Being an optimist is about believing that life can be better. That promise of hope is woven into the very fabric of our organization.
In line with our optimism is our commitment to building a culture where discussing and prioritizing emotional wellbeing is valued, and not seen as a sign of weakness. We believe this so strongly that after more than half a century of being known as the Mental Health Association of New York City, we changed our name to Vibrant Emotional Health.
Our new name communicates our positive vision for anyone struggling with mental health and emotional challenges. It conveys our firm belief that with the right care and support, everyone can achieve emotional wellbeing. It also acknowledges our growth from a local mental health advocacy organization into a nationally- recognized leader in mental health care.
Becoming “Vibrant” has coincided with a sea change in public attitudes toward mental health. In homes, schools, workplaces, and communities across the country, both on and offline, people are sharing their personal stories of recovery and hope.
Nowhere was this shift in public dialogue more apparent than in the media coverage following the suicides of TV host, Anthony Bourdain, and designer, Kate Spade. We, and others, have worked for years with the news media to shift the focus from tragedy to suicide prevention. Outlets ranging from CNN to Cosmopolitan to USA Today to PEOPLE shared numerous stories of survival and recovery. Journalists are now recognizing the positive and life-saving impact their work can have on audiences by providing messages of prevention and hope. We were gratified to work with the media on this coverage and remain proud to have helped support this significant shift.
Our belief in hope is evident throughout this year’s report and is reflective of our vision of emotional health for all. It is also hope that fuels our tireless efforts to revolutionize the system to bring care within reach of all people.
This year, we expanded our investment in state-of-the-art, technology-driven solutions for our call, text, chat, and online mental health support services. Through the 24/7, confidential hotlines we administer, such as NYC Well, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the Disaster Distress Helpline, we offered immediate help and hope to millions.
Nationally, we partnered with corporate leaders such as Facebook, CBRE and the National Football League (NFL) to integrate mental wellness online and in the workplace and to offer support to those in crisis. We also expanded the reach of our community wellness programs, allowing us to provide additional families and young people with the resources and coping skills they need to thrive.
We took our vision of emotional wellness for all people directly to policymakers to push for making mental and emotional health a top policy priority and the investment to support it. We also brought mental health education to caregivers, providers, corporations, and others so they have the tools and skills to help themselves and the people they care about.
The support of our partners and the passion of our entire staff, Board of Directors, and Minds Ahead, our young leaders committee, propel the organization forward. As we look ahead, we see a bright future for emotional health in our society. Even with the health care delivery system changing dramatically, we remain optimistic and steadfast in our commitment to be at the forefront of emotional wellbeing for all.
With your support and generosity, we will continue to revolutionize the system for good.
JENNIFER ASHLEY, PhD
President and CEO