McSilver Institute receives grant to aid mental health

Courtesy of NYU Silver

The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research in the NYU Silver School of Social Work received a $699,735 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to create and implement a web- and app-based support for mental health delivery within New York City child serving agencies.

“The apps developed as a result of this grant will allow for a continued and enhanced delivery of services that will improve the lives of those in need of quality mental health care,” Deputy director of the McSilver Institute Gary

Parker said. “McSilver is delighted to be on the forefront of this bold new frontier that will allow our researchers to create cutting edge mobile applications ensuring the highest level of care is available to everyone.”

McSilver, in a partnership with Queens College, will be assisting with the app content, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison will develop the technology over two years.

The app uses mobile technology and assigns so-called homework, or activities and assignments for families to work on between group sessions. It also includes tips and reports.

McSilver staff have been working to help children ages seven to 11 and their families with disruptive behavioral disorders for over 10 years. The institute developed a voluntary program, which uses approximately six to eight families that typically meet for 60 minutes for 16 weeks, as a discussion-based therapy session.

CAS sophomore Caroline Idrovo, who is studying psychology, said group sessions may help children feel less isolated.

“They can work together in trying to find solutions to fix their problems,” Idrovo said. “I think it would be helpful because they can motivate each other and strive for progress together.”

The 4Rs and 2Ss Approach is at the center of the program and stands for roles, responsibilities, respectful communication, relationships, stress management and social support.

“The 4Rs and 2Ss intervention creates a social support for families within the group, something many of these families are lacking,” said Andrew Cleek, co-investigator of the project executive officer at the McSilver Institute.

Cleek said the therapeutic intervention paired with the use of the app can result in improved relationships between family members and decrease child behavior problems outcomes.

Co-investigator and director of the McSilver Institute Mary McKay said discovery of advantages using apps or technology may aid in mental health services. In a press release, McKay explained that this project provides an opportunity to use technology to benefit under-resourced public health.

McSilver will become eligible for additional funding and continue improving the app if research shows the desired outcome.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 19 print edition. Rikki Brukner is a contributing writer. Email her at news@nyunews.com. 

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