The below is a letter from Tyler Norris, CEO, Well Being Trust that formed the introduction of our Annual Report.
“Well Being Trust has come a long way in just three short years. From our birth as a bold vision of hope, with a $100M endowment from the Providence health system — we’ve become a trusted leader in the broad-based movement to transform the mental health and well-being of the United States.
In this 2020 letter, I highlight a few outcomes detailed in this annual report, present our strategic directions for the next three years, and paint a picture of the mental health and well-being “movement infrastructure” we are investing in to save lives.
A LOOK BACK:
1. National Leadership: Well Being Trust has helped convene and align the fragmented mental health and addiction field in the US: building cross-sector partnerships and alliances; informing legislation in key states; and shaping the next generation of bipartisan federal policy recommendations. We are at the heart of building the “infrastructure” for the nationwide mental health and well-being movement. We ensure that ‘lived experience’, social justice, and equity are central to all conversations of significance in the field.
2. Social Engagement: We generated over 800 million social impressions that have built awareness, opened dialogues, connected peers, taught skills, and engaged the American people in ‘normalizing the conversation’ (reducing stigma) about mental health and well-being. In the process, we are catalyzing personal, family, organizational and community actions rooted in the evidence base that are driving change for prevention, healing and recovery. We implemented over 125,000 “intercepts” — reflecting individuals that “needed help now” that were directly linked by WBT to clinical care, resources and supports. This has reduced suffering and saved lives.
3. California Investment Portfolio: The most significant single “lift” of our first three years was the implementation of the $30 million CA mental health initiative, which is now delivering outcomes for 40 million Californians, while producing learning and models for scale and spread around the nation.
4. Clinical Transformation: We partnered with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and 8 leading health systems to lead the Emergency Department and Upstream learning collaborative, that is transforming care delivery and addressing upstream social factors. With Providence, we co-created and invested in the Mental Health and Substance Use “Clinical Performance Group” that is changing how Providence delivers integrated whole-person care, and is beginning to roll out solution-sets and playbooks for the nation.
A LOOK FORWARD:
Everything we do is in service of our goal of saving 100,000 lives in the next decade by preventing “deaths of despair” from alcohol and drug misuse and suicide, and increasing healthy life years. For the next three years, with the guidance of our board and National Advisory Council, Well Being Trust is advancing four core strategies to achieve this goal:
1. Align the nation around a framework for excellence in mental health and well-being. We are partnering with healthcare providers, payors, purchasers, philanthropy, policymakers and the public (especially youth and community collaborations) to codify and amplify a framework leading to next-gen standards of excellence across the continuum care, from clinic to community.
2. Facilitate and curate products and tools to accelerate progress towards excellence in mental health and well-being. We are developing solution sets and products rooted in the evidence base and promising innovations to shape best in class clinical, community, policy and communications strategies.
3. Advance mental health and addiction policy in select states and help lead federal policy to increase affordable access to integrated comprehensive mental health services. Our Guide to Congress: Healing the Nation, is shaping the nationwide dialogue for the next generation of federal policy, even as we partner with states and communities to drive effective policy at each level of our democracy.
4. Lead and shape the mental health and well-being movement in the country. Even as we are investing to increase affordable access to integrated mental health/addiction care and coverage, we are focused on creating the community conditions for intergenerational well-being in the first place. This includes changing the way leaders and institutions in locales around the nation use their power and resources across sectors to advance well-being; as well as changing organizational practices, public policies, and uses of investment capital.
The social movement in the US to improve mental health and well-being is growing fast, and Well Being Trust is at the heart of shaping strategy, convening leaders, aligning partners and making investments.
We see these seven elements of “movement infrastructure” as key to assuring a strong foundation for sustained impact:
- New Narratives — that lift-up diverse voices and align messaging
- New Metrics and Data Systems — for tracking outcomes and assuring accountability
- New Standards for Excellence in integrated whole person care — that concurrently address physical and behavioral health while embracing social needs
- Policy Advocacy — that listens, engages, prioritizes, and mobilizes across the nation to assure affordable access to integrated care for all in America
- Economic Engines — that bring more resources into the field and focus these investments on what works
- Leadership, Alliances and Networks — that align leaders, resources and constituencies for impact at scale that can result in population level outcomes above
While this is Well Being Trust’s organizational focus — we recognize that personally, every day, each of us are given openings to turn to one another — our families, friends, and those we encounter in times of need. We can choose to listen to and serve each other with open-hearted respect and dignity.
We can choose to find our truest, most courageous voice. And we can choose to honor the aspirations and struggles of others by being reliable allies on a shared journey.
Today, as every day, we are given opportunities in our communities to assure the vital conditions for intergenerational well-being—and to fight ‘othering’ and exclusion in every form. In our homes, in our schools and workplaces, in faith settings, and neighborhood gathering places, we can work together to ensure every person can experience economic opportunity and connected pathways to realize their fullest potential for flourishing.
Join us is shared action! Mental health and addiction touches every single one of us. And every one of us has a unique role to play in creating well-being for all.”