Mental Health

We envision a future where anyone can seek and receive stigma-free mental health services that are readily available in their own community.

Anthony Cicchino, Youth Task Force Leader for Help & Hope for YOUth, talks about how important mental health education and support are for young people to be able to open up, share their stories and ask for help in dealing with their feelings.

The story of The David and Lura Lovell Foundation is rooted in the pursuit of reducing stigma and improving access for people seeking treatment to improve their mental health. Lura Lovell fought tirelessly for her son who was doomed to a life of “deaf and dumbness” by a diagnosis of organic brain damage and Schizophrenia. Because of her refusal to accept the status quo, he was able to learn and grow into a valued member of his community who has now dedicated thousands of volunteer hours as an expert docent on aerospace at the internationally famous Pima Air and Space Museum.  For over 27 years, the Foundation has continued Lura’s legacy by funding programs and initiatives that benefit the 1-out-of-5 Americans impacted by mental illness and the people who love and care for them.  

As we enter our final years, the Foundation has identified specific initiatives that aim to create a solution, change a system, or transform an organization to further this vision.  We helped to launch Help & Hope for YOUth , a state-wide initiative  and multi-sector coalition in Arizona to ensure that, ultimately, youth ages 5-24 and their families have the education and access they need to identify and seek early care for mental health concerns, just like any other health problem. The coalition is also working to make sure that the help is available when they ask for it, regardless of a person’s or family’s ability to pay.  We are focused on youth because the science tells us that the earlier we act on mental illness, the better the outcomes for everyone involved. 

The Foundation has also supported a bevy of mental health documentaries and other media forms, what we call Social Impact Media (SIM): Out of the Shadow,  Not Broken,  Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops, BEDLAMLIVOrchestrating Change, and Sound Mind Live. These SIM initiatives explore different aspects of mental illness, mental health and how we communicate about them and respond to them as a society. The initiatives are being used to educate and advocate for real changes by spreading messages of acceptance from a place of compassion and understanding and by suggesting comprehensive and feasible solutions for healing our broken mental health system. Additionally, we have supported truth-telling about mental health in media through the efforts of Arizona Public Media Mental Health Reporting Desk, USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism, and The 19th* News

Due in part to COVID-19 and the impacts of Social Distancing, people are paying more attention than ever to mental health. We helped our national partner, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), to ramp up their hotline and coordinate information sharing with state and local affiliates across the country to better handle the astronomical demand. But the mental health system has been so horribly dismantled and dysfunctional over the past decades that raising awareness and encouraging people to reach out for help is not enough. COVID-19 merely surged the exposure of our inadequate system, especially for our communities of color. Without accessible, affordable treatment and community supports, law enforcement and incarceration have become the de facto mental health system, as evidenced by the two million people with mental illness who are annually booked into our jails and prisons, including a disproportionately large number of women and people of color. We can do better. NAMI’s report, “Divert to What?”  is an excellent overview of what a functioning mental health “ecosystem” looks like. 

We invite you as supporters of mental health to explore these and other efforts highlighted on our site to see if they might fit into your own personal or organizational philanthropic goals. 

“I’d worked in the mental health system because of Rob’s challenges. I realized how important it was for families to get information about their family member who was ill – and it wasn’t coming out of the mental health system or out of the psychiatrists. So anything I could do to help educate the families was important to me.”

Lura M. Lovell, Co-Founder