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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Mental Health

Mission: We are leading a revolution in mental health care. It begins by creating a new narrative based on honest reporting, humble acknowledgment of the limits and failures of current knowledge and treatment and an uncompromising insistence on the agency of every person to make informed choices about their care. We reinforce the new narrative by funding research that exposes faulty practices and pursues new discovery into the causes and relief of mental and emotional distress. We find promising innovations in care from around the world and fund their research and development.

Results: Learn more at MentalHealthExcellence.org

Target demographics: Health care professionals, people with lived experience, philanthropists, and community members of all ages

Geographic areas served: We have researchers, projects and philanthropists from all over the world.

Programs: Research, education, community programs and charitable fund development

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Giovan B.

Board Member

Rating: 5

It has truly been a privilege and an honor to serve on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. My personal journey took me through the American foster care system where I was inundated with psychotropic medications as the only treatment for the trauma I had incurred throughout my time in care. I felt alone and ostracized by this experience and encumbered with solitude and depression. Until the Foundation approached me to serve on their board of directors. Suddenly, I was no longer alone, quite contraire, I was filled with passion and purpose.

I get the pleasure of working with experts from all walks of life working diligently to support better mental health outcomes for all people. For the millions of other out there who share similar journeys and the same insatiable passion, I highly recommend supporting the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of donating my time over the years to shoot video interviews of the passionate staff, donors, and grantees at the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care and research participants whose lives have been changed by the work they do. It's a joy to help tell the story of this community of amazing people who are bringing hope and help to people around the world and just down the street.

Bonnie K.3

Donor

Rating: 5

This foundation is absolutely unique in its dedication to helping to transform the field of mental health care. It is extraordinarily innovative for its way of leveraging donations to reach into so many relevant areas. And it is remarkably supportive for those of us trying to create a better, more humane, more effective approach to mental health treatment.

In 2015 I established a charitable fund that they manage (the attached progress bar shows its success in 4 years). They have been creative, helpful, and supportive in every way. They employ people committed to improving mental health care, who have excellent skills and innovative ideas.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Health is the most important issue in the world today. We used to have healthcare but now have health services which try to deliver us more and more drugs and devices we don't need and are making us more ill and actually living shorter lives than before. Excellence in Mental Health Care is doing something about changing this and raising awareness of the issues. It deserves your support

Board Member

Rating: 5

FEMHC is an independent nonprofit that is challenging the status quo buysupporting innovative programs and research.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Heath Care supports independent, unbiased research and innovation in the service of holistic wellbeing.

Donor

Rating: 5

They have attracted a world class Scientific Advisory Council comprised of global experts committed to creating a new system of recovery-based care. These great minds operate as a global think tank connecting philanthropy with research. As a donor/investor this is a winning combination

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I associate the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care with two words: Innovation and Integrity.

INNOVATION: Because of the forward-thinking programs the Foundation supports - like the Hearing Voices Network and Open Dialogue. Instead of reinforcing worn-out ideas that serve to isolate and marginalize experiencers as well as their families and supporters, the Foundation has their eye on the future - a time when we realize that all of us are capable of hearing voices or seeing visions; a time when we no longer refer to altered and extreme states of mind as “mental illness"

INTEGRITY: I have worked with the Foundation for almost a year and am continually impressed by their steadfast and consistent commitment to pursuing the truth about which ideas, vocabulary and programs *actually* provide useful and empowering energy to those of us who have interacted with the mental health system.

Five stars!

1 Leah H.4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care supports innovative projects that are being funded by no one else. Despite all good intentions, the conventional approaches to mental health simply aren't working - as evidenced by the rising rates of suicide and "deaths of despair" in our nation. We need funders who aren't afraid to take risks and to support bold approaches that represent the future of health care that we all want to see. The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health care is funding and promoting true innovation.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care plays an extremely important role in the effort to improve the treatment of mental illness in the United States. It may be the only organization that is providing financial support to research and demonstrations of alternative approaches to treatment, approaches that don't use psychiatric drugs as the primary modality of treatment.
One of the approaches that FEMHC has supported is the Hearing Voices Network. FEMHC provided funds to support the training of facilitators of hearing voices groups. I attended one of those trainings. It was extremely helpful and enabled me to start a group in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Hearing Voices Groups are wonderful approaches to helping people recover from psychotic experiences. FEMHC has been the prime funder of research and demonstrations on Open Dialogue in the U.S. Open Dialogue is a promising approach to treating psychosis that doesn't use drugs as a primary modality of treatment. These are two examples of the great work that FEMHC does.

