Taking Action

I am at the Snowbird resort outside Salt Lake City. The drive was gorgeous as fall foliage was peaking up the mountainsides. Golden trees everywhere, punctuated by evergreens. I am here to kick off our national network for the Grand Challenge to eliminate the stigma around mental health and substance use disorders. We have over 130 organizations present, including notables like the Carter Center and leadership from all major healthcare provider associations. We have organizations large and small, 200 people.

The Ad Council has joined our Grand Challenge. The Ad Council created Rosie the Riveter, Smokey the Bear, and Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk, among other icons of American culture. Tomorrow they will present how they influence behavior across the country. It will be the first of three presentations they share during our summit.

The real magic is in the participation, which is high. We started off the evening with personal storytelling at our reception. The room was a beehive! And the energy lifted as the evening went on. It feels like the timing is better than it has ever been for America to embrace mental health.

One harbinger is the National Alliance on Mental Illness‘s book, You Are Not Alone, released two weeks ago, already a bestseller with 14,000 copies sold. Mental health books never sell. This one is. It’s filled with real-life stories of people who give their names and tell how they have coped with various conditions. It also has practical advice from leaders in the field – it’s a manual for navigating mental health issues.

So exciting to be around enthusiastic people coming from their hearts, ready to work hard to make our world a better place. That’s what Grand Challenges are all about.

Where will you go this week to find people as passionate as you about something you care deeply about?

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
– Nelson Mandela

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