Verywell Mind 25 Awards Methodology

How We Chose This Year's Top Mental Health Changemakers

The first annual Verywell Mind 25 Awards celebrate people who are moving the conversation about mental health forward in a way that is approachable, evidence-based, and inclusive. Finalists for the awards were first nominated by members of our expert review board—which is comprised of over 20 accredited specialists in the fields of psychology, psychiatry and mindfulness—and the Verywell Mind editorial team.

Meet the Experts

Honorees were voted on by a panel of expert judges who used the following criteria to make their choices: quality and accuracy of content and work, mental health credentials and lived experiences, reach, and alignment with Verywell Mind’s core values like empathy, compassion, and trustworthiness.

Our panel included Verywell Mind editorial staff and mental health professionals on our Review Board. Learn more about how we work with these experts to ensure that content across Verywell Mind meets the highest standards of trustworthiness and inclusiveness.

Amy Morin, LCSW

Psychotherapist, AUthor
Amy Morin

Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.

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Nick Ingalls, MA

Associate Editorial Director
Nick Ingalls

Nick Ingalls, MA is the associate editorial director at Verywell Mind, managing new content production and editorial processes. He has been with Verywell since its inception in 2016.

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Kaity Velez

Associate Editorial Director, Special Projects
Kaity Velez parents latina

Kaity Velez is Associate Editorial Director, Special Projects at Verywell Mind and Parents. She is dedicated to creating a better experience for readers by creating meaningful content and building community. She's passionate about diversity and equity and cares deeply about the social emotional wellness of the generations we're raising.

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Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS

Rachel Goldman

Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS, is a licensed psychologist and clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. She is also a speaker and wellness expert specializing in stress management and health behavior change, as well as weight management and eating behaviors. She serves on leadership boards of The Obesity Society and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

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Akeem Marsh, MD

Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist
Akeem Marsh, MD, board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist

Akeem Marsh, MD, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to working with children and families of medically underserved communities. He is also the co-editor of the book, “Not Just Bad Kids: The Link Between Adversity and Disruptive Behavior."

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Yolanda Renteria, LPC

Yolanda Renteria, LPC

Yolanda Renteria, LPC, is a licensed therapist, somatic practitioner, national certified counselor, adjunct faculty professor, speaker specializing in the treatment of trauma and intergenerational trauma.

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Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP

Pediatric Psychologist
Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP

Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC. Dr. Lockhart specializes in working with clients who present with medical diagnoses and are seeking alternative solutions.

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To ensure inclusivity in our selections, nominees and honorees come from all walks of life and have impacted the mental health conversation in a wide variety of ways, each with a unique skillset:

Mental Health Professionals

The backbone of our country's mental health apparatus is comprised of the psychologists, therapists, educators, and organizational leaders trained in the most effective treatment methods and most up-to-date information to help us live our best lives.

Whether they are hosting podcasts, writing books, giving Ted Talks, or treating patients, we rely on these experts to help us debunk widespread misinformation and teach the research-backed mental health strategies that everyday people can instill in their routines, whether or not they are dealing with a clinical condition.


It's not so long ago that the idea of going public about mental health issues would have been considered unthinkable for a major public figure. Whether because of stigma, fear of criticism, or other reasons, the topic is historically taboo. Times have changed—drastically—and the idea of a celeb sharing their story with the masses is now widely accepted, if not expected.

That said, it's not just any influencer who is eligible for the Verywell Mind 25 Awards. We focused on individuals who are not just sharing their own stories, but rather those who are using their platform to help others feel seen and elevate stories that would otherwise go unheard. Our honorees are those individuals who are supporting their words with genuine action in the form of change-making mental health initiatives, innovations, and organizations that are putting in the work to enrich the lives of people who are struggling.


There is no one-size-fits-all for mental health treatment. While this can lead to individual complications in finding treatment that works long-term, it also opens the door for innovation and cutting edge ideas that can upend years of conventional wisdom and fill in lingering treatment gaps.

We selected the innovators who are taking the science of the mind to the next level to uncover the newest and most exciting strategies for succeeding where other treatments have fallen short.

Community Organizers

It's no secret that there are significant mental health treatment gaps in the U.S. Whether it's because people do not seek treatment, or face any number of barriers to accessing available treatment—such as cost, discrimination, or therapist shortages—far too many individuals in crisis do not get the help they need.

That's why it was so important to us to nominate and honor individuals who have rolled up their sleeves and done the hard work to help those in their communities who may be struggling. Such grassroots organizers may not have millions of followers, but they make a direct impact to improve as many lives as they can.


Whether it comes in the form of supporting an underprivileged group or leading a major organization, advocacy is much more than being an ally. It means taking an active stand and being a loud, strong, and constant voice for those who don't have the platform to make their voice heard.

The best mental health advocates are those who fully understand the plight of those for whom they are advocating and make plenty of room for their involvement in any changes that need to be made. They are the ones making sure we never forget our collective responsibility to reach out and help people who are going through a tough time. And they are the ones who can take an idea and put it into motion. Those are the mental health advocates we are excited to honor.