Pilot Results: High-Impact Psychology/​ Mental Health (HIPsy)

This is a rough write-up of the results of all the HIPsy pilot activities, outcomes, and suggestions on what to do next.

Below, you can find links to created resources for those involved in psychology or mental health who aim to maximize their impact. Additionally, there are results from events and surveys highlighting which (other) resources might be most beneficial for enhancing their impact. You can learn more about the initial project and plan in this EA forum post.

Executive summary

  • Within this EAIF- funded project, I ran three surveys to determine the demand for network activities, piloted 5 events at EAGx’s, and collaborated with others on highly requested materials. Below, you can find the results of these activities.

  • Main outcomes

    • Importance/​general Demand:
      Roughly twice as many people expressed interest in mental health as a cause area (N = 164) compared to those interested in resources for individuals with a background in psychology or how to make an impact with various psychology-related topics (N = 7677)

    • Neglectedness:
      The EA Psychology Research Initiative by Lucius Caviola, among others, appears to meet the infrastructural needs around general psychology-related impact regarding longtermist goals. Those infrastructural needs around helping people to have an impact in the mental health space do not yet seem to be covered, even though the work of the HLI paved the way for mental health as a cause area taken seriously within EA.

    • Mental Health-related activities most requested:
      Among the mental health-related network activities, the most requested ones are mentoring, meetups, workshops, as well as materials related to topics on how to make an impact in the mental health space. The piloted events (talks and workshops/​meetups) at EAGxs demonstrated significant interest, evinced by the high number of participants and high perceived impact ratings.

  • Conclusions:

    • More mental health-related infrastructure building seems impactful. The space would benefit from more organized, targeted resources that enable people to make a more substantial impact in a shorter period of time.

    • I believe it would be a good idea to invest in follow-up funding based on the results of this initiative to establish cost-effective corresponding structures and to hire at least one project/​community manager for a year. Based on the survey results, this person would build the pool of volunteers to offer and measure the impact of requested events, materials, and a mentoring service.

    • How can you help?
      If you’d like to fund follow-up activities, feel free to reach out to me at inga@rethinkwellbeing.org.
      If you’d be interested in the project manager role, you can apply in <15min via this form.
      If you are interested in collaborating, or hosting network activities, or creating resources for people engaged in mental health as a volunteer, express your interest via this form (it takes 3 minutes).


Materials created

Surveys to test demand

Click the “results-links” to SEE ALL RESULTS in GoogleForms.

  1. (n=164) People interested in Mental Health as a cause area (results, skip the questions in the beginning about the talk “Revolutionizing Mental Health” to get to the expressions of interest in activities)

  2. (n=76) People interested in using psychology for EA causes (results)

  3. (n=77) People with a background in psychology (results)

  4. (N=187) People in the EA community interested in improving their mental health and productivity in cooperation with Mental Health Navigator (results. This is the corresponding EA forum post.)

Remark: Email addresses and some qualitative answers have been deleted from the results view because I don’t want to reveal the identity of any participant. But most of the people from surveys 1-3 are waiting to be informed when resources they are interested in will be available.

The highest level of interest in infrastructural activities, as indicated by survey participation and pre-signups, has been for global mental health topics and mental health services for the EA community rather than activities aimed at psychologists or applying psychology to EA cause areas The latter two sample sizes are about half of the former two.

Piloted events

  • EAGx talk “Revolutionizing Mental Health—How and what to scale” (slides): presented at EAGxBerlin & EAGxRotterdam 2022 for an audience of 150-200 participants each. 9 out of 10 stated they have learned something that might increase their impact + might recommend the talk to others (based on 106 responses received on a feedback form at the end of the talk in Rotterdam).

  • 3 EAGx meetups were hosted with 50-100 participants each: one about Global Health, one for psychology research, and one for High Impact psychology. The first two got a 5-star attendee rating on Swapcard, for the other one, the rating is unknown.

Summary of Survey Results

Samples and Recruitment

  1. n=1 Mental Health as a cause area
    I asked people to fill this out after the Talk about mental health as a cause area and posted it in relevant groups such as “EA Mental Health Slack”, and the Facebook group “EA, Happiness and Mental Health”.

  2. n=54 people with a psychology background
    I asked people to fill this out during two EAGx meetups “High-Impact Psychology” + “Psychological, cognitive and behavioral science”, and also in the Facebook group “Psychology for EA”.

    (Most prominent result: 41 of 54 people with a psychology background said a career path profile would likely increase their impact in our survey→ Done with Probably Good)

  3. n=64 people who’d like to increase their impact with psychology
    I asked people to fill this out during the EAGx meetup “High-Impact Psychology” + diverse facebook and Slack groups + in the Facebook group “Psychology for EA”.
    to focus on the Mental Health field mainly

In the latter two surveys, more participants would be needed to assess the demand. The lower number of participants might indicate a lower interest. I, therefore, decided to mainly focus on the Mental Health field. Therefore, if this project is continued, the initiative shall be renamed to “High Impact Mental Health” instead of “High-Impact Psychology”, and the work would focus on corresponding efforts.

Excerpt of Results on EA Mental Health infrastructure Survey

You can find the full version of this survey and also of the other ones if you click the “results” links above. Here, I just post an excerpt, that might not contain the most relevant points.

