Despite massive unmet needs, U.S. mental health care systems and policy continue to aim too low. Laments about brittle foundations-including inadequate funding, fragmentation, stigma, lack of parity, ineffectiveness, unavailability, overmedicalization, and coercion-all share the same source. The mental health system is not working because it has been chasing the wrong goal: to treat illness, rather than to enable people to do nurturing things together. A focus on community nurturing and caring changes everything. It yields better treatment approaches while also engaging with the mutually reinforcing and desperately needed work of social cohesion, emotional well-being, participatory action, and communal learning and connection. In fact, the nurtured emotional health of individuals is fundamental to humane and resilient societies and to democracy itself. And in the face of environmental collapse and the related unraveling of core institutions, the stakes have never been higher. This essay makes the case for a paradigm shift in care and explores a recent effort to implement it at scale: ThriveNYC. The successes and especially the failures of ThriveNYC point to the possibilities and challenges of this essential mission.