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A lot of modern research suggests mental illnesses have become so common that almost everyone will develop at least one diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their life.
Mental illnesses are omnipresent. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 21% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2020 (52.9 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults. Furthermore, 5.6% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness in 2020 (14.2 million people). This represents 1 in 20 adults, and 16.5% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2016 (7.7 million people).
While there’s still a lot of stigma around mental illness, in recent years, there’s been increasing recognition of the importance of public conversation about mental health. Mental health awareness helps us broach important conversations and even saves lives. Millennials and Gen Z in particular have been paving the way in removing the stigma around mental health.
While the modern lifestyle seems to be exacerbating mental health conditions, the gap between people needing care and those with access to care is substantial. Mental illness services are inadequate pretty much everywhere. While many mental health conditions can be effectively treated at a relatively low cost, mental health nonprofits and mental health professionals simply don’t have enough resources to tackle the modern mental health crisis.
This is where donating to mental health organizations comes into the picture.
Increased investment in mental health organizations is sorely needed. Mental health nonprofits need funds to raise awareness, reduce stigma and increase access to quality mental health care and treatments.
Below is a list of 20 mental health nonprofits offering information and resources for mental health and mental illness that you can donate to:
1. WHO - Mental Health and Substance Use Division
WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Use Division focuses its work on promoting mental health and the prevention of mental, neurological and substance use disorders. They also support the expansion of access to affordable, quality mental health care.
There are several units within WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Use Division:
- Mental Health Unit
- Alcohol, Drugs and Addictive Behaviors Unit
- Brain Health Unit
- Policy, Law and Human Rights Unit
2. National Institute of Alcoholism & Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA)
The mission of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is to generate and disseminate fundamental knowledge about the effects of alcohol on health and well-being and apply that knowledge to improve the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of alcohol-related problems. NIAAA conducts and supports alcohol-related research, coordinating and collaborating with other research institutes. The organization also collaborates with international, national, state, and local institutions, organizations, agencies, and programs engaged in alcohol-related work.
3. PTSD Alliance
PTSD Alliance is an association of advocacy and professional organizations for individuals suffering from PTSD. PTSD Alliance has a mission to increase awareness of this condition among PTSD sufferers, their families, and the general public. Furthermore, the Alliance educates the public and those at risk of developing PTSD about its prevalence, diagnosis, and treatment. The organization also works closely with frontline professionals in the medical fields who serve individuals diagnosed with PTSD to give them the most current and up-to-date information available about PTSD.
4. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States. NAMI started as a few families gathering in 1979 and has now blossomed into an alliance of more than 600 local Affiliates and 49 state organizations . NAMI focuses on the following areas of work:
Education - NAMI’s education programs ensure hundreds of thousands of families, individuals, and educators get the support and information they need.
Support - NAMI hosts support groups, for both those with mental illness and caregivers, so that no one feels alone in their mental health journey. NAMI HelpLine responds personally to hundreds of thousands of requests each year, providing free information and support—a much-needed lifeline for many.
Advocacy - NAMI shapes national public policy. The organization also provides volunteer leaders with the tools, resources and skills necessary to save mental health in all states.
Leadership - NAMI organizes public awareness events and activities and works with the media to remove the stigma around mental health.
5. Active Minds
Active Minds was started by Alison K. Malmon when her older brother Brian committed suicide in March 2000. Alison saw that no one was talking about mental health issues although many were affected. She wanted to encourage students who needed help to seek it early. Finding nothing on her campus that focused on mental health, she created her own student-to-student model and formed a student group then known as Open Minds. The organization spread to other universities as other campus chapters were opened. Active Minds was incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization in late 2003.
Active Minds reaches more than 1.9 million students each year through campus awareness campaigns, events, advocacy, outreach, and more. Their consistent message is that mental health needs to be talked about as easily as physical health.
6. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is an organization that funds grants for mental health research around the world. 100% of donations to the organization are invested in their grants, and they have funded more than $430 million of research since 1987.
They fund grants for research on all different types of mental illness, and they host a full breakdown of dollars granted to each illness on their website.
7. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
AFSP is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education, and advocacy to take action against suicide.
AFSP engages in the following Five Core Strategies:
- Funding scientific research
- Offering educational programs for professionals
- Educating the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention
- Promoting policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention
- Providing programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk, and involve them in the work of the Foundation
AFSP is also the largest private funder of suicide prevention research.
8. The Jed Foundation
The Jed Foundation is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults. JED does this by building resiliency and life skills, promoting social connectedness, and encouraging help-seeking and help-giving behaviors. JED works directly with high schools, colleges, and universities to put systems, programs, and policies in place to create a culture of caring that protects student mental health. They also provide education, training, and tools to families, friends, media, and others.
9. NO PANIC
No Panic is a registered nonprofit that helps and supports those living with panic attacks, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and other related anxiety disorders and their careers.
