Mental Health and Society 1: Supporting Friends and Family


Since one in five people may be living with a mental illness, chances are you know someone who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder. As support is an essential aspect of both recovering from mental illness and maintaining positive mental health, it is important to understand the appropriate steps you can take to support friends and family members living with mental illness. This activity will help you understand the experience of living with mental illness by watching videos created by and about people living with mental illness. You will also reflect on the best ways to support friends and family members in an online class discussion. Be sure to visit the Supporting Friends and Family Folder in Class Files to find a variety of resources on this topic. You can also make use of the lists of resources that you and your classmates created in the last activity.


1. Watch at least 2 of the following videos:

  • Dude Got Back
  • Superhero: A Visual Poem
  • The Cure: A Visual Poem
  • Danielle's Story

    2. Check out What a Difference a Friend Makes and complete the interactive video activity.

    3. Think about the struggles and accomplishments of the individuals in the videos. What kind of support did they give/receive? Imagine if one of these individuals were a friend or family member. What steps would you take to support them? Post your reflections in the thread for this assignment in Class Discussions. Be sure to select the appropriate assignment from the pulldown menu at the bottom of your submission. Read and respond to at least one of your classmate's posts.

    Optional In-Class Activity:

    In small groups, develop a series of tableaus that represent situations of families dealing with mental health issues. Try to include all the different perspectives you discussed among your group as well as the coping strategies you found in your research.

    Learning Objectives

    • Reflect on the experience of living with mental illness
    • Reduce the stigma associated with living with a mental illness
    • Understand the appropriate steps that can be taken to support friends and family members living with mental illness

      Continue to Mental Health and Society 2: Mental Health and the Workplace »

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