About Us

GNIF ultimately seeks to promote the rights of afflicted individuals, combat stigmatization and discrimination, and gain essential information to create anti-stigma educational campaigns with our Distance Education Division - Ethics in Mental Health Campaigns and the Living with a Brain Disorder project.

As a result of rampant unethical treatment of afflicted mental health individuals as observed by healthcare administrators, the GNIF Executive Director Shaheen Lakhan commissioned an official report on the impact of mental health stigmatization and options for anti-stigmatization and discrimination campaigns (see Mental Health Stigmatization: A Report of the Neuroscience Initiative).

GNIF researcher and Seattle Central College faculty instructor, Christine Loftus, reported that stigmatization and discrimination causes the prevention or delay in seeking intervention, premature treatment termination, less integration into society, and lowered self-esteem. It creates a "vicious cycle," for it exacerbates mental illness, which in turn increases stigmas. Strikingly, we found that mental health and other health-care professionals exhibit themselves a deeply troubling form of stigma inducing a serious mistrust in medical providers.

The GNIF Distance Education Division, directed by UCLA psychobiology alumnus, philanthropist, and educator Christine Coughlin, will. We have thus far noted that less stigma is exhibited by people who believe the illness is not controlled by the afflicted individuals, however, not to overemphasize the genetic basis of mental illness, in that ill individuals are "inherently flawed".

Project Director, Vartika Mutha, MA (Psychoanalytic Science) of the "Living with a Brain Disorder" in coordination with GNIF administration, and other psychologists and medical professionals, developed a common questionnaire that will be given to patients. The questionnaire allows interviewers to universally address information such as the nature of the patient's condition; how the patient perceives his/her condition; what, if any, measures has she/he taken to rectify his/her condition; how the condition affects his/her physical, mental, and social wellbeing; and whether they associated stigmatization to their condition, among others factors (i.e. self-esteem, perceived support, stressors) via validated measures for comparison.

In addition, the Project Director will recruit and guide volunteer interviewers and interviewees (afflicted individuals) and be direct the formulating of an introduction, analysis, and conclusion of the collection of interviews.

After conducting semi-structured interviews in person or on-line with a network of qualified voluntary interviewers, project coordinators will immediately electronically publish interviews and commentary. In addition, GNIF researchers will perform statistical analyses based on quantifiable data and will ultimately publish the results in a free and open-access medium (e.g. a publication, book, and/or article in our Brain Sciences & Neuropsychiatry scholarly journal, Knowledge Center of the Neuroscience Initiative, and partner serials).

The project Advisory Board (in procurement) will analyze the Living with a Brain Disorder data on many levels, including psychological, sociological, geographical, medical, economical, and statistical evaluations to aid in the development of anti-stigmatization and anti-discrimination campaigns, identifying methods to improve access to medical and mental health care, and aid in the production of other health promotion media.

We have partnered with the National Coalition of Students with Disabilities and the National Institutes of Mental Health and Neuroscience to reach greater afflicted individuals. We are seeking collaboration with intergovernmental agencies, schools, medical centers, and other organizations to make the project universally accessible and viable worldwide.