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13 inspiring mental health awareness organizations

May 01, 2021
A nurse takes a patients questions while they wait for their appointment.

Approximately 1 in 5 American adults experiences some form of mental illness. Lack of access to appropriate mental health treatment can have serious consequences for those affected, including increased likelihood of hospitalization, homelessness, incarceration, and suicide. Thankfully, nonprofit health care providers have stepped up to bridge the gap and provide necessary care to their communities.

Here are 13 mental health awareness organizations that we admire because of their commitment to providing high-quality, affordable mental health care services.

1. Bright Harbor Healthcare

Originally established as Ocean Mental Health Services, Bright Harbor Healthcare has since evolved along with the needs of its community to provide services to adults, children, and families. This organization encourages its community to expand its definition of health beyond physical well-being and give mental health the care and attention it requires. 

Bright Harbor Healthcare seeks to address all mental health care and wellness issues with its crisis center, substance abuse program, outpatient services, child and family services, and more. In addition to providing comprehensive mental health services, Bright Harbor Healthcare provides a unique educational offering with its Ocean Academy, a small therapeutic school that works with students who need mental health support to help them succeed academically.

2. Positive Education Program

Cleveland’s Positive Education Program (PEP) was created as a consulting organization for the city’s school districts to help them serve students with mental health challenges. However, it quickly became apparent that the districts needed specialized centers dedicated to providing mental health resources and creating pathways to success. Today, PEP operates six Day Treatment Centers in the Cleveland area, along with other mental health programs.

One aspect of PEP’s program that stands out is its community-based model. This model allows everyone involved in the child’s life, including parents, family members, and teachers, to create a strategic plan of care aimed at helping the child access support from the community. The primary goal of PEP’s integrated special education and mental health services is to enable children and youth to succeed in their own school districts.

3. Pacific Clinics

As California’s largest community-based behavioral and mental health services nonprofit, Pacific Clinics provides comprehensive care. With over 2,000 employees who can communicate with patients in 22 different languages, Pacific Clinic serves community members from a wide range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

Pacific Clinics offers culturally sensitive, trauma-informed, and research-based mental health services. This organization also provides a head start program for children ages 0-5. Families that enroll in this free program can provide their children with education, childcare, and meals to prepare them for kindergarten. With this early start, children are more likely to finish high school and go on to earn college degrees.

4. The Village Network

The Village Network is a behavioral health organization helping youth and families in Ohio and West Virginia create healthier, brighter futures. Its vision is to become a national leader in youth and family behavioral health. 

The Village Network considers itself a nonprofit with a for-profit mentality. They use sound business principles like research-based leadership to build a forward-thinking, constantly developing model that helps youth rise above adverse childhood experiences to lead healthy lives.

To help youth self-regulate and experience happy, healthy relationships with family and peers, The Village Network takes a multi-faceted approach to trauma healing and provides a continuum of care based on families’ unique needs.

5. Whitman Walker Health

Whitman Walker Health serves Washington D.C.’s LGBTQ+ community by offering a range of physical and mental health services. For decades, Whitman Walker has made sure that this historically marginalized and vulnerable community has access to health care—ranging from mental health and gender-affirming care to dental health—without fear of discrimination or judgment. 

Its mental and behavioral health programs include peer support, substance use services, mental health treatment, and psychiatry for LGBTQ+ youth and adults who often have unique mental health needs. Whitman Walker’s policy is that “regardless of how or why you came to us, we will welcome you with open arms and treat you with the dignity, respect, and love that you deserve.”

6. South End Community Health Center

The South End Community Health Center is a nonprofit health care organization for residents of Boston’s South End. They are “committed to providing the highest quality, culturally and linguistically sensitive, coordinated health care and social services to every patient, regardless of their ability to pay.”

South End Community’s mental health and behavioral counseling services are available to youth, families, couples, and individuals seeking assistance. Its team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers is trained to help individuals with complex needs, such as chronic mental illness and specialized treatment.

