We adhere to the four-level social-ecological model to better understand mental health and substance use disorders and the effect of potential prevention strategies. This model considers the complex interplay between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors. It allows us to understand the range of factors that put people at risk or protect them from mental health and substance use disorders.
In 2006, Robyn Hussa Farrell, one of the producers of NORMAL, an Off-Broadway musical that addresses the impact of mental illness on a family, recognized a critical need among teens as they performed in schools across the country. Robyn began working with medical professionals and researchers to identify the most effective, validated prevention methods and established NORMAL IN SCHOOLS, a nonprofit organization that incorporates art, movement and other activities proven to build resiliency in youth. For the next six-years, the team traveled the nation performing the musical and introducing the Normal in Schools initiative to over 80,000 audience members through schools and communities until the company rebranded, and Mental Fitness officially emerged. Since its inception, the methods and models provided through Mental Fitness have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals due to their success at managing mental health disorders in schools and increasing resilience in youth.