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Get your smart phone ready and prepare to “Text, Talk, Act on Mental Health”

By Katrina Gay, National Director of Communications

This week, on Thursday, Dec. 5, the national dialogue on mental health will expand to include people in small groups across the country, who will gather for one-hour, text-facilitated discussions.

Various events have been taking place in towns and cities across the country as part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health, launched by President  Obama last June. At these events, people have been gathering to discuss why mental health matters to them and their communities. They have been exploring the different ways to address barriers to understanding, treatment, services and supports and developing plans to take action to promote community solutions.

Thursday’s event is an important part of the national discussion and is expected to encourage even more participation.

An important part of the national discussion

“Text, Talk, Act on Mental Health” is a text-enabled Creating Community Solutionsdialogue initiative that strives to encourage mental illness as a topic everyone can talk about.

Through use of a smart phone, this text chatting initiative will enable conversations to be held with people via real-time text messages, simulating conversations similar to a spoken conversation. Piloted by high school students in Oregon and college students in Rhode Island, “Text, Talk, Act on Mental Health” is designed to engage high school and college students in particular, using technology that is ubiquitous in their lives. However, the initiative is open to everyone, in order to promote dialogue and encourage creative solutions.

How does “Text, Talk, Act on Mental Health” work?

One person can initiate the event through three steps.

  1. Get together with 4 to 5 other people.
  2. One or more people in the group texts ‘START” to 89800 from their smart phone(s).
  3. The group follows the prompts—with every text that is sent, a reply is received.

The group will be guided through a series of short surveys and discussion questions, such as “How often do you think about mental health?” “What is the best way the community can make a difference for people affected by mental illness?” and more.

Charts and information will be texted back as replies, including responses from people in other parts of the country. Prompts and links to resources  will also be shared, which  group members can access after the event. In addition, survey results will be refreshed throughout the day for those Interested in the outcomes.

“Text, Talk, Act for Mental Health” events can be started at any time of the day. So, plan to get a group together and join the conversation. Learn more about “Text, Talk, Act on Mental Health” and become part of the solution.

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