It’s okay to be different. The purpose of this program is to discuss mental illness and emphasize that it is nothing to be afraid of.
Remind the women that their mental health is just as important as their physical health.
- Give each woman a lime green ribbon to wear in honor of mental illness awareness.
- Share a “TED Talks” video about mental illness. https://www.ted.com/talks
- Share the warning signs of mental illness. Fifty percent of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and three–quarters begin by age 24. For information check the website: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/warning-signs-of-mental-illness or http://www.mayoclinic.org (search on mental health)
- Statistics: https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers
- Make stress balls using Play–Doh® and balloons. Check the website http://www.moonfrye.com/diy/diy-play-dough-stress-balls for instructions.
Information About Mental Illness
Prepare an informational sheet giving the websites and hotline telephone numbers for the women to take home with them.
A website for those struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder. There are resources and a chat–room for those seeking someone to talk to.
This online crisis network is the first network where 100% of its volunteers are trained and certified in crisis intervention. Chat with someone if you are in crisis or considering suicide.
This is a website that provides resources and learning tools on eating disorders. You can chat with someone about this issue.
This website is for those who struggle with body image. Read stories and learn about different resources on coping.
The goal of OK2TALK is to create a community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems. It encourages them to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories.
|Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center||1-888-694-2273|
|National Suicide Prevention Hotline||1-800-273-8255|
|Disaster Distress Hotline||1-800-985-5990|
|National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders||1-630-577-1330|
|National Crime Victim Helpline||1-800-394-2255|
|National Domestic Violence Hotline||1-800-799-7223|
|National Eating Disorder Association Helpline||1-800-931-2237|
|National Organization for Victim Assistance||1-800-879-6682|
|National Sexual Assault Hotline||1-800-656-4673|
|Obsessive Compulsive Anonymous Nationwide Conference Call||1-712-432-0075|
|Samaritan’s Crisis Hotline||1-212-673-3000|
|Crisis Call Center||1-800-273-8255|
Online websites to find support groups:
- www.afsp.org — American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- www.adaa.org — Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- www.coda.org — Co-Dependents Anonymous (for those who struggle with low self-esteem)
- www.dbsalliance.org — DBSA (Depression and Bi-polar Support Alliance)
- www.emotionsanonymous.org — Emotions Anonymous (for those struggling with self–esteem issues, loneliness, and other destructive feelings)
- www.anad.org — ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders)
- www.healgrief.org — Heal Grief (for those who are grieving)
- www.iocdf.org — International OCD Foundation
- www.sidran.org — Sidran Institute (for those struggling with PTSD)
To download these helpful applications go to the Apps Store on your phone.
- ThinkUp (This allows you to build your own self–improvement program using positive affirmations recorded using your voice. This technique has been proven to make our minds work for us.)
- 7 Cups (This allows people in emotional distress to connect with trained listeners for free, while completing a program track picked specifically for them.)
- MoodTrek (This allows you to track your moods and to be able to see any patterns and learn from them.)
- Happify (This application provides fun science–based activities and games to elevate happiness; choose a personalized happiness track created by experts; reduce stress and anxiety through guided relaxation/meditation; gain insights and track progress over time, and train your brain to overcome negative thoughts.)
- SAM (This allows people to record their anxiety levels. It includes 25 self–help options to help users cope with their anxiety. Users can also create a personalized anxiety toolkit.)
It’s Ok to Be Different
I remember the moment when my therapist said, “That’s enough. You need to see a psychiatrist. You need medicine to help you with your depression.” Never had I felt weaker, more lost, or broken than on that day. I thought I had a lost the battle with myself because I needed medicine to cope with everyday life. It was terrifying to think that I was different and thus wouldn’t be accepted.
Looking back, I realize that this was the beginning of a transformation and real change in my life. I’m still on the journey of discovering myself and finding out that having depression or a mental illness does not mean I am strange or unlovable. God wired me differently, and that’s okay. He loves and accepts me and wants me to be the best I can be.
Many times, we feel different than others in the world around us. We feel we are alone, outside the norm. It doesn’t take a mental illness to have these feelings. But we can have the assurance that God is always by our side, ready to take our hands when we reach out for Him. He is faithful. He is our Comfort in times of loneliness and sadness. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
The next time you feel that you’re different, remember that God made you unique and that’s perfectly okay. Let’s also remember that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. We need to pray for those who fight that battle daily. Let us educate ourselves on these matters and educate our children and those around us. Let us demonstrate the love of Christ to those who feel like they are too different to be accepted. Together, we can change the stigma of mental illness and help those who are struggling with it never to feel alone.