Mental health is a pressing global challenge. One in four people will develop a mental health condition in their lifetime. Yet in many parts of the world, people living with mental health conditions don't have access to the care they need. Their experiences are complex and vary across cultures and geographies.
Crucially, there is no single solution to this challenge.
We believe mental health interventions that grow out of communities - i.e. that take a grassroots approach - are uniquely equipped to overcome issues of stigma and meet people's needs in meaningful, culturally-sensitive ways. However, community-based initiatives face serious barriers to sustaining and scaling their work, often lacking critical resources, networks and visibility.
Ember is a collaboration between the SHM Foundation and the Mental Health Innovation Network (MHIN) that finds, connects and supports grassroots mental health initiatives so they can grow and thrive.
Drawing on our Ember Health Check methodology, interdisciplinary network of contacts, and a toolkit of participatory approaches, the team identifies the areas where innovators face challenges then works with them to overcome these barriers. The kinds of support delivered may include building capacity in communications, impact evaluation and fundraising; strengthening governance structures and financial systems; and refining the strategy, story or business model of a project. Ember also connects innovators with useful contacts, such as researchers, policy-makers, funders and legal support.
Finally, Ember publishes insights gleaned from this work so that others in the field of global mental health - whether funders, researchers, policy-makers or practitioners - can learn from the expertise of grassroots innovators.
Ember's approach was piloted in 2018/2019 with five initiatives across the world. As of January 2020, Ember will work with the next cohort of innovators, chosen through a rigorous three-stage selection process.
To stay up-to-date on all things Ember, take a look at our website by clicking the button below and follow us on twitter @Ember_mh! Read about some of the innovations we've worked with so far: