Welcome to Talking about Child Mental Health in Tennessee — a compendium of communications research and resources for helping the public better understand issues such as child development, child mental health, and programs informed by a “System of Care” operational philosophy.
This toolkit was developed for the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) with the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and KIDS COUNT. It builds on research sponsored by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, the Jacksonville System of Care Initiative, and the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.
A decade of FrameWorks’ research demonstrates that effective communications can help activate the public’s thinking and engagement with complex issues like early child development and child mental health. Here, we demonstrate how an empirically based communications strategy can bolster public understanding and support for programs and policies likely to produce long-term improvements for Tennessee’s children. As our research findings have shown, inviting the public into a deeper understanding of how development works can help them see how this in turn bolsters mental health and leads to outcomes like resilience to adversity. This knowledge can then lead to increased public understanding and support for solutions like a coordinated system of supports and resources for students, teachers, schools, and the broader community. Ultimately, these resources are designed to help engage the public in better understanding potential policy directions, and supporting solutions to pressing problems.
Below, we provide application materials for front-line communicators in the form of a toolkit deploying recommended framing strategies to shift the public conversation about children, child development, child mental health and youth well-being in Tennessee. The kit’s materials include:
Why do we need to be strategic framers when it comes to talking about Child Mental Health? What does this communications research have to offer the field? These pieces offer an overview.
Just want the gist? Try this article. It’s also ideal for sharing with colleagues you want to introduce to this work.
Child Mental Health Models of the Mind is a multi-media presentation of the findings from twenty in-depth cognitive interviews, conducted in Dallas, Texas and Cleveland, Ohio in May 2009. Featuring the real voices of research informants, this presentation demonstrates some of the ways in which lay understanding of the issue of children's mental health differs significantly from what experts know. It also suggests how expert knowledge might be more effectively conveyed to the public and policymakers.
This MessageMemo summarizes the findings from our research, and provides advocates and experts with a communications map for improving the public's understanding of children's mental health and the value of solutions that scientists and policy leaders seek to advance.
Useful guides to keep communicators on frame.
Download printable cards summarizing tested frame elements.
Review the key messages that are major themes when talking about Child Mental Health and Early Childhood Development.
Visual summary of relevant findings from cultural models research.
These materials model how to apply the tested frame elements to current news or calendar events. They can be used as templates or taken as ready-to-go communications pieces, adapted to local contexts (by adding, for example, local references or site-specific information) or restructured for a variety of media (for instance, by repurposing an editorial as a blog post or public remarks).
Op-eds reach a wide audience and offer an important but under-utilized forum for reframing the conversation about social issues. Blog posts and Letters to the Editor provide an opportunity to influence public discourse by using current news items as a jumping-off point for introducing a reframed perspective.
Are you new to strategic framing? Anna Marie Trester of FrameWorks’ Learning Team gives a introductory training to FrameWorks’ recommendations for talking about Child Mental Health.
Do you have an upcoming presentation that you are going to be making about Child Mental Health or about the System of Care? Use this set of PowerPoint slides as the basis for crafting your presentation.
A 60-second animation of Levelness, a metaphor that establishes the relationship between a child and her environment.
This report presents "Levelness" as an explanatory metaphor that was effective in helping people understand the science of child mental health. It also reports, in summary and detail, the research process of developing and testing the model.
This report examines the differences between the ways that members of the scientific community and the general public think about concepts of mental health, and mental illness in relation to young children. Dominant cultural models for children's mental health are identified and suggestions for further research are provided.
This report presents the results of an experimental survey that explores how three values — Civic Potential, Human Potential, and Civic Responsibility — can be used to shift attitudes about children’s issues in Jacksonville. The report concludes with strategic recommendations for using these values to increase support for the policy and programmatic solutions needed to improve the lives of children in the city.
This report maps the gaps between how experts talk and Jacksonville residents think about child development, well-being, and child rights. It describes a set of specific communications challenges, and provides initial strategic recommendations to address these challenges. The report concludes by charting a course for the next stage of prescriptive research.