3 Laura Van T.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care is the leading non-profit organization to present balanced and informative studies, research, and best practice in behavioral healthcare. Their sound leadership and dedicated board and staff work every day to shed light on the promise of recovery and the needed best practices to help people live with hope as they traverse mental health care access and services. I am not sure what I would do without this organization's work - they have truly saved lives.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My resource for information on recovery options: books, videos and articles. I have learned that there is a better way!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My sister took her life with a cocktail of phamaceuticals after living with a diagnosis of bi-polar for many years. As an artist I chose to express my loss in a visual capacity. When the work was done, I found FEMHC through the author Robert Whitaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic) while looking for guidance in putting words to the work in relation to polypharmacy. I first met Yana Jacobs who participated and also helped to organize a powerful panel discussion with inspired individuals who brought the work, and the issues of polypharmacy to light around my work, entitled Side Effects May Include, at ICA, San Jose. When another show happened last month in Portland, Oregon at Blue Sky Gallery, Gina Nikkel was able to be a part of and brought together another panel discussion full of inspired mental health care professionals. Yana and Gina are educators with impressive backgrounds and experience around mental health issues. The more we can support them, the better, because it is their clear, unique and honest voice that is a guiding light.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care has a positive impact on Improving mental health care for the mentally disadvantaged, homeless in Santa Cruz County. One focus of FEMHC in Santa Cruz County is developing and sustaining peer support groups through the leadership of Yana Jacobs, the Chief Program Officer.

Yana introduced the Intentional Peer Support (IPS) model to the Program Committee of Homeless Services Center, a non-profit, that provides services to care for and house the homeless. One month after Yana’s stimulating brief to this Committee, HSC launched a peer support group and is currently developing this nascent activity into a program that will adopt the IPS practices and processes. The participants are engaged and measurable outcomes have improved.

An on-going, peer supported respite house, Second Story, was unfortunately defunded due County budget issues. Yana, with the support of advocates, rallied a grass roots advocacy that enlightened the community to the value of Second Story in supporting the community’s mental health care needs. This raised the awareness of the County Supervisors and local philanthropists that resulted in a philanthropic gift that paid off the respite house mortgage and will sustain this operation for the near term.

Yana’s inspiring efforts resulted in sustaining the peer respite house and, as important, educating the community to the value of peer support groups in providing mental health care and solving homelessness. Non-profits in this County are also benefiting from their connection to FEMHC that provides the latest information and case studies of advances in non-medication approaches to mental health care.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

FEMHC provides support and funding for much-needed research that would otherwise be rejected by mainstream mental health care. Due to profit-driven goals and corporatist partnerships, only a narrow focus within mental health research gets approved by major national and federal organizations. Having an independent non-profit is essential to maintaining integrity and unbiased research for better understanding human health.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As the mother of a son designated "dual diagnosis' in living with mental health challenges, I have special admiration and appreciation for the work of FEMHC, which I follow with great interest. If only it had been around at the time of my son's early diagnosis and treatment - and his years of helplessness and suffering on the streets, in hospitals and jails - I know his life would have been quite a different story. This is important work that can help suffering beings avoid, if possible, a lifetime of debilitating medications and/or street drugs. And looking into aspects of mental health care that are absolutely cutting edge and essential!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This nonprofit shares the best practices in mental health reform. While many people think they are recovery-oriented, this agency puts it into practice and makes it actionable. Lots more work is needed on mental health advocacy and this organization is doing some of the best work out there. It's time to promote high-quality mental health care instead of the same old same old stuff. Give this organization your full support if you want to help people get well from mental health concerns. Recovery should be EXPECTED.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Very few Foundations fund the sort of innovative, forward-thinking, person-centered, recovery-oriented programs that this one does. They are truly moving the field forward and leading the way for the future of mental health care. When so much of the public discourse is on "more dollars for more beds," the Foundation for Excellence are the only ones bringing dollars to the types of programs that are *really* needed in our systems of care. They are creating a new mainstream, and I hold great gratitude for the work they do. They are changing paradigms, building community, and bringing in the future. Thank you, thank you!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is doing immensely valuable work. People's lives and those of their families are being positively impacted and our society can save a lot of money and resources spent on mental health care.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a former CEO of a Medicaid health plan, I can attest to the importance of FEMHC's mission work. The Foundation is pioneering effective, client-focused services, and speaks to the promise of better quality and outcomes, using innovative and cost-effective methods.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Foundation for Excellence is a welcome voice in the exploration of Mental Health Care. At a time when we as a society are grappling with more and more mental health challenges (traumatized veterans, marginalized homeless populations, disaffected young people, dual diagnosis crises and an overwhelming percentage of the population reporting depression and anxiety) the status quo has chosen to address these challenges with drugs coupled (insanely!) with funding cuts. The Foundation for Excellence is choosing an integrated approach in which we recognize that community is essential for the mental well-being of all of us--whether we experience extreme states or whether we have not. We are all in this together!

1 Sera Davidow C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We have worked with the Foundation for several years. During that time, we have always found them to be professional, and - most importantly - genuinely invested in doing and supporting others to do good work that otherwise tends to get overlooked and under funded. The Foundation shares our interest in identifying and establishing an evidence base for innovative approaches that truly make a difference in people's lives. Without their efforts, it is clear that some of our own best work would not have been able to reach the very people who need it the most.

