Rethink Wellbeing’s mission is to nurture mental wellbeing at scale. To do so, it uses engaging, proven, and low-cost programmes, tailored to the needs of communities.
Mental illness impedes clear thinking, productivity, and relationships — all of which would allow for agency and flourishing. Given the usual or even increased prevalence of mental health conditions among effective altruists — and around 35% productivity loss for affected individuals — the effective altruism movement loses 5–10% of its productivity and likely impact. With 7,400 effective altruists that are considered “highly engaged,” this reflects a workforce loss of around 400 people.
Half of the affected effective altruists report an unmet need for mental health support. The special effects of working on reducing existential risk and suffering require tailored services, and with the effects of the FTX crisis, psychosocial support for effective altruists is now needed more than ever.
Rethink Wellbeing reports that guided self-help and digital therapeutics have proven to be cost-effective and scalable solutions that can help relieve overwhelmed care providers. Meta-analyses show that when guided online by trained laypeople (i.e., peers), they are just as effective and engaging as professional one-on-one therapy at a fraction of the cost. A peer guide only needs to be trained once to deliver a diverse portfolio of digital interventions. Also, building strong peer relationships and feeling social support independently strengthens engagement as well as mental health itself.
Rethink Wellbeing’s team, including Dr. Sam Bernecker, Dr. Inga Grossmann, and John Drummond, have developed a tailored and engaging approach. It aims to provide peer-support mental health services that show promising signs of effectiveness and engagement, which Rethink Wellbeing believes could rival traditional therapeutic tools. In 2023, Rethink Wellbeing was fortunate to receive generous support from a diverse network of volunteers, advisors, and financial backers which together donated over $250k. Notable supporters included MHFC donors, Nonlinear donors, and Open Philanthropy. Rethink Wellbeing reports that donor contributions have been instrumental in helping explore and refine its approach to mental health support.
Rethink Wellbeing provided the following list of its 2023 achievements and plans for 2024.
Plans for 2024:
Rethink Wellbeing also provided the following message to donors:
Your support will enable us to expand our team, improve our services, and meet the increasing need for quality mental health support. Every donation plays a role in contributing to the potential productivity and effectiveness of a community committed to tackling the world's most pressing issues.
Based on our early cost-effectiveness analysis, it takes ~$25 to deliver 1 hour of support to a participant, ~$350 supports one participant, $5,000 allows us to hire 1 of our team members, and $30,000 is our monthly operating cost. Our programs will stay at zero cost to the participant who can't afford it thanks to your donations.
Join us in our journey to potentially scale Rethink Wellbeing's impact, explore cost-effectiveness, and contribute to societal benefit. To learn more about our endeavors and the promising developments of 2023, please read our detailed EA Forum report.
We don't currently have further information about the cost-effectiveness of Rethink Wellbeing beyond it doing work in a high-impact cause area and taking a reasonably promising approach.
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