Name of Innovative Program:
1,2,3 -- Then Me
Think Again Group (aka TAG)
Name of Innovative Program Lead:
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
The 1,2,3 Then Me project is the latest in a series of local initiatives the Think Again Group (aka TAG) www.facebook.com/TAG.Cortland or http://www.sevenvalleyshealth.org/projects/behavioral.htmhas undertaken to address the stigma associated with mental illness. TAG worked with a variety of traditional human service and non-traditional partners to create a 15 minute film to be shown in health classes.We began by separately interviewing four young adults with lived experience within the mental health system, seeking to gain an understanding of what types of things were helpful to them within the mental health system, what types of barriers did they face when trying to access help and how did stigma impact their help-seeking behaviors.We then worked with a local film student who designed a dramatization of a fictional High School Health fair focusing on four students whose topic was mental health. SUNY theatre class provided the actors/actresses. Footage from the real individuals was interspersed with the filmWe shared the video with local high school health classes, including a pre/post test and evaluation to measure change in attitudes. We made a number of hard copy videos for distribution and created a companion website and facilitators guide. http://www.123thenme.org/
Creativity and Innovation:
This project was creative in a number of ways including but not necessarily limited to;
- Its use of real life experience
- Collaboration with a wide variety of partners e.g. educators, college students, parents etc.
- Use of a dedicated workgroup to operationalize all elements of the work plan
- Rigorous evaluation (see attached)
- Developing a teachers facilitation guide that matches core standards in the NYS health curriculum
- Developing a companion website with additional resources
The entire premise of the project is to use young adults with lived experience to share their stories, struggles and ultimately successes with mental illness. By role modeling and exploring personal stories that provide hope and encouragement when it comes to help seeking and recovery, we provide a strong sense of empowerment and leadership potential to those who view the film.It is the leadership and courage of the 4 young adults who share their stories that resonates throughout the video, ultimately placing a real face to the issue of mental illness. Their stories provide a sense of normalization and hope to participants.The project both positively influence attitudes toward those with mental illness and affects help seeking behaviors. It is believed that many of these positively impacted students and young adults will become leaders among their peer group, acting as ambassadors, helping others to Think Again about mental illness.
The projects web site as well as the ability to reproduce the video work to address sustainability. With high school health classes being the target audience there will be an entirely new cohort of students who can view the film every year or two without having to develop a completely new project (the film was produced from the onset with the intention of eliminating any dated references) One of the biggest driving factors surrounding sustainability is the TAG workgroup itself. The workgroup has been in existence since 2006 and remains committed to promoting positive, proactive messages of wellness and recovery in the area. We have a broad base of support and experience who lend their passion and talents to the ongoing efforts.Only a portion of the 4 hours of raw footage from the individuals was used for the 1,2,3 Project, allowing additional material for use in similar projects.
From the early stages, TAG felt it had designed something that could be easily replicated in format as well as process in other communities; specifically the video and web-based format with companion resources and guides. The use of multi-media to reach youth is a format that further lends itself to ease of replication.The themes and shared experiences described by the four individuals are not unique to our community and as such lend a certain element of replication.TAG also discussed early on our belief that the format of the project provides the ability to modify the same basic concept to reach other populations e.g. elderly, men, veterans etc. to encourage help seeking and address stigma.The TAG group is also a firm believer in collaborating and sharing with others. We have expressed a willingness to work with other communities in order to share our experiences and ‘lessons learned’.
Measuring success and impact was addressed from the beginning. TAG was fortunate to work with a volunteer who has experience doing formative and summative evaluation. Evaluation was built in to the project from the very beginning and the local schools within the county all agreed to participate in that part of the process. The initial results show that the project was effective in reducing stigma, the primary objective of the initiative. The primary tool used was the “Revised Attribution Questionnaire”. The final evaluation report is attached.