1

Donor

Rating: 4

I utilize their excellent printed resources for educational purposes. There is no other organization in the field that combines credibility with cache. The organization creates valuable partnerships to further needed improvement in the behavioral health care system and they are lasting alliances that are shaping practice, dialogue, and systems change.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This group is excellent! Their members have a wide range of experience within the mental health area. They are committed to supporting new and innovative practices, working towards making this world a kinder place for all.
Sincerely,
Dorothy Dundas

1 Tamara S.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Yana Jacobs earlier this year when I was looking for a panelist for a museum show I was having about mental health issues and medication at the Institute for Contemporary Art in San Jose. I was immediately struck by Yana's passion and knowledge of this subject. Yana not only taught me a great deal about polypharmacy and the world of pharmaceuticals, but helped me to put together an amazing panel of equally interesting voices, including herself, and was there to guide us both evenly and steady.

New to this subject by my artwork following the death of my sister who suffered from "bi-polar disorder", I was incredibly impressed by how this organization is steadfast in the importance of the health of those who need it most. There are no other organizations guide us away from medication and to examine the whole person. Yana and the entire staff, took their precious time to bring substance to my panel discussion, and I'm sure they bring this gift in every pursuit.

Thank you FEMHC, for the time and effort you put into making my work, and this important subject matter a valuable experience.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I met Yana Jacobs, the Chief Development Officer for Foundation for Excellence, a number of years ago at a mental health symposium.

My son has been diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder and, although he has an exceptional psychiatrist, the information I have received from the Foundation and their continuing research has been invaluable to my own understanding and how to support my son.

Further, they respect the individuals choice and decision to take medication while at the same time opening a discussion on alternatives. The information I have received on Hearing Voices Network and the new and expanding research on Schizophrenia available in their newsletters has been particularly informative and provides a different "lense" from which to view very complex diagnoses.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The FEMHC is a rare gem, not only in its commitment to supporting recovery-oriented research and programming, but in its demonstrated investments in perspectives that are frequently marginalized in discussions of improving mental health systems. They definitely "walk the talk"!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am most impressed with the work being done at the foundation for excellence in mental health care! Searching the Internet this is the only mental health foundation truly breaking ground and doing innovative work in an effort to change today's Broken mental health system and bring us to a place of balance that leads with the individual first and foremost and finds and helps people to find their unique path to their recovery through a more humanistic approach rather than a medically dominated approach.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am very proud to be a Board member of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. The Foundation is a beacon of hope and optimism for people facing psychiatric challenges, and a source of inspiration and fellowship for practitioners seeking a holistic and humanistic community. The Foundation supports progressive practice, and unbiased research to broaden our knowledge base about what helps -- and what hurts -- people experiencing psychiatric turbulence. The Foundation was crucial in starting a program based on Open Dialogue, the Collaborative Pathway, at the nonprofit where I work, Advocates, in Framingham, Massachusetts. We and the people and families we serve, are very grateful.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I got involved with the Foundation to help identify the most promising initiatives and supporting change wherever it leads to excellence. I am excited when we are able to connect visionary donors with independent researchers and innovative, recovery-focused program developers. The foundation has provided philanthropists a place to bring new ideas to life and to invest with confidence in a new vision of excellence in mental healthcare.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Foundation is engaged in a life and death struggle with the Octopus of modern healthcare. We need it to succeed and it needs us to get involved on its side. Having spent 5 years helping them out, I can't think of a better group of people to be working with. So rather than spend time complaining, if you want to make a difference this is great group to get involved with.

2 Sandy S.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

FEMHC working to improve mental health care that is focused on recovery. There are many organizations that uncritically accept the common narrative that promotes illness and medical models of mental disorders. FEMHC, while not dismissing those approaches, understands their limitations. The Foundation is trying to support, through research and education, alternative approaches such as the Hearing Voices Network, Open Dialogue, and nutritional interventions. We have assembled international experts and are supporting initiatives that tend to ber grossly underfunded. This organization is vital and we need the support of philanthropists who want to help us shift the narrative in our mental health care system.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

FEMHC has helped to create a vision of a society informed by good science and good experience on how to help people in crisis in ways that actually help, and not hurt, Long-run.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

They are doing the work of 10 organizations by supporting the countries leading edge projects to bring research based mental health care to the forefront. With mental illness and mental distress so prevalent, we need this foundation more than ever to educate mental health workers in practices that support whole being recovery, not simply life-long medication alone.

2 Digital Eyes Film

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Foundation for Excellence is at the forefront of a critical shift in how we understand and address mental health in our society and culture. As an independent filmmaker who has worked with the Foundation Team over several years, I can personally attest that their creativity, responsiveness, and mission-driven focus are second to none. I am grateful that such an organization exists to help facilitate this much needed, long overdue shift in our global consciousness and public health landscape. Their work is truly transformational. Thank you!