Erasing the Stigma/I.C. Hope

erasing the stigma/I.C. hope

Mha Ic Hope Program
Based on our mental health screening data, we know that 57% of the 11-17 year-olds who took our online questionnaire screened for depression. We also know that suicide in youths aged 10-17 increased by 54.5 percent in Tennessee from 2015 to 2017. Our program is working to reverse this trend!

Erasing the Stigma Program

 I.C. Hope®

Annually, Mental Health America of the MidSouth serves more than 20,000 children and youth in Middle and West Tennessee. The Erasing the Stigma program of MHA provides educational and interactive presentations for children and youth to learn how to eliminate mental health stigmas and develop coping skills for other mental health and wellness-related problems such as, but not limited to bullying, body image and self-esteem, risky decisions, substance abuse, stress and depression.

Duck 1

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 MHA 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 teach students about mental health stigmas and the importance of mental health wellness. 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:

  • Mental Health Illness and Stigmas
  • ADHD
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Body Image and Self-Esteem
  • Dual Diagnosis
  • Eating Disorders
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Bullying
  • Risky Behaviors and Substance Abuse

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, approachable method. By introducing the topic of mental health in a way that is not overwhelming or scary, children and youth become aware that we ALL must protect our mental health. Why? Mental health protects our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Most importantly, just like we want strong and healthy bodies; we also want a good mental health report from our doctors saying that we have strong and healthy brains too! Therefore, it is the goal of MHA to educate children about mental health and help them determine the best way to handle stress, relate to others and make choices. One of the goals of the Erasing the Stigma program is to reduce the stigma of mental illness, which is one of the main obstacles to treatment.

MHA’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. The 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. Contact Ashley Nunnally at or Anna Turnipseed at for more information or to book your presentation!