For over 17 years, the Athens Photographic Project (APP) has offered art-based programs to community members living with mental illness in rural southeast Ohio as a vital component of regional mental health treatment and support.
APP has been selected for a PCORI Pipeline to Proposal (P2P) Award in partnership with Ohio University in order to create a patient-centered research community (PCRC) that examines consumer choice and benefit in mental health when multiple clinical and alternative treatment options are available in rural areas.
During P2P Tier I, the partnership formed an Athens, Ohio-based PCRC, The Front Porch Project (FPP), composed of mental health consumers, providers, family members, and researchers. During P2P Tier II, the FPP identified viable comparative effectiveness research (CER) questions and made a commitment to working together to advance a CER question that the FPP felt would be most relevant and impactful to consumers, providers, and family members in rural southeast Ohio.
During P2P Tier III, the FPP will develop a patient-centered clinical research proposal that addresses research needs connected to mental health peer support and social connectedness in rural areas. The FPP will submit this proposal to PCORI and other funders.
The longer-term (funded CER study) activities are expected to lead to consumer-driven research studies that may indicate the best treatment option(s), which result in increased quality of life and social inclusion for those living with mental illness in rural areas; and to better understand how communities in rural high-poverty areas can work together at a local level to improve consumer options in recovery.