Ideas to Raise Awareness and Funds for Mental Illness

Awareness is great,

but taking action is ESSENTIAL.

Why is Raising Awareness for Mental Health Important?

Raising awareness is important because it becomes easier to identify mental illness, which leads to faster treatment, which then leads to better treatment results. One out of four people suffer from a mental illness, and it impacts EVERYONE, not just the person with the illness! This includes our family, friends and close community members. This is why it is important that we work together to raise awareness and break the stigma of mental illness.

By becoming more aware and knowledgeable of mental health, we can break the stigma, and mental illness might become easier to understand. Breaking the stigma means that we would be shifting negative misconceptions and behaviors of the community towards the positive side. Knowledge and taking appropriate actions towards accepting people struggling with a mental illness would make a HUGE difference.

Raising awareness for mental health is a PRIORITY because there is a high demand.

Read more about the importance of raising awareness here


Raising Awareness and Funds Ideas

  • Use artwork to spread the word: Graffiti party; make a sign for your yard; hang a poster for in the window of your house; hang a paper in your classroom; paint rocks and place them around the neighborhood or local park; use chalk to create messages on the sidewalk; yarn bombing; etc.
  • Create an athletic event: Local homerun derby; a race; a bowling tournament; cycle or run across your state or country; corn hole tournament; potato sack race; CrossFit or weightlifting competition; pushup competition; hiking event; golf tournament; frisbee golf tournament; triathlon; obstacle course race; etc.
  • Community: Neighborhood or church cookout; BINGO night; go kart race; school fair; school play; put on a concert; cinema night; plant a garden; dedicate a bench in memory of someone who passed away; scavenger hunt; hold a dinner and have a guest speaker; kite flying event; etc.
    • Write about mental health: share your story in a public space; write a blog, book or article; poetry; etc.
    • Media: use social media as a platform; create a short film; create an online photo gallery; etc.
    • Write about mental health: share your story in a public space; write a blog, book or article; poetry; etc.
    • Media: use social media as a platform; create a short film; create an online photo gallery; etc.

    Use your talent and creativity, the sky is the limit!

    Get involved with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

    • Plan an in-person fundraising event for your community.
    • Celebrate a milestone, special occasion or holiday by supporting NAMI in lieu of gifts.
    • Design your own online campaign to raise awareness and support NAMI.
    • Create a memorial page for a loved one you’ve lost as a meaningful, lasting tribute.
    • Undertake a physical challenge and keep yourself motivated by supporting NAMI.

    Additional Ideas on Taking Action

    Anxiety and Depression Association of America

  • Share your story, project (school projects, too!) or fundraiser. Visit the “Understand the Facts” section to learn more about anxiety, depression and other co-occurring and related mental health illnesses. Become a member of their online member community.

  • Article from Verywell that covers information on the leading mental health charities and organizations.

  • Learn how to be an advocate. Mental Health America National Institute of Mental Health, which is dedicated to clinical research, and they have free brochures, booklets and e-books that can help educate the public. National Alliance on Mental Health American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Child Mind Institute. This organization is an invaluable resource to parents. https://childmind.org/ Other resources

  • 5 ways to raise awareness during May (mental health month).

  • Take to social media to inspire others to get involved. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Use these hashtags to reach a larger audience: #MentalHealthMatters #MentalHealthAwareness #EndTheStigma #MentalHealthMonth #MHM #StigmaFree #IntoMentalHealth
  • Encourage others to share your posts
  • Encourage open communication
  • Share screening tools
  • Contact your legislators
  • Support advocacy efforts
  • For more details, follow the link

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness

  • How to get involved and become a leader.
  • NAMI Walk
  • Become a fundraiser
  • Attend a NAMI National Convention
  • Pledge to be stigma free
  • Awareness events
  • Partner with NAMI
  • Share your story
  • More! NAMI is awesome

  • GoFundMe tips on making a larger impact with your fundraiser.

  • Mental health fundraising
  • Expand your knowledge
  • Start a conversation
  • Craft care packages
  • Share your story
  • Go social
  • Host a community-wide fundraising event
  • Go to the website to learn more details and to create a mental health fundraiser.
  • Visit their other resources.
  • Mental health fundraising spreads joy and positivity.

