For immediate release — May 14, 2020
Youth mental health is in crisis. 1 in 4 kids were struggling with their mental health before coronavirus hit. Now add the stress and uncertainty of living through a pandemic. We have a crisis squared.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has provided stark reminders of the critical importance of mental health to our wellbeing, the inadequacy of our current approaches to promote mental health, and the urgent need for research to develop new, better ways to prevent and treat anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.
This is especially true for young people, upon whose mental health and wellbeing a brighter post-COVID future will ultimately depend.
As we are beginning to cautiously emerge from isolation, AIM Youth Mental Health is emerging stronger than ever. AIM is taking bold steps forward to address the ongoing mental health crisis by investing in growth now when the need is greatest. We are proud to announce a new leadership team that will take AIM into this crucial next phase in its support of leading research to improve youth mental health, and efforts to raise awareness:
Executive Director, Dr. Shane K. Green
“I’ve been privileged to support the world’s most inspiring researchers and innovators to develop new ways to improve human health and well-being. Joining AIM at this critical juncture provides a singular opportunity for me to build on this commitment by working with the AIM team and its outstanding Scientific Advisory Board.”
A respected leader, Shane brings more than 15 years’ experience building teams and programs committed to supporting world class health research and innovation. Most recently, he was the Director General of Development Innovation at Grand Challenges Canada, overseeing a set of programs supported by ~$180M CAD in funding – including its Global Mental Health program. A self-described “recovering scientist” with a doctorate in cell and molecular biology coupled with graduate and post-doctoral training in bioethics, Shane has delivered more than 125 invited presentations, published more than 30 articles, and taught graduate courses at the University of Toronto. Shane brings to AIM a deep personal connection to youth mental health. He has served as a member of the Advisory Group for the Mental Health Research Canada/Institute for Advancements in Mental Health Innovation Prize, and on the Board of Unity Charity, which uses hip hop arts to improve mental health of under-served youth.
“His passion and leadership over many years have made Shane a strong voice for global youth mental health. Under his direction, AIM is poised to become a critical player in the global youth mental health ecosystem, ensuring our next generations thrive.” Dr. Danielle Kemmer, Executive Director of the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders.
VP Development & Strategic Partnerships, Kathryn Morrissey
“My vision is for every child to be able to thrive. Unfortunately, today’s mental healthcare landscape does not support this vision. I joined AIM to build a global movement to fund cutting-edge research driven to not only find answers for youth and families but to provide everyone with a voice in breaking down the stigmas tied to having an open dialogue around mental health.”
Kathryn brings more than a decade of experience in leading development and strategic partnership initiatives driven to accelerate social impact through causes rooted in health and human services. Most recently, Kathryn served as Chief Development Officer for Special Olympics Northern California/Nevada overseeing the organization’s development operations, fundraising and special events. During her tenure she elevated Special Olympics’ approach to corporate partnership development and as a result amplified its brand awareness. Over the years, Kathryn has held leadership positions working on behalf of the Child Mind Institute, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and Life Learning Academy. Kathryn’s dedication to public service spans from advocating for youth mental health with emphasis on breaking down barriers to care and stigma to elevating a global dialogue around mental health issues to championing individuals of all abilities. She currently serves on the Bay Area Advisors in Philanthropy Steering Committee and the Carmel Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
“I’m proud of the strong foundation AIM has built – and of the impact we and our research grantees are having – with guidance from our Board of Directors and world class Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). But I knew we needed to find top talent to work with our SAB and partners to ensure we continue to make the best research decisions as we grow, and to engage with our outstanding community of donors whose support is crucial to take AIM to its next level. After an extensive search, I’m thrilled to have Shane joining as Executive Director; with his leadership, scientific background, and understanding of the mental health research landscape, coupled with Kathryn’s depth of experience with development and building strong partnerships, AIM is now poised to achieve much broader scale and impact,” said Founder & Board Chair, Susan Stilwell.
“It has become even more critical during our current crisis to address the myriad of challenges experienced by our children: stress, anxiety, mood, and sleep issues,” added Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Adam Gazzaley, from the University of California, San Francisco. “I have been proud to collaborate with AIM to deliver new solutions that make a difference, and I am very excited to work with Shane and my colleagues on the Scientific Advisory Board to help AIM amplify its support of needed mental health research.”
Dr. Patrick McGorry, AIM Scientific Advisory Board member and Executive Director of Orygen in Melbourne added, “Young people in transition from childhood to adulthood bear the major burden of onset of mental ill health as they navigate this challenging period. The COVID 19 disaster has made that pathway much more perilous and we predict that the lives and futures of many more young people will be at risk if society doesn’t act now to secure the situation. This means much more secure vocational pathways and scaffolding around emerging adults, and welcoming, holistic and expert youth mental health services powered by youth participation, lived experience and scientific evidence in all communities across the USA and around the world. AIM has a catalytic role to play to help make this happen.”
In this next phase, AIM will renew its focus on philanthropic partnerships to expand its research funding program. The key to success will continue to be the generous and enduring support of our donors. Just as we have needed to stay apart to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we now need to come together to prevent a second pandemic of mental illness.