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Compassionate Touch Network is a New Mexico based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was founded in 2012. Our mission is to promote medical help, mental health literacy for youth, teens, and adults utilizing education and the arts.

The name and spirit of Compassionate Touch Network was born in 1995. CTN Founder Michele Herling traveled to Hungary and Bosnia during and after the war in Bosnia. From 1995 to 2002, she made thirteen trips with a specific focus on working with traumatized youth, utilizing restorative practices. Trained Bosnian teachers taught the curriculum over a three-month period. The project was multi-disciplinary and experiential and came to completion in February 2002.

The mission and goals of Compassionate Touch Network have remained constant - to support and educate communities to understand challenges faced by community members who are vulnerable and marginalized. Our work primarily focuses on the public health challenge of mental illness, suicide, and stigma.

Our goals are to influence positive social attitudes and constructive social change by:
  • Advocating and educating people to better understand issues faced by individuals challenged by social inequality, mental illness, violence, and abuse
  • Promoting and encouraging community health and well being between diverse communities
  • Challenging prejudices and stereotypes of vulnerable and marginalized groups


  • Minds Interrupted: Stories of Lives Affected by Mental Illness
  • Breaking the Silence / New Mexico
  • inside] out Arts

Our programs incorporate the power of sharing story, either through the written word and/or the visual arts, with the goal of erasing the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide. We continue to expand the scope of our programs in Santa Fe, around the state of New Mexico, and across the country.