7. Community of Hope

Community of Hope provides health care and housing services to Washington D.C.’s homeless population. The organization highlights the role of mental health care in this equation, stating, “We believe that your overall health is not just about how your body feels, but also about your whole life experience. Your emotional well-being is critical.” They provide easy access to mental health care services by integrating them into regular health care visits, enabling patients to live healthy, fulfilling lives. 

Community of Hope provides emotional wellness services designed to help individuals who are going through a mental health crisis but aren’t sure what type of illness they are facing. This organization also provides addiction and substance abuse treatment to those looking for a safe, confidential provider while overcoming homelessness.

8. HealthRIGHT 360

With its firm belief that health care is a right, not a privilege, HealthRIGHT 360 is a network of integrated health programs that serve patients across California, regardless of their ability to pay. 

Its Integrated Care Center provides a new model for delivering health care and wellness programs to low-income and homeless patients seeking care. In this care center, clients can receive comprehensive treatment services in one place, including primary medical care, dentistry, mental health services, substance use disorder treatment, housing referrals, adult education, and more. For clients who lack reliable transportation and access to information and health resources, this model ensures both physical and mental health care needs are met.

9. Sheppard Pratt Health System

Sheppard Pratt Health System (SPHS) is the largest nonprofit provider of mental health, substance use, special education, and social support services in the country. SPHS is known for being an innovator in the fields of research and best practice implementation, particularly when it comes to improving the quality of mental health care on a global level.

With over 160 programs, SPHS is ready to help patients on a grand scale and has specialties in homelessness services, crisis assistance, developmental disabilities, and more. Additionally, SPHS offers a comprehensive online resource for individuals looking to learn more about mental health. Its knowledge center provides a glossary for conditions and diagnoses, treatments, and other topics patients may want to research like information about health insurance, LBGTQ+ identities, and health care essentials.

10. So Others Might Eat

So Others Might Eat (SOME) is a Washington D.C.-based organization providing assistance to the capital’s low-income and homeless population. In addition to offering food and clothing, SOME advocates for political action that will benefit the constituencies they serve, including mental health care policies, affordable housing, and income support.

They advocate for an increased focus on the quality of care that D.C. Department of Behavioral Health consumers receive by improving the training of community service workers, using reporting that measures outcomes rather than processes, and promoting accountability for high-quality service.

11. National Alliance on Mental Illness 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is one the largest organizations in the United States dedicated to mental health awareness and advocacy. NAMI provides educational programs and hosts public awareness events to destigmatize mental illness and help affected individuals and their families find treatment and resources. 

NAMI also focuses on public policy and runs advocacy campaigns that seek federal change for how mental health conditions are treated and supported. Along with these campaigns and services, individuals can also reference NAMI’s website to find care and learn more about mental health conditions. 

12. Active Minds

Active Minds is a nonprofit organization dedicated to mental health awareness, specifically for teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14 and 25. Their programs take a peer-to-peer approach, citing how young adults affected by suicidal thoughts are likely to reach out to a friend for help before seeking assistance themselves. They also focus on giving young adults strategies for speaking out about mental health and creating environments where seeking treatment is destigmatized. 

Active Minds focuses on taking an equity-driven approach to conversations about mental health, centering on issues that disproportionately impact BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals. These programs have been created for and launched on university campuses, K-12 schools, workplaces, and across communities. 

13. The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is a mental health organization devoted to providing LGBTQ+ youth with resources and support. Their mental health resources focus on sharing information about LGBTQ+ topics, suicide, and other pressing issues, such as equity and international support. 

The Trevor Project also provides 24/7 confidential counseling. Individuals who need immediate support due to having thoughts of self-harm can reach out through chat, text, or a phone call and be paired with one of the Trevor Project’s trained counselors. 

Discover the power of mental health organizations in your community

Access to mental health care has a positive impact on the lives of children, families, and individuals across the country, empowering them to achieve their goals and live fulfilling lives. Nonprofit health care providers and human service agencies work tirelessly to make sure that high-quality mental health care is a right for the populations they serve. We’re thankful for the organizations and their staff who work to ensure that mental health care is widely accessible.

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