How might we start a conversation that de-stigmatizes mental health issues?
After learning that suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death for Idaho teens, a group of One Stone students decided to do something to change this alarming statistic. Through the design thinking process, they learned that one of the greatest challenges related to mental health was the stigma surrounding it. To address that head on, the team developed ECHO, a day-long event to start a peer-to-peer conversation about mental health and suicide prevention. Included in the event was a training in the Sources of Strength program, a best practices youth suicide prevention project that utilizes the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture.
To keep the conversation going, the team created the #echostrength movement, a social media campaign designed to share the message of support. Students identified 3 (or more!) people they would reach out to and always be a source of strength for. The team took pictures of their hands to illustrate this, and shared it on social media with the following message:
"Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens in Idaho. Together we can change this. Reach out your hand and show you care NOW by joining our #echostrength movement to speak out and become sources of strength for each other. Step 1- write Echo on your palm. Step 2- write three names on your fingers who you pledge to be there for. Step 3- take a picture, repost the caption, tag three or more people, and share it on social media."
In post-event survey results from the event, 97% of the participants reported a change in their perspective on mental health challenges changed, and 100% said that they felt more comfortable supporting someone in need after the event.