    Physical Challenges

    Mental Health America’s #4Mind4Body Challenge

  • This is such a cool challenge.
  • Something for everyday in the month of May.
  • It will positively impact your life… and maybe even those around you.
  • Learn about #MindfulMonday #TastyTuesday #WorkplaceWednesday #ThoughtfulThursday #FitnessFriday #StressFreeSaturday #SleepWellSunday
  • Mental and physical wellness; eating; mindfulness; anxiety triggers; sleep; motivation; gratitude; brain; inspiration; celebration; thoughtfulness.

  • Pushup Challenge

    I took on the 25 Pushups for 25 Days Challenge to raise awareness for mental health and suicide (including suicide prevention), you can read about how to do the challenge here and also watch my pushup videos.

    View my Pushup Challenge on YouTube. The video contains statistics on mental health and suicide

    Walks

    MentalHelp.net An American Addictions Center Resource’s fun ways to raise awareness about the importance of mental health.

  • NAMI Walks
  • Out of the Darkness Walks
  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • I Rock the Walk for Mental Health Awareness, Active.com group.

  • NAMI Walks

  • A National Day of Hope
  • Tools and resources to magnify your efforts.
  • There are THOUSANDS of participants and MILLIONS of dollars raised.

  • More Organizations to Visit

    REHABSPOT

  • Substance use can be a roadblock for many people.
  • Free self-help resource about drugs, alcohol, addiction, and recovery.
  • The benefits of rehab and about services.

  • Charity Navigator Your Guide to Intelligent Giving

  • Disasters and natural disaster support
  • COVID-19 top nonprofits
  • Humanitarian and civil rights
  • Protecting the environment
  • Thank you for your efforts.

    follow my blog for mental health tips

    How to Get Through the Day When the World Seems to be Falling Apart

    These 12 tips are specific to living through a pandemic (COVID-19) where there are multiple tragic events and crisis occurring at once on a worldwide scale.

    A brief overview of the destruction that COVID-19 has caused

    • People are ill and dying from a virus.

    • People are socially isolated from family and friends.

    • People are restricted in where they can go and what they can do.

    • People have lost jobs and are financially unstable.

    – Connected to all of this is the person’s identity because people identify themselves through going out and participating.

    • Political issues, finger pointing and name calling are a big part of this pandemic.

    • People wear face masks to reduce spread of the virus, but the mask also hides smiles.

    • Anxiety, depression and suicide is on the rise.

    • People are silently hurting.

    The benefits of these tips are (but not limited to)

    • Increased happiness

    • Connection to others

    • Raising awareness

    • Fostering positivity

    • Finding value and meaning in life

    • Learning coping strategies

    • Finding help

    Keep in mind that this article isn’t telling you to ignore, dismiss, or minimize what’s going on around us. It is important to sit with the difficult emotions and thoughts, to process, and personally grow from what’s occurring in our lives. We can’t run, there needs to be a resolution to do something about it, but there needs to be a balance and healthy approach.

    Let’s cover the tips on getting through

    1) Limit your time on social media and watching the news. Be informed and have proper understanding about what’s going on around the world, but don’t allow the information to overwhelm and carry you away. The information on social media and the news shouldn’t occupy a good portion of your day.

    2) Mute or unfollow people on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if they are posting unhelpful information on the pandemic or are posting frequently on the pandemic. Always check the resource of what they post to make sure it is true and accurate. There is a lot of information being shared that is inaccurate or highly one-sided. Be your own researcher, fact-checker, and it is beneficial to try to see from both sides of an issue. Widening perspective allows us to have a more open mind and gives us a little more breathing room.

    3) Use social media and technology to your advantage. Since we have to limit being around others or can’t be around people at all, use social media to connect and to lift up others. Post something kind or funny. Post a beautiful picture. Have an engaging conversation, but leave out the pandemic and political issues surrounding it. You can lift someone’s spirit and your own!

    We use video platforms on almost a daily basis now, continue to use it to connect. Talk to a good friend who you haven’t seen in a while. Use video platforms to check-in with a person’s mental health, you don’t know who is suffering in silence.

