By Kayt Sukel
A few years ago, the World Community Mental Health Movement released a provocative and effective awareness campaign to combat mental health stigma entitled, “You can do it…but you can’t do it alone.”
It’s a great line. Because you know what? You don’t have to fight mental illness alone. In fact, you shouldn’t. Studies show that individuals who have support from friends and family go on to have better health outcomes. It pays to have the right folks by your side while you are managing your care and needs.
While friends and family are important to recovery and stability, there are also a host of care and advocacy groups that can be of great support. So which groups are doing a great job of supporting people struggling with mental illness? Let’s take a look at some of the amazing organizations and campaigns that truly have made a difference.
The Trevor Project. The Academy Award winning short documentary, Trevor, brought to light the mental health issues associated with teens who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. The fanfare that followed the Oscar win allowed the film’s creators to found the Trevor Project, a national 24/7 crisis hotline that provides intervention and suicide prevention services to these at-risk groups.
Man Therapy. Let’s face it, it can be hard to talk about depression or other mental health problems when society tells you to be a strong, stoic man. And research shows men do have a tendency to suffer in silence rather than reach out for help when they are struggling. So Man Therapy uses a unique blend of humor and evidence to help men learn how to better talk about their issues—and get the help they need. Check out this episode about yoga to see what I mean.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). One of the oldest mental health advocacy groups in the United States, NAMI provides mental health support to millions and leads important awareness campaigns like the #StigmaFree pledge and advocacy and lobbying efforts to help promote mental well-being across the nation.
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation funds important research projects across the globe to not only better understand the underlying causes of mental health issues and disorders, but also to develop newer, better prevention measures and treatments.
Big White Wall. While some say the Internet is only tearing us apart, some are using digital communication to help provide key support and services to those who may be suffering from mental health issues. Big White Wall is one such endeavor, offering a safe, online support environment guided by trained mental health professionals.
Active Minds. Many individuals have their first brush with mental health problems in late adolescence. And for some, that means navigating care in the college environment. Active Minds has chapters on college campuses across the nation and works to help students reduce stigma surrounding mental health in the university space.
Project Semicolon. A semicolon denotes a pause between two main clauses. What more apt symbol is there for someone who may be struggling with mental health concerns? Project Semicolon encouraged those who may have been diagnosed with a mental health condition to get a small semicolon tattoo (permanent tattoos not required) to raise awareness and reduce stigma as well as to remind those individuals that their diagnosis does not define them as human beings.