It’s always a risky venture to do a “top 10” list. You invariably leave out some really worthy and wonderful entries, which may create some hurt feelings among the groups who weren’t included.
Nevertheless, I’ll take that risk and offer not just 10, but 20 of the top mental health organizations based in the United States, in my humble opinion. In this post, I’ll cover the first 10 organizations, with a review of the remaining 10 in a subsequent post.
My informal criteria for including an organization on the list included: a) being well-established and credible; b) having goals of education and raising awareness; c) having a well-organized website with extensive resource links.
The organizations aren’t ranked, just listed in alphabetical order. Here we go.
1) Active Minds – Active Minds is a network of over 400 campus-based chapters which provide a forum for college students to get together and raise awareness about mental health issues and to promote help-seeking for mental health concerns. Active Minds was founded by Alison Malmon, who lost her brother to suicide.
2) American Association of Suicidology and 3) American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – I considered whether to include only one or both of these organizations, but in the end I had to list them both. Both AAS and AFSP are dedicated to suicide prevention and collectively they provide an impressive array of helpful programs and resources, both for professionals and for those affected by suicide loss.
4) American Psychological Association – I need to disclose that I’m a member of APA, so this pick may be a little biased. There are a number of similar sites representing various mental health professions, but it’s hard to beat APA for its wide array of resources, including a large number of top scientific journals and books, a “Help Center” of consumer-friendly information to help cope with various life challenges, and an active program of mental health advocacy efforts.
5) Anxiety and Depression Association – ADAA is dedicated to the prevention, treatment and the cure of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and trauma-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They provide useful resources about treatment options, education about these conditions, and promotion of new scientific advances in treatment and prevention.
6) Brain and Behavior Research Foundation – BBRF bills itself as the world’s leading private funder of mental health research. It has awarded over $346 million through thousands of grants to support scientific research dedicated to alleviating suffering from mental health conditions. Its website also provides extensive information about mental illnesses and new research discoveries.
7) Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation – A program of Boston University, CPR promotes research, education and service to improve the lives of persons with psychiatric disabilities. A unique feature of this center is its long-standing promotion of a recovery-based approach to treatment. The center’s extensive publications and other resources are a real treasure trove of helpful information.
8) Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – DBSA provides a national network of in-person support groups as well as online support groups, educational resources and a mental health provider locator service related to the treatment of depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood-related disorders.
9) The Flawless Foundation – A relative newcomer compared to most of the other organizations on this list, The Flawless Foundation, founded by advocate Janine Francolini, strives to reduce stigma and raise awareness about mental health through a variety of progressive programs and initiatives, including a very active social media advocacy presence.
10) International OCD Foundation – The IOCDF promotes education, research and advocacy in the treatment and prevention of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). They offer both professional resources and support for individuals and families. Additional sites feature information on hoarding disorder and body dysmorphic disorder.
I really do believe the old adage that knowledge is power. These organizations offer a wealth of useful information to help educate, empower, and support those with mental health conditions and the people who care about them.
Take some time to access these great resources, and feel free to support one or more of these organizations if you want to get more involved. I’ve covered the remaining 10 organizations on my top 20 list in a separate post.
Here’s a question: What other mental health organizations have you found helpful? Please leave a comment. Also, please subscribe to my blog and feel free to follow me on Twitter, “like” my Facebook page, or connect on LinkedIn. Thanks!