Mental Health Awareness


Get involved and make a difference…
January 9, 2009, 7:19 pm
Filed under: awareness, stigma | Tags: , , ,

Get Involved With Mental Health

Do you want to take action to remove stigma at your school? We get a lot of requests from people wondering what they can do to educate students on their campuses. One of the best ways to remove stigma is peer to peer education. Here are some ideas you can do at your high school or college:

Bring a Speaker – Have a speaker give an assembly to your whole high school or speak to for certain events on your campus. You can check out our speakers or write to us for more information.

Start an Active Minds Chapter – If you’re in college then this is the perfect time for you to form a group to educate others. Active Minds on Campus is a student-run mental health awareness, education, and advocacy organization designed for the college campus. The group’s mission is to utilize peer outreach to increase student’s awareness of mental health issues, provide information and resources, encourage students to seek help, and serve as a liaison between students and the mental health community. To start an Active Minds chapter on your college campus, check out www.activemindsoncampus.org

Start Your Own Mental Health Group – If your school doesn’t have a mental health awareness group and you want them to, find other students who share this interest, get an advisor and start your own group. You can work with the counseling center to find resources and work together on promoting events.

Organize a mental health fair – It can be held at the student center, in the quad, or a similar well-trafficked area. Ask mental health professionals to volunteer their time to be on hand to answer questions about mental health. Distribute information about mental health and mental illness. Offer professional mental health screenings www.mentalhealthscreening.org

Observe Mental Health Weeks and Days – Mental Illness Awareness Week occurs during the second week of October, and May is Mental Health Month. You can create a mental health awareness campaign to commemorate either of these dates. During these campaigns, offer resources of warning signs, statistics, where students can get help, and tables where students can make stress balls, get a massage to relieve stress, trace their bodies on paper to promote healthy body image or other various interactive activities.

Partner, Partner, Partner – If you can’t start your own group or even if you do, make sure you work with other groups like SADD, Peer Helpers, fraternities, sororities, athletes, student council or whomever you can to have them tie mental health awareness into their drug, alcohol, sexually transmitted illnesses or any educational issue by using relevant statistics like 66% of young people with a substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental health issue. You can also tie mental health into freshman orientations, after a tragic event on campus or even around stressful times like finals, midterms etc.

Speak to classes – You can ask to speak about mental health or your experiences on behalf of your new group to health classes, psychology classes, or any other class you feel is appropriate. If someone wants to speak about their personal experience they should have the permission and guidance of a mental health professional or counselor.

Organize a walk or run – Organize a walk, run or other event to raise money for mental health awareness. Use the money to expand your outreach or donate the money to a local mental health organization or national mental health organization that you would like to support.

Work with your counseling center to start a support group – Coordinate with your counseling center or local mental health professionals to organize a support group for students or members of your sorority to discuss their problems or a specific problem i.e. eating disorders, depression, abuse, divorce, etc.. The group will need to be supervised by a mental health professional (psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or anyone qualified). If organizing your own group through the guidance of a professional isn’t available, then find out where support groups meet and provide information on the groups to students.

Make posters – You can make posters to place around your campus that highlight statistics, warning signs or disorders, ask questions or give someone the ability to write down most of their thoughts when suffering with a mental disorder. The goal of the posters should be to encourage people to seek help and know they’re not alone.

Provide resources – Contact a local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Mental Health America, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, the Suicide Action Prevention Network, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, Yellow Ribbon, or other groups to find free local mental health resources and promote those resources to the school.

Reach out to Parents – Ask the administration at your school to start sending home warning signs of mental disorders and resources available for students who may be suffering to help educate parents on mental health issues.

Write an article – Contact your school newspaper and write a relevant article on mental health issues or even possibly share your own story. You can tie this into mental health days or weeks or any events you may be doing at your high school or college.

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