Mental Health and My Community

a carving of a hand holding up a tree branch in a park

Welcome back to part three of this series!  Everyone can become skilled in exploring and supporting mental health needs. In light of the high demand for mental health services but the shortage of appropriate professionals, it might be useful to separate where you and your team can help vs. support members in your community. Support and help can result in similar, even identical outcomes, but they’re different approaches. The main difference is that help does something to or for a person, while support does something with the person. 

  • Help: people who are offering help are external to a crisis and tell a person/people how to respond. They have knowledge and tools to best address factors contributing to the crisis. People experiencing a crisis moment may not have the capacity to lead the conversation, instead, they depend on the help to be appropriate, culturally responsive, and effective, usually from a trained professional.  
  • Support: people who are offering support are external to a crisis and do not tell a person/people how to respond. Instead, a supportive response asks questions to understand the context of what is going on and problem-solves collaboratively. People directly impacted co-lead the conversation and identify the best next step. 

This week spend no more than 15 minutes making two lists considering the purpose of your program, the skill set of your team, and the resources available to you. In the first five minutes, brainstorm answers to these questions:

  • What are the services/interactions where you can appropriately and effectively help those around you experiencing a mental health challenge? 
  • In the past six months, what are requests for mental health support that fall outside of your team’s expertise but could be reasonably met through warm hand-offs to another team or partner organization?

Now, take five minutes to identify how other organizations and resources in your community can become natural partners (or already are!). If it makes sense to explore deeper relationships, use this peer-to-peer outreach planning guide to kick-start your next steps. 

That is all for this week! As usual, feel free to reply directly to this email with your responses and ideas related to this week’s focus. See you next week for our final theme centering youth and young adults. 

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This toolkit was released as a newsletter series in May 2023. Learn more about new training and funding opportunities, news and policy updates, and how we can collectively strengthen outcomes for youth and young adults. Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest delivered straight to your inbox.