KNOXVILLE – October 7, 2021 – For the 51.5 million Americans diagnosed with a mental health disorder and the millions more of their family members, every week is a mental illness awareness week. But there is an official Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), which this year is October 3 – 9.
In 1990, Congress officially established the first week of October as MIAW in recognition of the efforts of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to raise awareness about mental health disorders.
This year’s campaign is “Together for Mental Health.” Nationwide, communities volunteer their efforts to educate the public about mental illness, raise awareness, fight stigma and discrimination, and provide support. “Together for Mental Health” focuses on the importance of better activism and advocacy for people with serious mental illness (SMI).
New Book Helps You Take Effective Action
A new book titled Make a Difference with Mental Health Activism, co-written by psychologist Terri Lyon and mental health activist Trish Lockard, provides a strategy for working on behalf of those directly affected by mental illness and their families through effective activism. It is the perfect complement to the “Together for Mental Health” campaign.
The purpose of Make a Difference with Mental Health Activism is to provide guidance and tools to help anyone envision creative ways to fight stigma, push for reforms, improve mental health services, and offer comfort for those with the lived experience and their loved ones. In 5 steps, Terri and Trish can turn anyone into a budding activist by transforming skills and talents into impactful change. Even experienced activists can see the volunteer work they do from a different perspective. The book is essential reading for anyone who has felt they don’t have a voice in the discussion about better mental health treatment and wants to help improve outcomes and quality of life.
Unique 5-step Activism Path
At a workshop presented by psychologist Terri Lyon and mental health activist Trish Lockard at the 2019 NAMI Tennessee State Convention, participants were taught to identify their gifts, skills, and life experiences to create an ideal mental health activism opportunity for themselves. Positive feedback after the workshop became the genesis for Terri and Trish’s new book, Make a Difference with Mental Health Activism. The book helps readers recognize that theyalready possess the tools needed to make a difference for those with a mental health diagnosis and their families.
Sound too good to be true? It is not only possible, here’s the roadmap.
- Focus your specific passion within mental health to avoid spreading yourself thin
- Identify the unique gifts, skills, and talents you can bring to this activism
- Craft a unique activism opportunity ideally suited to you
- Monitor your long-term effectiveness
- Stay motivated and avoid burnout
To make its point that any gift or skill can make change happen, the book offers profiles of creative mental health activists, from podcasters and authors to a jewelry maker and quilter, and one courageous college student reminding students “It’s OK to not be OK.”
The list of hobbies that can be turned to activism is endless: knitting, crocheting, pottery making, painting and drawing, gardening, and calligraphy, just to get things started. If you think creatively about you bring to the table, the list of ways you could be a mental health activist truly is endless.
Mental health nonprofit organizations and agencies are often largely staffed by volunteers. Until you inquire within, you might not recognize how valuable your work experiences are to these groups. Were you a bookkeeper? Writer? Office or project manager? Programmer? Any work skill can find a home in a mental health nonprofit.
It’s Your Turn
You already have what it takes to be an impactful activist for change for those with the lived experience of mental illness and their loved ones. Be a part of the movement with Make a Difference with Mental Health Activism: No activism degree required — use your unique skills to change the world, by Terri L Lyon and Trish Lockard.
About Trish Lockard
Mental health care is a personal passion for Trish. Mental health disorders (and one incident of suicide) are a reality in four generations of her family. She has been a volunteer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Tennessee since 2014. She has served as her local affiliate’s board chair, family support group facilitator, and certified classroom instructor. She is a freelance editor and writing coach at Strike The Write Tone.
Contact Trish at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Dr. Terri Lyon
Through her website Life At The Intersection, Terri spotlights the unique, creative, and sometimes surprising ways people make change happen through their activism. A licensed psychologist, her career experience includes government research, managing training at a Fortune 500 company, consulting, and almost 40 years teaching graduate students. She is the treasurer of a credit union and a professional arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau.
Contact Terri at email@example.com
About the Book
Make A Difference with Mental Health Activism: No activism degree required — use your unique skills to change the world is available as an e-book and in print at https://amzn.to/3sQ0dsy and at Life At The Intersection Books.
For more information, contact Dr. Terri Lyon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review copies available on request.