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Talking about Mental illness: A community guide for developing an awareness program for youth

The Community Guide (complete PDF ) contains all of the information, support and tools that community members need to implement "Talking About Mental Illness" in their community -- an awareness program proven to be effective in bringing about positive change in young people's knowledge about mental illness, and in reducing stigma that surrounds mental illness.

The program brings together local community partners, including youth; people with mental illnesses and their family members; clinicians; teachers; and mental health and other agency representatives. Together, they develop and organize an educational awareness program hosted by local secondary schools.

The program provides secondary school students with the opportunity to hear the stories of community members who have experienced mental illness. The program also provides information about local mental health-related resources that provide support and help to youth coping with their own or a family member or friend's mental illness.

PDF of the complete Community Guide

Table of Contents

PDF of Table of Contents


Acknowledgments / PDF

Introduction / PDF

Background to the Program
An Overview of the
Who is this guide for?
How do you use it?
What's in the guide?

Part 1: Information about the Program / PDF

Rationale for the Program
What is stigma?
Why do we stigmatize mental illness?
How does stigma affect people's lives?
Overview of the Program
Why an awareness program?
How does the program help to eliminate stigma?
What does this program offer young people?
What are the goals and objectives of the program? 10
For Further Reading

Part2: Getting Started - PDF only

2.1 Bringing people together

Forming a planning committee
Broadening the base of participation
Tips for getting started

2.2 What's next: Your group's first questions

Covering the basics
Naming your program
Planning for action
Specific tasks for your group
Keeping it going -- Sustaining people's enthusiasm
Tips for building and maintaining your group\

For further reading

Template for creating a list of community resources
List of places to look for donations of resources

Part3: Getting the Word Out - PDF only

3.1 Promoting your awareness program to schools

Selecting a strategy
Making contact
Establishing a relationship
Tips for promoting your program to schools

3.2 Promoting your program in the community

Reaching out
Reaching wider audiences

3.3 Promoting your program with the local media

Making contact
Creating a press release/community announcement
Tips for working with local media

For rurther reading

School information survey
Sample letter to a school
Sample press release
Sample public service announcement

Part4: The Presentation -PDF only

4.1 What do we know about effective awareness presentations?

Focusing on the experiences of people with mental illness and their families
Preparation and follow-up activities

4.2 Guidelines for successful presentations

For organizers

Tailoring the presentation
Supporting the presenters
Preparing for the unexpected
Organizing the logistics 54
Sample timeline for organizers

For presenters

Thinking about your audience
Considering your messages
Planning what you want to say
Involving others
Sample timeline for presenters


Sample introduction
Key questions for structuring presentations

Part5: Evaluation - PDF only

5.1 Why evaluate?

Summary and results of past evaluations

5.2 Evaluating your program

Using evaluation to sustain your program
Tips for successful evaluations


Student evaluation -- Pre-test
Student Evaluation -- Post-test
Teacher Evaluation

Appendices - PDF only

Appendix A: Outline of the program

Where does the program fit in the curriculum?

Appendix B: Useful mental health­ related Web sites

Mental Health Resources for Educators
General mental health Web sites
Children and youth
Anxiety disorders
Eating disorders
Mood disorders
Adolescent depression and suicide
Mental illness and the arts

Appendix C: Other useful resources

Alternative formats (cd-roms, on-line discussions, audio-visual resources)
Training in Suicide Prevention

Appendix D: Toll-free phone lines

Appendix E: Ontario mental health organizations

CAMH Switchboard 416-535-8501
CAMH General Information Toronto: 416-595-6111 Toll Free: 1-800-463-6273
Connex Ontario Help Lines
Queen St.
1001 Queen St. W
Toronto, ON
M6J 1H4
Russell St.
33 Russell St.
Toronto, ON
M5S 2S1
College St.
250 College St.
Toronto, ON
M5T 1R8
Ten offices across Ontario