2021 Sozosei Summit to Decriminalize Mental Illness

December 13 - 15, 2021

The 2nd Annual Sozosei Summit to Decriminalize Mental Illness was held from December 13-15, 2021 in Philadelphia, PA. A global event, the Summit brings together experts, thought-leaders, people with lived experience, doctors, lawyers, judges, advocates, artists, and funders to collaborate, create, and explore pathways to decriminalize mental illness. In 2021, the Summit had a particular focus on 988, the new national mental health crisis telephone line, due to go live in July 2022.

Key Insights
  • Knowledge is power. The history of 911 and other emergency response systems holds important lessons as we prepare for the launch of 988.
  • The implementation of 988 remains both a promise and a peril.
  • Due to go live in July 2022, many communities are not positioned to fulfill the promise of 988 as a mental health crisis hotline ensuring a full range of services before, during and after an emergency.
  • 988 preparedness across the country is uneven and potentially dangerous. Gaps in services will likely exacerbate existing inequities across systems and, in some cases, lead to confusion and additional, potentially deadly harms. 
  • There is a need for more data, better research, and agreed upon standards in the field of mental health generally, and mental health crisis response specifically. 
  • At the same time, there is a desire to build more comfort with ambiguity and to embrace curiosity as we develop best practices to ensure access to mental healthcare in communities. 
  • Peers, those with lived experience, members of the BIPOC community and others must be central to the design and implementation of scalable solutions.
  • The future is ours to design and build. If we don’t design a future where mental illness is not a crime, who will?

The name Sozosei means “creativity” in Japanese. As a catalyst for creative ideas and solutions, the Foundation convenes in environments that we hope will spark curiosity and accelerate new ideas in order to decriminalize mental illness. The 2021 Summit was held in the nation’s first art school and offered opportunities to make art, visit museums, and listen to music.

We hope you will be inspired by a short recap video, the Summit’s visual notes, PechaKucha presentations, and the full Summit recordings, accessible in the links below. 

Please save the date for the 3rd Annual Sozosei Summit to Decriminalize Mental Illness, December 5 - 7, in Philadelphia, PA. We invite you to attend in person or virtually. 


2021 Sozosei Summit Archive


2021 Summit Recordings
2021 Summit


Sozosei Summit Mural
2021 Summit


Graphic Notes
2021 Summit
Recap Video


PechaKucha Presentations
2021 PechaKucha Presentations


Graphic Notes
2021 Summit
Graphic Notes


Photo Gallery
2021 Summit
Photo Gallery