Video 5-10 min

Have students watch the video above. Have students create a Venn diagram of how mental illness is approached. Have one half of the class write down how mental illness is perceived among teens, and have one half of the class write down how mental illness is perceived among famous people. After 5 minutes of brainstorming for each side, come together and fill in the middle of the Venn diagram with where the two categories intersect. Then discuss.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Are there limitations to the type of people who can experience mental illness?
  2. How does seeing someone with international recognition admitting to a struggle with mental illness affect your perception of it?
  3. How should you interact with a peer who is struggling with mental illness?
  4. What are the implications of someone like Demi Lovato admitting she has a mental illness, compared to a high school student?

#stigmafree 10-15 min

Give each student a copy of the “9 Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma handout to use to guide their discussion of ideas. Have students read the ways to fight mental health stigma.

Break up students into 3 groups. Assign each group one of the following ways to fight mental health stigma, and have them brainstorm ways to create this change in their current school climate.

#1: Talk openly about mental health

#5: Show empathy and compassion for those living with a mental health condition

#3: Be conscious of your language

Processing Questions:

  1. What are some ways we could put this way to fight stigma into motion?
  2. Where are some areas, in school or in life, that cause stigma for this way?
  3. What are some individual changes to your character you can make to help fight stigma this particular way?
  4. What are some changes we can cause in the school that can use this way to fight stigma?

Sponsor may need to walk through the 3 ways to help students begin the brainstorming process.

NAMI stigma free pledge 10-15 min

*prior to this activity, Leader should write “#StigmaFree” on bulletin board paper. Have the students watch the video below.

Leader should then explain and share what the #StigmaFree Pledge is that NAMI is promoting. (http://www.nami.org/stigma) The Pledge is:

“Promote acceptance and actively challenge social stereotypes. Through powerful words and actions, we will shift the social and systemic barriers for those living with mental health conditions and encourage acceptance and understanding.

Individuals, companies, organizations and others can all take the pledge to learn more about mental illness, to see a person for who they are and take action on mental health issues. Take the pledge and raise awareness.

The NAMI pledge is an excellent pledge to challenge social stigma of mental illness, but it can be even more effective if it is related to the culture and environment that the students live in. Ask students to get in groups of 4-5, and rewrite the NAMI pledge according to the environment and culture that they live in.

Once done, ask groups to share out their versions of the pledge. If desired, the club can vote on a favorite pledge and add it to the #StigmaFree Banner.

After the student have rewritten the pledge, have students to sign the #StigmaFree Banner.