College Toolbox Project announces anti-stigma campaign competition

  • March 24, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington students will have an opportunity this spring to design campaigns against the stigma of mental illness and pitch their ideas to actress Glenn Close and executive director Pamela Harrington of the national organization Bring Change 2 Mind.

The competition is sponsored by the U Bring Change 2 Mind College Toolbox Project, an Indiana University partnership aimed at harnessing the energy and talent of the millennial generation to develop a systematic program aimed at reducing the stigma of mental illness in the college community.

Proposals for public awareness campaigns are due by April 10. Teams will present their proposals April 27 to 29 to Close and Harrington, and winners will be announced April 29.

“The unique thing about Bring Change 2 Mind is that all of its efforts are based on science,” said Susan Barnett, a doctoral student in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and manager of the College Toolbox Project. “Students bring a unique perspective to any new efforts, and Bring Change 2 Mind is looking for new ideas and approaches that will come from the student generation.”

Entries are invited in several categories, including full public awareness campaigns, video and audio public service announcements, print materials, promotional materials and artistic representations.

Teams can include two to 15 students. Proposals should lay out the problem, justify the choice of a target audience and develop campaign materials. Projects will be evaluated on rigor, creativity and evidence-based conclusions supported by research.

Winning teams will be eligible for $1,000 prizes. The winning team for the full campaign proposal will send four members to New York to present its ideas at the third annual Bring Change 2 Mind Gala. For more about the anti-stigma campaign competition, see details on the College Toolbox Project website.

The College Toolbox Project is a partnership between Indiana University and its students with Bring Change 2 Mind, a national foundation led by Close, whose sister and nephew live with mental illness. The student-driven project seeks to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and to encourage students with mental health issues to get the help they need.

Bernice Pescosolido, Distinguished Professor of Sociology in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences and an authority on mental illness and stigma, is a member of the national Bring Change 2 Mind board of directors and chairs the organization’s advisory council.

Research shows that stigma can be a major obstacle to effective treatment for people who experience mental illness. It can produce discrimination in jobs, housing, medical care and relationships and have a negative impact on the quality of life. But studies have also found that education and the creation of inclusive social networks can reduce prejudice illness and lessen discrimination.

Partners in the College Toolbox Project, in addition to Bring Change 2 Mind and IU Bloomington, include the Jed Foundation, the United Kingdom campaign Time to Change, the national young-adult organization Active Minds and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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Susan Barnett

  • The College Toolbox Project