National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Activities
What You Can Do
Before you pick what you want to do here are some questions to keep in mind to help you decide what's right for you.
- What do you hope to achieve with your event (what is the goal)?
- What type of event do you want to have—formal, informal, arts related, family oriented?
- Who would be your target audience? Your local community? Adults? The entire family? Professionals?
- How much would the event cost (you don’t need the exact amount but just to have a general idea of the amount of funding you need)? Do you have funding for the event? If not, who will security it?
- How much time do you have to plan the event?
- Who will help you plan the event?
- Are there any organizations you should partner with?
- When do you want to hold the event? Are there any other similar events happening around this time?
You Can Learn
Browse the NAMI website. Create a free account on NAMI.org and find out about what's going on in the world related to mental health every day.
Read personal stories. The personal experiences people have with mental health let you know what those numbers really mean. Read and watch these stories of hope, frustration and perseverance on You Are Not Alone and OK2Talk.
Watch a movie or read a book. Here are some movie suggestions and discussion guides for your next NAMI themed movie night. You could also read books such as:
- Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry by Bebe Moore Campbell.
- I Am Not Sick. I do Not Need Help by Xavier Amador (in English and Spanish).
- Standing in the Shadows: Understanding and Overcoming Depression in Black Men by John Head
- Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting by Terrie Williams
- The Seven Beliefs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help Latinas Recognize and Overcome Depression by Belisa Lozano-Vranich and Jorge R. Petit (in English and Spanish)
- Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life by Melody Moezzi.
Order your books through the NAMI store’s Amazon.com link, and a percentage of your purchases will benefit NAMI.
You Can Share
Share your story of how mental health affects you so that others know they are not alone. You can do this at a formal or informal level (an actual presentation to a group or just to a group of friends). You could also post it to NAMI’s You Are Not Alone page. If you are a teen or young adult, head to OK2Talk to share your story and connect with others experiencing the same things you are. Use these tips for sharing your story and this practice sheet.
Encourage friends and family to learn more about mental health, emphasizing why this is important to you. Share knowledge and email or text them links to trusted sites such as www.nami.org.
Spread the word on social media. Here are some sample posts and graphics you can use. Like the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Facebook page and join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #minoritymentalhealth.
Join an online discussion. Share knowledge, ask questions and interact with people who have similar experiences in one of NAMI's discussion groups.
You Can Give
DIY fundraising. Use your talents to help to raise awareness about mental health by hosting a fundraising event in your community with your family, friends and co-workers.
Donate. NAMI works every day to try and reach the individuals, families who need our support, talks with media to shape how mental health is talked about and works policy makers to change the way mental health care is treated. We need your support to make sure we can doing all of that!
You Can Get Involved with NAMI
Join a NAMIWalk. Every year, people across the nation will join NAMI and walk together to raise money and awareness about our country's need for a treatment and recovery system for people with mental illness. Be a part of a public display of support for people affected by mental illness. Find more information or to find a NAMIWalk near you.
Connect with others online. Create a free account on NAMI.org and find out about what's going on in the world related to mental health every day and offer support or ask questions in our discussion groups. You can also download AIR, the new NAMI app. NAMI AIR is a free, mobile-based social network designed for individuals living with mental health conditions and their family members/caregivers.
Join NAMI. Become a NAMI member and show your continued commitment to mental health every year.
You Can Get Your Family, Friends and Community Involved
Take charge and get others involved.Organize a neighborhood cook out, a panel discussion or movie night with family and friends, or work with your business, faith community or local officials to acknowledge national minority mental health events.
Get your Community Involved
Groups and organizations can organize all types of community events and activities to celebrate the Month. The type and size of event is up to you, your goal and resources.
Events and Activities You Can Host
Make multicultural mental health the topic of your monthly staff or membership meeting. Highlight why this is important to your organization.
Include articles on multicultural mental health if you have an organizational newsletter, blog or other type of electronic publication. Make sure to mention that you are celebrating the month.
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.
Share information. Ask about adding mental health awareness brochures to the local coffee house’s events and information boards.
Give away books as prizes and awards to celebrate the month at different events or donate them to your local library.
Create a book display. Ask the local bookstore to feature books about mental health or have an author come in and sign copies.
Sign up to have a booth at a fair, festival or parade in July.
Promote and celebrate the month through social media channels.
Ask your elected civic leaders and local legislators to join you in showing public support of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and share what it means for your community by signing a proclamation. Use our sample proclamation and cover letter.
Host an educational event in an accessible and familiar setting for your target community. This event could include:
- An expert panel to present key information on research or available community services.
- A movie or video clip screening followed by a discussion panel. There are several movies you could watch. A great option is award winning Home, an inspiring film about Jack, a man living with schizophrenia who wants to move out of the group home and into a home of his own with hopes of salvaging his relationship with his young son, reestablishing his life and achieving some sense of normalcy.
- A NAMI programming such as NAMI In Our Own Voice, Sharing Hope or Compartiendo Esperanza presentations.
- A mental health awareness breakfast where you invite key community leaders to come discuss how to address mental health problems in diverse communities.
- An activity fair, block party or a luncheon, with free mental health screening (make sure you have your screening instruments available in multiple languages).
- A fun event that can bring families together such as picnics, flash mobs, talent shows or other activities.
- A concert, a play, a poetry reading or a talent show.
- A candlelight vigil to honor and call attention to those who have died by suicide.
Go public! Contribute to traditional news outlets prominent in cultural communities in your area (radio shows or podcasts are popular platforms). Feature the activities you plan, resources and services available to diverse communities and showcase perspectives and accomplishments of diverse staff, volunteers or leadership of your organization, etc. Use NAMI’s PR and Marketing toolkit and our sample press release for National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to help plan your media strategy.
You can find more planning and marketing resources here.