"I wish people could understand that the brain is the most important organ of our body. Just because you can't see mental illness like you could see a broken bone, doesn't mean it's not as detrimental or devastating to a family or an individual."
- Demi Lovato
In SJ Engage's very first year, we received an overwhelming amount of teens and young adults who revealed that they're passionate about mental health. Specifically, the responses centered around the topics of depression and anxiety, and how they see their family and friends being affected by these mental disorders. It's a topic that's shrouded in stigma and we're here to break those barriers and start the conversation with the resources below.
Ready to get started? Click on the button below!
Resources - Nonfiction
Resources - Fiction
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – The nation's largest mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
- Bring Change to Mind (BC2M) – A San Francisco-based organization dedicated to ending the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.
- Momentum for Mental Health – The largest nonprofit provider of mental health services in Santa Clara County offering treatment for adults, teens and families experiencing serious mental illness.
- New virtual platform connects Santa Clara County youth with mental health services
- This teen, who attempted suicide seven times, builds apps that save her life and others
- San José conference focuses on LGBT suicides
- Most U.S. Teens See Anxiety and Depression as a Major Problem Among Their Peers – The latest Pew Research Center data on social and demographic trends.
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357) – SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – NIMH offers authoritative information about mental disorders, a range of related topics, and the latest mental health research.
This toolkit is just a framework for facilitating an SJ Engage Circle.
Sample Discussion Questions
Take a minute: Think of just one word, phrase, or image that relates to why you think it is difficult for us to talk about mental health issues. Write it down if you wish, or draw a picture.
- What does mental health mean to me? What does mental health mean to us?
- What experiences in your life, work, school, or your family inform what you believe about mental health?
- In your experience, how are mental health issues affecting young people and the schools? How do mental health issues affect you and your peers?
- Do you think your cultural background influences how you think about mental health? If so, how?
- Why is mental health an important or not so important issue in your community?
- In your experience, how are mental health issues in the community intertwined with issues of substance abuse? How are they intertwined with physical health on an individual or community level?
Common Core: ELA Writing
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.9 – Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards: Action
- AC.9-12.17 – I take responsibility for standing up to exclusion, prejudice, and injustice.
This project has been made possible in part by a grant from Silicon Valley Community Foundation.