Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine

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 The HOPE Initiative (Health Outreach, Partnering, and Education)


OUR MISSION is to enhance the quality of life of all ages by providing a variety of newsletters, articles, pamphlets, speakers, activities, special events, knowledgeable resources, and services that encourage life-long learning. 

The HOPE Initiative is a long-term project with three overarching goals. First, we will work to increase awareness of neuropsychiatric illnesses and their stigma, suffering, and impact in our region. Neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, addiction, and neurocognitive disorders are the leading cause of disease burden in economically-established countries, second only to infectious diseases throughout the world. One in five of us experiences mental illness during the course of our lives and a recent study by the National Institutes of Health documented that the annual economic cost of neuropsychiatric disorders in the United States is more than $1.2 trillion. Through the HOPE Initiative, we also seek to help increase understanding of behavioral health issues. Nearly all serious physical diseases , such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and pulmonary disease, have behavioral components. If one considers the suffering of ill individuals and their families and communities, the public health implications and societal cost, it is clear that everyone is affected by these health concerns.

Beyond greater awareness, our goal is to inspire authentic optimism. We will work to inform our community of the great advances made in recent years to help people with these devastating illnesses and conditions. The past decade has seen significant growth in our scientific understanding. Very importantly, many psychosocial and pharmacological treatments have been developed and shown to be effective in improving health outcomes for people living with these illnesses. We are also gaining valuable understanding about how to dismantle stigma and to create and sustain better systems of care. In the next decade will come new scientific knowledge and many more therapies that can be tailored to the specific needs of individuals. Negative and prejudicial attitudes toward neuropsychiatric illness and behavioral health issues are gradually diminishing. There is cause for hope. It is an extraordinary time in the field of psychiatry and behavioral medicine: a time of genuine promise and real change.

Our third goal is to help connect people, groups, organizations, and communities so that we may address and shoulder these serious concerns together. This concerted partnering effort is essential. There are just too many challenges in responding to neuropsychiatric illnesses and behavioral health issues. We will do this better through collaborating and combining our strengths.

To accomplish these goals, we will have to do many different kinds of things over many years. We will meet with people who share these concerns and we will conduct conferences, host partnering meetings, perform consultations, and develop training sessions. We sill gather and share educational resources  and information about programs and services. We will seek funding from diverse sources to develop research projects and new programs. In the first few years, we will focus specifically on suicide prevention, health disparity issues, and what are referred to as "co-occurring disorders": people who have both mental illness and addiction disorder or mental illness and a physical health condition. In all these efforts, we will work with our local neighbors as well as reach out to urban and rural communities in our region. We will extend ourselves to our multidisciplinary colleagues. It will be both busy and fulfilling!

To Learn More About HOPE, please call (414) 955-7250
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 01/17/2014