Mental illness knows no barriers of age, race or gender. Stand up and become an advocate; It’s Up to Us, San Diego.
You have the ability to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. Even the smallest change in behavior will add up, as we work together to change perceptions. It takes just one person to make a difference, and the difference could begin with you.
Treat people with mental illness with respect and dignity, just as you would anyone else.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers these tips to raise awareness about mental illness and recovery
Display posters with statistics or personal stories. Place posters in high-traffic areas around your school or places you like to hang out
Write a letter to the editor of your school or community newspaper. Time your letter at finals time, when stress is the highest
Get your message on the airwaves. Ask your favorite radio or TV station to highlight mental health issues by airing a public service announcement (PSA).
Host a movie night to initiate a conversation about mental health issues. Make sure to show a movie that depicts reality, not one that buys into the stereotypes, such as: Girl, Interrupted; A Beautiful Mind; Bennie and Joon; Ordinary People; and Shine.
Organize a run/walk. Every year, Active Minds on Campus works with colleges around the country to sponsor mental health runs.
Become trained in QPR.
QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade and Refer, is like CPR—an emergency intervention to help a person who is considering suicide. In a one-hour training individuals learn to recognize warning signs, what questions to ask, and how to offer hope and help. Anyone that is in a position to recognize the signs that someone may be considering suicide is encouraged to sign up. This includes: parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, caseworkers, firefighters, and many others.
QPR trainings are offered at no cost in San Diego. To schedule a training, contact Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) at 858-609-7967 or firstname.lastname@example.org. An online training is available for $29.95 at www.qprinstitute.com.