I.C. Hope® / Erasing The Stigma


The Erasing the Stigma program of Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee provides educational and interactive presentations for children and youth to address concerns such as bullying, body image and self esteem, stress and depression, and other mental health and wellness-related topics.

I.C. HOPE® for Children and Youth

Several mental health and wellness modules with accompanying activities are available free of charge to be presented by MHAMT staff to your classroom, club or faith-based group.  Our I.C. HOPE® for Children and Youth curricula is a wonderful supplement to health and wellness class curricula.  All presentations are made age/grade-appropriate and uses puppets, storytelling, and crafts to teach students.  Teachers, school counselors, social workers, school personnel and others who work with children and youth are encouraged to utilize these curricula to educate their students on topics such as:

  •     ADHD
  •     Stress and Anxiety
  •     Bipolar Disorder
  •     Depression
  •     Body Image and Self-Esteem
  •     Dual Diagnosis
  •     Eating Disorders
  •     Suicide Prevention
  •     Bullying

I.C. HOPE® Duck/
“Don’t Duck Mental Health”

I.C. HOPE®, the Ambassador for mental health, is a puppet used in every presentation to talk about these issues in a non-threatening way. By introducing the topic of mental health in a way that is not overwhelming or scary, children and youth become aware that we ALL have mental health and just like we want strong and healthy bodies, we want strong and healthy brains too. Educating children about mental health helps to reduce the stigma of mental illness, which is one of the main obstacles to treatment.

MHAMT’s “Don’t Duck Mental Health” campaign serves to dispel the negative images associated with mental illness. The friendly face of the duck with its healing bandage promises to show that mental illness is not shameful or unusual, nor is it shameful to help those in need. His life preserver symbolizes that every life is worth saving. I.C. HOPE® takes the form of a six-foot character trained in mental health messages coupled with age-appropriate curricula. Listen to I.C. HOPE®, the Ambassador of Mental Wellness, read a story to children, work with classmates to complete an activity, or make your own I.C. HOPE® puppet to take home and share with friends and family.  Programming is tailored to meet the needs of the group. Contact Desiree Kelly DrPH at dkelly@mhamt.org for more information or to book your presentation.

I.C. HOPE® Story Time/Mental Health Curricula for grades K-6

With Story Time, a book is read to your class focusing on a mental health topic and a discussion is led afterwards. Each presentation is approximately 30 minutes.  Some of the curricula available include:

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – by Judith Cruz
    A book about a rotten day when nothing goes right
  • I Was So Mad – by Mercer Mayer
    A book about anger and anger management
  • Stop Picking on Me – by Pat Thomas
    A book about bullies
  • Too Much Pressure – by Stan and Jan Berenstain
    A book about planning ahead and reducing stress
  • When Dinosaurs Die – by Laurie and Marc Brown
    A book to help talk to kids about death and grief