LEAD, Inc. is no ordinary organization. It was founded in the wake of the Newtown, CT (Sandy Hook) tragedy in 2012. In an effort to understand why such tragedies take place and how society can prevent school-based violence from occurring, a group of Leominster, MA High School sophomores set out to “revolutionize health education” and empower young people to seek treatment for mental illness before experiencing a crisis.
In April of 2016, Executive Director and co-founder Kyrah Altman competed in the George Washington University’s New Venture Competition as the only freshman, female, and non-business undergraduate student, winning $32,500 in seed money to incorporate LEAD as a nonprofit corporation in MA. Three months later, Kyrah became credentialed as the youngest Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) instructors in the country for the National Council for Behavioral Health. Since 2016, LEAD’s training has expanded into a three-tiered model featuring 8-hour YMHFA certification for individuals, 2.5-hour certification for entities, and 90-minute professional development training for staff.
In the last three years, and with the help of over thirty student interns and strategic partnerships, Kyrah and LEAD’s co-founder and COO Lauren Wilkins, have transformed the student-founded organization into a national social enterprise in the US! LEAD intends to continue scaling nationally, and eventually internationally, to maximize social impact. With your help - and only with your help and increased visibility - we will be able to continue scaling and generate the revenue we need to make an even bigger dent in the highest-risk and most vulnerable populations in America.
LEAD tailors all curriculum to the populations being served, ensuring each participant receives meaningful, practical, and strategy-based knowledge that empowers them to practice proactive self-care, access appropriate professional resources, and respond to behavioral health crisis and non-crisis situations in their community.
Additionally, LEAD’s 2.5-hour Corporate Mental Health certification, Camp Mental Health certification, and Team Mental Health certification are the nation’s first evidence-based courses tailored to the participants’ environments, evaluated for long-term impact, and capable of building community resilience. In the last three years, LEAD has been featured on national television (three times) and in the New York Times for its innovative work in the mental health and education space.
Unlike other organizations attempting to raise awareness on mental illness or starting conversations around mental health, LEAD provides individuals with practical and tangible strategies to move the needle on this pressing issue. Moreover, LEAD connects community members to appropriate professional support to prevent individuals from suffering in silence. In fact, we already know of at least one life saved due to our proactive and innovative curriculum, in addition to thousands of lives changed!
Finally, LEAD prides itself on its innovative, engaging, and evidence-based programs - all of which improve early intervention for mental illness, build resilience, and empower communities. Our dedication to improving our programs, evaluating our content, and providing meaningful resources to unique populations is unmatched.
In the last three years, LEAD, Inc. has provided proactive and cutting-edge mental health education to companies, sports teams, organizations, schools, and summer camps in ELEVEN STATES! Since incorporation in 2016, LEAD has trained over 5000 individuals and is emerging as an industry leader in mental health education.