9 Best Charities That Fight Depression (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities That Fight Depression (Complete 2024 List)

By
Carla Shaik

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Depression affects 21 million people in the US alone, equaling 8.4% of the population. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, which causes 700,000 deaths every year. Depression is treatable, but many people still suffer in silence due to the stigma that surrounds the condition or because of a lack of available support. Fortunately, charities around the world are working hard to provide these people with the vital guidance they need to treat their depression. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that fight depression?

The best charities that fight depression are the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. Charities such as Active Minds and the Jed Foundation focus on improving the mental health of young people through education and support.

Whether you want to fund innovative research into cures for depression, advocate to reduce the stigma that surrounds depression, or ensure every person with depression has access to the support services and counseling they need, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that fight depression are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Fight Depression Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements.

They work all over the world, from North America to Africa, supporting vulnerable people with depression who feel they have nowhere else to turn. 

Many of the charities focus on offering peer-to-peer support groups for people suffering from depression. Others advocate to end the stigma that surrounds the condition and fund research into potential cures or management techniques.

Yet, they all share the same goal: to provide every person with the strength and resources they need to take control of their own mental health.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Fight Depression in 2024

Below are our favorite charities that fight depression (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: You Are Not Alone

Logo for Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Lighting the Way for Wellness: Education. Community. Action.

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. According to their financial reports, the charity spent 69% of their expenditure on program expenses, 30% on fundraising, and 17% on management. 

“Providing hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders.”

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

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What they do:

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance runs support groups for people suffering from depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Furthermore, their Ask the Doc initiative allows members of the public to pose questions regarding their mental health to a qualified panel of clinicians for guidance. They also provide comprehensive information on treatment options, wellness tools, and virtual mental health screenings for depression through their website. In addition, their Mood Crew program is an educational initiative designed to help parents open up a conversation about mental health with their young children in a fun way. 

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What they’ve achieved:

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance serves over 4 million people with depression and other mood disorders every year. For example, in 2021, they directly supported over 20,300 people through their 111 local DBSA chapters and 400 online and in-person support groups. In the same year, over 3,600 parents downloaded their Mood Crew activities and 10,807 people downloaded their Wellness Tracker to support their own mental health journey. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance through their website. You can also assist the charity by supporting their campaigns or by participating in their research studies

2

Brain and Behavior Research Foundation: Research for Cures

Logo for Brain and Behavior Research Foundation
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Overview

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To alleviate the suffering caused by mental illness and enable people to live full, happy, and productive lives.”

Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

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What they do:

The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation alleviates the suffering caused by mental health illnesses, including depression, by awarding research grants to further advance scientific research into brain function and development. Their focuses include deep-brain stimulation research for treatment-resistant depression, rapid-acting antidepressants, and early support for optogenetics. The charity also works to reduce the stigma that often prevents people from speaking out about their mental health issues through their Healthy Minds Public Television series

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation has awarded more than $440 million into 6,400 research grants across 37 countries to improve the outlook of people with mental health issues. This funding has led to the first ever rapid-acting antidepressant which can lift postpartum depression in 48 hours. Furthermore, the charity is in the process of training machines to detect diagnostic patterns or biological markers for schizophrenia, first-episode psychosis, major depression, and bipolar disorder. This will rapidly improve diagnosis and treatment for sufferers of mental health disorders. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by fundraising or through workplace giving

3

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): The Nation’s Leading Voice on Mental Health

Logo for National Alliance on Mental Illness
Welcome To NAMI

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. The charity also holds a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness

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What they do:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides mental health support to people suffering from depression and anxiety through various support groups and via their NAMI helpline. The charity also runs peer-led education classes and outreach programs in numerous community settings to help locals, including medical professionals, understand the needs of friends and family going through a mental health crisis. Furthermore, they advocate for the passing of federal parity laws that support mental health reform across the US.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has continued to support people with mental health issues, including depression. For example, in 2019, they successfully advocated for the passing of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act which designated 988 as the national crisis number for mental health emergencies. In 2021, the charity funded $3.5 million in cash grants to advance mental health support services in state organizations across the country. In the same year, 373,000 people received support through their NAMI helpline, with depression being the number one concern addressed. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the National Alliance on Mental Illness through their website. You can also support the charity by taking part in a NAMIWalk or by joining their StigmaFree campaign

4

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Triumphing Through Science, Treatment, and Education

Logo for Anxiety and Depression Association of America
ADAA   Who We Are 2022

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a 100% Encompass score for finance & accountability from Charity Navigator. The charity also has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Improving the quality of life for those who suffer from mental health challenges through evidence-based educational resources, professional practice, and scientific research.”

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

⚒️

What they do:

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America works with medical professionals and research students to advance scientifically-backed treatments and resources for people with mental health, including depression. They also run an online Therapist Directory to help sufferers find the support they need in their local community, and publish self-help books written by leading experts, for children and adults suffering from anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the charity runs a free online peer-to-peer support group for people with anxiety and depression to share their experiences and concerns in a safe environment.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has remained committed to advancing scientific breakthroughs to support people with anxiety and depression. For example, since 1988, they have provided more than $1 million in grants to over 600 aspiring researchers in the field of mental health. Study results and informative blog posts from professionals are then published on the website for the public to view. Over 11 million people with anxiety and/or depression visit the ADAA website every year to find treatment, support, and resources for free. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America through their website. You can also support the charity by shopping online at selected retailers or by sharing your story of triumph to inspire others. 

5

Active Minds: Changing the Conversation About Mental Health 

Logo for Active Minds
Active Minds - Our Movement

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Active Minds has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Opening up the conversation about mental health and creating lasting change in the way mental health is talked about, cared for, and valued in the United States.”

