UC Berkeley Leads Let’s Erase The Stigma Foundation
The children’s charity Let’s Erase the Stigma Educational Foundation (LETS) have named Dr. Stephen Hinshaw and Dr. Bennett Leventhal their new directors of research. Dr. Hinshaw is the chair and professor of the department of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Leventhal is a leader of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Nathan Kline Institute. They will study the impact that LETS programs have on children and communities and use the data to refine the goals and model LETS uses to erase the stigma of mental illness.
LETS Educational Foundation provides early opportunities for children, adolescents and young adults to meet regularly and openly discuss mental illness through the LETS Club model. LETS establishes clubs in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, universities, and community centers, where participating youth can learn about mental health, plan and lead their own stigma-erasing projects, and provide peer-to-peer education in their communities. The LETS Club design is a powerful yet easy-to-implement model that bypasses barriers to fighting stigma because it’s “just a club.” As a club, LETS can be integrated into any school to establish student dialogue around mental health issues, decrease stigmatized attitudes, and increase help-seeking behaviors.
While there has been great emphasis on educating college students about mental illness and psychological health, children and adolescents have received little attention. LETS addresses the mental health education needs of kids as young as elementary and middle school through club activities and a toolkit for elementary school teachers. By beginning their pilot study with established LETS Clubs and then developing long-term studies, the research team will determine the lasting effects of LETS. #