The Reduction and Elimination of Stigma Through Art-Targeted Education (RESTATE) Program is a stigma- and discrimination-reduction program, implemented by the Tulare County Office of Education in both Kings and Tulare Counties starting in January 2013. Over 1,000 students at 13 sites participated in the program over the course of three semesters.
The participating students were trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), an evidence-based course that provides an introduction to the most prevalent mental illnesses and gives participants a five-step action plan for how to assess for risk of suicide or other self-harm and encourage someone who may be at risk to get appropriate professional help and other support. The students then researched a mental health topic of their choice and, while receiving artistic and technical training, created artistic projects with a mental health theme. The projects were in a variety of media, including collages, drawings, paintings, posters, sculptures, mosaics, t-shirts, theatrical performances, and video public service announcements.
The students’ completed projects were presented in venues across Kings and Tulare Counties and beyond, with the goals of educating the public about mental health, reducing the stigma of mental illness, making people aware of the resources available to help people with mental illness, and encouraging them to seek professional help and direct others to help.
This report is an evaluation of these efforts.