The Mental Health Foundation was originally established in 1998 by the Mental Health Association in New York State to engage in public education about Behavioral Health issues.

The Foundation became an independent entity in 2005 and presented a highly successful 2006 event with former First Lady Rosalyn Carter, arranged by former NY First Lady Matilda Cuomo, who serves on the Foundation board.

Subsequent events involving Marylou Whitney, Tipper Gore, actor/Behavioral Health activist Joe Pantoliano, ABC-TV Journalist Bob Woodruff, former NYS Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, US Rep. Paul Tonko and others, have helped establish the organization’s standing and begun to build a broader base of support.

The Foundation’s It’s Okay to Talk About campaign and grant program suggested by the late Marylou Whitney and her husband, John Hendrickson, focused on promoting best practices to reach young adults with a message about seeking the help they need without regard for stigma.

The Mental Health Foundation and the Institute for Behavioral Healthcare Improvement have worked collaboratively since 2016 on several projects.  These have included two national conferences on the intersection of Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice, first in San Antonio, TX  in Jan. 2017 and  then in Miami, FL in Dec. 2017. A separate  New York City reception featuring timely remarks on the state of mental health care by Dr. Herbert Pardes of NY-Presbyterian Hospital was held in Nov. 2016. The Mental Health Foundation has also provided assistance with the promotion of the IBHI Emergency Department seminars. The two organizations are collaborating on a Progress Made Possible Conference scheduled for the Boston area in May 2020.