While mental health is getting more and more attention across the country, many people may still have misconceptions about mental illnesses and the people who struggle with them every day. But thanks to the efforts of the group Creating Community Solutions, tackling the stigmas of mental illness is as easy as texting.

Creating Community Solutions, part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health, is a non-profit group working to change the taboo nature of mental health issues. One of its newer initiatives is called Text, Talk, Act and is designed to help anyone with a  smartphone kick start the dialogue on mental health.

“Text, Talk, Act extends the National Dialogue on Mental Health to reach an important age group most in need of having this conversation,” says Raquel Goodrich, Director of Digital Communications at the National Institute for Civil Discourse.

To start the dialogue, just join a small group and text “START” to 89800. From there, participants will be led through a series of videos and prompts on their cell phone that addresses what is called the “elephant in the room.”

Another important part of the program is the set of “ground rules” laid out to participants before the conversation begins. Rules include listening with respect, the freedom to pass on uncomfortable questions, and most important, the agreement that “what’s said here stays here.”

According to the organization, three quarters of mental health issues start between the ages of 14 and 21. With that in mind, Creating Community Solutions has taken something that young people everywhere are doing, texting, and turned it into a tool to help end the awkward silence surrounding mental health issues. To them, it only makes sense to give this tool to the demographic it can help the most.

“Through text messaging, a preferred form of communication of young people, we make it easy and fun for them to have this conversation,” adds Goodrich.

Aside from small group discussions on mental health, Creating Community Solutions encourages larger events to adopt Text, Talk, Act as well. Bringing the dialogue to college campuses, high schools, and local organizations is something the non-profit is working to promote. They do, however, still want to enlist community leaders across the country, or anyone who wants to do something to push this conversation forward one text at a time.

To learn more about Text, Talk, Act and Creating Community Solutions, click here.

Featured image courtesy of Garry Knight (Fickr) under Creative Commons.