No Panic specializes in self-help and offers the following services:
- Recovery services
- Pen pal programs
- Advice and support
- Confidential helpline
- Recovery programs
- Raising awareness programs
- Self-help behavior therapy
- Social events
- Online or via telephone conferencing
- Recovery groups
10. Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) was founded in 1909 and is now the leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness in the US. In 2014, Mental Health America (MHA) launched its online mental health screening: a collection of online, free, confidential, anonymous, and scientifically validated screening tools to help individuals understand and learn more about their mental health. Since then, around 1 million screens are completed every year, with up to 3,000 screenings being taken per day. This makes this the largest data set ever collected from a help-seeking population.
11. To Write Love On Her Arms
To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly in treatment and recovery. Since 2018, TWLOHA’s Find Help tool has seen 56,000 program searches. For every 4 searches, someone will take the next step to sit with a counselor or call a crisis hotline. TWLOHA has donated more than $2.6 million to treatment and recovery, funding over a hundred unique organizations and practices.
Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They also campaign on a range of issues, such as health services, legislation, protection of legal rights, and employment. Over a hundred local Mind associations (independent, affiliated organizations) provide services such as supported housing, floating support schemes, care homes, drop-in centers, and self-help support groups. Local Minds are independent nonprofits responsible for their own funding. They do this through donations, grants and income from the services they provide for local councils, the NHS, and private organizations. Most local Minds provide services to people free of charge, but some charge a small fee.
The vision of Rethink is to transform at every level the way the US nation approaches mental illness. Rethink states that it helps 48,000 people every year, and is for caregivers as well as those with mental disorders. It provides services (mainly community support, including supported housing projects), support groups, and information through a helpline and publications. Their phone support service advised over 3,900 people on mental health issues. 2,100 were advised by email and over 700 by web chat. Their online mental health information was viewed 5.5 million times in 2020/21, up 2 million visits from the previous year.
14. Bring Change to Mind (BC2M)
Bring Change to Mind envisions ending the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Bring Change to Mind is a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging dialogue about mental health, and to raising awareness, understanding, and empathy. Their work is grounded in three pillars of support for the communities they serve, including creating national advocacy and awareness campaigns, developing a national student-led high school club program, and building a storytelling movement that works to end the stigma in the United States. They have currently reached more than 2 billion people through their advocacy efforts and served more than 8,000 students across the country.
15. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.
- Provides grant funding opportunities and guidance to states and territories, as well as tribal and local communities;
- Provides technical assistance to grantees and practitioners;
- Publishes and shares resources for individuals and family members seeking information on prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery;
- Collects, analyzes, and shares behavioral health data;
- Collaborates with other Federal agencies to evaluate programs and improve policies; and
- Raises awareness of available resources through educational messaging campaigns and events.
The Center gives grants and contracts to U.S. states, territories, tribes, communities, and local organizations.
16. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAD)
ANAD is the leading nonprofit in the U.S. providing free support services to anyone struggling with an eating disorder, disordered eating, and body image. ANAD was founded in 1976 by Vivian Meehan, a nurse whose daughter had been diagnosed with anorexia and was unable to find support for eating disorders.
Today, ANAD serves 200 people every week. ANAD offers free, peer support services to anyone struggling with an eating disorder, regardless of age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or background. Their nationwide network of volunteers understands first-hand the ups and downs of the recovery journey—because they, too, have lived the experience of an eating disorder. ANAD empowers volunteers to help others through their own recovery.
17. Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) envisions wellness for people living with mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder). The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is a leading national organization focusing on mood disorders including depression and bipolar disorder. With its extensive online and print resources and nearly 600 support groups and more than 200 chapters, DBSA reaches millions of people each year with in-person and online peer support. They also offer current, readily understandable information about depression and bipolar disorder and empowering tools focused on an integrated approach to mental wellbeing.
18. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest biomedical research agency in the world. NIMH is a $1.5 billion enterprise, supporting research on mental health through grants to investigators at institutions and organizations throughout the United States and through its own internal (intramural) research effort. The mission of NIMH is "to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.”
19. Autism Society of America (National Office) & Foundation
The Autism Society, including its nationwide network of affiliates, has been connecting people to the resources they need through education, advocacy, support, information and referral, and community programming for 57 years. Their vision is to create a world where everyone in the Autism community is connected to the support they need when they need it.
20. National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures, and access to quality care.
These are some of NEDA’s programs:
- Get Screened for an Eating Disorder
- Contact the Helpline
- Find Treatment
- Support Groups & Research Studies
- NEDA Walks
- National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
- Body Acceptance Week
- Legislative Advocacy
- The Body Project
- Feeding Hope Fund for Clinical Training
Support Mental Health Organizations Making a Difference
With so many people lacking access to good quality, appropriate mental health services, resources are needed now more than ever. Investing in solving the mental health crisis has become paramount. To support mental health organizations making a difference, consider donating them your time and/or money.
If you’re a mental health organization looking for ways to increase your donations and ensure financial sustainability for your nonprofit, the simplest thing to do is to set up online fundraising forms with an online donation platform like GiveForms. Then, all you need to do is share the link, and the rest is taken care of. The process becomes hassle-free for both you and your donors. Online donation forms are also shareable, which increases your chances of reaching your fundraising goals!