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.”