The CUNY Dispute Resolution Center and MH Mediate host a number of mental health dialogue events. Our first major event was part of the White House National Dialogue on Mental Health. It was one of the first events in the country, the first in New York City, and the first to include participants from a variety of stakeholder perspectives. Afterwards, we led a webinar teaching other organizers across the country how hold an inclusive, diverse mental health conversation event.
National Dialogue on Mental Health
A White House Initiative
On July 23,2013 MH Mediate and the CUNY Dispute Resolution Center facilitated community conversations about mental health, as part of the White House’s National Dialogue on Mental Health. Our conversations focused on important questions including:
- How does mental health stigma affect our society, and how can we address it?
- What obstacles exist to communicating about mental health, and how can we overcome them?
- What strategies can we promote to ensure access to mental health resources?
Our event was one of the first in a national effort to host future dialogues on mental health. Our goal was to emphasize neutrality and diversity across different mental health perspectives. Participants were very energized and left positive feedback about having the ability to share their differing views in an open, nonjudgmental space.
Some Participant Feedback
- “Informative; helpful, lively discussion. Well organized. Very open.”
- “Discussion groups comprised of people with varying professional backgrounds. What a wonderful mix!! Very informative.”
- “The facilitators were great and we had a diverse group with great experiences and ideas. It was wonderful to be able to discuss what needs to be done to help end discrimination and stigma, to help make people with mental illness feel more a part of this country.”
- “I liked the break-out discussion style for brainstorming issues and suggestions for change. I think this was an effective format for facilitating discussion. I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such an important effort.”
More Dialogue Events
Throughout 2015 and 2016, we convened more dialogue events including a second event following our National Dialogue on Mental Health format and a series of Mental Health Conversation events focused on empowering people to have effective conversations on such topics as “Needs” and “Lifestyles.”
A Model for Other Organizers
Creating Community Solutions invited us to host a webinar to help train all future organizers to have an inclusive dialogue. The replay is available below: