Why NDWS is the Most Important Day of the Year

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Sure, National Day Without Stigma is sometimes regarded as the nerdy cousin of the uber popular Stress Less Week, but that doesn’t mean it’s less important. Thoughtful programming during NDWS can set you up for an entire year’s worth of outstanding impact on campus.

It sets the stage. Everything you’ll do for the rest of the year–every program, every tabling event–will be rooted in the messages of NDWS. Stigma and discrimination are harmful, silencing epidemics that cause people to shut down and remain silent, and that silence can have devastating impacts for all of us. NDWS is your chance to make the case for speaking up.

 

It opens the door to help-seeking. Not only can your chapter use NDWS as a launching pad to talk about help-seeking throughout the year, but the Counselors Out of the Center activity humanizes the act of help-seeking. Invite your counselors to the student union, dining hall, or other gathering place on campus to get them out and meeting students as people, not just counselors.

Chris Traeger from Parks & Rec:

It’s an opportunity for positivity. Each message you draw for Chalk Out Stigma (or flyer-out stigma if chalking is a no-no on campus) will be positive and empowering. Let people know they matter, their lives matter, and that they have the support of the community.

Positive bunny says: Whenever you are struggling, remember the times you have succeeded and survived, and know that you can make it through.

It opens up conversations. National Day Without Stigma is your opportunity to speak up and provoke debate about the discrimination and injustice you see around mental health, both on campus and in the wider society. This is a time to have meaningful conversations about what it means when people mock the mentally ill, why language is important, and how to recognize the safe, understanding people to talk to.

It connects you to the Active Minds Movement. NDWS is celebrating its 10th anniversary this fall! Join hundreds of other chapters across the country and throughout the last decade who carry the work of NDWS forward year after year.

National Day Without Stigma: Rooting Out Stigma

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National Day Without StigmaWhen we think about stigma, we often consider its most basic manifestations. Egregious use of words like “crazy,” “insane,” “maniacal,” “looney,” or “psycho.” We hear the weather being characterized as “bipolar” or “schizophrenic,” and slender people dismissed out-of-hand as “anorexic.”

We also think about people who, upon hearing someone lives with a mental illness, suddenly treats them differently–as if they are less than.

These microaggressions are harmful, they raise my hackles, and I would love to erase them from all human existence. Yet I know that to do so would be seeking to kill a weed by only pulling out the leaves and stem. In order to eliminate stigma we must take today to think about how we are going to root out its causes, and then commit to doing so for the next 364.

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5 Ways to Act on National Day Without Stigma

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Today is our favorite day of the year: National Day Without Stigma. It exists to eliminate the shame and discrimination surrounding mental health disorders by creating communities of understanding, support, and help-seeking.

Here are 5 ways you can help to stomp out stigma:

1. Sign (and share) the #MHUnity Pledge

Don’t worry, by signing you’re not losing your voice! We want you to use it to erase stigma!

Help to end the silence by adding your name to the Active Minds Pledge for Mental Health Unity to promote communities of solidarity and support for people with mental health concerns. Display a sticker in your space to encourage others to start a conversation about mental health and feel safe in doing so. Continue Reading

Get Your Fundraise on for National Day Without Stigma

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Official NDWS LogoOn October 5th, campuses around the world come together to celebrate National Day Without Stigma. It is a powerful day that creates a space for individuals working together to end the discrimination around mental health and create communities of understanding and support.

You will be joined by more than 400 chapters on this day, united by the call to change the conversation about mental health and we want to help you make it better than ever! Here are some of the many, many, ways that chapters have participated in National Day Without Stigma in the past and how you can also combine fundraising and programming to make the biggest impact possible this October:

At the University of Virginia, a chapter ate away stigma by holding a “Cookie Decorating” display. Students decorated cookies using four different colors of frosting to solidify the concept that one in four students suffer from mental illness. To turn this fun, edible event into a fundraiser, ask for an optional donation for each cookie decorated.

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5 Things you can do to end the stigma surrounding mental illness

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Today is our day, stigma fighters — it’s National Day Without Stigma! We’ve got five tips for you to help combat the stigma surrounding mental illness today and everyday. Keep up the good work and use these tools to fight stigma on your campus.

1. Sign the Mental Health Unity Pledge. We’re really excited to unveil today a brand new Active Minds program that seeks to create safe spaces for people to speak openly about mental health. Sign the Pledge and receive a sticker, to hang up in your dorm room or in your car. This will symbolize to other people that it is a safe space to talk about mental illness. Together, we can help create a community where no one is afraid to speak out.

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