The Mental Health Coalition, founded by fashion designer and social activist Kenneth Cole, has begun an initiative to “change the culture” around the stigma affecting millions living with mental health conditions.
Every day this month, which is Mental Health Month, a ‘121’ Instagram TV Series in partnership with Instagram/Facebook will take place. The conversations feature actors, musicians, athletes and influencers with the goal of creating a more informed, empathetic and inclusive dialogue around mental health.
“Now more than ever, we must increase the conversation around mental health. With the campaign, we are working to end the silence, reduce the stigma and engage our community,” said Cole, who is founder and chairman of the Mental Health Coalition. “The 31 days gives us the opportunity to share 31 different and inspiring stories and to highlight the extraordinary work of our 31 leading mental health organizations. This move us one step closer to be able to connect countless needs to extraordinary resources. Together we can end the debilitating stigma connected to mental health, but only together.”
The idea behind this is that “Every 1 needs to talk 2 some 1,” which has resonated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose is to encourage open and honest conversations around mental health and inspire people to connect with someone they trust. At the end of the session, a trained mental health clinician joins the conversation to offer additional support and answer questions.
MHC, in partnership with Facebook, is also launching the #MentalHealthMinute campaign in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month. The campaign’s aim is to encourage individuals to take care of their mental health and provide access to mental health resources via Facebook’s Emotional Health resource center.
MHC has also created a Roadmap, which explores the three most common types of support: processing, constructive distraction and problem-solving. “The Roadmap to Friends Supporting Friends” also suggests different ways to ask a friend for support.
“Mental well-being is built in connection with others. Checking in with a friend is good for your mental health as it creates an opportunity to connect, and it helps with the feelings of loneliness and isolation that can be a major part of not feeling well. Supporting a friend can be overwhelming, but it becomes a lot less uncomfortable, and even enjoyable, when you have a framework like the one we’ve outlined in this roadmap,” said Dr. Naomi Torres-Mackie, clinical psychologist and head of research at MHC.
Guests throughout the month on the “I21” Instagram TV series include Alyssa Milano, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Donna Karan, Jeremy Piven, Carson Daly, Katie Couric, Alan Cumming, Michael Strahan, Hannah Brown, Julianne Hough, Monica Lewinsky and Whoopi Goldberg. All of the 121 conversations that have run to date can be viewed on MHC’s IGTV channel.
Among the mental health organization involved in MHC are Active Minds, Child Mind Institute, Jed Foundation, Crisis Text Line, Bring Change to Mind, Silence the Shame, Trans Lifeline, Trevor Project and Shatterproof.
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