Since the launch of Stepping Up in 2015, more than 475 counties in 43 states have passed a resolution or proclamation to join the initiative and commit to creating a data-driven, systems-level plan to reduce the prevalence of mental illness in their jails and improve outcomes for people with mental illnesses in their communities.
In 2018, dozens of counties participated in the Stepping Up Day of Action to highlight the important work happening in their communities. But there’s much more work to be done. Throughout 2019, the Stepping Up partners are asking counties to “Step Up” their efforts by completing the Stepping Up County Self-Assessment to identify a priority goal for this year (learn more here).
And this May, Stepping Up is leading a full Month of Action, during which counties across the country will demonstrate their impact and highlight their efforts toward reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. To participate in the Month of Action, counties are encouraged to do a range of activities:
Week 1 (May 5–11)
Highlight the Progress Your County Has Made with its Stepping Up Efforts
- Pass a proclamation formally announcing your county’s participation in the Stepping Up Month of Action.
- Host an event to highlight progress in your community and invite your local media with a media advisory (see last year’s Day of Action Toolkit for ideas and resources).
- Share a press release highlighting your county’s progress.
- Create an infographic, slide show or video about your county's efforts using Stepping Up graphics.
- Submit op-eds or articles to local news outlets highlighting people positively impacted by your work (so that it is hopefully published in Week 3) and/or calling on others to work on this important issue (for Week 4).
Week 2 (May 12–18)
Showcase Your County's Stepping Up Team
- Post a photo of your county's Stepping Up team on social media with the hashtag #StepUp4MentalHealth.
- Create a brief video with interviews of Stepping Up team members and share it on social media with the hashtag #StepUp4MentalHealth.
- Create or promote your county's Stepping Up website.
Week 3 (May 19–27)
Share the Experiences of People Impacted by Your County's Stepping Up Efforts
- Create a video with an interview of a person(s) impacted by your work and share it on social media with the hashtag #StepUp4MentalHealth.
- Share a blog post on your county’s Stepping Up website to highlight the impact you're having on people in your community.
Week 4 (May 28–June 1)
Encourage Your Peers and Peer Counties to "Step Up" for Mental Health
- Encourage neighboring counties that haven't joined Stepping Up to become part of the national movement using this letter template.
- Publish written or video testimonials about the need for change in local communities.
- Participate in the national Stepping Up Twitter Chat on May 30 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. ET using #StepUp4MentalHealth. Learn more.
Tell Us about Your Month of Action Plans!
We want to know what activities and programs your county has planned! If you’d like Stepping Up to showcase your county’s Month of Action activities, we encourage you to submit a short summary of any activities or events and links to any related media and social media posts. Submissions are due Tuesday, May 28. Please send all submissions and any questions to info@StepUpTogether.org.
And as you promote your Stepping Up work, be sure to share photos, video clips and other media materials with the hashtag #StepUp4MentalHealth.
Social Media Cheat Sheet
More than 475 #counties have passed a resolution to join Stepping Up to reduce #mentalillness in #jails. [YOUR COUNTY] is proud to be part of this movement! Find out more at www.StepUpTogether.org. #StepUp4MentalHealth
[YOUR COUNTY] is participating in the Stepping Up Month of Action to bring awareness to the prevalence of people with #mentalillness in #jails. Find out more about Stepping Up at www.StepUpTogether.org #StepUp4MentalHealth
[YOUR COUNTY] is joining #counties from across the country in the Stepping Up Month of Action to reduce #mentalillness in #jails. Find out more about Stepping Up at www.StepUpTogether.org. #StepUp4MentalHealth
[YOUR COUNTY] is joining #counties across the country to step up our efforts and use data to reduce #mentalillness in #jails. Find out how your county can join the movement and #StepUp4MentalHealth: https://bit.ly/2UhLrwJ
Note: When posting on Twitter, make sure to include the hashtag #StepUp4Mentalhealth and tag your state association of counties. Space permitting, tag Stepping Up partners @NACoTweets, @CSGJC and @PsychFoundation to share your county’s story with a national audience.
Sample Facebook Post
Join [YOUR COUNTY] in May for a Stepping Up Month of Action! Stepping Up is a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. The Month of Action is an opportunity for our community to come together to learn about the county’s efforts to connect people to treatment and services instead of jails. Learn more at www.StepUpTogether.org. #StepUp4MentalHealth
[Provide details on your Month of Action activities and how people can participate]. [YOUR COUNTY] is committed to #StepUp4MentalHealth for people with mental illness in our community. Learn more abotu Stepping Up and the Month of Action at www.StepUpTogether.org.
Note: When posting on Facebook, make sure to include the hashtag #StepUp4Mentalhealth, tag your state association of counties, as well as @NACoDC, @CSGJusticeCenter and @APAFdn to share your county’s story with a national audience.