May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, which offers NARSAD Grants to help fund research aimed at understanding and treating neurological disorders, is spreading the word by launching a new campaign titled #ScienceStopsStigma.
Each day during the month of May, the organization plans to post messages on its social media channels that feature statistics, facts, myths and infographics about brain and behavior research. Each post will include the two hashtags: #ScienceStopsStigma and #MHMonth2015.
— BBRFoundation (@BBRFoundation) April 30, 2015
The goal of the posts, the foundation said in an email statement, is to:
“achieve broad social media interaction by asking people to like, share and comment on these posts. By spreading the word about the importance of brain science research we hope to help remove stigma from mental illness.”
The campaign is urging people to share its Facebook and Twitter posts, to create their own posts using the hashtags, to update profile photos with the above logo, and to download its outreach toolkit, complete with key statistics in the form of pre-made tweets like:
More people live with #mentalillness than use #Facebook. #ScienceStopsStigma #MHMonth2015
In urging its supporters and others to get involved, the foundation explains:
“Someone you know is affected by a brain and behavior disorder and is waiting for the scientific breakthrough that may cure their illness and ultimately stop the stigma. We hope you will join us, remember there is strength in numbers!”
As a person with a neurological condition and with loved ones living with mental illness, I find this to be a particularly fine-tuned campaign aimed at perhaps the greatest challenges those with such conditions face (aside from the disorders themselves) — a lack of understanding by the public, and a lack of knowledge and treatment options available through medical professionals.
As awareness spreads and research is funded, hopefully both issues will continue being addressed with greater effectiveness, and campaigns like one may just lead the charge.