Hopeful Cities is an iFred.org project, started in 2019 in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic in collaboration with the City of Reno, Nevada, the first-ever Hopeful City. Hopeful Cities is designed to make hope accessible and operational in any city around the world. It is a marketing plan in action that operationalizes hope as it creates awareness about the Science of Hope. It is a step-by-step guide to help cities activate the “how-to” of hope throughout the community.
The mission of International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred), a 501c3 established in 2004, is to shine a positive light on depression and eliminate the stigma associated with mental health through prevention, research, and education. iFred is creating a shift in society’s negative perception of hopelessness, the primary symptom of depression and anxiety and a key predictor of suicide, through positive imagery and branding, establishing the sunflower and color yellow as the international symbols of hope, and teaching all about the “how-to” of hope with Hopeful Minds, and now creating a Global Movement for Hope through Hopeful Cities.
As hopelessness is only predictor of suicide, is a primary symptom of depression and anxiety, iFred turned theory into practice by launching the first ever free global curriculum designed to teach the opposite as a skill: HOPE. iFred proved the theory that Hope is teachable, through a research collaboration with Ulster University, and as each level of hope increased, depression and anxiety decreased, and emotional regulation and resilience increased. Higher levels of hope correspond to greater emotional and psychological well-being, greater economic security, improved academic performance, less violence, more connection, less loneliness, and enhanced personal relationships. Hopeful Minds has been featured as an innovation at the World Bank, and presented at IACAPAP, Harvard, United Nations, British Psychological Society, One Mind, The Kennedy Forum, and more.