Develop your idea
Before applying, you’ll need an idea that brings awareness to child and youth mental health or aims to decrease stigma around mental illness.
Jump-start your imagination with these questions:
- What do you feel is the biggest mental health issue that troubles children and youth today?
- Are there youth services, programs or initiatives that you feel are missing from your school or community?
- What topic(s) do you feel passionate about that you would want to educate and inspire others about?
- Can you think of someone who inspires you to learn and grow as a person? What about this person inspires you?
- Can you think of a specific issue or challenge in your school or community that has always made you want to take action?
If terms like “mental illness” and “stigma” are new to you, check out some of the definitions below:
What is mental health?
When someone is mentally healthy it means that your moods, thoughts, and behaviours are generally positive. Everyone has ups and downs, but finding a balance is how one can stay mentally healthy. Being mentally healthy is more than just the absence of mental disorders or illness; it is just like physical health. Eating well, getting enough sleep, working/learning, and making time for family, friends and for yourself are all ways to keep that balance.
What is mental illness?
Mental illness, also known as a mental or psychiatric disorder is a diagnosable issue with one’s mental health. There are many different mental illnesses out there, including: mood disorders like depression, anxiety disorders like social phobia, and eating disorders like anorexia, just to name a few. Symptoms of a mental illness can be brought on by painful/traumatic events, stress, drug or alcohol use, lack of sleep etc. Although not everyone understands mental illness, we are all affected by it either directly or indirectly, through a family member, a friend, a neighbour or a classmate. Having a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact 20% of youth will experience mental health difficulties at some point.
What is stigma?
Stigma is a social disapproval of a person or group of people because they may be different from what one feels is normal. When people lack knowledge about something it often manifests as fear or hatred toward the person or group of people who are misunderstood. Mental illness is not the only thing that stigma surrounds; things like physical disabilities, sexual preference or race/culture/nationality can all be stigmatized subjects. Stigma is a barrier many people have to live with everyday and it can be damaging to everyone.
What is mental health promotion?
Mental Health promotion is anything that aims to educate people about the importance of mental health and dispel common misconceptions about mental illness (i.e. people who have a mental illness are crazy!). There are various ways you can help educate your peers and community about mental health/illness and one big way is to create your very own Dare to Dream project!
Now that you know the basics, it’s your turn to start imagining all of the possibilities to promote child and youth mental health in your community.
If you need inspiration, take a look at our project showcase!
Are you sure you and your idea are eligible for Dare to Dream? If not, check our general guidelines.