The most effective means of busting stigma is by making a personal connection with people, such as through NAMI's In Our Own Voice.
Another opportunity is Storycorps, a project in which over 50,000 people to date have interviewed family and friends about their life experiences on a broad range of topics. Each conversation is recorded and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and millions listen to its weekly broadcasts on NPR's Morning Edition.
Storycorps recently produced its first animated video with the soundtrack of a 12-year boy living with Asperger's Syndome talking with his mother, who had experienced depression as a teenager.
Interviews are scheduled periodically in Atlanta, New York City and San Francisco and in various mobile tour locations around the country. Participants are asked to make a voluntary $25 donation to cover costs. Local organizations can sponsor their own events, but they cost much more.
Come to Washington, D.C. in time to watch the Fourth of July fireworks at the National Mall. That same week, NAMI will hold its national convention—including visits to Congress to tell our stories and make our voices heard.
The convention is also an incredible educational experience, featuring the latest medical research news and workshops galore. Check out the convention program and register soon.
It's not too early to start planning activities for Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), which this year takes place October 3-10, 2010. The theme is "Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives."
In some states, NAMIWalks will be held. It is also a good time to schedule IOOV presentations to local civic organizations or in public libraries and other locations.
Have you noticed?
Two Hollywood stars have stepped forward over the last two years to help lead the fight against stigma—and are in it for the long haul. Their strategy: make mental illness a household word.
"Mental disease is the only disease you get yelled at for having," Pantoliano recently declared in a series of interviews, including the Today Show and Wall Street Journal. By recruiting celebrities to the cause, his goal is to use "the light of our stardom to shine in the dark corners of prejudice."
Meanwhile, BringChange2Mind, organized by actress Glenn Close (The Big Chill) is moving like a juggernaut with public service announcements (PSAs) and advertising on television, social media, in Sports Illustrated and even taxicabs in New York City.
Pantoliano lives with depression. Close's sister lives with bipolar disorder and her nephew with schizophrenia.
"Our single goal is to get people talking openly and without shame about mental illness,'' Close said in a Boston Globe interview. "Say it loud, say it again and again until it has lost its power over us. Make the unspeakable speakable."
Have you seen stigma in the news, entertainment or advertising media? You are our eyes and ears! Send a report to email@example.com. Because of the large number of messages received, they cannot all be answered individually; however, we appreciate every one and review and prioritize them for action. Please also contact the source directly-you have more power than you know! We also appreciate getting copies of responses you receive to evaluate. Your help makes a difference!