Raise Awareness about Mental Illness and Recovery on Campus

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers these tips to raise awareness about mental illness and recovery on campus. These suggestions, however, work just as well in neighborhood settings.

Display posters with statistics or personal stories. Place posters in high-traffic areas on campus or in popular neighborhood settings such as your favorite eatery or the local library.

• Write a letter to the editor of your school or community newspaper. Time your letter at finals time, when stress is highest; or write at the beginning of the year, when new students arrive. You can also time your article with Mental Health Awareness Month in May or Suicide Prevention Month in September.

• Get your message on the airwaves. Ask your campus radio station, favorite local station or DJ 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. Movies to consider: Girl, Interrupted; A Beautiful Mind; Bennie and Joon; Ordinary People; and Shine. Each year, the Entertainment Industries Council and SAMHSA recognize films and television programs that accuratelydepict mental illness and its prevention, treatment, and recovery. Visit their site to read the list of awardees (www.eiconline.org).

• Organize a run/walk. Every year, Active Minds on Campus works with colleges around the country to sponsor mental health runs (www.activeminds.org). Or you can consider forming a team to support an existing event in San Diego such as the Save A Life Walk (www.savealifewalk.kintera.org) or the annual NAMI Walk (www.namisandiego.org).

For additional tips, visit www.Up2SD.org or SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance at www.stopstigma.samhsa.gov/ publications/collegelife.aspx.