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The New Future of Whole Person Health, Healing, and Flourishing

lighthouse on the horizon

At Mental Health America (MHA), we're not just dreaming of a better future – we're shaping it.

Through our research, public education, advocacy and public policy, and direct service, MHA is charting a new course toward whole-person health and well-being that will guide our efforts in the next several years and beyond.

We are a nation in crisis. Indicators of our mental ill-health are hitting record highs and trending in the wrong direction. Disruption and division is persistent - technology and social media, inequitable resource distribution, the epidemic of loneliness. We are in despair and in need of hope. We are in need of a new imagination for the future of our well-being.

Now is our moment. Now is the time to work with determination, courage, and hope for the mental health of the future.

In developing our vision for the future, MHA aims to break free of existing limitations in our thinking and approach. We intend to think beyond short-term constraints, misaligned incentives, and policymaking cycles—and ask ourselves how we would design a person-centered system with a focus on all aspects of health and healing.

We are asking ourselves: how can we paint a promising—and realistic—picture of hope for a hurting country?

We are committed to reforming or relinquishing what hasn’t worked in the past, doubling down on what has, and embracing the new frontiers of therapeutic practice which are showing promise. We must think upstream to prevent distress at the same time as we develop a plan which offers real help to all in need of help, healing, and renewal. It’s time to think beyond human pathology and toward human potential.

Building on the pioneering legacy established at our founding in 1909, Mental Health America is committed to leading the charge for a new future of hope in the 21st century.

Harnessing technological transformation constructively and equitably

Key issues: AI, social media, mental health and behavioral health tech, automation, digital and tech ethics, rights, and protections, community participation in design

MHA is committed to harnessing technology, including AI, social media, digital therapeutics, and other emerging technologies, in a way that increases access to support, enhances well-being, and minimizes risk and harm. This includes the use of technology to improve clinical and supportive services, expand access through tele-health, enhance decision-making in practice and policy, and democratize access to reliable mental health information and effective interventions. It also requires thoughtful policy, ethical guidelines, and oversight to ensure all resources focusing on and impacting mental health prioritize equity, person-centered outcomes, and individual liberties.

We believe digital tools should improve individual and societal well-being, positively influencing work, education, and other systems, and fostering increased and healthy community and personal connections. It's essential that these technologies are not developed in isolation but are shaped by the insights and contributions of community members and those with lived experience, ensuring they serve to uplift and protect, aligning with our mission to improve mental health for all.

Exploring the future of well-being and connection

Key issues: Spirituality, psychedelics, somatic approaches, mind-body-spirit integration, holistic health, nature and climate, trauma and healing

Exploring the future of well-being and connection, with respect and recognition for the communities that have long nurtured this knowledge, MHA leads in pioneering work and research into practices that cultivate a comprehensive understanding of well-being and recovery.

Integral to this exploration is the recognition of spiritual health as a vital component of overall well-being. Through our focus on spirituality, we are embracing an expanded view of the human experience - going beyond thought, emotion, and behavior in our theory of mind to be inclusive of our need and drive for connection, belonging, purpose, hope, and meaning.

Additionally, we aim to lift up practices from complementary, somatic, integrative, and traditional healing traditions. Some of these approaches are being newly innovated on the frontiers of therapeutic practice, and some derive from longstanding wisdom traditions.

person does yoga while child is on their back

Supporting equity and equipping communities to lead

Key issues: Peer support, community-initiated care and leadership, service, equity and inclusion, community and lived experience leadership

MHA is building on the framework to lead innovative work and research into practices that elevate well-being and promote healing and recovery at the community level.

Our recently launched Equity Impact Zones will enable access to catalytic resources for the most marginalized communities - on the premise that the community knows best what it is experiencing and what it needs to close the social health gaps driving disparity and poor outcomes. Ultimately, we aim for the model itself to create an emerging evidence base for harnessing the wisdom and capacity of communities and community-led solutions to solve for mental health equity gaps.

MHA is reshaping mental health support by advocating for an expanded array of care providers – including peer supporters, holistic healers, and community caregivers – while ensuring decision-makers and clinical providers recognize the value and need for comprehensive support resources.

With growing disparities in mental health distress and resources, particularly among youth and rural, LGBTQ+, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, this work has become even more critical. Whether it is generational or collective trauma, lack of investment, or historical inequities, our commitment is to ensure that each person and community is equipped with the resources to support their well-being in sustainable, innovative ways.

hands all thrown in a circle and stacked on top of each other

What comes next

In navigating these new frontiers, we are dedicated to advancing the scientific knowledge, financial investment, and public discourse necessary to support and validate new approaches for the future of mental health and well-being. Our efforts focus on innovation that can be thoughtfully integrated into comprehensive well-being strategies across research, policy, and practice.

New times present new challenges. And urgent, complex challenges call for bold ideas and a comprehensive vision. As a longtime leader in mental health, we’re ready. And we’re just getting started.

Join us.

Use our screening platform and future-focused interventions, including new AI-supported resources and peer support bridgers.

Get involved in our youth leadership initiatives to advance youth-driven research, programs, and policy across all spaces where young people spend their time.