mhNOW believes cities can be catalysts for meaningful mental health impact

Why cities? Cities – with their inherent networks, density, creativity and entrepreneurial capacity – bear the highest burden of mental health but also have the highest potential to achieve meaningful mental health impact.

Existing city services, community organizations, and civil society have established networks and the ability to work together in new ways on preventative approaches to address the long-term cost of mental illness at its source and to reach and empower every citizen

Youth organizations can be inspired and youth movements activated across cities to destigmatize mental health to create an enduring culture of tolerance and understanding

City governments, now more so than national governments, can advance new innovations and thinking quickly, and are closely tied to local businesses, investors, and other resources

Cities are homes to research centers and institutions of higher education. In this golden era of neuroscience, where discoveries are constantly demystifying secrets of the brain, research collaborations, studies, and clinical trials are more important than ever

The mhNOW cities challenge

The mhNOW challenge will engage 30 cities by 2030, mobilizing and channelling support to exceptional city projects that address mental health by providing resources, recognition, and technical assistance for outstanding initiatives in the three target areas.

During its first year as part of the CGI commitment to action, mhNOW will engage communities in various countries including Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Vietnam, Singapore, and the United States and in cities that span from Nairobi and Chennai to Seattle and Flint.

The three target areas for the mhNOW cities challenge are:

By identifying and promoting proven innovations from around the world, mhNOW will empower urban leaders to implement new ideas and continuously improve mental health systems. By incentivizing new actors and mobilizing private sector investment and funding, we can rapidly scale and replicate the right models in the right places.

> Accelerator: mhNOW is creating a global accelerator that will serve as a center of excellence dedicated to scaling up mental health innovations. This accelerator will provide functional, technical, sectoral and geographic expertise, as well as access to a wide network of our global partners and proven models.

mhNOW can provide a unified platform and powerful voice for global youth in mental health. By leveraging and harmonizing the efforts of existing groups and movements, mhNOW will cultivate the next generation of leaders, support entrepreneurial initiatives and enterprises, and inspire durable global action.

> Youth Action Bridge: mhNOW is mobilizing the next generation of leaders in mental health through targeted programming in leadership development, seeding entrepreneurship, and convening youth networks. This action bridge will meet young leaders at different touch points of their career to provide the tools, networks and opportunity to inspire an inclusive, penetrating movement for mental health. mhNOW will activate youth through bold, time-bound targets that address issues such as suicide and stigma.

Funding requires evidence. In order to unlock investment and drive global policy, mhNOW will build actionable data that proves ROI, develop city scorecards and needs assessments, and provide tools and databases to mobilize effective city projects.

> Data Leadership: mhNOW is ready to ensure that timely, accurate, and high quality data is harnessed to improve decision-making and increase financing for mental health. mhNOW data leadership will support the improvement of monitoring systems within cities, as well as find the lessons from data that already exists. Through cross-sectoral/cross-regional data collaborations mhNOW aims to accelerate the closing of the mental health gap in cities across the world. 

Global solutions, local collaborations

At the global level, mhNOW will create a convening platform that showcases effective mental health interventions in cities around the globe so that city leaders can accelerate these innovations in their own communities.

“mhNOW is a critical mechanism to enable effective programs of support and treatment for people living with mental illnesses and their families to be established in resource-constrained settings. The needs for this are outstanding, for those directly affected and for the economic development of countries.”     -Helen Herrman, World Psychiatric Association

“ I would like to welcome and support the advent of mhNOW as a way of sharing and translating best practice models of care based on evidence such as early intervention for psychosis and for young people generally with emerging mental ill health.”    –Pat McGorry, Orygen the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health/University of Melbourne