Although there are many governmental and nationwide schemes to help those suffering from mental health issues, there are many actions that you can take in your local community to help people in need. With many US citizens suffering from a variety of mental health issues, it is essential to know how you can make a difference. There is a range of ways that you can make an impact on your community, and here are some of the best.
Take a Social Work Course
Deciding to pursue a career in mental health services is a big decision to make, and yet will put you on the path of a fulfilling and meaningful career where you can actively make a difference to not only the lives of people in your community, but in your state. There are many different options for those looking for a career in mental health services, from nurse related positions, counselors, and psychologists. One of the best positions that you should consider is a career in clinical social work, as this will allow you to combine your desire to help your community and those in need, with opportunities to progress into any specialisms such as outpatient care and child welfare. To find a career in social work, you should take a degree in social work; in Florida, Florida State University offers online MSW programs in Social Work so that you are able to get a good real-life and practical knowledge of social work, as well as the necessary experience, from the comfort of your own home.
Run a Mental Health Screening
Over 1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental health problems every year. If you want to help your community’s mental health care proactively, you should attempt to set up a mental health screening in your area. These online-based screening programs allow residents in your local community to complete professional questionnaires that will highlight any issues which they should seek further help with. This can help to encourage people in need to reach out for help and suggest the best support that is available for their diagnosis. Raising awareness of the possibility of this in your local community is vital as this can help more people to get the help that they need, and lower the suicide rates in your area. If you want to find out more about the program, there are a range of webinars online which discuss the best ways to get your community involved with this scheme and the previous impact that it has had in other communities. It also gives you the opportunity to read more about mental health and educate yourself about the statistics.
Host Mental Health Talks
Another good way of getting your community engaged with mental health issues is to host a series of events in your community, such as mental health talks and lectures which you can run yourself. All you need to be able to do this is the ability to hire a communal space which is central and accessible for your community, and one which can hold the number of people interested. One of the best ways to run a talk is to ask already long-standing groups such as senior clubs and societies, or even schools and colleges, whether you can host a talk at one of their sessions, which non-members of the society can attend.
Volunteer in Your Community
If you want to help mental health in your area but are concerned about the level of commitment that is necessary, you should strongly consider volunteering. Volunteering can include everything from a coffee and chat with a local senior to helping with national mental health charities such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It means that you can help others around your other commitments while ensuring that your community gets the support that they need.
Give Residents Access to Educational Resources
It is also essential, however, that the residents of your community have a good understanding of mental illnesses, their symptoms, the available help, and how to support family members or friends who are suffering from mental illnesses. To do this, you should make educational resources available to residents, through options like setting up a stall at a community event or fair and distributing leaflets in the village or even through doors.
Start a Blog or Digital Content
For the young and tech-savvy members of your community, you should also consider starting a mental health blog or creating digital content such as vlogs which deal with mental illness topics. You can raise awareness of some of the best apps for mental health for laptops and mobile phones on these. Through these, you can raise awareness of mental illnesses and its main issues, and even share your own personal experiences with others.