Become a Leader in the Mental Health Movement

Make a change in your local community by being an advocate for mental health awareness. Here are a few suggestions for how you can work with your community.

Talk with Community Leaders

Ask your Governor or Mayor to make a proclamation. Encourage your community leader to officially recognize the national mental health awareness events, including Mental Health Month in May, National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July and Mental Illness Awareness Week in October. You can download the proclamation and send it along to your state’s governor or the mayor of you town or city.

Take action on advocacy issues. Policy change is one major way we can make a difference in the lives of people living with mental health conditions and their families. NAMI’s legislative and public policy priority is to support Americans build better lives.

Ask them to "Go Green. Across the country, buildings and landmarks are lighting up green to show support and raise awareness for mental health. Get the greater community involved by utilizing connections you may have in your community to get buildings illuminated in your town or city.

Reach Out to Your Community

Address cultural barriers. Certain resources can help people learn about mental health when it's a difficult topic to talk about because of cultural beliefs or practices. NAMI has developed Sharing Hope and Compartiendo Esperanza to help facilitate the conversation in African American and Latino communities.

Speak with teens. Mental health conditions start early, yet half of teens aren't getting the help they need. Stigma, fear and lack of awareness are part of the reason. Say it Out Loud provides everything adults need to start community conversations with teens about mental health. These conversations help teens feel more comfortable speaking up when they need help and also know when to help a friend.  

Involve Your Faith Community. Faith and supportive faith communities can play a large role in the recovery of individuals with mental illness and their families. Honor someone you have lost and talk about ways to improve resources in your community by holding a candelight vigil or make informative mental health bulletin inserts that you can share with the congregation. Faith community leaders can find additional resources for talking about mental health in Faith Communities.

Connect with Local Businesses

Hand out ribbons. Hand out or sell green ribbons for people to wear. Invite stores to hang green ribbons in the window, on trees, light posts, columns and in other public spaces.

Create a book display. Ask the local bookstore to feature books about mental health or have an author come in and sign copies.

Share information. Ask about adding mental health awareness brochures or fact sheets and infographics to your local coffee house’s events and information boards.

Host an event. Local businesses, such as coffee shops, book stores or restaurants often reserve time and space for members of the public to put on an art exhibit, play, poetry reading or concert. Create one featuring material about mental mentalh or artists with connections to mental health.

Work with Local NAMI Affiliates

Volunteer. Volunteering at NAMI's national office or your local NAMI shows how important mental health is to you. Whether you are giving your time because NAMI has helped you or someone you know in the past or you are passionate about our cause, you can help make a difference.

Here are some of the ways you can get involved:

Let us know if you have questions about volunteering at NAMI's national office. Contact your state or local affiliate to see about volunteer opportunities in your community.

DIY Fundraising. Contact your local NAMI affiliate about hosting a fundraising event in your community. Here are some fundraising ideas to get you started.

Host a NAMIWalk. Connect everyone in the community that is affected by mental illness and have a positive impact on how society deals with mental health. You can go here for more information on how to join NAMIWalks.