The Miller Dwan Foundation announced their new program, HopeX (Hope Multiplied), during an event held on Thursday in Duluth. The initiative aims to address the unmet need for mental health services in the area through expansion in personnel and the creation of a new program. The foundation’s president, Tracey Marciniak, explained that there are significant gaps in mental health services and that the program would be innovative and community-oriented. Although specific details of the program were not provided, global partners such as the World Health Organization, George Washington University, The New School, and Zach Williams have expressed their willingness to support the foundation’s efforts.
Zach Williams, a mental health advocate and son of the late actor and comedian Robin Williams, has been involved in the launch support of the program. Williams spoke during the event and mentioned that HopeX would use an evidence-based approach to establish professional peer support members in the business community. The goal is to train leaders to recognize and respond to signs of mental health problems and to engage with people before they become a crisis. Williams recognized that the mental health crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and that innovative solutions are necessary to reach people in need upstream before they reach a crisis point.
The Miller Dwan Foundation recognizes that changes in the model of care are necessary. Endowment and grants experts at the foundation have been listening to community service gaps, particularly in the area of parent and family therapy services. The expansion efforts will be determined based on their findings. Williams plans to return to Duluth several times during the rollout of the program and assist the foundation with its strategy, awareness, and messaging efforts. The HopeX initiative aims to reduce stigma and raise awareness about the importance of mental health advocacy. The program’s rollout will be supported by Williams’ featured speaking engagement at his ARTcetera event at the Miller Dwan Foundation in September.