Mental Health

Conversation Guide

With a great deal of attention going towards mental health today, it’s sometimes assumed the important questions are widely agreed upon. And yet there are many key questions around which significant disagreements exist. For example, while many people have found value in pharmaceuticals, there is growing attention to many alternatives. In what follows, we pose some of these questions as a way to prompt a conversation where we can learn from our different perspectives, and our unique experiences.

Let's Get Started!

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...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

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?

What does mental health mean to each of us? What does it mean for our community?

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions, and goals.

  • 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?
  • 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?)
  • Do you think your religion or culture, and/or any other aspects of your identity or background, influence how you think about mental health? If so, how?
  • How might the new awareness of brain plasticity (i.e., the ability of the brain to change its functioning, to ‘re-wire’ itself) change how we think about and approach mental health problems (if at all?)  
  • What does it mean to ‘get better’ from a mental health issue, and is it even possible when it comes to serious problems?

FOUR: Reflection

Answer one or more of the following:

  • 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?

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