We fund organizations and projects which disrupt our current behavioral health space and create impact at the individual, organizational, and societal levels.
We support local grassroots organizations that are working to advance recommendations outlined in the Think Bigger Do Good Policy Series.
Our participatory grantmaking alters the traditional process of philanthropic giving by empowering service providers and community-based organizations to define the strategy around a specific issue area or population.
We provide funds at below-market interest rates that can be particularly useful to start, grow, or sustain a program, or when results cannot be achieved with grant dollars alone.
Add some text here
Contact Alyson about grantmaking, program related investments, and the paper series.
Contact Samantha about program planning and evaluation consulting services.
Contact Caitlin about the Community Fund for Immigrant Wellness, the Annual Innovation Award, and trauma-informed programming.
Contact Joe about partnership opportunities, thought leadership, and the Foundation’s property.
Add some text here
Add some text here
Teens today face multiple challenges, including peer pressure, the media/social media, bullying and today’s fast-paced culture – just to name a few. Data from SAMSHA and other organizations show that depression and suicide rates among teens are rising and drug and alcohol use continue to be an issue. Educators and parents struggle to educate teens on critical behavioral health topics while competing for their attention against today’s never ending entertainment sources. Finding a way to deliver accurate information to teens while they are constantly receiving an overload of other information (and misinformation) is a challenge. If we truly aim to empower teens to make healthy decisions, we must not only deliver key messages, but also help make them stick.
Centerstone set out to find a method of creatively educating teens (along with parents and educators) on critical topics. Through teen focus groups and a review of existing prevention resources. Centerstone along with its Youth Leadership Council decided to try using comic books as a means to disseminate important behavioral health related education. To date, Centerstone has published five comic books featuring original superheroes that educate young people on the dangers of sexting, the importance of bystander power when it comes to bullying, the potential dangers of underage drinking, online safety, grief/loss, depression and suicidal ideation. An extensive process is followed for each comic book, including research, topic development, writing (in collaboration with clinical experts), storyboarding, illustration and our detailed editing process. The comic books are distributed via free printed copies and also made available on Centerstone’s website for anyone to download or reproduce e (centerstone.org/comics).Over 50,000 comic books have been distributed through schools, regional events (including Nashville’s version of Comic-Con),community partnerships (e.g. local libraries and mental health advocacy groups), Centerstone’s clinics and more. We have even managed to bring our superhero, Spark, to life, taking her in person to the youth and communities we serve!
When working with hard-to-reach populations, it is critical to meet these audiences where they are, finding creative approaches to convey important messages. Teens today have more entertainment options than ever, while much misinformation is being delivered though the mass media, social media and other various forms of entertainment. Centerstone held focus groups with young people to ask them how they would like to be educated and what behavioral health issues were of concern to them. While traditional methods of lectures, group activities and pamphlets certainly have their merits, teens expressed a desire to bring more entertainment into their education. So, Centerstone strategically created clinically accurate educational comic books with the hope of competing for a few minutes of their leisure time. By creating educational materials disguised as professionally illustrated comics, we found a way to capture the attention of youth while entertaining them.
Our comic book series provides a blueprint on how to engage and educate challenging-to-reach populations (e.g., teens) while focusing on complex issues. Centerstone has shared these comic books with other federal grantees throughout the country (including behavioral health organizations) focused on risky behavior prevention. These organizations as well as other behavioral healthcare organizations across the county then use the comics in their own work. Centerstone has had the opportunity to present at local and national conferences detailing our comic book concepts, creation and distribution process. This had included the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media and the National Health Outreach Conference. We are also excited to present a talk at the upcoming 2019 National Council on Behavioral Healthcare conference and share with more national providers in the behavioral healthcare community.
Centerstone intends to continue developing original comic books relevant to those we serve and the greater behavioral health community. We aim to reach more teens and parents nationally by increasing distribution internally in all 5 states that house Centerstone operations including outpatient clinicians, school based therapists and so on. We aim to make Centerstone Comics available more broadly outside of our organization by expanding upon our existing partnerships with chapters of organizations such as the National Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health America. To date, these comics have been funded through a federal grant provided by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health. This grant is confirmed to continue through June of 2019.
To date, Centerstone has distributed more than 50,000 original print comic books have distribute through schools, unique events (including Nashville’s version of Comic-Con) and our website where comics are made available for download and reproduction free of charge (www.centerstone.org/comics). Media outlets have featured our comic books. This has included local television interviews, newspaper articles and social media. 5 comic books have been produced to date: • Spark: Rising from the Ashes – Depression and Suicidal Ideation • Spark and the Sext Message that Nearly Destroys – Sexing and Healthy Relationships • Spark and the Sobering Truth- Underage Drinking and Peer Pressure • Smokescreen: No Time for Bullies- Bullying and Bystander Power.