ACIDD thinks nationally and internationally. It is a concept, and acts locally. We are always thinking of change. The country needs change as to how to deal with mental health issues, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. We look at mostly average Americans. Average Americans should spearhead that change across racial and generational lines.
That inclination to look toward average Americans or special population strikes a central chord: a consistent orientation toward change led from below. That attitude expresses itself in everything from support for voluntarism, to the conviction that smaller, human-scale institutions are making a more positive impact on the country than are the behemoths of big business and the federal government, to the belief that the daily choices people make can accumulate into broader social change.
Americans have more power than they recognize to improve their well-being just by making changes in the way they live on a daily basis. This is the time it is needed most. There’s plenty of things we can do to improve the larger picture. You’re just one person, but if everyone was taking the same action, we could improve so many different things. The confidence about the capacity of individuals to drive positive change, particularly through actions close to home, echoes through many minds and places.
If one asks what is most likely to “make a meaningful and lasting impact on issues you care about,” more respondents would state “a social movement started by average Americans” . Americans again display a tilt toward direct action when asked to assess the effectiveness of options for “promoting change on issues you care about”. Most people will say, “taking direct action like volunteering” as a “very effective” way to drive change; “using your buying power” to influence existing practices, another form of direct action.
Americans may not be involved in many social service organizations and community meetings, but running alongside their bent toward direct action is a belief in the power of acting locally. Most people believe that average Americans … through their own actions can make a “great deal” of difference on issues such as mental illness, suicide, violence etc. facing their local communities. Strikingly, young people are somewhat more likely than those over 50 to believe they could exert influence locally.
The most positive impact on your day-to-day life is awareness and volunteering in your community. When it comes to the role of national organizations such as ACIDD with local involvement in driving change towards mental health and well-being of all, particularly people that have co-occurring Intellectual Disability and Mental Disorders, most Americans will hold a view similar to the one Winston Churchill famously expressed about democracy when he called it the worst form of government—except for all of the others. Americans express little faith in national institutions, but believe that engaging with them locally is the best way to solve the society’s most pressing problems.
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Think and Act outside the box:
ACIDD is expanding its mental health services to India, especially to people with ‘the other dual diagnosis’. Leadership of ACIDD has previously done extensive work on people with developmental disabilities through local organizations. However, no work has yet been undertaken for people with co-occurring Intellectual disability and mental disorders in India by these or other well-known organizations.
ACIDD India, for the first time, will undertake projects that address mental health issues in general as well as mental illness of people with Intellectual disabilities. Please visit us at www.aciddasia.org
ACIDD is currently coordinating a major health project in Sierra Leon with guidance and cooperation from a local organization in Free Town, Sierra Leon. Visit www.aciddafrica.org for details.