A Healthier Wisconsin

Commercialize QRF+ Predictive Mental Health Crisis Intervention Tool for Trauma and Substance Abuse

Creating effective mental health crisis intervention strategies for high-risk mental health patients

Full Project Name:Commercialize QRF+ Predictive Mental Health Crisis Intervention Tool for Trauma & Substance AbusePrincipal Investigator:Zeno Franco, PhD, Family MedicineCo-Investigator:Katinka Hooyer, PhD, Family Medicine; Praveen Madiraju, PhD, Marquette University; Sabirat Rubya, PhD, Marquette UniversityAward Amount:$199,580
Award Date
Project Duration:18 months

Project Description Narrative:

Mental health crises significantly burden Wisconsin's patients, families, and healthcare systems. In 2019, some 38,590 adults used crisis services in the state. 29,690 adults needed substance use services, while 1,189 drug-related deaths were reported. Most comprehensive community services clients in Wisconsin experience multiple mental health crises following an initial event.

The Quick Reaction Force Plus (QRF+) project addresses crisis events across two mental health domains: trauma and drug/alcohol recovery in two distinct but functionally similar populations—US military veterans and civilian emergency first responders. Based on national prevalence data, the state of Wisconsin has about 62,000 veterans and civilian first responders at risk because of work-related exposure to traumatic experiences. Individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are at higher risk for mental crisis events, intentional and unintentional injury, smoking, as well as drug and alcohol misuse. Further, PTSD is associated with higher rates of several physical health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

This project aims to scale up a successful mental health peer mentor program and smartphone app to include civilian emergency responders struggling with PTSD. QRF+ increases data availability for a machine learning mental health crisis early warning system and equitably commercializes the software with industry partners.

Project Updates:

  • Contracted with an app developer to take the demo version of the QRF+ app developed by Marquette University to industry standard
  • Completed two focus groups hosted by the Milwaukee Fire Department with representatives from policy departments, ambulance services, and dispatchers to inform modifications to the ORF+ app and ORF training manual
  • Recruited 88 veterans to test the BattlePeer app and work with peer mentors training on mental health interventions and the app
  • Engaged a software firm to implement a crisis alerting framework into the app to alert peer mentors when a veteran reports increased symptoms
  • Initiated commercialization of the intellectual property developed through the app and created a comprehensive business plan and pitch deck to further commercialization efforts of the smartphone app

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8701 W Watertown Plank Road,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
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