Power of Community: A Concept Note for Philanthropists

An epidemic of untreated mental illness is ravaging American communities today, fueled by worsening risk factors like loneliness, isolation, addiction, and screen dependence. At one end of the problem is a persistent nationwide shortage of trained mental health professionals. At the other is the reluctance of patients — especially patients from underserved communities — to seek help at all, a factor research suggests may be an even larger contributor to our gaping access gap.

New Frontier: Philanthropy’s Role in Digital Mental Health

Digital apps can bridge the gap between the fractured, unsustainable status quo to the inclusive, equitable, healthier future. By focusing on social returns while the market focuses on financial returns, philanthropy can catalyze these transformative innovations, reaching millions, even tens of millions of patients needlessly suffering without treatment, and shaping the future of both technology and mental health. 

Framework for the Philanthropic Support of Crisis Services

A growing number of philanthropists are exploring the impact of developing a universally available, community-based system of care for people experiencing mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) crises and emergencies. Such a system would be built on principles of racial justice, health equity, digital health and advanced technologies, local control, and financial sustainability. One key outcome of this system is that jails, emergency rooms, and prisons are no longer the default response for people with MH/ SUD conditions when they experience a crisis or emergency. 

Public-Private Partnerships to Decriminalize Mental Illness

What role can the private sector play in the decriminalization of mental illness? How can the private sector stimulate care models that prioritize housing, transportation and the other social supports that are so indispensable to people with mental illness? Does new technology hold a key for decriminalizing mental illness? At the 2022 Sozosei Summit, we discussed how to develop the foundational culture shifts to enable sustainable business models, scaling of the most promising care models, better integration of technology for criminalized populations, and more widespread innovation and development.