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Gun Violence and Mental Illness: A Resource List

December 18, 2012

Mentalhealth_manseatedWe are all struggling to process the shocking violence that erupted in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday. That the cold-blooded murder of twenty-eight people, including twenty small children, can be blamed, in part, on permissive gun laws and a culture soaked in graphic depictions of violence is, for many, indisuptable. Others point to Adam Lanza's precarious mental state -- and the failure of those who loved him to reach out for help -- as a contributing factor. For those interested in learning more about the increasingly intertwined issues of gun violence and mental health, we offer the following list of resources:

Issuelab, a service of the Foundation Center, has assembled a special research collection that explores the problem of gun violence in America, and what Americans can do about it.

A quick search of Foundation Directory Online yields this list of funders who support mental health services for youth and/or autism research/services:

In addition to the above, the Foundation Center's New York library staff has put together a list of nonprofit and government groups working to support mental health services in America:

Nonprofits

Treatment Advocacy Center
http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/
The Treatment Advocacy Center is dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness. Visitors to the site can explore the Preventable Tragedies Database, which includes incidents involving individuals with a neurobiological brain disorder (usually untreated) who were victims or perpetrators of a violent episode.

Mental Health America
http://www.nmha.org/
A national nonprofit dedicated to promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders, and achieving victory over mental illnesses through advocacy, education, research, and service.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=About_NAMI
The nation's largest grassroots organization working to help people with mental illness and their families.

Autism Research Institute
http://www.autism.com/
A national nonprofit that conducts and disseminates research on the causes of autism as well as methods of preventing, diagnosing, and treating autism spectrum disorders. The organization also provides networking, education, and support for families and people of all ages on the autism spectrum.

Autism Society
http://www.autism-society.org/
See the ection on advocacy: http://www.autism-society.org/an-advocate.html

MHA-NYC (Mental Health Association of New York City)
http://www.mhaofnyc.org/
Through a combination od services, advocacy, and education, the Mental Health Association of New York City works to develop innovative approaches to mental health needs in the five boroughs of NYC.

Government Agencies

National Institute of Mental Health
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/index.shtml
The mission of NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.

Articles in 'Health Affairs' journal

"Mental Health: What Foundations Are Funding." September 2012, pp. 2143-6. Includes a sampling of mental health projects across the United States that foundations are funding. Examples include the provision of care in the criminal justice system, professional development in mental health policy, and services for veterans.

"What do we really know about foundations' funding of mental health?" By Ruth Tebbets Brousseau, July-August 2009, pp. 1200-14. A brief analysis of foundation giving for mental health based on Foundation Center data through 2006 and interviews with staff from major mental health grantmakers. The authors describe the challenges associated with defining and measuring mental health giving, and suggest questions that need to be addressed for further understanding in this area.

"Foundations' role in transforming the mental health care system." By Lauren LeRoy, July-August 2006, pp. 1168-71. The attendees at a February 2006 conference pinpointed four areas where foundation funding could be particularly effective: treating childhood trauma, service integration, improved access to care, and advocacy. LeRoy is the president of Grantmakers in Health. With bibliographical references.

"From the talk to the walk." By Roger Hughes, May-June 2003, pp. 189-93. The executive director of Phoenix-based St. Luke's Health Initiatives, a health conversion foundation, examines the tenuous connections between mental health policy and the real world of mental illness.

Recent news from Philanthropy News Digest

Templeton Foundation Awards $4 Million to Princeton Researchers to Study Cognitive Control (11/13/12)

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Awards $2 Million for Youth Services in Houston (08/31/12)

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Awards $11.9 Million for Mental Health Research (08/28/12)

Autism Speaks Awards $2.9 Million in Research Fellowships, Grants (06/26/12)

Joyce Foundation Announces $7.3 Million in Grants (8/12/11)

-- Emily Robbins

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