    Are you feeling unsure about how to check-in? This link will lead you to check-in questions:

    https://finishstrongercounseling.com/2020/05/29/just-checking-in/

    Do you have a favorite hobby or interest? Join and follow social media groups and pages to motivate and fuel your interests.

    4) Virtual tours, adventures and visits. If you are looking for something new and interesting to do without leaving your house, take a virtual trip to a National Park, zoo, museum, etc. Think of somewhere that you’ve never been and would like to go. Read about it, look at pictures, watch videos, and take a virtual tour. This is fun activity to do with kids and it’s educational.

    If you’re religious or spiritual, consider attending a virtual service or practice.

    5) Teach someone about your hobby or trade. Write, blog, create social media content, and make a video to do so. Engage with people, answer their questions, and provide them with credible resources so they can learn more.

    5) Increase your self-care. Do more of what you enjoy and try new things, even if you don’t feel like it. Take care of your body and mind. Try to keep to a normal schedule, this includes proper exercise, diet, and staying hydrated. If you’re overwhelmed with work, schedule in self-care. Slow down, read a book, take a bath, watch a movie, call someone you care about.

    6) Make a vision board to stay focused on your long-term goals. Read how here:

    Vision Board

    7) Journal. Read about journaling here if it interests you:

    The Benefits of Keeping a Journal and Journal Prompts

    8) Practice mindfulness, breathing and or meditation. Find someone who provides these services online if you need help getting started. Create a YouTube playlist of relaxing music and sounds that you can practice to. Don’t give up if these exercises don’t immediately benefit you in an impactful way, it takes time to learn them. It’s a process.

    9) Use online presence to raise awareness or funds for a cause that you’re passionate about. Help people learn more, support people who need it the most, connect to others who care about the same thing as you. Feel good!

    10) Use positive affirmations and practice them regularly. Read more and find examples here.

    11) Have a safety plan and an emergency plan. For the safety plan:

    • Write down what triggers maladaptive behaviors.

    • Write coping strategies for each trigger that you can participate in right away.

    • Write down three positive affirmations or favorite quotes.

    • List three people whom you can trust to call and talk to and receive support from (Do ahead of time: make sure that they know they are on your safety plan list and tell them how they can best support you if you contact them.) (Ideas on how they can help: this can range from a phone call to recall favorite memories or to meet up for coffee.).

    • If your situation turns into an emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 or your local mental health crisis lifeline. Add these emergency phone numbers to your safety plan.

    Here’s a simple example of a safety plan.

    12) Speak with a professional counselor. They can teach you several coping strategies and powerful tools like cognitive reframing. They are someone who will be present with you, be non-judgmental, listen, and provide feedback. They will support you and give you space for you to process your strongest emotions and thoughts.

    Check out these other benefits to seeing a counselor:

    The Value of Seeing a Therapist: what does your therapist do when they’re not in session

    Give teletherapy a try, it is convenient and you receive the same mental health benefits as you would during an in-office session.

    If you’re not sure where to find a counselor, use a directory like Psychology Today or TherapyDen. There are several other counselor directories out there.

    These are only a dozen tips on getting through a pandemic and crisis. Share your ideas and tips below. Please share this article to reach others.

    Be well!

    Baker Trail, Cook Forest State Park, PA

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    Western Pennsylvania Nonprofit Organizations and Charities (Directories)

    Resources, resources, resources!
    “Knowledge is like a garden; if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.” African Proverb

    I want to help provide people with the tools to cultivate their own gardens. Below are links to directories for nonprofit organizations and charities.

    The Pittsburgh region is blessed by over 3,000 nonprofit organizations. Services and opportunities are right around the bend.



    Great Nonprofits (rated):
    https://greatnonprofits.org/city/pittsburgh/PA

    Charity Navigator (rated):
    https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.metro&metroid=19&linkback=1

    Together We Flourish (by county):
    https://togetherweflourish.com/nonprofits-by-interests/

    Nonprofit Talent: find a job, internship or volunteer opportunity:
    https://jobs.nonprofittalent.com/

    Pittsburgh Gives: search for nonprofits:
    https://www.pittsburghgives.org/nonprofits

    Connoquenessing Creek, Harmony, PA

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