  • Topics people want to know more about to increase their impact

    • more than 100 of 167 EAs engaged with Mental Health as a cause area say learning more about these would increase their work’s impact
      “How to evaluate the effectiveness of MH interventions”,
      “Research on effective MH interventions”,
      “High-Impact Opportunities in EA MH”
      “Best practices psychotherapy”
      “Current EA aligned initiatives in the mental health space”
      “Gaps in the mental health sector”
      “Overview if the status of MH as a cause area”

  • Demand for materials

    • 109168 people engaged with mental health stated they’d benefit from a new thorough mental health cause area report, including a list of high-impact opportunities
      → Suggestion for follow-up project: Finalize together with HIMed and the HLI (Joel McGuire, Akhil Bansal, etc.)

    • 143168 List with impactful organizations in the space
      → ToDo: Iterate and finalize the list (a draft in a GSheet has been created already)

    • 116168 want a website listing all resources related to MH
      (+most people with psychology background want such a website)
      → oOurur website has been updated accordingly

    • 112167 want info on gaps in the mental health sector
      → was presented in the talk at the EAGx’s

→ Suggestion for follow-up project: It might be useful to update the Research Topics of Effective Thesis for their Mental Health category (talked about with Kirkham), by working together with field experts from relevant sub-areas of Inga’s (my) network (has not happened yet)

  • Many non-existing materials/​topics that are highly requested: comparison of the cost-effectiveness of different interventions, list of people working in the EA mental health space, etc. (see survey results)

  • Demand for workshops based on the topic preferences stated in our surveys, e.g.

    • 128/​ 167 put themselves on the waiting list for attending a one-day EA online conference on global mental health

    • 99167 put themselves on the waiting list for attending an online workshop on “How to start a project or org related to mental health”

    • 52167 put themselves on the waiting list for attending an online workshop for people who work on the mental health of the EA community

    • 53167 put themselves on the waiting list for attending an online workshop for people who work on global mental health as a cause area

  • Demand for retreats

    • 48 of 167 EAs put themselves on the waiting list for attending an in-person retreat for people working in Global Mental Health,

    • 46 of 167 EAs put themselves on the waiting list for attending an in-person retreat for EAs working on EA Community Mental Health

  • Demand for online meetups

    • 111 of 167 EAs engaged with Mental Health as a cause area put themselves on the waiting list for an online meetup to meet each other

    • 52 of 167 EAs put themselves on the waiting list for attending an online meetup for EA’s already working on mental health

  • Demand for giving and receiving mentorship

    • 131 of 167 people engaged with Mental Health stated they’d benefit from career advice and mentorship and listed related topics they’d like to receive mentoring on. Most of those think they would benefit most from: one-time-career advice, regular mentorship, or feedback on their work by a field expert.

    • 78 of 167 people engaged with Mental Health expressed interest in providing mentorship and listed topics they’d feel comfortable giving others advice on in a mentorship program or if they reach out.

What next?

The suggestion for the follow-up project is to hire a project manager full-time for one year. The goal would be to establish a low-cost, sustainable infrastructure for “High Impact Mental Health” activities working with volunteers.

This would include:

  • setting up a process for recruiting and managing interested volunteers

  • collaborating on creating and distributing highly requested materials with other knowledgeable individuals associated with the EA space.

  • hosting potentially impactful online, and in-person events (e.g. at EAG’s) which are in high demand

  • piloting a scalable online community in which, e.g., mentorship, and consulting within the community are kicked off (e.g., using the Slack space, I am an admin of: EA Mental Health with 560 members)

  • consulting and collaborating with existing initiatives, e.g., with the mental health fellowship, to include relevant sessions and materials.

Some project manager candidates have been checked, but more systematic outreach would be helpful in finding suitable individuals. This would require follow-up funding, i.e., a two-month salary, to run an appropriate hiring and fundraising process.

Why do I believe funding these activities might be highly impactful? Many of the people who took part in the surveys are on the way of trying to figure out how to best make an impact in the mental health space and could do so quicker with the help of the right resources. I embarked on the same journey 2 years ago when I learned about EA and tried to find the best next steps forward. Most of the events and materials suggested as options in the survey are ones that I would have benefitted from as well, as they would have enabled me to move quicker and, therefore do more good, and it seems to be the case that surveys participants felt the same way. Also, I saw loads of people trying to make an impact in the mental health space who made “wrong decisions”, and wasted lots of resources (time, money) due to a lack of easily available and helpful information. Examples of “wrong” decisions I have heard more than once: coming up with and implementing interventions that don’t target key bottlenecks or have shown not to work well or are missing relevant aspects to cause engagement, not collecting speaking effectiveness data on new interventions in time, not tailoring interventions to target groups well enough.

Are you interested in…

  • … providing follow-up funding
    (reach out to me at inga@rethinkwellbeing.org)

    • for a 2 salary to find and hire a program manager with a background in mental health and to apply for follow-up funding or/​and

    • for 12 month salary for the program manager to run this project.

  • … the project manager role: I am happy to advise you or help write a follow-up grant funding application. There is even a draft for this already. Apply in <15min via this form.

In each case, I am happy to hand over the project, advise, or be involved in a capacity of up to 20% (8 hours/​week).


  • Thank you to Manuel Allgaier, Robert Reason, and Justis Mills for providing helpful feedback on this post.

  • Thank you to Jon Massmann for helping to build the website.

  • Thank you to Sreevidhya SK and Lucia Purcaru, who supported building the EAG slides.

  • Thank you to Manuel Allgaier, who motivated me to start this project!

  • Thank you, Emily Jennings (Mental Health Navigator), Dylan Balfour (Probably Good), Joel McGuire (Happier Lives Institute), Akhil Bansal, Sarah Hartfiel, and Marie Firgau (HIMed), for the great collaboration.

  • Thank you, Lucius Caviola, Jon Massmann, Lesley Schimanski, Devon Fritz, Anneke Pogarell, Jona Glade, and Peter Brietbart, for your immensely valuable advice.