Active Minds

⚒️

What they do:

Active Minds runs awareness campaigns and events to support the mental health of young people, including those suffering from depression, through individual student-led chapters that promote youth empowerment and cultural change. In addition, they run business workshops to create a more inclusive workplace culture and to open up the conversation about mental health. Furthermore, their Send Silence Packing display travels the country, educating people on how to seek out mental health resources for themselves or their loved ones. Trained professionals are present at each stop to answer any questions and to offer advice to those in need, including those with depression. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Active Minds has supported the mental health, including those suffering from depression, of 8 million students through more than 400 annual awareness events and 600 student-led chapters across the US. They are now present in over 1,000 schools, communities, and workplaces. For example, in 2020, 176 of their student-led chapters successfully achieved policy changes that positively impact student mental health, including those with depression. In the same year, the charity trained over 100 social media and entertainment influencers on how to incorporate helpful mental health resources into their platforms, and directly reached 1,789,646 young people through their education programs.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Active Minds through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items from their online store or by creating a Team Active Minds Fundraiser.

6

To Write Love On Her Arms: You Are Not a Burden

Logo for To Write Love On Her Arms
Mission - To Write Love on Her Arms

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

To Write Love On Her Arms has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Hope is real. Help is real. Your story is important.”

To Write Love On Her Arms

⚒️

What they do:

To Write Love On Her Arms is dedicated to presenting hope and support to people suffering from depression, addiction, and self-harming all over the world. They do this by posting inspiring blog posts on their website, and by responding to messages from people that need mental health support. They also travel for miles to meet people in person, in order to offer vital comfort and words of empowerment. Furthermore, the charity runs an online Find Help Resource to connect people with low-cost counseling and other mental health resources. They also sell suicide prevention merchandise to raise awareness of suicide and fund recovery treatments for people with mental health issues.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

To date, To Write Love On Her Arms has responded to 210,000 messages from people in over 100 countries. They have also traveled more than 3.8 million miles to meet people suffering from mental health disorders, including depression, in their own communities. For example, in 2020, the charity delivered messages of hope to people in all 50 states and 70 countries through 27,000 suicide prevention merchandise purchases. To date, they have donated over $3 million to treatment and recovery grant funding to mental health focused organizations and counseling services. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to To Write Love On Her Arms through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items from their merchandise store or by participating in their national campaigns

7

Mental Health America: Promoting the Overall Mental Health of All

Logo for Mental Health America
Mental Health America-100 Years

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Mental Health America has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator as well as a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Committed to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all.”

Mental Health America

⚒️

What they do:

Mental Health America addresses the needs of people suffering from mental health disorders, including depression, through education, research, and support services. They offer a Where to get help interactive tool to help people access vital mental health resources in their local communities and provide mental health screenings to check for symptoms of depression and other mood disorders. In addition, they run numerous advocacy campaigns, including Mental Health Awareness Month, to raise awareness in communities around the world and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception. Mental Health America has continued to ensure every person has access to vital mental health services, including those with depression, through their 200 affiliate organizations. For example, in 2020, they conducted 2,677,734 mental health screenings and reached over 250 million people through their education and outreach programs. In the same year, they played a key part in securing $1.65 billion in mental health grants to increase vital support services in numerous states across the US. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Mental Health America through their website. You can also support the charity by fundraising or by joining the Clifford Beers Society

8

The Jed Foundation: Saving and Changing Lives

Logo for the jed foundation
Who is The Jed Foundation?

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Jed Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator as well as a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Protecting emotional health and preventing suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults”

The Jed Foundation

⚒️

What they do:

The Jed Foundation equips youth and adults with the skills they need to overcome personal challenges and develop coping strategies for mental illness, including depression. They do this through their online Mental Health Resource Center and individual school and campus programs. Through their Set to Go program, they also provide teens with the knowledge and perspective to successfully transition to college or a career. Furthermore, alongside MTV, the Jed Foundation is a founding partner of the Mental Health is Health campaign which includes an online resource to start conversations and share tools to support people with mental health issues. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Today, the Jed Foundation works with over 370 education institutes, supporting the mental health of 4.8 million students. Furthermore, over 9,500 schools, colleges, and universities use a Jed resource to strengthen their own mental health programs. To date, over 2 million young people and their families have used their Set to Go resources to prepare emotionally for further education or a career. In addition, the charity has reached over 100 million people through their digital outreach programs, including those suffering from depression. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to The Jed Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by shopping at selected retailers or by fundraising

9

StrongMinds: Improving the Mental Health of Women in Africa

Logo for StrongMinds
One Woman’s Journey Back to Good Mental Health with StrongMinds

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

StrongMinds has a 100% Encompass rating for finance & accountability from Charity Navigator. The charity also has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Empowering impoverished African women by treating depression at scale and enabling these women and their families to lead more healthy, productive, and satisfying lives.”

StrongMinds

⚒️

What they do:

StrongMinds treats depression across Africa, particularly in women, through group interpersonal psychotherapy delivered by councilors. These group therapy sessions are available over the phone or in person and they focus on four key triggers of depression; grief over loss, life changes, unresolved conflict, and social isolation. The initial phase of therapy focuses on building trust among group members. They then move on to the second phase which involves collective problem solving and helping individuals to identify their depression triggers. In the third phase of therapy, participants formulate a plan to mitigate their triggers in the future. The charity also achieves sustainability in impoverished African countries by training former clients to become health workers for their communities. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, StrongMinds has provided group talk therapy to over 160,000 adolescents and women in Uganda and Zambia. 80% of their clients remained depression-free 6-months after treatment. This resulted in a 28% increase in women feeling socially connected, a 13% increase in family food security, and a 30% increase in vulnerable children attending school

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to StrongMinds through their website. You can also support the charity by setting up a StrongMinds fundraiser

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that fight depression. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to fighting depression – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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