Brio exists because mental health and wellbeing are a formidable challenge— and indispensable resource— in the march toward global human flourishing. Since 2018, we have worked in a consultative and collaborative capacity to help local impact organizations define what it means to thrive in their contexts, design programs to promote further thriving with vulnerable members of society, and demonstrate the effectiveness of these programs.
We work not only to address suffering related to mental illness but to build enduring capabilities most valued by local leaders, community members and participants. These capacities afford a person the inner strength and behavioral skills to bounce back from crisis, pursue new opportunities, and support the healing of those around them.
While models of scaling up specific treatments or increasing the number of mental health professionals have their role in addressing the treatment gap, we believe in the combined power of community members, trusted organizations, and existing social support programs to increase culturally-contextualized forms of emotional strength and resilience.
Our emphasis on community-driven leadership, design, and development reflects what our growing number of partners tell us frequently: mental health and wellbeing are as much about physical health as they are about human dignity, civic participation, and finding personal meaning every day. As Brio, we are building a body of work that demonstrates not only the many ways to increase wellbeing and resilience with vulnerable populations (thus reducing the need for treatment), but also that expressions of this flourishing can be as diverse as humanity itself.
Our partnership principles
- We combine psychological expertise and clinical experience with human-centered design to address problems in low- resource contexts.
- We fine-tune our strategies, processes, and tools across partnerships, and we customize our support & services to our participants’ needs.
- We leverage a 2-to-5-year time horizon for partnership growth, evaluation, refinement, and long-term impact.
- We work with leaders embedded in local communities to design for community participation and ownership. Initiatives are created to last beyond Brio’s involvement.
- We address key components of a functioning mental health system— treatment, prevention/promotion, and systems/capacity building— with an emphasis on prevention and promotion as a means of reducing overall need.
The power of communities
Mental health and wellbeing benefit not just individuals, but also their communities. We believe that healing and resilience are developed in the presence and accountability of others. Our solutions are informed and empowered by the local community.
The mutuality of compassion
Healing is not a transaction from one person to another. It’s the joy of finding strength and peace in each other. We constantly learn from the people we serve, and are inspired by their wisdom, love, and hope.
Proximity to the vulnerable
It is impossible to make a thoughtful impact in the communities of strangers. We invest in and partner with locals who are experts in their contexts and deeply committed to long-term transformation.
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Lilla Watson
“The essence of our credibility lies not in our rescuing or saving the poor but rather by humbly surrendering to their leadership and listening to them.” – Gregory Boyle
“Being broken is what makes us human. …Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion.” – Bryan Stevenson
“Development can be seen as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy.”
– Amartya Sen