Friends of Mind empowers young people to help change the stigma around mental illness.



There are enormous obstacles when it comes to mental health. It takes years for people with mental health conditions to seek out treatment and the stigma and lack of understanding is problematic. Models for change offered so far , especially to young people, have not worked.

Friends of Mind is designed to address these issues by thinking out of the box. We would like to support young people in addressing these problems in order to present game changers.

Friends of Mind acts as a social media products accelerator. We provide resources and mentor high school students through a fast-phase process of developing a product prototype that tackles mental health issues.




Amit Baumel, Ph.D

Amit is a clinical psychologist and has extensive experience in design, research and development of technology products aimed for end users, and especially within the mental health domain. As a former startup entrepreneur and consultant in Israel, he is familiar with fast processes of prototype development and market research. Amit is a former musician, loves to play his guitars and to play soccer with his 3-year-old son.

John Kane, M.D.

John is Senior Vice President for Behavioral Health Services of Northwell-Health and Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry at the Hofstra North Shore –LIJ School of Medicine. He has done extensive research in psychiatric illnesses, particularly schizophrenia. Dr. Kane is a recipient of the Arthur P. Noyes Award in Schizophrenia, the NAPPH Presidential Award for Research, the American Psychiatric Association Foundations' Fund Prize for Research, the Kempf Fund Award for Research Development in Psychobiological Psychiatry, the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Research in Schizophrenia, the Heinz E. Lehmann Research Award from New York State, and the Dean Award from the American College of Psychiatrists. He is also an avid tennis player and skier.

Michael Birnbaum, M.D.

Michael is an attending physician in the Department of Psychiatry at The Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York. He works as the Program Director for North Shore-LIJ's Early Treatment Program (ETP), a multi-site state-funded clinical and research initiative for adolescents and young adults in the early stages of psychosis. Michael has dedicated his career to improving behavioral health services, raising awareness and de-stigmatizing mental illness. In his spare time, Michael enjoys the country; hiking, biking, video gaming, and visiting friends and family in his  homeland, Canada.