Childhood mental health is a nationwide issue. And it touches most of us in some way. How to best advocate and help break stigma depends on your time, talents and passions. From sharing information on your social media to helping a parent find the right resources for them, every contribution, every action and every word matters.
Goal of the Course
- To provide you everyday actions you can take… no matter how big or how small, that help you make an impact.
- Using the coursework, you will be able to talk about mental health advocacy with trusted people in your life.
For this week’s course, choose at least two of these Advocacy 101 actions below to complete. These small actions really make a big difference to break mental health stigmas.
1. Show you care: When you see someone upset, offer support. If you are worried about their safety, let them know that and help them find the resources they need.
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2. Stay educated: You don’t need to be a mental health expert to be helpful, but do learn basic facts from reputable sources. Websites ending in .edu and .org sites are reputable sources of information.
3. Spread the word about mental health: Talk with your family, friends, coworkers or other community members in ways that will resonate with their interests. Sometimes, sharing on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help make a huge impact in spreading the word.
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4. Watch your words: Words like “crazy,” “insane,” or “psycho” can be pretty hurtful and suggest that having a mental health diagnosis is a bad thing. Here are tips on choosing language:
- Choose the word or words you want to stop saying.
- Then, find words you can use to replace them. For example, instead of “that’s crazy,” maybe something like “that’s unbelievable.
- Next, catch yourself and correct yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for slip-ups in the beginning. Just simply notice what you said, and rephrase it.
5. Show kindness: Kindness helps reduce stress, increase happiness, and helps people feel connected. Use words of compassion, and avoid language that may unintentionally diminish a person with a mental illness.
6. Reinforce the connection between mental and physical health: Talk about mental health as one part of a person’s overall health. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
7. Know the resources: Whether for you, your child, friend or others in the community, know where people can go to get help locally. Sometimes, this is the best thing you can do when giving advice or feedback.
Now that you've completed your coursework, it's time to advocate in your every day life.
Your Assignment: Tell Your Advocacy Story
What have you done to advocate for mental health? Tell others about what you, your friend, or your family member is doing! How do you help break stigma in your everyday life? When you tell others your advocacy story, it makes them want to follow in your path.
Do you have questions about the Week 1 coursework and assignment? Email us at OnOurSleeves@NationwideChildrens.org with your questions and we'll do our best to answer.