Welcome, dear (potential) ally!
What does it mean to be an ally?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
ally (noun) al·ly | \ ˈa-ˌlī, ə-ˈlī \ plural allies (2) one that is associated with another as a helper: a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle
To be an ally is not only to provide the people around them with the resources they need but also to support them in their time of need. As an ally, it’s important to understand the needs of those with mental health issues. But even more importantly, it’s important to recognize that no ally is perfect because as human beings, it is impossible to perfectly understand someone else and to be perfect in our responses.
Some of the most core tenets of allyship include:
- Self-awareness: When one realizes an error and how it might be negatively affecting someone else, the right thing to do is to grow from one’s mistakes.
- Inclusivity: People suffering from mental health issues aren’t any less human and should be treated as such. Often, talking about ordinary, everyday-life things can help just as much as a healthy conversation about the challenges they’re facing.
- Self-care: Can’t help someone else when you’re hurting yourself! It’s ok to take care of yourself. Don’t let the so-called “superhero complex” take over your life.
We’re all constantly growing. Here are a few ways to get started!
- Kognito Training: UIUC Kognito
- Tools to help change mental health around you: Five Signs Tools
- Disability Ally Training: UIUC Division of Disability Resources & Educational Services
- Counseling Center Paraprofessional Program: UIUC Counseling Center
- LGBTQ+ Ally Training: UIUC Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations
- Sexual Assault Survivor Ally Training: UIUC Counseling Center via YouTube
In addition to these self-improvement programs, check out some useful links on the Resources Page located here to pass along to anyone you think might need them.
If you feel someone is in need of an intervention, please fill out this form (managed by Student Assistance Center)
Alternatively, if you strongly feel someone is at risk for suicide, please fill out this PDF form (managed by UIUC Counseling Center).
Thank you for taking the time to help our friends and family in their mental health journey and towards de-stigmatizing mental health, one ally at a time.
-The CSMHC team