Rethinking Mental Health: Improving Community Wellbeing

Project Date: 2009

Field of Work: Identifying innovative ideas for tackling complex mental health issues

Problem Synopsis: The United States and many other countries face entrenched social and health problems. At the same time, local innovators often operate in isolation, with few resources and little access to insights from their colleagues around the world. RWJF and Ashoka staff wanted to help these innovators secure resources, share their ideas, and learn from others as they think about mental health issues.

Synopsis of the Work: Ashoka Innovators for the Public sponsored Rethinking Mental Health to solicit, highlight, and reward programs that offer creative, system-changing solutions that move past narrow perceptions of mental health to expand understanding and involvement. The competition was managed by Ashoka's Changemakers initiative.

Key Results

  • Three entrants won the Rethinking Mental Health: Improving Community Wellbeing competition. The competition drew 338 entries from 42 countries and stimulated more than 300 discussions by the online community. The following winners received $5,000 each:

    • Active Minds: Empowering Students and Changing the Conversation about Mental Health on 300 Campuses (United States)
    • Promoting Mental Health Treatment in Traditional Bhutanese Society (Bhutan)
    • Rebuilding Hope After War: Mental Health and Community Recovery (Liberia)