Friday, January 25, 2013

Planning for Awareness Activities -- NCMHAD 2013

At the PACE (Parents And Caregivers Empowered) meeting on Thursday, January 24th, I had the priviledge of facilitating a discussion with almost 100 parents and youth about what we as family members want to do to make our communities aware of the importance of children's mental health. SAMHSA has declared May 9th as the designated National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day for 2013, and we want to be ready to make an impact!
We had lots of great ideas and volunteers to specifically step-up and take leadership roles for things like coordinating poster contests, coloring contests, mayor proclamations, food donations for a "block party" event, and even more ways to involve as many community members as possible. At the end of the planning session there was a sense of excitement and a feeling of unity because we all have a common goal of educating others and creating awareness of the real facts about mental health and our families.

Following that discussion, my very good friend, April Scales, introduced a new campaign idea to us parents that she feels very passionate about and that we would like to see develop in our communities. The campaign is called "OUCH!" and is a concept from Leslie Aguilar's "Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts!" The Ouch Campaign follows the simple principle of standing up for others that may not be able to stand up for themselves when they are ridiculed, demeaned, or discriminated against. When you hear somebody say something that is offensive, and you're pretty sure that someone in the room probably felt the sting of those words -- all you have to do is say "Ouch." Sometimes, people don't know that they are hurting others with their words and just need some simple re-directing of their word choices. Or, if someone is intentionally being hurtful, then the person who is the target needs a friend to stand up and say 'I have your back, and what that person said is not ok.' "Ouch" becomes a simple way to change stigmatized messages and lift others up that may have frequently been the victim of judgement or ridicule.

With the rampant spread of awareness about bullying, it has become everyone's responsibility to not let classmates, coworkers, neighbors, or even family members target others and make them feel badly about themselves. I love the idea of the "Ouch" Campaign and I will be doing everything that I can to help my friend April establish the message in our communities. It applies so strongly to mental health and so many other things too. If you have additional ideas about sharing the message of "Ouch!"-- we would love to hear it! Just leave a comment or email me at or April at

No comments:

Post a Comment