Anyone can have mental health challenges, regardless of age, sex, race, or economic status. In fact, 1 in 5 adults are affected by mental illness. While mental health challenges (and recovery from those issues) are common, people with a mental illness often experience judgment or unfair treatment by others.
That’s why the Be The Difference SCV campaign was started. It’s our local effort to make Santa Clarita a more supportive community where people can feel safe to reach out, and others know how to provide help when it’s needed. Whether you or someone you care about is living with a mental health challenge, we all have a reason to Speak Up. Now is your chance to Stand Up and become an advocate. Be the Difference SCV!
Here are some ways to help change our community:
- Treat people with mental illness with respect and dignity, just as you would anyone else.
- Language matters. Never refer to someone with mental illness as “crazy”, “nuts”, “psycho”, “insane,” or “loony.”
- Don’t allow illness to define a person. For example, say “someone is experiencing schizophrenia” rather than “a schizophrenic.”
- Raise awareness about discriminatory or stigmatizing language in the media by sending a letter or email.
Sign up for a local walk for mental health or to support suicide prevention:
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Community Walks Pasadena, Santa Monica, Santa Clarita
- Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Alive and Running 5K Walk/Run (usually end of September)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMIWalks LA County
Get involved, speak up and help inspire others to follow suit. Local volunteer opportunities include:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness San Fernando Valley - This is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness through education, advocacy, Helpline, and public awareness activities and events.
- Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center - The Mission of the Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging and SCV Senior Center is to promote quality of life for seniors. Services include adult day program, transportation, senior shared living, in-home care, caregiver support, care management, telephone support, and community access services to those over 50 years at risk of being homeless or institutionalized. Contact Robin at (661) 259-9444.
- Northeast Valley Health Corporation - Northeast Valley Health Corporation is one of the nation’s largest community health centers. We are a nonprofit health care organization, focused on preventing and/or alleviating health problems. Regardless of one’s ability to pay, we provide medical care for children, the disabled, older adults, families and the homeless, to name a few.
- Hands On Santa Clarita - Provides support and resources to build non- profit capacity and connect local non-profit organizations with volunteers, groups, and businesses to meet the needs of the community
- Mental Health America Los Angeles - Serves adults and transition-age youth who are facing mental health needs and do not have financial resources, including Veterans and people who are homeless or have been homeless. MHALA uses an integrated, comprehensive service model that meets each individual where they are and tailors services to each person’s needs. We work in partnership with those we serve. Our services are strength-based and delivered by teams of interdisciplinary professionals.
Encourage young people to use their creativity to develop videos about important topics, such as mental health and suicide prevention.
- Directing Change Student Video Contest - Young people ages 14 to 25 have the opportunity to create 60-second films about mental health and suicide prevention. Films can be viewed and downloaded at no cost
- Youth Cinema Project - Students respond to the stress of filmmaking in a safe environment, learning to become more self-aware and manage their emotions. Their interpersonal skills grow and their empathy expands as they discover that they have to build a team to make a film. Every student, no matter his or her academic background, writes from experience, learns the value of their voice and promotes their ideas, verbally and in writing.
- Art With Impact link - Monthly short film competition and Voices With Impact short film production grants for short films, five minute or less, that explore issues related to mental health. Films are available for viewing at the web site. AWI uses film and theatre to create spaces where young people and community can explore mental wellness through the arts. Each workshop directly connects young people with local mental health resources and encourages early help-seeking. Movies for Mental Health (M4MH) are 2-hour workshops on college and university campuses that focus on empowering young adults, educators, health professionals and community members to gain a better understanding of mental health within their environment
- Lime green has emerged as the national color for mental health awareness. Show your support by wearing a lime green ribbon and sharing why you care about mental health with others. You can get a free, lime green ribbon at eachmindmatters.org
Be The Difference
Be the Difference SCV is part of California’s mental health movement. Each Mind Matters is California’s Mental Health Movement. Each Mind Matters is made up of millions of individuals and thousands of organizations working to advance mental health. Here are a few great tools from Each Mind Matters that you can use in your community:
- Use social media to start a conversation about mental health in your network. Not sure what to say or how to start a conversation online? Check out this short video about how to start a conversation online: vimeo.com
- When you hear someone misstate the facts about mental health, respectfully speak out and correct the person. Here are some great tips for starting a conversation about mental health and some facts to share: vimeo.com
- There are so many ways to get involved in California’s mental health movement! Take a pledge for mental health, spread the word or share your story at: eachmindmatters.org
- Link Up with Be the Difference SCV social media: Facebook | Instagram