Over 5 years, leading researchers evaluated 60 anti-stigma programs. HEADSTRONG was born from the best evidence. This school programme inspires youth ages 12-18 to Be Brave, Reach Out and Speak Up about mental health. HEADSTRONG teaches students how to reduce stigma and become mental health champions in their schools. It challenges students to examine the dangers of stereotypes and the harm created by stigma.
How does HEADSTRONG work?
A 2-part model for change:
1) The Summit
A summit brings together small groups of students from various schools for an exciting day of learning.
– hear stories of hope and recovery from speakers with lived experience
– participate in stigma-busting activities
– design action plans to use when they return to school
A Summit Team supports the event, striving to ensure summit participants have a great experience and the goals of the summit are reached.
2) Taking HEADSTRONG to schools
Student summit attendees start an in-school HEADSTRONG committee with other interested students and the support of a staff member. Students use their own creativity and use using a schools’ based Activity Tool Kit to hold awareness and education activities for the whole school.
These activities usually take place once or twice a month and can be simple as simple as a poster display, or more involved like a resource fair or student assembly.