How You Can Help Flinn’s Mental Health Mission
Since the Flinn Foundation’s founding in 1976, the goal has been the same — improve the lives of children, adolescents and adults with mental illness. But we all know that a goal is only as good as the strategy behind it.
That’s why we created a Strategic Plan. Here are some highlights of how we are putting our mission into action and how you can help.
To improve the quality, scope and delivery of mental health services in Michigan.
To advance effective, well-researched mental health treatment, services and programs that meet the needs of people in Michigan.
- Collaboration. We are committed to providing leadership and collaboration across sectors to increase access and resources for mental health services.
- Equity. We prioritize underserved and vulnerable populations to reduce health disparities and promote equity in mental health services.
- Dignity. We work to reduce mental health stigma among individuals, families, providers, policy makers and the public.
- Impact. We continuously evaluate the outcomes and impact of our grantmaking.
Our Strategic Priorities
1. Improve mental health services by advancing best practice treatment programs, promoting early intervention, expanding access to care and building provider capacity.
- Therapeutic treatments: Accelerate the implementation and adaptation of best practice therapeutic treatments including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and trauma-informed care.
- Integration: Strengthen integration of mental health care in primary care settings to promote early interventions and evidence-based practice.
- Telehealth: Advance telehealth therapeutic services while ensuring quality, access and appropriate use.
- Provider capacity: Build the capacity of mental health providers through technology, evaluation, training and workforce development.
2. Foster cross-system collaboration to address inequities in mental health access and outcomes, improve treatment and program effectiveness, and increase efficiency.
- Children and youth: Address children’s trauma in partnership with schools, government agencies and mental health providers (e.g., impact of the pandemic on youth, child abuse and neglect, other forms of trauma and social challenges).
- Jail diversion: Work to divert people from incarceration to mental health services in partnership with judicial systems, law enforcement, mental health providers, hospitals and other partners.
3. Measure and share the outcomes of our efforts so that we, and others, can learn from our experiences and improve the quality of our work.
- Impact evaluation: Implement a focused evaluation plan designed to measure the impact of specific programmatic investments and partnerships.
- Treatment and program evaluation: Support evaluation of mental health treatment and programs.
- Communication: Share expertise and promote dialogue through publications, social media, site visits and convenings.
4. Educate and build awareness to decrease stigma inside and outside the health care system.
- Support advocacy organizations: Support and promote organizations that advocate for mental health awareness and work to decrease stigma.
- Showcase expertise: Support the showcasing of mental health expertise, including those with both professional and lived experience.
- Direct outreach: Build awareness and decrease stigma via direct public outreach.
5. Inform mental health policy by educating the public and policymakers, and advocating for access to quality services.
- Inform policymakers: Share findings from pilot projects, commissioned studies, and evaluation efforts to help increase access to quality services.
- Amplify client voices: Work to amplify the voices of people with mental health conditions and those who experience disparities in access and outcomes.
- Advocate for access: Advocate for everyone to have access to the mental health services they need when they need them.
How You Can Help
As you can see, we have some lofty goals for the Flinn Foundation over the next few years. And it can seem like an uphill battle. But every effort — big and small — can add up to make a big difference in achieving that simple, founding goal: improve the lives of children, adolescents and adults with mental illness.
You can contribute to this cause in the following ways:
1. Care for your own mental health: One of the first things we can all do to help destigmatize mental health is taking ownership of our own mental health needs and advocating for what we need — whether it’s therapy and programs or mental health days and stress-relieving activities and habits. Start thinking about your mental health; take steps to care for it like you would your physical health. And, if you have children, model that mental health awareness and care are important.
2. Encourage others to change how they think of mental health. We all have friends or relatives who are afraid to get mental health care. Perhaps they feel a stigma around mental health care needs, or maybe they aren’t sure they can afford care. Whatever the reason, encourage them to ask for help and seek out support.
3. Consider the words you use — and how they impact mental health perceptions. We’ve all called someone “crazy” at some point in our lives. Or, perhaps you’ve even trivially said you “felt bipolar” or made that casual reference about someone else. These words and expressions aren’t as harmless as they may seem in the moment. These casual references to mental health can contribute to the stigma those with mental health challenges feel. It can also make people — including your kids — feel less inclined to ask for help if they need it.
4. Let policymakers and stakeholders know that mental health matters to you. Michigan needs more resources to help those with mental health care needs. And it needs more equitable access among racial and income groups. Make sure your representatives know this is an important issue to you. Make sure they see that the mental health of our community is an integral part of our overall health. Vote for representatives who value mental health advocacy and resources like you do.
5. Follow Flinn on social. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to for notable updates, mental health tips and other information. If you’re part of the local mental health community, you’ll want to know when our annual grant application period begins. That will be announced first on our social channels. Be sure to “like” and share our posts to help us spread the word about our mental health mission.