In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re witnessing an acute global mental health crisis that will have long-lasting effects. In the U.S., 53% of adults have reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted by stress related to the pandemic. For Black Americans, the pandemic occurs during a heightened period of racial injustice and reckoning in the U.S. According to government data from this summer, 4 in 10 Black people struggled with anxiety or depression.

To mitigate current challenges and address the residual effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in mental health are critical now and in the long term.

In the U.S., for every dollar spent on scaled-up mental health treatment, the return is $5 in improved health and productivity. Despite this ROI, countries spend just 2% of their health budgets on mental health services and treatments, according to the World Health Organization

So how can we ensure effective mental health programs and services are funded and delivered to individuals around the globe?

The first step is awareness. As we recognize World Mental Health Day 2020 on Oct. 10, we have an opportunity to center the populations most affected by the pandemic and its role in deteriorating mental health. Below you’ll find resources to help donors advocate for and direct capital to mental health support systems. 

Understanding the Compounding Crises: Mental Health and COVID-19

Job loss and disruptions, massive adjustments to schooling, and an ill-equipped healthcare system have not only stoked worry and stress, but also exacerbated existing inequities for many communities. On a global scale, we’re seeing slowed progress toward achieving SDG goals addressing poverty and advancing gender equality. All of these factors are contributing to a worldwide mental health crisis.

The Next Challenge After COVID-19 Will Be Mental Health 
The Conversation
U.S. adults are now eight times more likely to meet the criteria for serious mental distress, indicating that this mental health crisis is one that will require immediate attention. 

Creatively Addressing the Rising Mental Health Crisis Due to the Pandemic 
RAND Corporation
As more individuals require support services, particularly for mental health, find out how the strained health system is implementing creative means to help those who are struggling. 

How COVID-19 Has Turned The Homework Gap Into A Larger Learning Gap
Access to the internet can be the difference between a student continuing or breaking the cycle of poverty in their family.

Most Americans Are Unable To Work Remote During COVID-19
A study indicates that three-quarters of U.S. workers are in jobs that cannot be done remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting these workers at increased risk for infection. 

COVID-19 Is Widening The Global Gender Poverty Gap
Global Citizen
Learn how increased turbulence in women’s employment and well-being has widened the global gender poverty gap during COVID-19.

Who Is Suffering From This Mental Health Crisis?

Many groups are facing the mental health impacts of the pandemic and have a variety of needs that funders can respond to. 

These Groups Are Among The Most Vulnerable During The COVID-19 Pandemic
The Conversation 
Learn more about the most vulnerable populations, ranging from those struggling with mental health to pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Loneliness Doubled for Older Adults During the Pandemic 
Understand how loneliness and isolation became a significant issue for elderly populations due to COVID-19. 

Activists Need Help Ending Sexual Violence During COVID-19 
Global Citizen 
Discover stories of grassroots activists in Nigeria and Kenya, whose efforts to halt rising sexual violence during COVID-19 need increased support.

The Deteriorating Mental Health Of College Students During COVID-19
According to a recent survey, the COVID-19 pandemic is putting more stress on college students and contributing to higher rates of depression. 

Responding to Mental Health Inequities in the Time of COVID-19 [Video]
Aspen Institute
Panelists participated in this webinar to discuss the mental health inequities of marginalized communities during COVID-19. 

Combatting Burnout Among Doctors And Nurses During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating issues in America’s fragmented healthcare system, causing doctors and nurses to experience added stress and increased levels of burnout. 

The Far-Reaching Implications For The COVID-19 Pandemic On Native Communities [Video]
The Aspen Institute
Existing health disparities within Native communities are now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, triggering trauma, and significantly impacting Native children and families. 

How Donors Can Take Action

Here are opportunities for donors to directly invest in mental health programs and services and advocate for policy changes and solutions.

COVID-19 is Wreaking Havoc on Our Mental Health. Philanthropists Can Help 
Milken Institute
Understand the three drivers of the COVID-related mental health crisis, and how donors can address them through advocating for improved health policies and services. 

How Donors Can Address Mental Health in the Age of COVID 
Center for High Impact Philanthropy
This COVID-19 guidance offers insight into high impact opportunities for donors to fund mental health during the recovery.

Protecting and Preserving Mental Health During COVID-19 and Beyond 
Despite the fact that COVID-19 can have a lasting and significant impact on mental health around the globe, philanthropy can play a role in scaling community-based interventions.

COVID-19's Mental Health Fallout and Philanthropy’s Opportunity 
Milken Institute
Discover how philanthropy has the opportunity to help to build back a better mental health care system after significant fallout due to the pandemic. 

Contribute to Funds Addressing Mental Health

Here is a list of high-quality, vetted, COVID-19 funds related to mental health

Discover Organizations Addressing Mental Health

The Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund helps Black women and girls access therapy across the U.S.  

Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation helps raise awareness and eliminate the stigma around mental health in the African American community. 

Asian Counseling and Referral Services supports Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities by offering an array of behavioral health programs, human services, and civic engagement activities.

Mental Health America is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit committed to serving individuals facing mental illness and providing mental health resources during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.