prevent, diagnose and treat depression. To develop these new approaches, the Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) is divided into four components. The Awareness & Hope component focuses on understanding and ending the stigma and prejudice surrounding depression since UCLA sees these as contributing causes for insufficient funding allocated for research and treatment; people being hesitant to seek help; and people failing to stick with treatment.

To accomplish the goal of raising awareness and hope, and engage more extensively with campus and external partners, the Awareness & Hope component focus is on two independent but interconnected strategies – research and outreach.

Stephen Hinshaw from UC Berkeley was appointed to lead the research effort to establish and execute the research agenda. He has formed an Action & Research Team (ART), which had its first convening at UCLA in October 2019.

Representatives from Illinois Tech, Indiana University, Queen’s University, University of Michigan, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, and UCSF gathered for the inaugural ART meeting. Team members exchanged ideas about an envisioned future, imagining what a world without stigma would look like, and brainstormed strategies that might be used in order to create such a world. They discussed programs currently addressing mental health stigma, opportunities for collaboration and research, and discussed measurement.

The meeting concluded with the creation of four workgroups focused on the following topics:

University Consortium:  Identify needs and best practices related to stigma at universities.
Adolescent & Early Education:  Ideas and needs related to K-12.
Context & Culture:  Identify needs and best practices for stigma in different contexts and population groups falling into multiple categories.
Measurement of Stigma:  Develop a framework for characterizing and measuring stigma and outcomes.

The next steps following the meeting are to appoint leaders for each workgroup and those workgroups to meet. The next full convening of ART will occur in Winter 2020.