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Text, Talk, Act: Results and How to Continue

Last week, on Dec. 5, thousands of people across the country joined Creating Community Solutions in a “Text, Talk, and Act,” a nationwide discussion on mental health via text. Participants met in groups of 4-5 to talk about the importance of mental health, their personal experiences, and what they could do to make a difference.

The initiative was designed to engage high school and college students in particular, using technology that is ubiquitous in their lives. Over 600 phones (and approx. 2,400 people) joined in to “Text, Talk, and Act” last Thursday.

NCDD is one of the organizing groups for Creating Community Solutions, and we contributed to this innovative project in several ways — including designing the infographic used to publicize the event!

Here’s a photo collage that one of our participant groups (the team @JCFNmemphis) submitted to us…

JCFN-MemphisThe discussion questions were designed to provide a safe space for candid dialogue on mental health, one of the most critical and misunderstood public issues we face. During the conversation, groups were asked to respond to polling questions related to mental health. Results from the live polling questions were tabulated almost instantly, so people could see how participants across the country responded.

Many of the participants reported that mental health is very important in their lives: 59% of respondents said that they thought about mental health every day and 69% said that it was extremely important to them.

During the conversation, participants discussed what schools and communities are doing well to support mental health. “Having understanding psychologists and social workers in the school systems really helps the students feel comfortable talking about their problems,” one participant answered. Other responses included support groups, open discussions, and early intervention. Some participants noted that we need more attention and programs to address mental health challenges: “In our community, no one is really trying anything. We think more legislators who are personally involved in actively caring for those with mental health issues need to be open advocates.”

The process also provided an opportunity for participants to discuss actions they can take to strengthen mental health on their campuses and in their communities. Some of the action ideas included starting nonprofits, raising awareness, and continuing the conversation on mental health in their school or community. Participants also noted that individual, everyday actions can make a difference as well: “Allow my actions to show I am someone who you can talk to when people need to.”

View more results from the polling questions and additional actions you can take at: www.creatingcommunitysolutions.org/texttalkact

We are also on Storify! Review the event here: http://bit.ly/TextTalkActStory

If you weren’t able to participate last week, you can now – we’ve left the texting platform open. Taking part is easy: just gather a few friends, colleagues, or fellow students, and text START to 89800 any time you like.

Help make this bigger and better by referring a friend, posting or tweeting about #texttalkact, and using the texting platform to suggest ways for us to improve the experience.

Thanks to everyone who participated last week, and keep texting, talking, and acting!

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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