... It's OK to talk about it!
The more we speak openly about mental illness, the more it encourages others to find the courage and their voice to tell their own stories.
Sharing your personal experience helps to build greater understanding, reduce stigma and let others know they are not alone. Your words have the power to inspire others to envision the HOPE & RECOVERY that is possible for individuals living with a mental health diagnosis. Talking about it helps us to Stamp Out Stigma and it’s one of the first steps of grassroots advocacy!
Locally, NAMI offers many opportunities to Talk About Mental Health, including our support groups and community awareness programs hosted by and/or supported by NAMI.
And the NAMI Northeast Region PA Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/nami.nepa
On the national level NAMI offers tips on how to start the conversation; whether you are an individual experiencing mental health symptoms or are concerned about someone who may be: http://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Living-with-a-Mental-Health-Condition/Disclosing-to-Others.
NAMI also offers safe forums to participate in.
OK2Talk offers an online community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems and encourages them to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope.
Anyone can add their voice by sharing creative content such as poetry, inspirational quotes, photos, videos, song lyrics and messages of support in a safe, moderated space. We hope this is the first step towards getting help and feeling better. For more information, please go to http://ok2talk.org/
NAMI has created Say it Out Loud to get teens talking about mental health. Say it Out Loud gives adults the tools they need to hold conversations about mental health with teens in faith-based or community youth groups. The toolkit includes:
- A short film showing the 10 common warning signs
and three youth sharing their experiences.
- A discussion guide on how to hold a successful
- A narrated presentation for the group facilitator to learn
more about mental health conditions in youth.
- Fact sheets and information about how to connect with
NAMI in their community.
For more information about Say it Out Loud, please go to http://www.nami.org/Extranet/Education,-Training-and-Outreach-Programs/Outreach-and-Advocacy/Say-It-Out-Loud.
NAMI and The Jed Foundation have created a guide to help start a conversation on campuses. It offers both parents and students the opportunity to learn more about mental health, including what the privacy laws are and how mental health information can be shared.
Conversations allow you to plan for the unexpected; to know what to do if you develop emotional distress, a mental health condition or if an existing condition worsens. Talking about mental health is important even if you don’t experience a mental health condition because a friend may need help. Students often prefer to confide in a friend before confiding in anyone else — or you may notice that a peer is struggling and you may be able to assist. By learning more, you’ll be better equipped to know what to do if you or a friend is in distress. You can learn more at: https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Publications-Reports/Guides/Starting-the-Conversation
NAMI offers an online forum on the web and on tumblr. You Are Not Alone is an open, safe place to express oneself where individuals are encouraged to give a voice to a struggle that millions of people face every day…to inspire expression and explore opportunities for recovery.
Posts are reviewed and approved as a result bad language, violent imagery and other offensive and explicit material are off-limits. For more information, please go to http://notalone.nami.org/
In addition to NAMI...
Bring Change 2 Mind (BC2M) is a nonprofit organization built to start the conversation about mental health, and to raise awareness, understanding, and empathy. BC2M develops influential public service announcements (PSAs), including its most recent campaign, #MindOurFuture, has piloted evidence-based programs at the university (UBC2M) and high school (LETS BC2M) levels engaging students to reduce stigma and discrimination, and has created a social movement around change by providing people with platforms to share, connect, and learn.
The Bring Change 2 Mind website offers a forum to Share Your Story to encourage others to seek help and remember that they are not alone: http://bringchange2mind.org/stories/share-your-story/
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services hosts a website offering opportunities for: People with Mental Health Problems, Young People Looking for Help, Parents and Caregivers, Friends and Family Members, Educators, Faith and Community Leaders, Conversations in Your Community and Stories of Hope and Recovery. For more information, please go to https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/
Mental Health America offers tips to start that conversation, including a template of a letter to clarify your thoughts and what you can say if someone talks to you about their mental health? For more information, please go to https://mhanational.org/time-talk-tips-talking-about-your-mental-health
While all of the above are meant to be opportunities for individuals To Talk About Mental Health, to enhance their own recovery and support others on their journey - they are NOT meant to replace treatment, they are not crisis lines or hotlines, and they are not ‘open’ 24/7.
If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please contact your local emergency services or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The hotline is open 24/7.
If you have questions about mental health, please contact the
NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI.