It’s a bird…it’s a plane…no, it’s a Southcoast campaign to end stigma against those with mental illness.
Okay, that’s not as catchy an ending as ‘it’s Superman’ would have been, but there is a connection. Like Superman, this campaign is asking you to help save the day.
Help and Hope Southcoast officially launched on July 15 through the efforts of several dozen local organizations like Southcoast Health, Southcoast Behavioral Health, the United Way of Greater New Bedford, the Suicide Prevention network and PAACA.
As you read this, the effort is still growing as more organizations sign on to join the crusade.
We all have one goal in mind — changing the social misperceptions around mental illness.
Will you help?
From our perspective, there is no better time to come together to support mental health. The strain on our daily lives is real. But so too is the strength of the community we live in.
We need your help. If you’d like to get involved, here are a few things you can do.
1. Talk about it
Tell your friends and neighbors that you support the Help and Hope Southcoast campaign. Follow us on Facebook here. Add your thoughts and experiences to the conversation and share the website and posts when you feel moved to do so. Imagine if we could lift everyone’s mental and emotional well-being by acting together!
2. Own your story
If you’re ready, talk to others about your story, beginning with those with whom you feel safe. Silence keeps us in pain. Talking about our experiences is freeing. University of Houston research professor and best-selling author Brene Brown says this: “Telling our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” Brown’s work is a great place to start for additional support through the process. It is based on years of research, yet is delivered in a warm, compassionate way dosed with a healthy amount of humor. This quote from Brown, says it all: “When we deny the story it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.” Check out her website, TED talk, and books.
3. Share your story
If you’ve already tested the waters of talking about your mental health experiences and want to share it in ways that would be helpful for others who are just dipping their toes in the water, please do. There are many ways to get your story out there. Or send it to us here, and we’ll share it with the growing Help and Hope Southcoast community.
4. Be an advocate
All of the steps above are part of being an ally for mental health. But advocates also speak out on issues around mental health acceptance and treatment and fight for change in the behavioral health system. As you educate yourself about mental health, you can begin speaking up and correcting others when they are misinformed. Learn more here.