To promote Mental Health Awareness, YAP's YES Waiver Program in Harris County, TX held a "Cure Stigma" Carnival for youth and their parents. Program staff and other individuals volunteered their assistance and time and funding for the event was provided by a local golf tournament - HEB Tournament of Champions.
The event included:
- Carnival food: popcorn, Frito pies, chili cheese dogs, cotton candy, cracker jacks, cookies and drinks
- Activities: Basketball double shot arcade, soda ring toss, therapeutic games, cure stigma work books, motivation canvas painting, vision boards, live DJ, raffles every 30 minutes for therapeutic games, obstacle course, photo station, story sharing, dancing, stigma free pledge, psycho-education, and a grand prize for AMC gift cards for an entire family. Youth were able to earn tickets for prizes just for participating.
- Giveaways: Each youth also left with a "Know Knowledge, Not Stigma" backpack filled with supplies and coping tools
- Presentation by Angelina Hudson, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) representative that focused on the stigma that surrounds mental illness and ways to avoid and address it.
On NAMI's website, they describe the Stigma Free movement this way:
"Stigma is when someone, or even you yourself, views a person in a negative way just because they have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as a feeling of shame or judgement from someone else. Stigma can even come from an internal place, confusing feeling bad with being bad.
Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support and living well.
Learning how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us, especially when you realize stigma’s effects."