OUR MISSION

America Out Loud connects and challenges citizens to reenvision mental healthcare and mental health rights in their communities. Through its Dialogue and Deliberation program, America Out Loud enhances citizens’ knowledge about mental illness and preventative care, and offers the opportunity for citizens to implement policy change in workplaces, schools, churches, and other environments.

Why America Out Loud ?

While today’s mental health advocacy organizations offer a wide variety of services, from subsidized counseling to free support groups to educational seminars, there is little focus on society’s institutions and how they perpetuate mental health stigma. In middle schools, high schools, and colleges, students are given stressful workloads and high expectations, but are offered little mental health outlets. In workplaces, employees often hide their mental illness, anxiety, and/or depression — in fear that they will be treated as less capable, or even let go from their position. In many churches, neighborhoods, and other communities, citizens with mental illness suffer from a culture of silence and stigma.

America Out Loud seeks to challenge these institutions through the practice of “deliberative democracy.”

The Deliberative Process

Deliberative democracy is a citizen-centered form of government which provides mediated and equal spaces, known as “deliberative forums”, for citizens to deliberate over challenging issues and to draft a solutions report for community decision-makers.

Deliberative forums typically have six phases.

Personal Testimonies

Participants understand how others in the community feel about and are affected by the issue.

Expert Panel Consultation

Participants learn the facts and important details about the issue (i.e. community budget, psychology concepts, current policies, etc.)

Small Group Deliberation

Participants are broken up into small mediated groups to deliberate over the major themes of Phase 1-2 and propose solutions.

Large Group Deliberation

Participants reconvene as a whole to present their findings and draft a findings/solutions report.

Voting

Participants vote on the top three proposed solutions. These solutions are explained in more detail in the solutions report.

Publication and Implementation

Forum organizers publish the findings of the forum, and reach out to community decision-makers to encourage them to implement the proposed solutions.

Alternatively, the findings report is given to every community member to use as information before voting for a solution themselves.