Devon Christianson, Envision Board member
Ryan Good would love to see that headline someday. For now, the president and CEO of Foundations Health and Wholeness is focused on intentionality: “Think intentionally, act intentionally, and be good intentionally.” That’s Ryan’s motto in both his personal and professional life. And, if he has anything to say about it, wholistic mental health services – including openness to personal spirituality – will characterize counseling and mental health support in our area in future years.
Under Ryan Good’s leadership, Foundations consciously works toward intentionality in leadership, innovation and community impact, committed to helping shape an intentional future for the Greater Green Bay area. “I am at Foundations because of the values lived every day by our board and staff,” he explained. “We believe in justice, including access to mental health support for all, regardless of their ability to pay.” Ryan believes that everyone can lead from any chair in which they sit. “Anyone can have an impact and a voice. If they stay true to this vision, they can shape the future,” he said.
Foundations strives to innovate care to heal the mind and spirit, changing lives, families, and communities. Ryan explains that mental health requires something of all of us: We must embrace it and not shy away. What makes Foundations different from other mental health counseling services is that Foundations counselors focus on the whole person, including their spirituality. Spirituality – whatever that means to a customer – is an effective part of treatment when people can talk about it openly and therapeutically, Ryan explained.
Building models of care where people are – where they work, live, and play – is a key leadership strategy at Foundations. The seasoned executive team, passionate about the mission, is willing to take some risks to make things happen – at schools, homeless shelters, the Aging and Disabilities Resource Center, and anywhere people need them. Ryan also believes that business has a role to play in mental health care. “Business is about people, and people make businesses run,” he said. “Mental health doesn’t discriminate on the basis of socioeconomic status, race or affiliation. Any employee can move the needle to bring in higher profits.” He cited case statements that show why businesses should care about employee mental health, including time lost, Employee Assistance Programs, and accommodation issues. Changing a business culture can make more successful employees, he believes.
The Foundations team challenges itself to keep moving forward, watching for innovative models of mental health care that will change the landscape for everyone. Some innovations they’ve developed here in our area include treatment foster care in new communities, outreach to youth, peer support models, and educational campaigns like the Man Project, which addresses the spike in suicide in adult men by normalizing emotions and empowering men to accept help.
According to Ryan, younger generations are challenging our thinking, sending us signals about what matters to them: having virtual visits, speaking up on the issues, and relating to sports figures who have really helped change the view of receiving help, such as Michal Phelps, Simone Biles, and Naomi Osaka. Virtual care has already proven itself effective and a desirable option for many people; now the funders and policy makers need to catch up. Mental health delivery will continue to look different in the future, Ryan concedes, and Foundations is prepared to adapt.
“It’s all Good,” he says. In fact, Ryan and his wife saw a need in their own community for a place to connect and gather – a place for members of the community to support each other, have meaningful conversation. “Professional mental health counseling is just one piece,” he explained. “It takes everyone to make a healthy community.” And so the Goods own and operate a local bowling alley in Oconto Falls aptly named The Good Place. Today, you can find Ryan mixing a masterful Bloody Mary while his kids serve up pizza over the sound of crashing pins – intentional mental wellness on a Friday night.