[1/2 sheet flyer]
Mental Health Dignity Dialogues
Saturday May 24th in Aston Park, Asheville
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Due to concerns about looming clouds and damp ground leading to poor attendance, event organizers re-scheduled the May 10th dialogue to MAY 24th, a week from Saturday.
We’ve worked hard to create materials to support a good conversation and hope that people will take the opportunity to visit with other folks in the community and talk about what we mean when we say “Respect My Dignity” and how individuals and communities can support awareness of ways that mental health stigma can result in loss of dignity, which contributes to struggles with low self worth and distorted self perception.
Here are some notes of the loose structure of the event, which may be modified based on feedback and need. For the purpose of being able to generate a report of insights gained in dialogue, we may have some various feedback and inquiry sheets that people may voluntarily use to share ideas, suggestions, or statements.
Dialogue on Mental Health and Dignity
Saturday, May 24th, Aston Park, 4:00-6:00pm
4:00 – 4:15 settle in…
4:15 – welcome, overview of the afternoon, thanks to people, acknowledgment that this is the first time Magnetic Minds and the ARMHC have put something together…together. note how cool that is. Thank people for being a part of things.
4:25/4:30 – go over what we’re going to be doing
– small groups of 3-4, in small groups, introduce yourself and let people know why you came out to sit in the park and discuss dignity in mental health.
– use brochure to begin an open ended discussion, first defining dignity…spend some time on how dignity feels to you, and the ways that we might, as individuals,
maintain an internal sense of dignity, respect, and self-worth even if in potentially indignifying situations.
Discuss specific ways that service providers and the public can be proactive in reducing stigma by respecting the worth and dignity of complex individuals with difficult lived experiences and diagnoses of mental illness.
Please write these ideas down!
Discuss ways that individuals can advocate for themselves and assert their right to dignity in ways that might be effective in communicating respect.
What happens when individuals feel indignified? How can we respond – as individuals and as a community – to mental health stigma that denies dignity?
Focus on a few questions, identify themes, or ideas/experiences that a couple different people might share. Common points of understanding that people might come back to or meet at.
5:00 – Brief check in with groups, decide whether or not to dialogue in small groups for another 15 minutes
5:00/5:15 – small groups re-converge in larger group and discusses common themes, not everyone has to speak, but it’d be great to hear about what the process brought up for people.
5:30 – 5:40 – closing of the dialogue, follow-up, mailing list, announcement of how to stay in touch, ways to offer feedback, invitation for people to stay after the vigil of remembrance and commitment to hope for those who cannot be with us.
5:45 – 6:00 – Gather, introduce the space we are holding in honor of those who have been lost, and those who cannot or are not with us today due to suicide or struggle, ask that people hold in their heart a hope that we will collectively find new ways of seeing people who might struggle, new ways of seeing ourselves in our own struggles, and that we will begin to know what helps and what heals, so that as individuals, families, and communities, we might better be able to live our full and dignified lives as people who feel safe and upheld in who we are, always standing as tall as we can, together, finding light.
6:00 – 6:15/6:30 – re-orienting and check ins, farewells, follow-ups, re-folding a chair or two.
Aston Park is located on the corner of S. French Broad and Hilliard in central Asheville.
Mental health activists in eight states are organizing to dialogue about dignity and mental health treatment as part of the annual celebration of Mental Health Month. In North Carolina groups will meet Saturday, May 10, in Aston Park, at French Broad and Hilliard in Asheville from 4 to 6 p.m. Participants are asked to bring blankets or chairs and the first name of someone who has been lost to suicide, who is struggling or missing, for a closing remembrance vigil.
The idea started when a group of people in recovery from mental illness began talking about the need to raise their voices “to promote the dignity of every person and to continue the fight against the prejudice and discrimination associated with mental health conditions,” said one of the state organizers. Soon the idea spread to California, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia.
Mental Health Dignity Day is a national partner with Creating Community Solutions, which is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the White House as a part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health. To find out more visit http://www.mentalhealthdignityday.org
Local hosts of the Dignity Dialogues in Asheville are Magnetic Minds, a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance support group, meeting on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons at Family Preservation Service on Patton Avenue and the Asheville Radical Mental Health Collective which meets on Tuesdays at the Eagle St. Coffee Emporium.