2021 Grantee: Institute for the Development of Human Arts

Transformative mental health education and community development in COVID times

The Institute for the Development of Human Arts creates opportunities for critical dialogue, mutual support, and advanced education and training for those in the field.

One Institute participant explains, “IDHA gives people a space and social network to not feel so alone in seeing mental health differently than dominant cultural narratives. Those who want to fight together, learn in community, share insights, and heal with others. It really does cater to so many people coming from different backgrounds, all there for different reasons.”

As the pandemic makes its mark on our individual and collective well being, the Institute for the Development of Human Arts is seizing the opportunity to expand educational opportunities which expose the connections between our mental health and the economic and political realities and wider systems of oppression.

A small grant from Open Excellence will provide critical support for online training tools and accessibility services to equip the Institute’s programming with closed captioning and ASL interpretation. An upcoming spring 2021 virtual training series will address the impacts of COVID-19 on global mental health.


Small grants with a big impact
In the coming weeks, thanks to the commitment and generosity of our donors, Open Excellence will announce further recipients of several competitive microgrants targeting our five priority areas for 2021: COVID-19 relief to providers of peer or voluntary mental health services; decolonizing, racism and inequality in mental health diagnosis and care; industry influence in mental health; the social determinants of mental health; and advocacy and human rights. Though small, these grants will support critical infrastructure at peer service organizations, document and share innovations in care and support early career and peer researchers. (Grant applications are currently accepted by invitation only.)


The heart of IDHA
The primary goal of the Institute is to equip participants with essential knowledge that allows them to create and strengthen communities of practice around transformative mental health care wherever they may be, valuing lived experience as highly as professional training. Based in New York, it has an increasingly national and even global audience.

IDHA’s work seeks to be explicitly anti-oppressive, and addresses the underlying systemic causes of mental health issues. Its trainings provide a historical analysis of how systems of oppression have impacted marginalized groups’ interactions with the mental health system. Over the past years, it has addressed the intersections of race and mental health through online trainings and community events and dialogues.



Grants like this one are made possible by the donors of Open Excellence (the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care) like you. Become a monthly sustaining donor today to support the revolution in mental health care.



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