Collaborative, Cross Sectoral, Catalytic


S2i Diversity Graphic 1

What is S2i?

The Mental Health Strategic Impact Initiative (S2i) is a think-and-do-tank that catalyzes change to ensure that all people with mental health conditions can live the fullest possible lives in communities of their choice, and that public and private systems and resources are equitably and effectively devoted to that end. S2i holds that the authentic leadership of people with lived experience and the advancement of race equity are essential for that aim to be realized.

Catalytic Think-and-Do Tank

“The field of behavioral health is in need of a revolution…. At a moment when mental health is *finally* a public priority, we need the spaces to develop innovative policy, to drive philanthropy into the space, and to create standards and systems that can push the system into a brighter and better age. S2i is that space."

Ashwin Vasan, MD, NYC Health Commissioner, Former President & CEO of Fountain House and S2i Advisory Committee member

“There simply is no other forum that brings together so many diverse voices to address these needs with more aligned action. Ken, Keris and the team know the right people and, more importantly, they know how to bring them together to hear each other and take action together in new ways. I know our work here in Texas and nationally changed for the better and helped many more people because of the relationships and consensus S2i forged.”

Andy Keller, PhD, President and CEO and Linda Perryman Evans Presidential Chair, Meadows Mental Health Policy and S2i Advisory Committee member

“I have collaborated with many different advocacy organizations/groups that are working to improve the quality and accessibility of behavioral health care to underserved populations and to address the social determinants of health. S2i is unique in its commitment to trying to meaningfully include topics of social justice and people with lived experience as essential components of their work.”

Stephanie Le Melle MD, MS, Director of Public Psychiatry Education and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and S2i Advisory Committee member

“We are at a point in the history of America’s struggle with mental illness, where it is becoming recognized that care and support of people with mental illnesses entails aligning policy towards treatment of mental illnesses with housing, disability, and employment policy, justice system reform and early childhood initiatives. S2i brings together the traditional view of the need to expand access to and the quality of mental health care with deep expertise in the complementary sectors necessary to succeed in realizing the maximum potential of people that experience mental illnesses.”

Richard Frank, PhD, Director, USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy and S2i Advisory Committee member

“My passion, and the bulk of my career, has been spent forging connectivity between housing, behavioral health, and primary care in the Seattle and King County region. The cross current between these systems is especially profound for poor and marginalized peoples. What I have admired most about the work of S2i, is the recognition that both mental health system reform and supportive housing are foundational to the path of recovery and realizing one’s full potential. S2i is integrating the advocacy that will make change at the local level possible in many communities across this country. This work is messy and hard. But I can think of nothing more important.”

Sheryl Whitney, Former Deputy County Executive, King County, WA; Trustee, Harborview Medical Center and S2i Advisory Committee member


S2i Network

What does S2i do?

S2i seeks transformative, cross-sectoral change beyond incremental improvements in existing mental health systems. To accomplish this, S2i:

Advocacy & Policy Reform

Promotes and supports cross-sectoral approaches to integrate mental health advocacy and policy reform across multiple sectors through papers, convenings, pilots, and project incubation.

Racial Equity & Lived Experience

Prioritizes racial equity and the authentic participation of people with lived experience of mental health conditions in policy and program development and implementation.

Philanthropy Support

Engages philanthropy in scouting and supporting both immediate interventions and long-term strategic mental health reform.

Identifying Solutions for Subject Matter Experts

Identifies and helps address longstanding issues that impede critical mental health policy and practice transformation by utilizing the breadth of subject matter expertise of S2i Staff Advisory Committee, Council of Experts, and extended networks.