Ending the Silence on Mental Health: One Text Message at a Time

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(The following article about the upcoming Text, Talk, Act initiative is from the Creating Community Solutions Project.)

One in four adults suffer from this in any given year. If it were cancer, diabetes or heart disease, we’d label it an epidemic. The once silent killer has suddenly starting screaming at us everywhere we go. It’s rocking our communities, and it’s affecting our families. “It” is the state of our mental health – and it’s time we all started talking about it. And given that ¾ of all mental health problems begin between the ages of 14 and 24, young people desperately need to have this conversation. But how do you bring up the elephant in the room? And how do you talk about something that’s been left in the shadows for so long?

Right now, across the country, young people are finally having this conversation. Through text messaging, groups of emerging adults are receiving discussion questions to start the conversation, and are given resources to learn how to take care of themselves and how to help a friend in need. These brave young people are ending the silence and taking to social media to encourage others to talk about the elephant in the room.

On Monday, October 6th, this conversation will go nationwide. Anyone, anywhere, at any time can join this vital effort. It’s easy:

1. Gather 3-4 people* and text START to 89800
2. Talk with their group using the text-enable questions
3. Be part of the change

To encourage the conversation, participants can win prizes for themselves or their schools/community organizations. One of 10 lucky winners (between the ages of 18-24) will receive $500 and a 3 $1,000 prizes will go to a winning high school, college and community organization. In addition, three lucky participants will receive an iPad mini. Visit bit.ly/TTAcontest for more details and to register.

Groups that can’t join the nationwide discussion on Oct. 6th can host a Text, Talk, Act event any time from now through the end of October. Simply text START to 89800 to begin.**

This initiative was developed in concert with Creating Community Solutions, part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, The National Institute for Civil Discourse, Everyday Democracy, American Association of Suicidology, National Alliance on Mental Health, the National Campus Leadership Council, and Crisis Text Line.

*Don’t have 3-4 peeps with you on Oct 6? Join the discussion on Twitter using #TextTalkAct

**From Canada?  Short codes blocked on your phone?  Use 7785881995