In the wake of modern colonialism and the battle against neocolonialism, committing to decolonizing practices is essential for a healthier world. For us, this framework structures an ever-evolving effort to relearn, resist and rise up together. We do not expect to achieve a perfectly decolonized organization or even project, but are committed to improving during the course of our organizational lifetime.
Being founded and led by mental health clinicians has heavily influenced the development of our organization, evident particularly in our choice to center strengths-based practices. Instead of approaching our team and community through deficit-based models common in Western psychology and business, we choose to start with strengths and build from there. We all have room to grow and we find this growth more meaningful when our strengths are recognized and celebrated from Day 1.
From micro to macro, trauma impacts our lives moment-to-moment and society as a whole. Our processes and practices have evolved and continue to evolve through lenses that consider trauma and healing. Ultimately, our goal is to build a healthier world and for this to be possible, recognizing and healing from trauma is essential.
Instead of leading from the top/front, our leadership team intentionally leads from the ground/back. Like the trunk of a strong tree, our team supports the rest of the branches in growing. This aligns with our core frameworks in the following ways; it allows us to decolonize our work processes by flipping the script on power and authority, it centers the strengths of our team and creates a safe space for folks to explore this work on the terms that are healthy for them.
From our team to our board to our amazing volunteers, we're proud of the fact that IMHA is 100% powered by lived experience.
Instead of defaulting to a traditional non-profit structure with an Executive Director leading the organization, we've decided to form a leadership team. This consists of our Executive Director, our Chief Empowerment Officer and our Chief Strategy Officer. By working together, our leadership team is able to live our values of health and wellbeing while putting our best foot forward for our team and community.
We view competition for resources in the global mental health arena as an unavoidable consequence of the fields it was founded in and the world as it stands today. Modern psychology and psychiatry have unquestionably shaped "global mental health" and are deeply rooted in Eurocentric, patriarchal, heteronormative ideologies that contribute to white supremacy and global inequity. Modern colonialism has embedded inequity in our systems, from economic to social to environmental and more. As a result, folks attempting to disrupt the global mental health space are faced with the uphill task of resisting these systems in our work, building counter-structures and educating funders about the need for change - all while pursuing health.
For us, disrupting these systems means rejecting competition and committing to a collaborative approach - centering we, not us vs. them. While in the non-profit space it often feels there's not enough to go around, our commitment to wealth redistribution and community-led work allows us to operate from an abundance mindset. We invite folks interested in pursuing health through collaboration to reach out, we're always glad to hear from our global mental health colleagues and see no one as competitors.
We maintain an Open Door Policy and are honored and privileged to work in this space.