mental health

Talking about . . . mental health

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Most people agree that we want to reduce the stigma around mental health issues so that individuals and families are more inclined to seek help. Many people look to traditional western medicine for the primary answers to mental health problems. There is growing interest in exploring a wider variety of ways to support people facing mental health challenges. The value of mediation, exercise and other practices show great promise as we learn more and more about the plasticity of our brains. What does it mean to ‘get better’ from a mental health problems, and is it even possible?

Click here if you would like a pdf of the following topic material to share with your cohost and friends.

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Background reading (optional)

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. 

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Now that you are all together, here we go!

This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before you begin your conversation, please go over the Conversation Ground Rules with your participants.

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One. Why are we here?

What interested you or drew you to this topic?

Two. Your core values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • what sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
  • what would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
  • what are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?

Three. What are your biggest concerns about mental health?

We have prepared this guide to support the National Dialogue on Mental Health and its Creating Community Solutions (CCS) initiative, to encourage Americans to talk about mental health. We're drawing on several of the CCS resources (available on the CCS site's Resources page): the SAMHSA Discussion Guide and Information Brief.  

Please answer both of the following additional questions
  • what experiences in your life, your work or your family inform your thinking about mental health?
  • is mental health an important issue in your community, and if so, why?
Please answer one of the following additional questions
  • in your experience, how are mental health issues affecting young people?  (If you are a young person, how do mental health issues affect you and your peers?) [page 10 of the Information Brief discusses mental health and youth]
  • do you think your religion or culture, or some other aspect of your identity or background, influences how you think about mental health? If so, how?

Four. Reflection

Answer one or more of the following questions:
  • in one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation;
  • what new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

Five. Accomplishment and moving forward

Answer both of the following questions:
  • name one important thing that was accomplished here;
  • is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

Closing

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