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International nonprofits launch mental health initiative

May 23, 2012
by News release
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The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred), has announced that nonprofit organizations from around the world have partnered to launch the Field for Hope initiative, aimed at eradicating the stigma of depression so 121 million people affected seek and receive treatment.

"Judging from the incredible international response and rapid growth we are seeing, the Field for Hope mental health initiative developed by iFred is offering a much needed opportunity for countries and organizations to combat the stigma of and raise public awareness of depression worldwide," said Kathryn Goetzke, President and Founder of iFred. "We are incredibly grateful that there are so many nonprofit groups around the world that understand the gravity of preventing this disease. It is a tragedy that depression costs so many lives each year, when it is an easily treatable disease, provided the guilt and shame of seeking treatment are removed."

Depression, which affects over 121 million people worldwide, is treatable yet less than 25 percent of those with diagnosable depression currently receive treatment. According to the World Health Association, the primary reason is stigma. To combat this problem, iFred is uniting nonprofits worldwide including the Nepal Mental Health Foundation, Kristen Brooks Hope Center, ASHA International, Wahoo Foundation, Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in Kenya, BreastSens, PreNatal Homeless Shelter, The Respite, Mental Health Society of Ghana, Dominica Mental Health Community Team, and German Foundation Against Depression.

Each organization will help to eradicate the stigma associated with depression by rebranding this highly prevalent and treatable disease using sunflowers gardens and fields as an international symbol of hope. Each organization uses their unique Field for Hope to engage their communities, increase public awareness, organize events, secure sponsorships, raise funds for research, and find ways to make their fields sustainable.

Under the Field for Hope program, any individual, group, or company can support multiple efforts to eradicate the stigma of depression with donations as small as $10 for any of the participating charities. Some of these efforts include a 24-hour online crisis hotline for depression, support groups for those with co-occurring depression and breast cancer, and prenatal homeless shelters working to prevent depression. Through the Field for Hope program, iFred hopes to collectively plant over a million sunflowers across the world.

iFred is able to underwrite the initial costs of the Fields for Hope project through the sale of Mood-lites, a product line by Mood-factory sold at Lowe's home improvement store. Mood-lites is selling 27 stock-keeping units (SKUs) in over 1,700 Lowe's throughout the United States, and donates $0.25 of each product sold to iFred. To learn more about the Field for Hope or donate to the cause, please visit www.fieldforhope.org .

iFred is a 501(c)(3) organization whose primary purpose in to reduce and eventually eradicate the stigma associated with depression. Depression is treatable, yet fewer than 25 percent of those experiencing a major depressive episode receive treatment, primarily due to the stigma and negative perception of depression. By "shining a positive light" on depression, iFred seeks to positively "rebrand" and "reposition" with the sunflower, the color yellow, and the focus on Hope, to secure that someday 100 percent of depression patients are willing and able to get the help they need.

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