5 Ways to Get Involved in the Mental Health Community
by Logan Riestrer
Are you looking for ways to support the cause? Unsure of where you might fit in? Fortunately, you don’t have to have a certain skill set to do your part to end stigmas, just a desire to help! Read on for some ideas.
o Spreading awareness is perhaps the most important thing you can do to show your support for the community. With so many platforms available to choose from, it’s becoming much easier to reach a wider audience. Share that link on Facebook, like that photo on Instagram, or reblog that post on Tumblr! Is real-world action more your thing? Start a campaign to raise money for your favorite mental health organization. Host an event that encourages education on mental health topics. Check out DoSomething.org’s Mirror Messages campaign as an awesome example of easy and high-impact ways to reach people.
o Maybe you’re great at listening, or pointing people to resources they can use? Or maybe you don’t know what you want to do, you just want to do something. Have no fear, there’s a place for everyone! Almost all mental health organizations need volunteers for a wide range of positions, from peer support to administrative support. Consider being a mentor to someone struggling with their mental health, or perhaps you can see what your local or community mental health clinic has available. Mental health help hotlines such as the Nation Suicide Prevention Lifeline are also a great way to make a difference. Volunteering is also known to increase mental health outcomes, so consider it a win-win!
· Build a Network.
o Living with a mental illness can be isolating for some, but building a support network where you and others can feel comfortable is key. If you find the idea of creating a formal support group intimidating, you can always create a small network of family and/or friends. The great thing about these networks is that they provide a safe space for people to talk, vent, and share their successes without feeling judged. Speaking of which…
· Start a Dialogue.
o Talking about mental health is hard. Talking about your own mental health is even harder. Let’s change that! The more we talk about it, the less daunting it becomes. Think about the last time something inspired you. Did you see a cool DIY idea and think, “I want to try that!”? Every idea started somewhere, and mental health awareness is no exception. If one person shares their story, it will inspire someone else, which inspires someone else, and so on. By sharing your story, you not only give others the courage to speak up and take charge of their mental health journey, but you can also show that they are not alone in their struggles.
· Be Yourself.
o Above all, the best thing you can do to support the mental health community is be yourself. You are a unique individual, and there’s no one-size-fits-all way to support the mental health community. You might want to do all of these things, and that’s okay! You might want to do some of these things, and that’s okay! You might not mentally be in the right place to do any of these things, and guess what—that’s okay, too! Being a part of the mental health community means being able to stay true to yourself. After all, one of the best ways to support someone else is by making sure you take care of yourself. Whether you’re seeking out help, providing help, or both, there’s always a place for you.
As always, NoStigmas is a community organization. Have an idea you don’t see on the list? We’d love to hear it! Tweet us @NoStigmas or leave us a comment on our Facebook page. If you’d like to become involved in our community, check out our Volunteer/Intern page to see how you can make a difference today!