Joining Forces to Provide Hope

Gifts of all sizes, gifts of time, talent or financial resources, can make an impact on patients and our community. The power of our volunteers is not to be underestimated, and it is truly amazing what a group of people with shared goals can do to impact the community. At the Department of Psychiatry, we are fortunate to have many devoted volunteers and donors that help us serve the community and provide hope our patients.

The PFCC (Patient and Family Centered Care committee) is focused on the patient experience. Members of the PFCC committee lend their voices to be sure that patients and families are involved in major department decisions.

The Community Volunteer Committee is a separate group that advocates and fundraises within our community. Below are a few examples of how these groups have helped the department achieve its mission: to lead and collaborate in the reduction of disease risk, promote mental health and well-being across the lifespan, and help individuals with mental illness achieve their highest potential.

2015 PFCC Contributions

On the adult inpatient unit, a PFCC member has been integrated into monthly leadership meetings, providing feedback and input about visiting hours and other unit administrative decisions. PFCC feedback was also integral to the development of the new welcome book for patients and families. The child inpatient unit was benefited by the PFCC when they provided input on the flooring materials to be used in the new unit (which opened in spring of 2016).

On the ambulatory outpatient side, PFCC has consulted with staff regarding challenges of patients who do not attend scheduled appointments. They have solicited feedback about the possible reasons for this type of missed visit and assisted in developing a patient questionnaire that may help staff why treatment appointments are not routinely kept. Finally, the PFCC is also working with specific researchers in the department to help them recruit subjects for ongoing clinical trials. The department is fortunate to have such a committed volunteer group willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that our patients have a positive experience.

The Annual Summer Gathering Organized by the Community Volunteer Committee

The Depression Center’s Community Volunteer Committee held its 10th Annual Summer Gathering in July at the home of Department Chair Gregory Dalack and Amal Dalack. The goal of the event was to raise awareness about depressive illnesses, reduce stigma, and to raise funds to support the Research and Early Clinical Intervention for Mothers, Infants and Young Children program, also known as MOM Power. Donations totaled over $25,000.

“Every child deserves a healthy mother and every mother deserves to be supported in her transition to parenthood, particularly if she suffers mental health issues such as anxieties, depression or bipolar illness,” said Maria Muzik, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry. “Through gifts raised at this fundraiser, we are able to support mothers with mental health needs by providing a nurturing, safe and trusting environment to grow and thrive.”

The nearly 200 attendees at the event made an impact by joining forces with others who share an interest in this important population of patients and families.

Running for Schizophrenia Research: Third Party Contributions

On a beautiful Saturday in May, the annual Mind Over Matter (MOM) 5k was held in Royal Oak, MI. The mission of the MOM race is to “erase the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide, provide hope, and raise funds for life-saving programs.” To date, the MOM Race has brought more than 5,000 people together and raised over $150,000 for local brain research, suicide prevention programming, and crisis intervention services.

In our department, gifts from the annual MOM race have been used to support the Boledovich Schizophrenia Research Fund at U-M and further the research of Dr. Stephan Taylor for the past nine years. Funding from recent MOM Races has allowed his research to move into the promising new arena of early identification and intervention of psychosis. The Boledovich family of Royal Oak started the MOM race in memory of their mother, Gail, who died in 2005 after a brief struggle with schizophrenia.

Faculty and staff from the Department of Psychiatry participate in the MOM race.