To truly promote mental health in everyday life, we need to better understand how to build resiliency while eliminating structural inequities and other factors that affect health and well-being. In communities across Texas, fundamental differences in power and resources lead to disparate conditions that influence mental health. The root causes of these differences—including racism, sexism, classism and other institutional, historical and structural inequalities—are not easy to address or resolve.
In recognition of the complex and systemic nature of the barriers to mental health, the Hogg Foundation will address these challenges through the following core strategies.
We lack a holistic understanding about what creates, influences and protects mental health at the community level, and how these factors vary among different groups of people. To address this, we’ll invest in collaborative research and convenings to strengthen the knowledge base on the factors that foster resilience and mental health in everyday life, especially for marginalized populations.
We anticipate that further data and dialogue will result in increased support for policies and programs that enhance mental health, achieve health equity, and promote well-being.
People outside the mental health field, like teachers and faith leaders, can be influential frontline advocates for mental health, yet they often lack the necessary knowledge and resources to do so. We’ll partner with and support communities in their efforts to build resiliency and improve mental health in environments where people live, learn, work, pray and play.
Foundation staff will work with community members and organizations outside traditional health care systems to cultivate greater understanding about their impact on mental health. We’ll also work with communities to collaboratively identify, test and promote changes in practice that improve mental health, particularly those that involve coordination among multiple sectors and stakeholders.
There have been important policy changes and funding increases in recent years that will influence mental health across Texas. However, much of the growth has focused on crisis services and infrastructure to treat serious mental illness. To encourage further progress, we’ll partner with diverse stakeholders to create and enhance state-level policy that affects resilience and mental health, and build the capacity of individuals and communities to engage in local and regional policy initiatives.
Foundation staff will support communities in strengthening civic engagement, and bolster an understanding of how to create and implement public policies that promote mental health and well-being, especially for marginalized populations. We’ll also continue to influence statewide policies, working closely with key partners and government institutions to systemically embed protective factors in everyday life.
As the World Health Organization puts it, “It is of major importance that action is taken to improve the conditions of everyday life, beginning before birth and progressing into early childhood, older childhood and adolescence, during family building and working ages, and through to older age. Action throughout these life stages would provide opportunities for both improving population mental health, and for reducing risk of those mental disorders that are associated with social inequalities.”
We agree with the World Health Organization and are excited to embark on this new strategic direction for the Hogg Foundation.